Sharables – Testimony
Holly Wells | Assistant to the Pastor
Pastor Jim has talked about “John 3” and “John 4” believers – essentially those who grew up in the Church and those who did not. Well, I am a part of the John 4 group; I did not grow up in a Christian home or Church. I did, however, spend a couple of years during my early childhood in Catholic private school. I was about 8 or 9 years old at the time and do not remember much other than panicking over the prayers I was supposed to recite to some scary priest during confession to make my first communion. My mom, older sister, and I were CEO Catholics (attending Christmas, Easter, and Other) while my dad was apparently an atheist at the time.
Fast forward a few years, my parents were now divorced, and life was a gigantic mess. My dad was living with his new family while my older sister, a young teenager, fought with my mom constantly, and I became my mom’s confidant as she shared the pain of divorce and worries of being a single mom. And my life soon became rooted in fear. I feared that my sister would carry out threats she made against my mom in anger and hurt. I feared that my mom would follow through when she told me she wanted to drive off a mountain near where we lived. And I eventually shut down emotionally when my dad stopped talking to me for over a year when I did not stay the night with him and his new family at Christmas. I experienced immense brokenness for the first time in my life, and all I knew to do was to “be good” because everything else was so bad. So much happened during these next several years including an abusive dating relationship where fear ran deeper and grew higher than ever before. I internalized all of it while coming to my own conclusions that “this is just how relationships are” …that is until someone told me the truth: this was not how relationships were supposed to be.
This person and I were dating by this point, and four years later, he and I were married. In our early 20s, we were trying to figure out life and marriage while working and going to school. Life was good – we were best friends and had the best time together. We had decent jobs, a house, cars – nothing extravagant but nice. We “checked-in” to church most Sundays to only “check-out” as soon as service ended. We were benchwarmers for about one and a half hours on Sundays as “Christians,” then back into the world, we went! It is no surprise that without the Lord, our marriage was a ticking time bomb. As the years set in, so did life. The newness of being newlyweds wore off, selfishness became priority, and soon our own agendas became more important than the other person. Sin is sin no matter how you slice and dice it – and sin kills.
We made it about six years before we were separated and living apart with very hardened hearts, fighting constantly and without much regard toward one another or to God. I was already receiving biblically-based counseling to work through my past and continued with it, slowly learning about God. My counselor recommended DivorceCare, so I started attending every week. I learned more about God’s Word, His character, and heart as well as His truth and instruction about the marriage covenant and divorce. A few months went by, and my heart began to change.
As I learned about God’s presence, faithfulness, redemption, safety, and love for me, He gently and patiently waited for me to trust Him. The Lord used Psalm 139 to minister to my heart, and I became His. Verse 14 says, “I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made, Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well” (NKJV). God continued to He meet me in all of my brokenness, in all of my pain, in all of my shame and sins. He started making changes in my life, and by the Holy Spirit inside of me; He led me to pursue reconciliation with my husband on several occasions. I knew and believed with great conviction and without any hesitation that God desired to redeem our marriage. I knew He could do it; I prayed for years that He would. It did not matter to me that our divorce became final, I still believed He could do it. The thing is, while God does desire to restore and heal marriages for our good and His glory, His priority is our individual relationship with Him one-on-one.
It has been over ten years since giving my life back to the Lord, and in this short amount of time, He has done an incredible work. He has been ever so faithful to me each moment of every day. God, my Father, has been with me through all the tears and healing processes of life (and forever will be).
As I seek Him, He continues to teach me more about Himself as my Redeemer, Provider, Protector, Counselor, Best Friend, and more.