Prayer Warrior and Servant of Christ
Stephanie was called by the Lord to serve on the prayer and service team of The Fruitful Women.
Deuteronomy 6:6-8, KJV
“These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads."
Stephanie's Life - His Testimony
Have you ever felt like a burden or like you were unimportant? I had most of my life. I thought of myself as a burden to my mom from the time I was born. My father was my primary care taker until mom wanted a divorce and made my dad leave; I was three years old. By this time I had a sister that was two years old. Without dad in the home it felt like we really became a burden to mom. When she was angry at us or trying to sleep off a hangover, we got locked in our bedrooms. To keep my sister happy we would talk to each other through the heating vents that were between our two rooms. If we got too loud or we cried, mom would become angry and yell and spank us.
My dad soon met another woman who had a boy my age and a younger little girl. These kids took some of the pain away from not seeing my sister very much, but I started feeling I was not as important. They married when I was ten and had a little boy a year later and another when I was thirteen. My stepmom was overwhelmed having six children around on the weekend. I felt I was being a burden just coming over.
My mom had remarried when I was seven and had another daughter when I was eight. I was to help take care of both my sisters. They would get together with another couple and we had to stay in our bedrooms and behave or go to sleep.
When I was twelve my mom had another girl. Now there were three kids I had to take care of. I would have to help with the house work, cook, and look after the girls. And we two older girls also worked for others to help bring income home. The first job was for a man on a farm and he molested the two of us. When we wouldn’t keep working for him I felt like more of a burden. No matter how much I did, it wasn’t enough to relieve mom’s stress.
At my dad’s I was not allowed to help with anything and felt I was in the way and did not fit in as well. We were always allowed to visit there, but once dad told me if I come over it will be okay and if I do not it's okay too. This made me felt that he did not care if I was around. I felt uplaced by his new family.
I started feeling very confused about what love was. My parents all said they loved me, but I felt they would have been happier if I had not been born. I became very depressed and at thirteen started drinking and doing drugs whenever I was not watching my sisters or when they were asleep. It wasn’t until I had my own little boy at eighteen that I stopped.
I thought having my own children and my husband would help me feel less of a burden and more important. I was married at twenty and had three children at twenty-two. This did not fulfill the deep need inside me. I still had feelings of being unloved, a burden, and unimportant.
I became a Christian by asking Jesus to be my Savior when I was a young teen, but It wasn’t until I was twenty-one that I started attending church and became committed to living a Christian life.
This did not cause everything to turn around at once.
My husband and I divorced after being married for seven years. I moved back to Ohio and started raising the children on my own. I knew, though, that God was with me.
Joshua 1:9 (ESV) I read, “…Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you (me) wherever you (I) go.”
His testimony on my life to be continued…more about God.
He showed me I am not a burden and am very important – His princess!
As I said before, asking Jesus to forgive me for my sins and accepting Him as Lord of my life did not cause everything to go well in my life from that point on.
My husband and I had a hard marriage. We both knew Jesus, but we both were also broken people and did not know how to love each other. I still wrestled with feeling I was unimportant, a burden, and not very lovable. I cannot speak for my ex-husband, but I do know it was hard for me to trust him and this hurt him badly. He would try to control our lives which lead him to be emotionally and physically abusive. After seven years of marriage we divorced. I moved back to Ohio with my three children. I was not sure how I was going to make it, but I knew God was with me.
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9, NIV)
In Ohio I started attending a Nazarene church where my Mom was going. My mom had dedicated her life to Christ too and was on a healing journey. She was released from alcoholism and met a man of God who would become my step dad. She was becoming a good mom to my sister and I. She was able to love us in a way she was unable to do as we were growing up. What a blessing from God!
I too was growing in my faith and knowledge of God. My children and I attended church every time the doors were open. I became involved in children’s ministry. I was hungry for God, but I still was plagued with thoughts and feeling unimportant, a burden to others, and unloved. I even struggled with the thoughts that God only accepted me to keep His word, “…’Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’” (Romans 10:13, NIV) I thought maybe He did not want me, but my children were wanted by God so I hoped He wanted me too.
One Sunday our pastor was preaching and talked about how believers can be oppressed, not possessed, by satan. Oppression is when Satan fills the mind with lies and twists God’s word. Immediately I went to the pastor to make an appointment to talk more with him about it.
In the morning I was to go talk with the pastor, I was filled with fear, apprehension, and thoughts bombarding my mind, “You cannot tell the pastor you have these thoughts. He will think you are crazy, he won’t let you teach, in fact he will throw you out of the church. What are you doing then? Your life will be ruined, your kids will hate you. Stop driving, turn around now and go back home. Stop this now!” The thoughts just kept coming, louder as I got closer to church. I kept going. I was not going to listen to the lies.
As soon as I saw the pastor I told him about the thoughts and we prayed. I do not remember all he said. He told Satan he had to leave me alone, I belong to the Lord God. The voices I heard stopped.
Now we could talk about how I felt a burden, unimportant, and unloved. I knew these were lies but I felt empty inside. I told him about my painful childhood and marriage. We prayed again and this time he denounced the lies that God did not love me and I agreed with him. We broke Satan's hold on me. I agreed with the pastor that I belonged to the Lord God who definitely loved me. I felt the church with a clear mind for the first time I can remember. I had no negative thoughts or feeling. I had peace and felt joy.
I was so full of joy that as soon as I got home I fell to my knees singing praises and worshiping God. I was surrounded and filled with love. I had to tell God, “I love You. Thank you!” I immediately heard audibly God say “I love you, Stephanie!” I never felt such love in all my life as I did on that day. I knew and felt beyond a shadow of a doubt that God loves me.
Now anytime lies try to creep back in I remember God speaking love into me. I also know beyond a shadow of doubt I am not a burden. In fact, Jesus left heaven and became a man so He could bear my burden. He lived, died upon the cross in place of me and rose to live again (1 Peter 21:24). God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, wants an intimate close relationship with me!
Unimportant, unloved, a burden… No! God Himself comes looking for me, for us.
“For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” (Luke 19:10, NIV)
He came because He wants all to know Him and His absilute love.
“…God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.” (1 Timothy 2:3-4, NIV)