JOIN US THIS SUNDAY AT 10AM | WEDNESDAY AT 7PM  | FRIDAY AT 7PM |
social link social link social link

My Precious Jesus

A friend who sticks closer than a  brother

By Charlotte Martin March 29th, 2019

   
                    “And I will make all things new”. The Lord promises not to make new things, but to make things new. In our darkest seasons, in our worst decisions, even in our ugliest moments, the Lord is with us. He calls to the deep places within our hearts. He reaches out to us with His gentle and steady love. His mercy triumphs over judgement, and if we would but surrender, He would come and heal our brokenness. Our blog post for this month was written by Charlotte Martin, a member here at Living Hope Church. Her story is anything but pretty. It’s real, it’s raw, and it’s redemptive. Through it all the Lord proved Himself to be her might savior, and her closest friend….
 

“HE KNEW ME BEFORE I WAS FORMED IN MY MOTHERS WOMB”

My story starts as a small child in a rural setting in Southwest Ohio. It started out happy with Mom, Dad, and two older sisters. I remember nice warm days at home with my mom drinking iced tea and having snacks while my sisters were at school. I remember Mom and I taking lunch to my dad at work and him teasing me, as I always wanted part of his desert, such as Twinkies or something along those lines, needless to say he always came through for me. I remember in the warm season playing on the tire swing or playing in the creek with my sisters, and in the frigid cold season, ice skating on the pond behind the house until you couldn’t feel your fingers or toes, and of course, making snowmen and snow angels, along with numerous other endeavors.
My grandparents lived next to us just a small field away. I remember walking the path almost every day to eat whatever Grandma had made that day, plus there was always a freshly baked chocolate chip cookie or something of that nature. My grandpa would always let me sit on his lap or on the arm of his big chair and share his peanuts, always pouring some in the lid of the jar that they came in.
I remember Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas with all of the family at my grandparent’s house, most of the adults were having some sort of cocktails, it didn’t seem to be a problem, it just seemed to be what grown ups did.
As time went on, I had two baby brothers and one baby sister. Gradually during that time, the drinking got worse with my parents, and along with that came the fighting. Us kids would sometimes huddle in a bedroom, with the older ones trying to comfort the younger.

“WHILE WE WERE STILL SINNERS, CHRIST DIED FOR US”

At age 13 I had been through so much that I decided I couldn’t take anymore, so I ran away from home. I ran all the way into the nearest town, ha, but sadly I had started drinking myself, and taking any drug that came my way, I will spare you all the details. One of my bad experiences was, I had stopped at a house where everyone would get together and party and the only person there was the man that lived there. He invited me in and proceeded by trying to rape me. I begged him to stop and I was saying anything I could think of to get him to stop. He kind of gave in and let me up to go to the bathroom, I locked myself in and started to beg God to help me, and then all of a sudden, I heard the man walking away. I knew that the back door was right outside of the bathroom, so I slowly opened the door and ran, thank God the door opened right away! I ran out crying and found a group of people I knew, and told one of them what had happened, they wanted me to call the police or go home. I said I wasn’t going home, and I couldn’t call the police, so I just moved on and tried to deal with it myself. I didn’t realize it was God that actually helped me until years later.
After a lot of other things that happened to me during this time, I had gotten to the point of totally losing my appetite, and when I did eat something it would come right back up. I was nothing but skin and bones, so finally I went home. I stayed home for a while but eventually ran away again, this time I went farther, Daytona Beach Florida, hanging out in places that you should have been older to hang out in. This became a cycle for my life, with a lot of hitch hiking, and lots of very close calls. Too many to mention here.
I was married at eighteen, but it ended after eight years. My greatest blessings from God came out of that marriage with God giving us three wonderful sons, Justin, Jacob, and Joseph. A few years later I was on my second marriage and that one ended after eight years as well. In between all of this were several attempts to end my life, severe depression, counseling that may have worked for some people but didn’t work for me, and a lot of anti-depressants/anti-anxiety meds which always made me worse or didn’t do a thing. I was always in an, “I don’t care about anything state of mind”, on top of it all my little sister was killed in a terrible car accident, which of course I ended up blaming myself for.
One day I walked into a bar and the guy bartending was someone I remembered from high school. His name was Joel. I said, “You probably don’t remember me”. He laughed, and showed me what was on his shirt, it said Charlotte Hornets on it. How funny that was. I had just been through a bad break up with someone and was feeling like it was the end of the world, how much more could I possibly go through? Long story short we got together and went through a lot of ups and downs during our relationship due to the toxic partying. Joel and I got married about a year and a half later. We eventually moved to a house that was very close to the bar he worked at, so we could conveniently walk there whenever we wanted. He was also always playing music in a lot of bars/clubs including Daytona Beach Bike week with me being his sidekick, we had nothing to show for any of his hard work because we blew it all on partying which consisted of, alcohol, weed, and cocaine, and I mean a lot of it!

“I CAN DO ALL THINGS THROUGHT CHRIST WHO GIVES ME STRENGTH”

Well, after a while things started coming to a head and I left Joel, only to find a party somewhere else. I was at someone’s house drinking and doing drugs when all of a sudden something came over the television saying there was a major tsunami in Indonesia where thousands were killed. The people there didn’t even see it coming. I was in awe of the whole thing, I started crying and thinking in my mind that something like that could happen anywhere, anytime, and everyone would just be gone! My eyes were being opened and I just wanted to go home and be with my husband, I wanted to see my boys.
It was like a light had been turned on!
I went home, but you see Joel and I had already signed the divorce papers and I thought he had already put them in the mail, what was I going to do? I wasn’t far from there, so I walked through the snow and ice and knocked on the door, he answered and let me in. I went to the guest bedroom because I didn’t feel worthy at all. I felt dirty and ashamed along with being angry with myself. Joel walked in and simply said; if we want this to work we either have to go to marriage counseling or go to Church. Another lightbulb moment for us both! I had surrendered my life to God once during my first marriage, so I had a relationship with Him for a brief time in my life, and I remembered that Jesus is the Counselor, so I said Church!

“THE JOY OF THE LORD IS MY STRENGTH”

We went to a Church that Joel knew of, he had known the Pastor all his life because he was his Dad’s best friend. I went to the altar and surrendered my life to Jesus. I was crying uncontrollably, and then I looked up and saw in a vision Jesus standing on the platform above me at my head, with His arms stretched out towards me. It was the best feeling in the world! Afterwards I was drained but had a tremendous peace about me. It was a process after that and probably took about a year to overcome all of the old worldly temptations. God had to show me how to forgive myself, so I could forgive others. He had to teach me how to love myself, so I could love others, and He had to give me the strength to fight against my flesh, so that I could overcome the temptations of this world.
 
Finding Jesus was like coming home for me, to a real home where love is abounding, and peace is free. No longer do I face torment, or indecisiveness. In fact, I look back and don’t even really know that thirteen-year-old girl who wandered streets of so many foreign places. I’m a totally different person! Even though I may face trials or tribulations, I no longer have to run to my old “fixes”, looking for something to numb the pain, cause that’s what I would always do. I was a runner. I was always running from things. From my problems, from my fears, from myself. I would rather run than fight…now I don’t have to run. I can simply turn to Jesus. I can turn to the wellspring of life who is alive within me. Instead of needing those “things” to help me cope, I have Jesus. He has become my family, my help, my savior. Jesus has become my very best friend, and now I’m here to tell the world about Him and His amazing Love!!! Thank you, Jesus!  
There isn’t enough paper to write down all the things hat the Lord has brought me through, but I encourage you to come and ask me what the Lord has done, because there is so much more left to tell. If there’s something in my story that really spoke to you, just ask and I’ll tell you all about His faithfulness in my life!    
       
     May He do for you, what He’s done for me,
Charlotte Martin

Leave a Reply