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maude’s story

maude

A story of restoration

I believe everyone has a story to tell. Inside your story might be an untold chapter of your life that has been too painful or shameful to share.  It could contain something that has devastated your life, shattered your heart and broken it beyond repair. You could feel trapped and unable to move forward with your life. That was my story, and if that is your story, you desperately need Jesus to come into that dark and vulnerable place in your life to mend your heart and free your tormented and wounded soul.

For many years I was broken. I felt rejected. I lived with this overwhelming sense of fear, guilt and shame. These feelings followed me and vexed me wherever I went. These emotions became so much a part of my life and had such a stronghold over me that I had absolutely no control.  The thought of sharing my story with the world was unimaginable.  Every time I felt brave enough to share my story with someone I trusted, fear would grip me. My heart would race wildly and I wouldn’t be able to utter a word.  I was wary of people and isolated myself from them. I did not want people to get too close to me for fear of being exposed and rejected.

All this changed for me a few years ago when God started speaking to me about a very traumatic and sad period in my childhood. I was still trying to come to terms with the experience I’d had and was in denial that something so destructive could have actually happened to me. God asked me to give Him that broken part of my life, along with all the disappointments and losses. He wanted to restore, heal and deliver me from it, but I was not ready to let it go – it was too painful.

Then one night I had a dream that I was being held captive by the devil, a knife pressed against my throat. In the dream I was too afraid to move or scream. I woke up in a cold sweat, shaken. God revealed to me that the enemy was using fear, guilt and shame like a knife against my throat – just like in the dream – to stop me from sharing my testimony. God also began to speak to me about my identity in Him as His daughter. He reminded me of His Word in Romans 8:15, “For you have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but you have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.” I began to understand that I belong to Him. He is my Father, and I am fearfully and wonderfully made in His image. I started memorizing some scriptures that I would speak aloud whenever I felt fearful, abandoned or needed to reaffirm my identity in Christ.

Since then, God has not stopped speaking to me. He has continued to tell me how much He loves me and how He wants to restore my life and use me and my story to bring hope and deliverance to people who felt like I did ­– trapped, unloved, lonely and rejected. He wants me to live in freedom – free from the pain of rejection and free from the guilt and shame of my past. My dream life changed drastically and I started to understand what God was saying to me in dreams. All my dreams revolved around the subjects of deliverance from strongholds in my life that were holding me back. Now when I dream, God will drop a word in my spirit before I wake. He’ll speak a word like “generation curse,” or “stronghold,” so I know what he wants me to deal with. I then research the meaning of the word and listen to sermons about it. I came across teachings from Dereck Prince that included practical prayers to take you through self-deliverance. I started to feel better and stronger every day until I was finally ready to surrender my whole painful past to Jesus. I became so desperate for God to heal, deliver and restore my life that I connected with a deliverance ministry that led me through prayers of forgiveness. They helped me break free from the fear, rejection, guilt and shame that have kept me captive for so many years. Soon after that I met up one by one with all my friends and for the first time I was able to share my life story with them. I would like to share that story with you now.

I am the youngest of four children. My father was an alcoholic that could not keep a job. My mother had serious health and mental problems and was physically unable to look after us. When I was four years old, my parents were declared unfit to take care of us. We were placed into a foster home for one year with an elderly couple. I do not remember us ever going to church or hearing about Jesus at that point, but one day I asked my sister if Jesus was dead. She replied that, no Jesus was not dead. She told me that He was dead, but is not dead anymore. He woke up from the dead and went back to His home in heaven on a cloud. Now I see how, through her innocent, childlike answer, I first heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

A year later, the four of us were transferred to the same children’s home, where we were separated and placed in different homes according to age and gender. I was placed into a home for preschool children, my sister went to a home for the older girls and my two brothers went to a boy’s home. I was a quiet and shy child and found it hard to adjust to my new surroundings and circumstances without my big brothers and sister whom I missed so much. One great thing was that I started attending nursery school, which I loved – especially the arts and crafts and storytelling. Our teacher started every day with a story from a beautifully illustrated children’s bible. My favorite of the stories told of how Jesus calls children to come to Him. It expressed how much He loves little children. It made me happy to know that Jesus loved children and that He loved me.

One of the nursery school teachers was very loving and kind to me, and she started to take me home with her every day after school. She had a daughter who was an only child and was about the same age as me. The two of us connected immediately and would play together for hours on end. During a time that I desperately needed love, comfort and companionship, God faithfully provided me with a second family and a new sister that are still very part of my life today.

One morning, I woke up and was told by the housemother at the home that it was my birthday. I was six years old, and it was the first time that my birthday had ever been celebrated. I felt very special when all the children sang happy birthday together and clapped their hands to wish me well. I was now a big girl now and ready to start primary school. I was ecstatic because going to primary school meant being reunited with my siblings.

The first day at school was epic. My brothers and sister walked me to school and took turns carrying my school bag. They were so proud and protective of me and during the break times they showed me off to all their teachers and friends. I was very happy. Life was good. I made friends and did well in school. From time to time we received a letter from our mother, who tried her best to keep in contact with us.

One afternoon after school, the welfare worker at the children’s home requested the four of us to visit her at the office. She gave us an update about the situation back home with our parents. It did not look good for us. My father had left my mother and disappeared without a trace. My mother’s physical and mental health had deteriorated and she had been admitted to mental home. We were also informed that we would never be able to go home to them and live a normal happy life as a family. I still remember the shock and sadness we had felt. But, as children do, we were able to bounce back from the disappointment and continue with our lives until we all finished high school.

In the homes we were brought up with strict, traditional Christian values. From a young age I attended church and Sunday school every week. I heard the gospel many times, but it was more of a religious tradition to me that did not really make sense. One night when I was fourteen years old I had my first significant dream. In the dream Jesus came from heaven to earth on a cloud. I knew it was the second coming of Jesus, yet I felt disappointed in myself as I had heard about Jesus often, but had never invited Him into my life. In my dream Jesus walked straight up to me and looked me in the eyes as He showed me the scars on His hands and feet. That dream will always stay with me. It was the first time that God revealed Himself to me in such a personal and intimate way.

I had another supernatural encounter when I was eighteen years old and gave my life to Jesus. A friend from Sunday school became radically saved. He was constantly sharing the gospel with me and had a prayer group that interceded for my salvation. I tried to avoid him, but one day he cornered me and gave a bible where every word Jesus spoke was highlighted. When I got home I went to my room and started reading all the highlighted portions and something became alive inside of me as I encounter the power of the Holy Spirit for the first time.

Looking back at my life, I know that I had a good life. Times were hard, but I had many amazing opportunities growing up as a child and was privileged to have hundreds of brothers and sisters in the home with me. God has always been there for me and has proven Himself faithful in my life many times. Many doors have opened for me that I know were not due to my own abilities, influence or strengths.

Today, I am free from rejection, guilt and shame. My heart is healed and my identity as a Child of God is restored. I want to encourage everyone that has gone through real, heartbreaking experiences to put their hope and trust in Jesus. He is your forever friend and help in time of need. Do not let your story become an untold chapter of your life. Your redemption story could help, encourage and bring hope to someone else in time of need.