Carrie S.

Carrie S.

from MO
Story #218
At a young age I remember sitting in my kitchen asking Jesus to forgive me of my sins and believing that He died for me. I gave Him my heart and then was baptized.

Growing up I found my identity in my parents, believing like they did and trying to act like my mom. I dreamed of getting married at a young age as she did and having kids. It was all very fairytale like to me. Life will be perfect when I get married and I will find my identity in my family.

I had a friend that introduced me to her brother. He was everything that I had always dreamed of: rugged good looks, tall, blue eyes, blonde hair, dimples and such a charismatic personality. He knew how to talk to anyone, in fact, I think he could have sold ice to an Eskimo. There was one small problem, he was in prison.

Much to my parents horror (I am sure), with time we got to know each other and before long I was going to prison to visit him every weekend. It didn't matter the distance, I would go. I arranged my whole weekend around visiting him.

He was paroled after 15 plus years in the prison system and soon won over my family and we were engaged to be married.

During my meeting him I had taken my eyes off of Christ and started finding my identity in this man. He loved me, he was handsome, he made me feel good (most of the time), he talked so sweet to me... There were so many red flags that I chose to ignore. All of my life I dreamed of being married and this was my chance, I wasn't getting any younger. I wanted a relationship more than I wanted what God had as best for me.

We were not married long when I began to actually see my error, however I still loved him and thought he would change or that I could change him. He started gambling and drinking. He came home late from partying often while I was at home in bed. Soon he was back in prison even before our first anniversary.

When he got out on parole again his gambling became an addiction. He maxed out my credit cards with cash advances (without my knowledge), hiding the bills when they came in so I wouldn't find out. Any time I did catch him he would swear to call for help and even go as far as to tell me made up conversations with counselors so I would believe him.

I was soon pregnant and sure that having a baby would fix everything. Isn't that such a sad mistake? Why would I begin to imagine that bringing a baby into this chaos would fix anything?

One night he came home wasted after I got a call that the police had been to his mom's house. I remember being so scared and saying "What did you do? You had better get your story straight because the police are on their way.". A few hours later early in the morning the police were at our door and took him away.

He assured me that he had no clue that his brother had robbed a gas station and beat the clerk up with a tire iron. I chose to believe him. He even convinced his parole officer. Later I found out that the tire iron was actually out of my car and he had given it to his brother with instructions on what to do and waited in the get away car. Their mother convinced his little brother to take the fall for the crime as my husband had a baby on the way.

My husband began working a lot for a lady cleaning businesses in the evening on top of his own lawn care business. I rarely saw him. Even at birth of our son he was hardly there. I felt so alone and hurt that he wasn't staying with me even in the hospital.

He seemed to spend any free time (and by that I mean middle of the night when most people are sleeping) in the basement. I had been suspicious as to what was going on down there. One day I even put the baby monitor on a shelf near his computer but then worried he would find it and be angry, so I took it down. I never knew what to expect any more, things were very on edge.

One night when my son was a couple weeks old he came home very late and went straight to the basement. I went down to confront him. After all I was a new mom, very tired, getting no help and wanting answers. He blew up at me and started walking off punching holes in the walls as he went. I was hot on his heels up the stairs as he slammed the door in my face. I opened the door and said "you obviously don't care about your son" surprised by how loud he was being with a sleeping baby in the other room. To that he spun around and started beating me. I was shocked. I never saw this coming. He had never gone this far.

He then went to our room and started getting stuff together. During which time I had a chance to regroup. As he came back out I confronted him again (I obviously don't learn the first time around). He picked something up to throw at me but then thought twice about that deciding to slap me instead as he walked out the door. I honestly did not know what to do. I just stood there and cried, my life had fallen apart. It wasn't even recognizable anymore.

Moments later my phone was ringing. It was my mom. She said "Are you all right?". What/ How did she know? She told me my husband had called her and said "Your daughter needs you". To this day I am not sure why he did that.

I locked all my doors, unhooked the garage door openers and did everything I could to prevent him from coming back into the house should he decide to return. I did not however call the police at that time. He showed up in the morning to get his lawn equipment and couldn't get in. I freaked out and called the police, I didn't know what he would do. He actually didn't try very hard and just left.

The police came (much to my horror), I knew my neighbors saw them there and would be discussing it. I wanted everyone to think everything was perfect. I had already been slowly alienated from pretty much everyone I knew and I didn't want my neighbors to know my horror.

I soon found out that my husbands parole was revoked and it was only a matter of time before he would be back in prison yet again.

I still didn't want things to end like this. I hoped we could work things out. Over the next 2 weeks he would never tell me where he was staying and was vague about everything. I began doing research and looking for anything that would give me clues as to what was going on. I found a stack of credit card bills and began looking at phone bills and talking to people. I soon found out he had been doing drugs, had a dealer and a girl friend. What??? He denied everything.

He was soon picked up by the police and that was when I really began to put everything together. The woman that he was working for was his girlfriend. I researched her address and decided to confront her. She wouldn't answer the door and I saw neighbors outside and decided to talk to them. I asked them if they knew the lady that lived there and her boyfriend (describing him and what he drove) "Oh, yes. He is a super nice guy". To that tears welled up in my eyes and I said "That's my husband". They just stood there shocked. I actually feel bad for them now as I put them in a very horrible spot.

As I drove away all I could think about was revenge. Then the whole world would know what she was. The interesting thing is that I was more angry with her than I was my husband.

I didn't get far and my phone was ringing, it was her. She told me not to ever come to her house again and to leave her neighbors alone. She said that her and my husband were "soul mates " and they were "meant to be together". She even said she knew that what goes around comes around, but they love each other and he was going to divorce me for her. I was speechless.... Who says those things to another person?

After finding all of this out I no longer wanted to get up in the mornings, I just wanted to sleep it all away. I didn't eat. I never knew depression like this. I remember longing to just get wasted, but I had a baby. If he hadn't been there I would have drank my life into oblivion. At least then I wouldn't feel the pain of betrayal. Looking back I realize God knew I would need that baby. Was this a situation I should have ever brought a child into? No! But God uses all things for good for those who love Him.

My husband began calling me from jail. At first I ignored the calls and then I started accepting them. Soon I was again visiting him and trying to "work things out". He swore things were off between them and that he needed me and loved me.

It didn't take long to find out those were lies. Nothing had changed, it wasn't over between them.

You see I failed to see that God was knocking at the door of my heart, inviting me to find my identity in Him once again. Man will always fail us, but God does not. He honors His promises, He is faithful, loving and compassionate, He NEVER fails.

One would think from this time on I turned my life around and began a full on run to God. But no, I ended up moving my son and I in with my parents and going out to party on the town. I had never been this girl and people were right, this was fun - at least temporarily. I mad choices that I now cringe at and pray my children never do.

I wanted to party on Saturday night and live for God on Sunday morning. I didn't want my "church" friends to know who I really was (very few would ever see that side). I knew the Truth, but wanted to live like everyone else for once. I remember thinking "they say one day you will regret these kind of choices, but I don't feel regret. I am having fun." And I didn't regret it then, but I did later.

When I am not walking with my face toward God and seeking Him I get caught up in placing my identity on what others think of me. Now I see how wrong so many of those choices were. They not only affected me and my thought life, they also hurt my personal witness to those who knew me best.

It was a slow process back, but I didn't want to be the party girl anymore. I wanted to live for Christ and not just on Sunday morning, but every waking moment. To some I was all of the sudden "too good", "religious", "think your better than us", etc. That used to bother me and then I would go party with them to prove them wrong. But God opened my eyes and showed me that only through Him would I ever find true happiness and my true identity. I see now that I sacrificed my witness to others for my temporary pleasure. They had seen many hypocrites in their lives and now I was just one more.

God does redeem what the locust have eaten and He blessed me more than I ever deserve. My life now is so far from where it was only 8 short years ago. It is really kind of funny how God works. After much counseling I never wanted to get married again, but God had other plans. I am now married to a man in the military and my Ex was a convict (see the humor?).

God has blessed me with a husband that loves Him, me and my son. In fact we went through an extremely long (4 year) process of Brad adopting my son. And now together we have another son.

When I am not following hard after God (reading His word, praying and seeking Him) I so easily sway back to the place were I look for my identity in others and what they think of me. I have to keep my eyes on Christ. Even my husband now can start to take that place and I have to check myself. Brad can not nor should he be required to fulfill my every emotional or physical need and if I l am looking for my identity in him I will always be left hurting and angry.

I want to leave a legacy of faith in Christ to my children. I pray that they see me finding my identity in Christ not in man, money, status or any other thing this world has to offer. I pray that they too find their identity in Christ. Only then will they find true love and their true identity.

Are you searching for true love and/or your true identity? Christ is calling out for you. I invite you to find out more by clicking on the "Learn More About Jesus" to right of this page.

2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if any man be in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away and behold all things have been made new.