Joanne C.

Joanne C.

from KS
Story #675
I grew up in Northern New York state with 5 siblings in an alcoholic family. We were always told to hide dad's drinking and bad temper so I learned early on to keep secrets and do things on my own. I did well in school but hid a rebellious spirit and bad temper. I lived for the day I could leave home and never look back. I started "going steady" with a boy when I was a freshman and planned to go on to college after graduation. Unfortunately I made a decision to let our relationship turn sexual in my senior year and found myself pregnant soon after graduation thus ending my dreams for college. After 3+years my boyfriend who I thought would become my husband decided he did not want that responsibility. I moved 200 miles away with a broken heart and without telling any of my family about the baby. Obviously we were not a close family so it was easy to lie my way out and keep the secret of a lifetime.

With the help of a friend I moved in with 3 other women and worked my way through the pregnancy and gave a precious baby girl up for adoption in June of 1968. I knew I could not raise a child alone and wanted her to have two, hopefully loving parents. All adoptions were closed back then so I was not allowed to see,much less hold my baby. My already wounded heart was shattered and it was at that point my rebellious spirit took over and I went off the deep end. I was trying to find something to fill that huge void of love I had, something that gave purpose and meaning to this life! So not knowing what else to do, I tried everything the world had to offer, drugs and alcohol, numerous bad relationships, I read every book on Eastern religions I could get my hands on and even dabbled in the occult. It all came up short, nothing satisfied that longing I had in my heart.

Late in 1969 I met my first husband in a bar. He was a musician and two weeks later I left town with him to travel with his jazz quartet, more drugs and alcohol and bad choices. Two years later, we moved to his hometown in Iowa and were married, that marriage ended in 1980, more heartbreak along the way. I had somehow always managed to support myself and then went back to school and graduated with a degree in Horticulture. I had a good job, nice car and clothes but still nothing satisfied. I had lost all hope of finding what I was looking for so I thought it just didn't exist and settled into the life I had.

In 1985 I met my second husband, John, also in a bar. By then I'd given up all the drugs and just had an occasional drink. I wanted to see what life was like straight. John's friends told me he used to be "religious" so I was curious but he wouldn't talk about it. Somehow I just knew he had something I needed so I just kept asking. One day he told me that Jesus was a real person, God come to earth as a man! Wow, sounded pretty far fetched to me. He said that He came to give His life for my sin, I had no trouble seeing myself as a sinner, I had made such a mess of things. He said he walked the earth for 33 years and finally died a horrible death on a cross and was resurrected so that I could spend eternity with God it was a free gift but I had to accept the gift. I was mostly unchurched and had heard about Jesus but never like this! He said Jesus was who I had been looking for all my life. The truth washed over me and I have never been the same. I accepted the Gift! "The wages of sin is death but the free gift of God is eternal life" Romans 6 :23 You see, John had been a Believer since college but had walked away from the Lord because of some childhood issues he had not dealt with. So when he was running away from God, I was running to Him and He crossed our paths at just the right time. We were married a year later.

I wish I could tell you things were easy from then on but God had lots of transformation to do in both of us. I can tell you that He brought the right church to disciple us and the right counselors to guide us through our individual childhood hurts. He brought reconciliation to my family. My dear, sweet husband of almost 31 years, went to Heaven 3years ago now and I miss him every day! There is so much more to our story but I have to tell you one last amazing, stunning thing that God did. Five days before John died I received a letter from my daughter!!! At time of my greatest grief, He gave me great joy!!! And 48 years after I gave her birth, I got to hold her. Nothing I deserve, just the kindness of a loving Savior.

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