“Joined Rush Creek soon after coming out of an abusive relationship. Before I was living in constant fear. Verbal, physical, and spiritual abuse was something I learned to live with. So much of my heart was invested in that person, which made it incredibly difficult to leave. For a month, I had to remain in a car 8 hours a day with no AC. I was permitted to crack the door 1inch and no more for air. My abuser had to have complete control of me. I was isolated from everyone, with nothing but my Bible & God to comfort me. And this was all I needed!
God used this time to reveal His love and truth to me. I was broken. Realized I needed to stop going in my own way, and follow Him. I had to accept the reality; I was in a very destructive relationship. As soon as I surrendered my desires to be loved & married, God made the way for me to escape. Before I had tried and failed several times, resulting in only more abuse. But the day I chose to give God His rightful authority over the person I loved, was the day He opened all the doors so I could escape unharmed.
This obedience of mine led me to Rush Creek Church. My first week back home with loved ones was the hardest. I had been conditioned to fear and control for months, so it was an adjustment for me to even comprehend I could go take a shower without first having permission or being retaliated against. Praise God He redeemed my situation! My family, who weren’t regular church goers before, but seeking, suggested we go to church together somewhere new. And for the last 5 months, my family has been regularly attending the morning service at Rush Creek in Mira Lagos. Praise the Lord! God using my situation to gain the hearts of my family is an unforeseen blessing I’ll cherish forever.
Back in June, however, I was still dealing with feeling ashamed, depressed, and defeated. I knew I needed help and spiritual guidance. I surrendered my pride, to keep the pain to myself, and instead openly share my prayer request on a live Facebook video for Rush Creek. Hope came to me. Literally, seconds later Hope Schatzmann reached out to me and suggested we meet for coffee. I didn’t want to be a victim or pity case, but I knew God was supplying me with the aid I needed. So reluctantly, I agreed to go. From there she connected me with the Rush Creek counseling center as well as a Women’s bible study group.
Each time I obeyed God, I saw Him leading in my life and working in my situation. There’s no coincidence that the first night at my woman’s bible study group, the two women who came were also abusive relationship survivors. Hope didn’t even know this! We had such a precious bonding that first week and I knew I was right where God wanted me to be. Every meeting we truly have felt the presence of the Holy Spirit. This woman’s group has been life changing. Not only have the women there been such an encouragement to me, but I have had the blessing to see myself as a comfort to them as well! In addition, I came to the realization that God’s love is all I need. In fact, I’ve experienced more love from my woman’s bible group than in any relationship!
I am still a work in progress, but at least now I know my worth in Christ. As I continue to grow in the Lord, He’s been revealing the purpose for my life. God put it on my heart to volunteer and serve. So, I obeyed and signed up for Best Weekend Ever, Rush Week, Roots, and Children’s Ministry. Having a God-centered living has drastically changed my life! By living a life with a purpose and being intentional with my time, I have experienced God as my true joy and source of satisfaction. No longer am I operating by my own will, but trusting in God’s will for my life.
My hope is that by sharing my story, others would be encouraged to see their brokenness, weaknesses, and struggles as opportunities for God to work in them. May we also realize that these alone don’t define us. God has equipped us with unique talents, and spiritual gifts for the building up of the Church. As Pastor Jeremiah said, we “have gifts willed by God, not to use for ourselves, but for others.” I’m so thankful for this church. The people here have been a blessing to me and my prayer is to be a blessing to you all as well.”