Shari Child of God

HI! I’m Shari! My testimony may seem boring at first… and it may get a bit scandalous too. I had no huge transformation when I accepted Christ as a small child. My little life consisted of my mom, my older brother and sister, my twin sister and an absent father. My parents divorced when I was in 2nd grade so my mom raised me the best she knew how and I would see my dad maybe twice a year. My mom was a Christian so she made sure I grew up in the church, going to AWANA and I eventually went to a Christian school in 6th grade. We had Bible class 45 minutes a day as well as Chapel, which was also 45 minutes a day. But being a Christian and growing up in the church was not the shelter from the world that one would imagine. My mom remarried a Christian man when I was in 5th grade, which brought two older step brothers into the mix. Probably needless to say, I came from a lot of childhood trauma and brokenness. I was abused in every way possible to some degree or another. I went to a legalistic school/church whose views were very misogynistic. (Is that even a word?!) I attempted suicide in a passive way so many nights for a very long time in junior high by OD’ing on pain relievers. I would take enough (in my mind) in hopes of not waking the next morning yet not tipping my family off to the amount of pain relievers I had taken so they wouldn’t know I killed myself when they found me dead. Since we had a big family, we bought pain relievers in bulk so it would be hard to know. Clearly, it never worked or I wouldn’t be here but it sure did a number on my stomach (and maybe even to my liver??) Once I was older and left the school/church, I threw out everything they had told me except for my salvation (as if I could). I continued going to a baptist church that was not legalistic and started a healing process. However, I continued walking a path of victimization as I knew no better-- Not an excuse, just an explanation. My twin sister married at 18 and moved across the country. This was my first experience with an identity crisis. I didn’t know who I was without her. Soon, I started dating a man who seemed nice enough and my identity became entangled with him. He also grew up in a very dysfunctional family but his was due to alcoholism. He said he accepted Christ after I had made it clear that I would never marry him if he didn’t convert. (A girl has to have some standards, right? :face_with_raised_eyebrow: ) We married and started having kids a few years later. As baggage attracts baggage, we succeeded in a very dysfunctional marriage for quite awhile. As I grew in my faith, attended prayer meetings and Bible studies, I started growing more. In my late 20’s I started coming to grips with God’s sovereignty, which wasn’t initially a comfort to me. My abusive marriage was not the life I envisioned and it was my understanding that God allowed the abuse of not only my childhood but my marriage (because He knew it would happen and He even watched it). Although I was told that what happened to me was filtered through His LOVING fingers, it didn’t feel very loving. Knowing my own sincerity in all the times I had begged God to change my life, I grew angry. I had read all the books on marriage, walked in obedience, buckled down in prayer, journaled and went to Bible study and it seemed that it was not “paying off” at all. I was still in a broken marriage. Blaming God, I decided to do life my own way all the while angry and depressed. I could barely take care of the 2 small children that I had. Although I was not actively feeling suicidal because I was concerned for my babies, I put myself in the worst situations and begged God to just take my life so I would not leave a legacy of suicide to my children. My life kept getting worse. Then one day, a crisis that I knew I had a part in changed everything. I told God that I had made a mess and He was my only hope. I told Him that whether or not my marriage worked out, I was going to follow Him. It didn’t matter anymore to me if my husband chose to follow Him. I was choosing to follow Him. From that point on, my life changed. I started making healthy choices for myself (which initially helped save my marriage only to eventually cause more trouble in my marriage later). Over the next 15 years, my resolve to stay in my marriage and walk in the light caused me much heartache and was like a roller coaster but I learned that my identity was not in my marriage. It was in Christ. Because darkness and light cannot co exist, after 22 years of marriage, my husband filed for divorce. He quit his 90k/yr job and moved across the country to go live a new life without us. The kids and I were left picking up the pieces of life and facing homelessness. The trauma it had on one of my kids I cannot even bring myself to speak of right now. After 24 years of marriage and a long drawn out divorce where fighting over the children was not even an point of contention, we were left in poverty. The damage that the grief and stress did to my brain I am literally still recovering from. My brain stopped working properly. I often couldn’t remember words or conversations. My short term memory was almost non existent. My immunity was very low so I would catch every virus (I work in a school with kids) and it would attack my throat. I suffered from chronic laryngitis… and I am a singer. Singing was what I did to relieve stress and my voice was taken from me.
That is the sad part of my story. But as with any good story, there has to be the deepest depths and the lowest of lows so when the story turns around, it will be the best story ever!! As my story is clearly long, there will be tons of details that I have not shared and will not be sharing. However, I want it to be known that during this unimaginably hard time, THE CHURCH was a HUGE support/resource for me along with my family. I literally had church leadership attending my divorce proceedings with me. Anything that the kids or I needed was provided for. My pastor and his wife even assured me that I would not be living on the street… that I could come live with them. We never went without food. In the divorce process and the process of losing the house, if anything was broken or needed attention, someone from the church was over fixing it. I can’t even imagine what I would have done without the church. On my end, I was in God’s Word ALL THE TIME. I kept a 3x5 card spiral with me and would write down Bible verses that I kept in my purse so I could pull it out whenever I needed it. I would bring it to court with me and pour over them before I was in front of the judge. The Worship team leader at my church graciously allowed me to continue on the worship team even though my voice was mostly gone. I felt compelled that if I was going to lose my voice, it was going down while I was singing God’s praises. On stage, I would imagine those evil demons with their ugly little demon faces pressed up against the window in shock that they couldn’t keep me from singing praise to my God. I wanted to make them sorry they messed with a Child of God. I would pray every single day for plunder as the enemy had plundered my marriage and my family. I remember a particular time during the divorce when my (now ex) husband had sent me an email that had me titled as Shari UN-(last name). It felt like a kick in the gut. It was an attack on my identity as we had shared the same last name for most of my life. But I got him back good!!! :smirk: I changed my name in my own email settings to Shari and in the last name I put “Child of God” so that every time he got an email from me, he would be reminded of who I was-- Shari Child of God. I also changed his last name in my email settings so every time I emailed him it would say (His first name, Loved by God) so I would be reminded that Jesus died for him too and so I would respond to him with respect for the intrinsic worth that God gave him. My divorce was finalized over 2 years ago. And plunder… well, BOTH my kids are serving the Lord. A MIRACLE. My son is now married to my amazing daughter-in-love. They both serve in the church. My son is a first responder and one of the youth leaders and worship leaders (guitar, bass and electric guitar) at my church. My daughter-in-love is a teacher and she is also one of the youth leaders and one of the leaders of the children’s ministry as well. My own daughter is going to college for leadership and music ministry and is also on our worship team. She plays the guitar and the bass. (How many girls do you know on bass?!? – it is SO COOL.) AND as if that wasn’t enough plunder, I volunteer in a homeless ministry and I am also in a jail ministry. About 2 months ago, I lead one of the girls to Christ. Her sweet soul is now written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. That, right there is more plunder than I had ever imagined or ever could imagine. 10 years ago, I could have never imagined my life right now… the ups or the downs. I thought I would be married and in full time women’s ministry and some kind of counseling ministry. I couldn’t have fathomed the pain and devastation that ravaged my family. Many people with good intentions, including my own kids, want me to get a man so financial burdens will be eased but the truth is that I already have a perfectly awesome Savior. And maybe I will start dating some day if that’s what God has for me. If He does not, I am content. But here I am ROCKING OUT this completely different path with the Lord that I could have never imagined… single, empty nester, and actually thrilled with my life. I want to love people and share the gospel. I want to be winsome and articulate to help the hurting and the lost. I want to be the Shari Child of God that God created me to be. There is nothing that thrills me more. If God ever brings me to your mind, I would appreciate prayers for the healing of my brain and my voice so I can use them both for HIS honor and glory. God is SO GOOD and His love endures forever! Thanks for letting me share.

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Wow, Shari child of God, I smiled, I cried, I got mad, I prayed, I rejoiced. What shall I say?

Some old lyrics

He did not bring you out
this far to take you back again.
He brought you out to take you
into the Promised land
Though there be giants in the
Land I will not be afraid
He brought you out to take
You into His promised land.

Thank you for sharing and encouraging.me with your testimony of praise to a good, good God.
Mike

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Thank you Mike! It felt so freeing to share that. Thanknyou also for sharing those lyrics. I dont believe I have heard that song before and I have been musical my whole life. Would one day love to share a song I wrote in the depths of the valley. Many blessings and thank yoy for your response and prayers! :grinning: @mgaplus4

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Shari, what a beautiful testimony of how God can take a shattered life and make a beautiful mosaic out of it! I don’t think one can be more fulfilled than in ministries like you do. What relationships you make, what a difference in the lives of others, and the Lord there the whole time to keep you! Thank you for sharing all that you did. And one extra blessing is that your children are walking with the Lord alongside you. :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

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Carrie, thank you for your encouraging response!
Serving the Lord on worship team along with my grown babies is mind blowing to me. There is nothing like it. :slight_smile:

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Thank you for sharing your testimony Shari child of God. @Shari Loved it. Yes our Lord is faithful and you have way more to go. Keep trusting him.

God Bless You. :hugs:

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Thanks Dan! @Danageze. The best part of this story is yet to come! :slight_smile:

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Praying for you ma’am

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Thank you, Shari Child of God! Wonderful testimony.

And “daughter-in-love”! Perfect! I’ve got one of those myself - I’m going to start calling her that too - thanks!

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Thank you, @TalaSaUmaga! Prayers are so appreciated!

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Thank you, James! @jlyons. Daughter in loves are just as special as daughters! :slight_smile:

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