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A Living Testimony
by Ronda

Where have I been?  Where am I going?  At age 13 I knew everything.  I was grown up and I knew what was best for me and nobody could tell me any different.  Boy have I learned a lot over the past 20 years!

Being the grownup that I thought I was at 13, I began a three year span of running away from home.  During that three years, I ran five times.  On one of those occasions, at age 14, I ran from North Carolina to New Orleans, LA and there I lived in the back seat of a stolen car for two months with my boy- friend and two hitch-hikers that we had picked up along the way.  We did stay in a boarding house part of the time, when we had the money to pay for it.  Our trip began in NC, took us to Virginia for a day, then to Florida for a week, to New Orleans for about two months, and then to Texas for a week.  It was there that we ditched the car, got money for a bus ticket home and made up lies about where we had been all that time.  Exactly one week later, we left again, this time in a stolen van and with the exception of Virginia, we went to the same states but all in a matter of three weeks time.  This time, we got caught, and it was back to the detention home in North Carolina for me.  I knew I wasn’t going home this time.  My probation officer had already told me that if I ran again, she would see to it that I was put into a girls home.

At that time, a juvenile was supposed to go to court within three days of going into the detention home.  Not me.  I was there a  whole  week!  It snowed and because of the weather, my court date was put off.  Why did it snow?  Why couldn’t we just get the nightmare over with?  Because God had other plans.  You see, a young Christian group from the college came to the detention home that weekend to talk to us about Jesus.  I shouldn’t have still been there, but there I was.  I gave my life to Jesus that very day and I immediately knew that I was going to get to go home.  God told me I was going home.  I told everyone in the detention home - “I am going home.”

Court day came and my probation officer got up on the stand and requested that I be put into a girls home, just like she said she was going to do.  She told the judge that my mother just couldn’t handle me anymore.  The judge looked at Mom, and he said, “Is this what you want?”  My mom was speechless. She tried to say, “Yes” but it wouldn’t come out of her mouth.  My dad, was whispering, “No, No.”  She couldn’t speak so the judge turned to me and began asking me all kinds of questions.  When all was said and done, I went home, just like God said that I would.

I was on cloud nine.  I had found Jesus and I knew that from that point on , my life would be perfect.  Absolutely wonderful.  Nothing could possibly go wrong. Right?  Wrong!  It was already suspected that I was pregnant as I had been feeling sick to my stomach every morning.  I had been ordered by the court not to have any communication at all with my boyfriend, not even so much as a letter.  I knew that there was no way that we could ever see each other again.  I was desperate.  I thought my world would end without him. Suspecting pregnancy, I began to pray earnestly that the pregnancy test would be positive. I knew that was the only way that I could be with my boyfriend.  I just knew that if I were pregnant that they (our parents) would let us get married.

The doctor’s report came in.  Yes, I was indeed pregnant.  And I learned right off the bat that getting married was not an option.  My parents were never going to let that happen.  It never occurred to me that having the baby wasn’t much of an option either.  When Dad said, “You better call tomorrow and make an appointment for an abortion,”  I was shocked.  I told him I wasn’t having an abortion.  In the end, I did have one.  My options were to have an abortion and stay at home, or keep the baby, but go live at an unwed mother’s home where I was told that I could  stay until the baby was 6 weeks old and then I would  be on my own.  Well, that was enough to scare me, so I had the abortion.

At the time, I thought I was running away from something, but looking back, I was trying to find something that was missing in my life. I was fortunate.  I know as sure as I am alive today, that the reason I am alive is because God had his hand on me during that time.  I should have been dead.  A 14 year old running the streets of a city like New Orleans - yes, I should be dead.  But here I am and God brought me here.I had pretty much forgotten all about God by this time and it sure didn’t take me long. But you know what?  God didn’t forget about me.

What was I searching for?  I didn’t know that myself until many years later.  I straightened myself up by the time I was a senior in high school.  (Or so I thought.)  I had stopped running away from home.  I got married near the end of my senior year and lived happily ever after, right?  Not hardly.  About a year after I got married, I began to sink into depression.  This would last for days, sometimes weeks, but I thought I could handle it.  It seemed that every time I would get that way, something “new” would come into my life - a move to a new state in a new home, the birth of a child, etc.  Each time a new thing would come along, it was enough to keep me satisfied for a while.  But I never stayed that way for long.  Off and on until 1990 I struggled with depression.  I began to see a pattern.  I was always searching for happiness and I never seemed to find it.

I found my happiness seven years ago.  I had sank into a depression like none I had ever experienced.  I didn’t even want to get out of the bed.  Little things started happening around me.  Everywhere I turned - the television, the gas station, a store parking lot, I saw God.  I knew He was trying to tell me something.   One night, I was standing in my kitchen and I just looked up and called out to God.  I knew that I had abandoned him, but he was now showing me that he never left me.  He was always there, and now, he was calling me to turn from my ways and come to him.  I rededicated my life and have been walking with him ever since.  He has brought me a long way.  True happiness can only come when you have a relationship with Jesus Christ.  It wasn’t enough that I had accepted him as my Savior at age 14.  I learned  to build a relationship with him.

It was about four years later that he showed me that I had to deal with all of the depression, the abortion, etc.  When I rededicated my life, there was such joy that I buried all of the bad.  I didn’t deal with it.  But God showed me  that I couldn’t go through life burying the bad things.  I had to face the problems and he was there to help me do that.  I am a new creation and I thank God for that.

When I look at all the years of depression I know that  in the midst of it all, God was there. I don’t think many husbands would hang around and put up with what mine did.  But he stayed.  We are getting ready to celebrate our 15th wedding anniversary.  We both have a relationship with Christ.  We aren’t perfect, we make mistakes, but God pulls us through and always guides us with his love.  There is no greater love than the love of God.
I have met many people who don’t know Christ and many have told me that they can’t have a relationship with God because God would never forgive them for the things they have done.  If you are reading this and you are a person in that situation, I want you to know that there is nothing you have done that God will not forgive you for.  Look at my own example.  I asked God for a child.  I had a life growing inside of me, a life given by God and I destroyed that life.  But God, who is always faithful, and full of grace,  forgave me. 


Be sure to visit Rhonda's Home Page
Prayer Warriors Online . There you will find prayer support and other wonder testimonies as well. And thanks again, Rhonda, for sharing your wonderful testimony.


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January 16, 2000

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