Testimony Tuesday with Vanessa Milner

How disobedience almost stole my "happily ever after".

Vanessa and Trey Milner were heading full speed ahead for divorce. Vanessa turned to the Lord for guidance, but instead of heeding the voice of the Lord she allowed her feelings to be her guide. Find out how obedience became the path that brought restoration to their family and transformed their broken marriage into ‘they lived happily ever after’.

I would like to say up front that there are always 2 sides to every story and very rarely is one person ever to blame for the all the problems in a relationship. During the time that these events were happening many mistakes were made on both sides and our whole family suffered for it, but this blog will cover my part of the blame in what happened. This is what God revealed to me about myself. My husband’s side is his story to tell; all I can do is take responsibility for my side of the street.

As Summer 2014 was coming to an end, all was not well in the Milner household. The battle lines had been drawn and everybody was losing. It was nothing new. We were fighting the same old fights that we had been fighting since we had gotten married a little over a year ago at the time. If I am transparent, a lot of the problem initially was me. Two of my biggest character defects are being very emotional needy and insecure andthe combination of these 2 faults brings out a massive need for constant reassurance of love and approval. The combination of these faults also brings another ugly issue to the surface “people-pleasing”….going above and beyond to try to make someone happy in an attempt to get that reassurance and approval mentioned above.

The problems always started the same. He didn’t pay enough attention to me. He didn’t ever want to help me with the kids. He worked A LOT and when he was there he would be trying to catch up on his rest,but all I could see was him spending his only time at home sleeping. When I could get him out the house to go somewhere as a family, he usually ended complaining and grouchy the whole time. He stayed up late watching TV and many nights fell asleep on the couch and slept there all night. And on and on and on so many little things that made me feel like he didn’t care about my feelings because ultimately he didn’t really love me. I don’t remember exactly when I came to the conclusion that he really just didn’t love me, but from that point my attitude changed drastically.

I was already hard to live with because I spent most of my waking hours trying to figure out why he didn’t love me so I could think of ways to win his love and being devastated when nothing changed.  When I got the idea in my head that he didn’t love and I couldn’t change it, I got very angry and I felt very betrayed that he had fooled me into believing he cared. I kept those feelings of anger bottled up inside all the time, bitterness boiled inside of me constantly and it poisoned my thoughts and feelings. I became more moody and paranoid than usual. My housekeeping skills are nothing to brag about even on a good day, but I pretty much gave up all together. I did just what had to be done and wished that he would say something about what I needed to do.

It was some time after the first of the year 2015 that I went to God in prayer, broken and full of self-pity, not really looking for a solution just wanting to unload all my hurt over how my husband made me feel like I didn’t matter…but God had something to say.

He told me that :

My husband did love me that I was the one who was making myself miserable, that I was responsible for my unhappiness.

I was floored. I started to cry and asked God if Trey loved me then why didn’t he treat me like he loved me. I told God that what he was saying didn’t make sense…that the way my husband treated me was not the way you should treat someone when you love them.

And then God laid this revelation on me: I had to stop expecting Trey to love me on my terms. That it was not fair for me to expect him to love me exactly the way I wanted him to. Trey could only be who he was and that I was setting him up for failure, that if this marriage was ever going to work that I was going to have realize that by criticizing Trey all the time for not loving me the right way that I was in essence telling him his love was not good enough and he wanted to be loved and respected for who he was just like me. Then God told me that if I would just take his word that my husband did love me and then react to that truth by loving him every day for just who he was then my love, respect, and approval of him as my husband would help him be a kinder more considerate husband. All I had to do is give the love I wanted without expecting it in return and eventually it would be returned naturally and from the heart.

In that moment I had hope. I had a plan of action. I would obey God and my marriage would be better than ever. Only one HUGE problem, I had not dealt with all the bitterness on the inside. I was happy to push it a little deeper and put on a mask and give it my best super wife impression, but with all that bitterness still inside I could only keep my outbursts in for a week or 2 at a time and then I would explode and be ugly and we would be back to square one.

By the time May rolled around and I found out he had been drinking behind my back, I was ready to do anything that might give me a moment of relief from all the hurt that was bubbling so close to the surface all the time so I threw away 3 years of sobriety and we started drinking together. Of course, the drinking only made it harder to tuck my “crazy” in….so now to add to the bitterness, I have guilt over throwing away 3 years of sobriety and turning my back on God. I have fear…fear that while drinking that something bad is going to happen to one of the kids or that I will do something stupid and that I may lose the kids. I worry all the time that my husband is sleeping with other women. If I thought things were bad before, I had no idea how much worse they were going to get.

And things did go from bad to worse. In July, I quit drinking again and in August, after repeated attempts to get Trey to sober up I packed my bags and took the kids and moved out……as a victim. Poor Vanessa whose husband didn’t love her and ignored her all the time….and now was getting drunk every night sleeping with whoever. If all that was true I should have felt relief that I didn’t have to live like that anymore, but the truth was I felt sick inside because I knew that I had the solution all along, but I couldn’t control my emotions long enough to save my family.

At that point, God told me that I could no longer fix this that it would have to run its course and that it would take time, but if I could wait patiently and stay out of his way that I would see my family restored eventually. I tried so hard this time to obey and leave Trey alone, but I kept letting my feelings draw me back in. Whether it was bickering or he was sending late night random “I miss you” stuff I would eventually give in and respond. All of the back and forth was not good for me. It kept my heart in turmoil all the time, anxious over what the future held for me and my family. Until I broke, got drunk in the middle of the day and headed to Trey’s to have it out. It was a nightmare and a half. I knew then that even though I could quit drinking again the next day that unless I removed myself from my current situation I would be unable to obey God and leave my husband in his able hands. It was one of the hardest things I ever did, returning to the faith based rehab where I originally met my Savior to reconnect to God while vowing to let my husband go in the hopes that God would bring him back to me.

Almost 3 months from the time I removed myself from his life, my husband decided to go get help and the rest is history in the making however; when I finally did what God told me and was able to sit down with God in that safe place and trace my steps back to how I got there I was wrecked at how that one act of disobedience had almost cost me my family. I had the answer to my problems and yet I couldn’t push past my own feelings to receive the marriage I wanted. I wanted an amazing marriage and love, but I didn’t want to step outside my comfort zone to get it.

But I did what God told me and waited patiently and now I have had a chance to make it right. And I bet you already know the ending. God was absolutely, positively right….as always. I devoted myself to loving my husband better than ever before, to submit to his authority as best I can, to show him that I love him unconditionally. And it turns out that : *drum roll please* He does love me. He really, really loves me and every day he shows me a little more without any pouting or begging for attention. I can feel the love when he looks at me and when he holds me close late at night. He goes out of his way to express his love for me in so many ways. He compromises more and is more considerate of my feelings. He surprises me at times with gestures of appreciation for all I do when before all I ever felt was that the weight of expectation and entitlement. I am so thankful that God allowed us another chance to get it right.

Finally, I know now that home is not a place, but it is wherever this family is together. I have hope, real hope, that we are going to be ok.

Not because of me or my husband because we are both imperfect people but because we are loved by a faithful, loving God who always knows what is best for his people.

Every wise woman buildeth her house: but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands. — Proverbs 14:1

Testimony Tuesday with Andrea Monceaux Weaver

Meet Andrea Monceaux Weaver. Andrea found herself lost in the world trying to find something or someone to fill the void inside of her, but instead year after year she only grew more empty. Then she met Jesus Christ and finally she received the love she had been searching for all her life.

To tell you my story,I have to start at the beginning so….

Once upon a time when I was  a little girl I dreamed of a finding a “fairy tale” love.  A  love so  pure and undefiled that no one  could take it away or use it against me.

I loved hearing how the prince would ride up on his white horse and rescue the beautiful princess and take her away from all the evil of the world. I longed for a prince to tear down the walls I had built to protect my mind, body, and tragically even my heart. I believed in my heart that  if only I could find that prince or better yet, he could find me then all would be right in my world. I felt that no prince would ever really want me. Not if he knew the real me and things I had done. It made me cringe at the thought of anyone finding out the secrets buried in my heart. Even if my prince did come why would he choose to stay with a girl with a shattered life and heart broken beyond repair. I didn’t feel like I had anything to offer and even if I did it would never be enough to please a prince. My greatest fear was that he would see how unworthy I was and walk away leaving me alone with my broken pieces. Deep inside I couldn’t shake the feeling that there had to be more to life than the emptiness I felt inside.

That’s when I  heard about HIM, a  Prince in a far-away Kingdom who thought that I was to die for. I found the love letters he had written to me and they pierced my heart. I started to question my beliefs about who I was and started to realize that if this great prince could love me in spite of all my mess and accept me faults and all,then maybe,just maybe I could too. His words brought life to all the dead parts of my soul, and the broken pieces of my heart began to heal. The chaotic thoughts in my mind began to be replaced with the truth.

The world began to take on a new meaning. It became a little brighter. Life suddenly tasted a little sweeter. I began to hope,to believe that this good life,this abundant life could be possible even for me. No, ESPECIALLY for me.

I will never forget the day I met Him. I cried out to the Lord and He rescued me.  He slayed all my dragons and radically set me free. He took me by the hand, and I knew with every fiber of my being that this real life Prince of Peace had loved me my whole life and that nothing I could do would ever separate me from His amazing, everlasting love. Never would I have to face this world alone because He would never leave me.

I am just an ordinary girl who is loved by an extraordinary God. I was lost in the world, but Jesus stepped on the scene and saved me from myself and I went from a wreck to redeemed, from a captive to sin to being free and loved and more than enough..Now,I understand who I truly am.  I am a princess of the God Most High, dearly beloved by my Father in Heaven. What he did for me, he will do for you as well if you will surrender your life to Him. And I promise that the love of Christ is greater than even the most beautiful “happily ever after”.

For I am persuaded , that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth , nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.  Romans 8:38-39

 

Testimony Tuesday with Shelley Montgomery

Meet Shelley Montgomery. Shelley spent a huge chunk of her life with an emptiness inside. She tried to fill it with drugs, alcohol, and men but nothing from the world could satisfy. Then she met Jesus Christ and for the first time in her life, she was whole.

My name is Shelley. I’m the daughter of a beauty queen turned alcoholic. I grew up believing I was doomed to be just like my mother. When she died my life became a perpetual haze of alcohol, drugs and men. I grasped at anything that I thought might save me from the emptiness I felt inside. Minutes turned to hours, hours to days and months to years of this vicious cycle. I used because I hated myself and hated myself because I used. I became trapped, a prisoner of my own making, paranoid and afraid. Defeated.  In the Word of God it says..2 Corinthians 4:8-9 says “We are hard pressed on every side but not crushed;perplexed but not in despair; persecuted but not abandoned; struck down but not destroyed”

When I arrived at the Haven in February 2016 I was broken….but not destroyed. I came to treatment to find myself and God found me instead. I had not been abandoned, but the truth was I had been rescued by the blood of the Lamb. I have learned I am not defeated,but in all actuality victorious.

Today, I am a house mom for Mission of Hope Ministries at the new Fruitdale property. If someone would have told me a year ago I would be working for a ministry I would have laughed. I would have thought I could never be good enough to work for a ministry. But Philippians 4:13 says I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. And here I am. God’s restoring relationships and rebuilding bridges that I thought I had burned. Am I happy every day? No, I’m not. Instead I wake up every day with joy. No matter how I may feel, I have the joy of the Lord. He is my rock, my strength. I never have to worry, nor be afraid. I am a daughter of the Most High King and thanks to him I am an overcomer.

I no longer feel doomed to be an addict like my mother. Instead, I strive to be more like my Father in Heaven.

 

Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you. 1 Peter 4:12

 

Testimony Tuesday with Brittany Meeks

Meet Brittany Meeks. Brittany’s story is a love story, but not one like we are used to reading in a paperback version. It is the story of how a lost, little girl transformed into a mighty woman of God by falling in love with her Savior, Jesus Christ.

I grew up in a divided home. My mother was a devoted Christian, but my father was addicted to crack cocaine. I was raised in the church, but witnessed the destruction that drugs can do to a family. I became insecure and confused due to the broken promises and negligence of my father. Also, I was sexually abused from the ages of 8-11 by a family member (my whole identity was robbed from me.) The year I turned 13 was the year the devil did his best to kill, steal, and destroy me! After 16 years of my dad’s crack addiction, my mother divorced my father. We lost everything (our home, our belongings, our family, our independence).

My mother and I moved in with my grandparents;my brother moved in with his girlfriend. Within the next few months, life would only get worse. I was raped by a family member, found my grandmother dead in her bed, and began using drugs. I dove head first into addiction (ecstasy, Xanax, pain pills, marijuana, alcohol, cocaine…). From the age 13-18, I was in and out of jail, rehab, and kicked out of various schools. My promiscuous lifestyle landed me pregnant at 14. The father was a 26 year old that I met at my dope dealer’s house.

My life was out of control and I knew that the next step would be death! I knew it was time to make a change after 2 years of demonic nightmares, a demonic encounter, and a warning from God! God led me to a 12 month intense Christian discipleship program called Teen Challenge when I turned 18. It was at Teen Challenge that God began to change me from the inside-out (2 Corinthians 5:17)! Nine days after entering the program, I completely surrendered my life to Christ, was baptized in the Holy Spirit (with the evidence of speaking in tongues ) and delivered from 2 years of demonic nightmares. My chains were broken by the power of God Almighty! At Teen Challenge, I learned who I was in Christ, and God broke off every label the world/enemy had placed on me (dirty, unworthy, loser, ashamed, guilty.)

Most importantly, I fell madly in love with Jesus Christ! I entered into Teen Challenge a lost scared little girl, and I left a totally transformed powerful woman of God! Since graduating Teen Challenge, God has blessed in many ways. God has opened many ministry opportunities (Christian rehabs, jails, churches, schools). I have had the opportunity to share my testimony, lead worship, preach, and minister through prayer in many counties/states. He has restored my family, sent me an amazing husband, and now we are first-time home owners! God empowered me to obtain my GED/graduate college with a BA in Psychology, and now I am working profession. Likewise, God has blessed me with opportunity to return to school (praying to become a Registered Nurse).

I am forever grateful for the prayers of my family and church, and that God’s pursuit of me is relentless! On August 29, 2016 I will be 9 years saved/sober, and I am still madly in love with my Jesus. I cannot wait to see what else he has in store for my life.

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold all things become new. — 2 Corinthians 5:17