infact, i just surrendered my heart to the Lord 2 years ago...... let me give you a little history.
i wasnt raised in a christian home.... i did however go to church when i was a little girl. My grandma Charlotte use to take us to a penecostal church, but i wasnt a "regular" like her. I loved going with her.
My grandma was the epitome of a christian. Sweet, gentle, kind, giving.. there wasnt anything she wouldnt do for just about anyone. She had it rough, she went through many terrible trials in her life, and all the while, she still kept that sweet spirit about her. She loved the Lord. we will come back to her in a minute.....
I was raised around partiers. Most of my family was into the party life style, none of them served the Lord... until the Lord called grandma Home....
the year was 1997. I was in 8th grade. actually, i think it was the summer after 8th grade. in July.
Grandma told everyone that she was sick. the doctors said it was cancer.
i remember her crying, saying that she didnt want to be a burden to anyone...the doctors said it was a rare cancer. i dont remember the name of it though. it was in the stomach area i believe. maybe the bile duct?
anyway, i just remember being really scared. My grandma and i were very close. I clung to her my whole life. i just loved her so much. she was our "glue". she loved everybody despite the partying, despite us not being in church.... she was just THAT person for our family.
i was entering freshman year that fall. big transition time for me. My best friend Colleen had moved away to the east coast, and high school was an overwhelming thought for me. her and i leaned on each other, we were loners through middle school. i myself wasnt very popular. pretty shy actually. i was always on the heavy side, so that was a hinderance emotionally for me... so i felt completely freaked out. alone... how would i make new friends? would people like me? i guess the normal thoughts of a freshman.
that year was probably the darkest year of my life. i started starving myself. everything around me seemed out of control. i was watching my grandma get sicker, and sicker and there was nothing i could do about it.
i lost alot of weight. i was really sick. i guess looking back the eating disorder was about control. i couldnt control that my grandma was sick, but i COULD control my weight. and the sicker my grandma got, the worse i got. i think i lost about 70 pounds in about 5 months.....
my birthday rolled around. it was march 1998. grandma went up north to visit her sisters. i remember , she still found the time to send me a birthday card. that was grandma though. so thoughtful and giving.
we got a call from up north that she had fallen ill, so she came home, and i think thats when the cancer got worse.
after that, things got very tough. she just started getting weaker, it was awful. i remember just being scared to death, that i was going to lose her.
i remember family coming down from up north, her sisters , her brothers, her dad. old friends, my grandpa (they divorced many years before that)
through it all , she kept that same meek spirit. i remember walking into her room one day ( she lived right next door to us, at my uncles house) and i remember her just looking at me, and she just asked "are you alright? " , yes grandma, im ok (not wanting to burden her with my problems, she had enough to deal with) "you are so beautiful, you know that?" i think she knew something was wrong.
anyways, the family was all in town, and i remember being home one day and someone calling from next door "tiff you need to come over next door, grandmas asking for everyone"
when i got in the room, i saw grandma saying goodbye to each one of the family. then it was my turn. my heart just sank. "I love you. Tiffany, dont ever forget the Lord, He is so important"
those were the last words i heard her say.
she slipped into a coma. about 2 or 3 days later, she peacefully slipped away. she was gone.
my grandmas wish was for her kids to get right with God. she wanted that so much. my family was a total mess. but things were about to change.....
there was a man , brother Zingre, i forget how we were introduced, but he was an apostolic evangelist. he was a friend or aquaintence of the husband of one of my aunts, or at least i think thats how we met, im not real sure.
a couple days after my grandma was buried, brother Zingre set up "church" inside my uncles house and he began ministering to us. a short while after that, a majority of my family gave their hearts to the Lord and brother zingre baptized those who wanted to be baptized, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, in the hot tub, in my uncles back yard. i remember that day. My mom asked me if i wanted to be baptized, and i told her no, that i wasnt ready.
i think thats when the running began.
Brother Zingre didnt believe the message. my family found some message books when they were going through my grandmas stuff, and my grandpa is a Believer and he found my family a message believing church in sarasota. brother zingre and his family left town, and we havent seen him since that time.
i only visited a few times. i was running from God, i was angry with God for taking grandma from me. i was so lost. i didnt want to have to wear skirts, or quit listening to my music, or do any of the stuff we werent supposed to do.
it was the next year i believe, that i started smoking and drinking. that was only the beginning.
fast forward to 2000. I met my first husband, Robin. I was 17 and i was in full rebellion. i think i started dating him because i knew my parents wouldnt approve, which made him even more appealing. he was nothing like "my type" he was into the gothic/punk lifestyle. thats when i first got high on marijuana, was when i started getting mixed up with him. started drinking alot too. he was a year younger than me, but i was sooooo "in love" nothing mattered but him.
i moved in with him as soon as i turned 18. in 2002, i got pregnant with my daughter. then in 2003 we got married (yeah i was 7 months pregnant at my wedding)
up until i met him, i was still "pure" i had never been with anyone before.
my daughter , Lauryn, was born on may 9 2003.
fast forward to 2004. i got a job at an auto loan finance company. thats when i met patrick.....
after a few months of working there, robin and i were starting to drift apart i think you could say. he was very immature.
i think thats when the flirting began with patrick.
patrick was everything robin wasnt. he was tall, he was much older, he was "cool" he had a good job.
...... and he was paying attention to me.
before i knew it, feelings started to develop for this man. and i got scared. how , as a married woman, could i have feelings for another man? what did it mean?
well, it began to eat at me. the flirtation kept getting stronger, and then finally i got so scared and felt so terrible about it, i decided to tell my husband.
my intentions were good. even though NOTHING had happened except flirting, i felt like i was wrong, so i thought i would try to get past it, and tell robin what was going on.
BIG mistake i guess. he was devastated, he was angry. he treated me differently.
things got so bad between us, that we split up. he just couldnt move past it or forgive me and it destroyed our marriage. we did get back together for a brief time, but it just didnt work. we split for good in march 2005.
this was the 2nd darkest time in my life. i was a "free" woman. no longer "tied down" to a marriage. i was free to do as i pleased. i started going to clubs and from bar to bar. living on the wild side i guess.
i was a mess. it wasnt pretty.
then things got REALLY nasty. mind you, i was still legally married.
i wanted patrick to notice me, and i wanted to be with him, so i started hanging out with him more and more. patrick was a partier. he was a big time drinker, big time stoner, and he was into harder drugs. he told me from the get go "dont ever try to come between my drinking or smoking, because i will be doing it til the day i die" i was so "in love" i said ok. after all, it didnt seem like that big of deal at the time because i too was partying. i probably would have agreed to anything just to be with him.
up until this time i had only smoked weed, smoked ciggarettes,and drank.
well, i wanted to fit in, so i started doing hard drugs with patrick and our friends , thinking i was sooooo cool.
started doing cocaine. thats some evil stuff right there let me tell you.
we partied pretty hard for a while.
i remember a few times, i was so high , that i thought i was going to die. i actually remember praying to God "God dont let me die like this" it was scary... but not scary enough i guess .
lauryn and i moved in with patrick when we started dating officially, in november 2005.
my divorce was finanalized in june 2006. in july, patrick proposed.
in october, we went to tennessee for a visit to my papa. (grandpa on my dads side) it was so breathtakingly beautiful that on the way home, patrick and i decided we would like to live there. we wanted away from the drugs, and thought that moving would separate us totally from that, and we thought that it would be a better place for us to raise a family.
so, in november 2006, we moved from the only place i ever lived, to maryville, tn.
it didnt take long for the drugs to re surface.
before we knew it, we were right back into it. we got married in maryville, on april 21,2007.. in may, we moved to columbia, tn and worked for the same company we had met at in naples. they were moving headquarters up north and wanted us to work for them. so off we went.
July was the last time we partied with coke.
in august, we found out that we were expecting our first baby together.
on may 30, 2008, we welcomed our son, John Patrick, into the world.
I really wanted to move back "home" . I hated living up in tennessee. it was too far from home. i couldnt stand it. patrick lost his job so we moved to ft myers.
shortly, and i mean shortly, after we got home, i started feeling "the pull"
i just had a sinking feeling in my heart that i wasnt living right.
my mom had invited us to go to church, but i just blew it off. i ignored that "pull"....or tried to at least.
it kept eating at me and eating at me.
at this time, i was only smoking ciggarettes. patrick was still drinking and smoking.
my mom kept inviting me to church, so i asked patrick if he would go with me.
up until this time, patrick and i had only ever gone to "christmas eve" service at the methodist church (he was raised methodist)
he said no. he said " i aint going to that church your mom goes to, they are crazy, they think the women all have to wear dresses and not cut your hair"
a HUGE fight took place. i had tried telling him of what i knew of the message (started with serpent seed) and he just wouldnt hear of it. he finally said "we can start going to church if you want, but its gonna be at the methodist church" and i told him i would not go. there was only one church i wanted to go to if i was gonna go.
( i had visited a couple times when lauryn was a tiny baby, i dragged my ex along and he hated it)
he flat out refused and we fought and fought. he said stuff like "my son will never step a foot in that church" and stuff.
so i put off going a little longer. my mom had given me the Supernatural: Life of William Branham book set, so i started reading that.
i remember one day patrick said to me "i dont want to smoke weed any more, i just dont feel right doing it , i gave my stuff away"i thought that was odd, but i was so happy. ....
i remember sitting outside on my porch smoking, and reading. i was in awe., i just couldnt stop reading it.
i finally got my husband to go to church. he said "fine i will go to one service if it will make you happy"
so we went.
after the service, i remember patrick saying to me, when i asked how he liked it "well its just not for me.. and why was that guy so angry?" (speaking of bro danny, who flat tore it up that service by the way)
well. the next week, i went alone. i remember crying because i wanted him there so bad and i just didnt see how he was going to change. i thought i would be going alone forever, but i knew thats where i wanted to be.
i started talking to patrick about the rapture. and things that were to come once the rapture was done. we talked about the way things would be when tribulation started, and we talked more about brother branham. i noticed he was a little more receptive but still, remained stubborn.
one day, when i was sitting at home, i get a call from patrick. he said "hey do you know of any christian radio stations that i could listen to?" ( he listened faithfully to a rock station)
then he called a short while after that and said "hey go in and take all my beer posters and all my shot glasses down" i dont want them. throw them in the garbage. i dont know if i can stop drinking yet but i dont want to look at those posters anymore"
and go through our movie collection and sell all of the "bad" movies (r movies that we had. and im talking BAD)
he said "i want to change" , "i dont want to miss the rapture" , and "i want to go to church" ...
after we ended the call, i was so overwhelmed, all i knew to do was cry.
i knelt on the ground, right there, and repented for all my sin, and gave my heart to Jesus.
that next sunday, my children were dedicated to the Lord, and i was baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.
i asked patrick if he wanted to get baptized and he said no , he want ready yet. but after my baptism, he was so touched that he said "im going to get baptized soon"
two days after that, we were at home and i came into the kitchen, patrick was laying on the couch watching tv. and i saw 8 beer cans, empty, sitting on the counter. i thought to myself "oh Lord, he done got drunk and passed out"
i asked him "pat what are these beer cans on the counter?" to which he replied " i dumped them out, i dont want it anymore"
i told him that if he wanted to get right, he had to repent and get baptized.
one week from my baptism, my husband was baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. the night before his baptizm, we smoked our last ciggarette.
July 2008 was the last time i cut my hair. December 2008, i wore my last pair of pants.
in february 2009, we found out we were expecting our third child. ( patrick has always claimed lauryn as his own, her dad isnt a part of her life and patrick has helped raise her since she was 2 )
i was scared to death to be pregnant so soon. johnny was only 8 months old when we got pregnant. i remember crying to the Lord "Lord im not ready but i want what you want for me"
the first dr appointment didnt go as i expected.
the doctor performed my first prenatal ultrasound. and then he delivered the most horrible news i think i have ever heard. he told me that there was no baby, and all that were there were a "abnormal cluster of cells" they took bloodwork and told me that i would be needing a d&c.
the next day they called and said "yeah your bloodwork is conclusive with a molar pregnancy (abnormal cells) and we need you to come back in friday for your d&c consultation.
i was just beside myself with grief. i cried and cried. .... i sent out a prayer request and thats all i could do, or knew to do.
that thursday, the day before my appointment, i called the dr office and told them i wanted another ultrasound before i proceeded with the d&c process. they told me that they needed another ultrasound anyway to determine the extent of the abnormal cells.
my mom wanted to be with me, and i wanted her there too. my husband couldnt make it because he couldnt miss work. i couldnt do it alone.
so i went in , scared to death, i was just shaking, and crying.
this time, it wasnt an obgyn who was doing the ultrasound, it was an actual ultrasound technician.
they performed the same type of ultrasound. when the lady began the scan, i noticed a sac on the screen and something blinking in the middle. i asked the technician "what is that? that wasnt there before" and she told me "thats your baby" .... my heart just swelled. my mom was crying.
there he was . a perfect little baby, with a perfect strong heartbeat. no abnormal "cluster of dead tissue "
i was just in awe.
God has been so good to me. the things he has done in my life, are so numerous that i couldnt even begin to tell you them all. by all natural rights, i should have died a long time ago. the things in my life, that i have done, the places i have been, i deserved to go to hell for. i deserved to die. but mercy re wrote my life.
Jesus Christ set me free. i no longer have to carry the guilt of my past on my shoulders.
satan has been on my trail ever since i got right with God. its because i no longer march in his army. i am , always have been, and always will be a child of God. i was in His thoughts before the foundation of the world. He died at calvary for me. so that i didnt have to go to hell. He loved me so much that He died for ME. He was wounded for my transgressions, He was bruised for my iniquities. surely He bore our sorrows and by HIS stripes i was healed.
to the young people who may read this. just keep up the good fight. i hope this was en encouragement to you. we are almost there! just look around you.
to those of you who were raised in the message, and never gone out in the world, you may be curious about going out into the world and seeing what its all about, but, i want to tell you something. N-O-T-H-I-N-G in the world is worth going to hell for . and i mean that. its full of hatred, its full of violence, and betrayal. its full of deception.
you name it , ive probably done it. and i will tell you , that no high out in the world could replace the high that i have felt when the Lord touched me at church, at the altar. Dont let SATAN fool you, nothing, and noBODY is worth going to hell for. Satan will use anything, anyone, as a tool to deceive you.
and dont think for a second that flirtation is innocent. flirtation ruined my first marriage. i ruined someones LIFE, because of flirtation. it may SEEM innocent in the beginning..... but just please, please please see it for what it is.....
satan is on the prowl, like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. it is NOT time to be playing around, it is time to go HOME. what in the world could be worth missing Glory for?
there was a time in my life where i would have thought you was crazy if you told me i would be in church, and living a christian life. but now, i could not even imagine my life without the Lord.
dont get me wrong, i still struggle with things. we all do. as long as were in this pest house, our flesh, we will battle. we are in spiritual battle zone. but i know one thing, i couldnt make it without God. He is my only Hope.
im sorry if this was too lengthly, but i wanted to share as many details as i could. i hope that it was a blessing to you. i have so much more i want for myself in my walk with the Lord, but i can tell you , while im not the person i ought to be, i am NOT the creature i use to be.
PRAISE THE LORD.
thank you for taking the time to read this. i really hope it wasnt confusing at all, i just wanted to be a blessing and an encouragement to somebody.
i am NOTHING on my own. i give all praises to the King of Kings. My Lord. My precious saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ.
May God bless you and your family.