Youngest son and DIL reminded us all of a very significant turning point in their lives nine years ago.
So, I searched the archives and found an article I wrote six years ago. I share it here so you can rejoice and priase God with me.
Touched, Transformed, Transplanted
Kristie is my daughter-in-law. When she was only three years old, she first invited Jesus to come into her life. This was repeated again and again because she was never sure of his presence. She understood little of what he was doing in her heart. Three years ago, at age 22, she experienced a clarity as never before. The glimmer of hope grew into a bright beam of deliverance and assurance.
Kristie’s parents were divorced when she was only three or four. By then she had witnessed a great deal of conflict, even violence, due to drinking and drugs. The dysfunction did not end with the divorce. All the men she observed in her life, both as a child and as a young person growing up, made her feel that men could not be trusted; thus, it was very difficult to relate to a heavenly Father.
Those growing up years were chaotic. They included eight school changes, as parents moved or she went from living with one to the other; a mother who married and remarried at least six times; a stepmother who would not talk to her; and the trauma of her father being sentenced to life in prison.
God was at work all along on his child’s behalf. The flicker of light had been ignited in her spirit and she desired, even longed, to go to church. She would go on her own sometimes or have a parent drop her off. There was also the weekly Children’s Club program where Kristie heard the Word and learned and yearned for more. [AWANA]
God was faithful throughout the tumultuous years that followed. She relates, “He had already saved me years earlier…yet, he sustained me and restrained me in my season of rebellion and unyielding to his sovereignty in my life. He kept me alive in the hell of my addictions. But I was blinded by fear, doubt, pride, and hardness, and I was unable to see him there. I doubted I was saved, but I still cried out to him over and over for months and years.”
Sometime after high school, while running around with a different crowd, Kristie met Sam. He, too, had known Jesus from the time he was a little boy and had grown up surrounded by Christian role models in a missionary context. After a troubled adolescence he moved away from home as soon as he was of age. Even so, while involved with and joining in with these new friends of very different life styles from his home life, he reached out to them, talked about his faith and showed them utmost loyalty. When Kristie suffered abuse at the hands of her boyfriend, Sam protected her. She sought strength and stability from him. Their friendship grew. Eventually they became parents of a baby boy and were thrust unprepared into arenas of great responsibility. The struggle continued—parenthood, making a living, church off and on.
There came a time when Kristie experienced one of the first turning points. After witnessing so many ceremonies and sacred vows violated time and again, she could not even think of marriage. However, God’s gentle persuasion and Sam’s patient love worked a 180 degree turn, and she became truly excited about sealing their relationship before the Lord in the presence of family and friends. There was a beautiful and very meaningful wedding, a clear testimony of God’s unconditional and constant love and grace.
Yet, even as their little Malachi grew, so did the destructive dependencies. Annoying addictions were secretly and alarmingly sapping their strength and hindering total healing. God never let them go during those dark and desperate times; the Spirit-wooing went on. The desire to change grew and, as a reminder of this determination of the will, notes were placed in all the obvious places like on the refrigerator door, on the bathroom mirror—“We will go to church.”
All human efforts were not enough, however. Then one night in utter desperation, on the verge of abandoning their marriage, devastated by what that would mean for their son and seeing no way out, they cried out for help. For so long they had been able to hide from us what was really going on. Now they called and asked us to please come over.
We found them looking pale and haggard, tearful and contrite, holding hands and clearly determined. “We are addicted to pain killers,” Kristie confessed, “and we cannot help ourselves. We’ve tried everything. We need help.”
We did not know what to do or say, but on our knees we looked to God, seeking wisdom and help, forgiveness and healing. Then we turned to friends who had experience in counseling and were knowledgeable about available rehabilitation programs in our area.
Amazingly, the very next day they were both admitted into the only rapid-detox program in the state! Their policy had always been to never admit a married couple together, however, an exception was made for Sam and Kristie! Both survived the very sick period of that first week and, through counseling and teaching, grew in understanding of their condition.
In Kristie’s words: “When I surrendered all, Christ (through grace) made himself known to me more clearly than ever before. He provided a way out, and I fearfully took that step. My eyes were opened to see the cross and the fullness of its meaning. God still loves me and there is nothing I can do wrong or right to change that. It’s all Jesus. It’s all grace. It is this clarity of who he is and what he has done that has made me fall in love with him and learn to follow. But I’m still learning!”
The deliverance was a powerful event, and the renewal process has never been forgotten or overlooked. Like gold being purified, the heat is turned up, impurities rise to the surface and are skimmed off the top again and again, so there are many “deliverances.” As Proverbs 4:18 describes the transformation, “The path of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, shining ever brighter till the full light of day.”
Kristie’s spiritual sensitivity, beautiful spirit, and genuine vulnerability are a gift to our family. In turn, she draws strength and protection from us. Like a weak lonely sapling, beaten down by adverse winds and wilting in the intense heat, she has been transplanted to a wooded area, surrounded by stalwart ancient trees—the many witnesses that make up our family heritage from generations back.