There was a time when I turned my back on God. Imagine me, a mere mortal having the gall to turn away from the Creator of All Things, The Giver of Life. But, it happened to me and continues to happen to people everyday.
For six long years I couldn’t “see” God because of being disobedient. I knew he was there, but I felt that he was ashamed of me and didn’t love me anymore. I often thought that my trials were like that of Job during the time that he was persecuted and lost everything. However, the difference was that Job was a righteous man and was being persecuted for God’s namesake. I, on the other hand, probably got everything I deserved.
From 1991-1997 darts and arrows stabbed me from all angles. It started with my mother, who was my best friend dying suddenly of a stroke, congestive heart failure and an aneurysm. Secondly, my husband left me and my then 4 year old son, because after 8 years he decided he didn’t want to be married anymore. I lost a government job of eight years which led to my financial ruin. I lost my house, cars and had to file for bankruptcy. If that was not enough, during the time I was estranged from my husband, he refused to pay child support which was $225 a month. When I had the child support court ordered, he was so mad that he concocted a home made bomb, sent it to my son and I through the mail, in hopes that we would open the package and it would kill us. He did 13 months in prison and the government agency he previously worked for, rehired him after he was released.
During this time, I had left the religion of Jehovah’s Witnesses after being a part of it for 20 years. Though my husband had abandoned me, we were not divorced. I felt that since my husband initiated it, he could pay for it. Anyway, not being divorced, I began to date and fall in love with someone and began to have relations with him. Even though this person was the only person I had been intimate with, other than my husband, God still looked down upon me for committing fornication. The church ostracized me and my son so that we had nowhere else to go. If you can’t go to church, where can you go? They even went as far as to oust my son from the Jehovah’s Witness run daycare.
During court sessions for bankruptcy, child support, domestic violence attack and lost job there was no one to encourage or support me. I was all alone trying to raise my son. I felt that my life was over; and I was often told that” your son is paying for the sins of his mother.”
Job 22:23 says: “If you return to the Almighty you will be built up. You will remove iniquity far from your tents”. But, even though I kept hearing God’s voice saying “Return to me”, I was so weak spiritually, ashamed and felt that I was at the “point of no return”.. For six long years God kept asking me to come back to him. He kept sending people to me and putting reminders in my path. He kept asking me to return, but why? Was I worth salvaging? The years progressed and I was still walking in a spiritual daze, couldn’t read the Bible, was still not attending church. Not finding fulfillment in anything, just wanted to give up on life, if it hadn’t been for my son.
God kept redirecting me to different jobs until I met a dear man and his family who invited me to church. He didn’t “cram” the bible down my throat, but gave me bits and pieces so that I could digest it. Pastor has often said that “you may be the only bible that somebody will see”. Because of his example and the way he lived his life, I was helped to see that God never turned HIS back on me.
When I made the decision in 2004 to accept Christ as my personal savior, shortly afterwards, I had a heart attack, flat lined and made the decision to stop straddling the fence if God would spare my life so that I could care for my autistic son. My new church family rallied around me, took care of my son, provided meals on a rotating basis, but most of all loved and prayed for me. Doctors call me the “miracle woman” and don’t know how I survived, but I do. I tell people every time I get the chance, I have even told strangers in the grocery store!
My walk with God and Christ is a lot closer today than it ever was. I continue to try to improve upon it, daily. God blessed me with a government job that surpasses any job I have ever had, I started my own greeting card business and am able to give a testimony on how HE has used me to write words that comfort and sustain people. My son is growing up to be a fine young man, and has defied the odds in school and life, despite a disability. What’s dearest to my heart is that he loves the Lord.
It amazes me how God is using me to witness and talk to people. Me? Imagine that! My former friends see how I have changed for the better, which is a testimony in itself.
Even though I have not accomplished all I have to do in the work of the Lord or in my personal life, by turning back to God, HE is giving me back what I lost. But, the best thing HE gave me back…was my life!
Kim Tolbert is a strong autisim advocate and author of the the book, “Waffles Everday“. Listen as we discuss Autism, raising her son as single parent and her new book.