Forgiven and Set Free
Writer Author Marcia Pennington
- Fiction No
I was raised in a Southern Baptist home. Every time the church doors were open we were there. I accepted Jesus into my heart at an early age and I cannot even remember what it is like not to have Jesus in my life. In between the ages of 8 to 10 years of age, I was molested. I knew something was wrong about it but I just did not know what it was.
This was the beginning for me of a long life of pain and sin. Since that happened to me as a child I never felt loved. I grew up in a home where I thought I was unloved and unwanted. One day my mom even sat me down and told me all the things about me that she did not like. I remember that day well. I was so heart broken that my mother did not love me. My mother later realized that when she told me what she thought of me that she had broken my spirit. She told me she was sorry, she told me that she loved me, but it meant nothing to me, as I knew she could not possibly love anyone whom she had described to me that day. I now know that was a lie from the enemy, as my mother loved me very much. That one thing changed the course of my life forever.
To my mom, in her thinking, telling me how much I annoyed her would make me stop doing the things which I did that so annoyed her. To me, I only received confirmation of what I already knew to be true, which was that I was unloved and unwanted. I grew up thinking that I was a complete and utterly sinful person. That I was so nasty and so gross that God could never love me. I remember just about every night praying to God and asking him to forgive me for being such a nasty person, for being so sinful. Every night I would pray over and over and I was so heart broken because I knew deep down inside that I was worthless, that I did not matter to anyone. Be careful what you say to your children, you never know what little words can harm them in such a big way. One word can crush their self-esteem, just like that. And once it is said, it can never be taken back.
I was not a popular person by any means growing up. All I do remember is being made fun of all the time at school. I was what you would call, a nobody. There was that group of popular people who everyone wanted to be and then the smart intelligent people who did so well with science and math and stuff like that. Then, there were the druggies who smoked cigarettes and pot in the parking lot at school everyday. And then, there was my group, the group no one ever noticed.
After I graduated I went to OSU to get my college degree. I decided to try all the things everyone else was trying. I tried marijuana and smoking cigarettes. In college all I did was party. I knew that I was not living my life the way I should. I knew I was wrong. The alcohol seemed to take the edge off. I did not think about how sorry I was of a person when I was partying. I just had fun. I now know that I was running. I was running so fast, and so hard that I never saw what was to my left or right. God was there beside me the whole time. He was by my side and I never knew it or did not care.
I moved into a house with 3 other girls. One of these girls had a boyfriend, who, eventually moved in with us. I remember the bathroom door had no lock on it and he would come into the bathroom while I was taking a shower and stare at me. Then he started coming up to my room in the middle of the night and trying to get into bed with me. I was so upset and so frustrated, as I did not know what to do. I felt violated.
One night I was praying in my room, it was pitch dark and I could not see my hand in front of me. I was praying and was heart broken at how my life was going. I knew that I was scum and that I needed God’s help because I was such a nasty and awful person. I was praying my guts out to the Lord and telling him how bad I was, how sorry I was for being such a horrid person. And then, in the middle of praying, I started to feel the most love, peace, comfort and joy. I opened my eyes and looked down and my hands were glowing with a green light. I looked down at my chest and there was a green glowing light coming out of it and a cloud of green glowing light was formed over my entire body. I closed my eyes and thought to myself that I must be seeing things. I opened my eyes again, and looked in the mirror and my face was lit up with a green glowing light. This all took place while I was still praying. I cannot describe to you the feelings I felt that night of utter love, peace, comfort and joy. The love I felt that night is like no other love I have ever experienced. There are not words in the English language to tell you what I felt. I knew everything would be ok. The moment I stopped praying, the light, the feelings all left, everything was gone. I really have to admit I thought I was having some weird hallucination or something. I was not certain as to what that was or what had happened to me. The next day my mom called and told me she had received a Bible promise for me but did not know what it meant. The Bible promise was in Psalms 51 verses 7 through 19. More specifically, Verse 17. Verse 17 reads: “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart, O God, Thou wilt not despise.” When my mom told me this scripture and I told her my story she said,” Marcia, don’t you know what happened to you?” “I said, NO.” She said “You have seen the Lord. He has revealed himself to you because you were heart broken.”
The only thing I can tell you from the experience of that night was that I will never ever forget the amount of love that Jesus has to offer us. I can tell you if everyone on this earth could have felt that love for even just a brief moment there would be thousands of people lining up to find out how to find Jesus. My parents helped me move out of that house and later I found out that man murdered someone over a drug deal and was sent to prison. Thank God that I was not there. For all I know I could have been the one murdered or an accomplice of some sort.
And then one night on my way home from a bar, I was arrested for a DUI. I was so scared. I could not believe what I had gotten myself into and I had no one to call. I called my roommate whom I just moved in with because she was the only person I knew who had any kind of money.
I was still smoking cigarettes and marijuana. One day I was high and the music was playing. I did not like the song so I decided I would change it. I was messing around with the radio for twenty minutes until I discovered it was the record player playing not the radio. I decided then and there marijuana only made me paranoid and an idiot and I stopped smoking pot that day.
The night I saw the Lord changed my life and I started shaping up. Soon after I realized that what my perpetrator had done to me was not my fault. I always thought I was the rotten one and that I was in the wrong. I now know that it was not my fault. I did nothing wrong. Jesus healed me from a life of hurt and sorrow, from what had happened to me as a child. I confronted my perpetrator. They admitted their mistake and asked for forgiveness. It took me two years, but after much soul searching and prayer I was able to forgive my perpetrator for what had been done to me, for what was taken away from me. I no longer felt the need for alcohol or drugs as I was only doing these things to take my pain away.
All I had ever wanted was a family. I had been diagnosed with endometriosis. The doctor had told me I may never be able to have children but I have two. I started taking care of kids in my home to supplement our income.
Three years ago, I got a child to take care of who was the most beautiful child you have ever seen. He was such a joy to have around. I started watching him at the age of 3 months old. His name was Conner. He had the most beautiful blue eyes and he had blonde hair that was so thick. His hair always lay so perfectly on his head. You could call him the GQ baby. He was such a good baby and rarely did he ever cry. I fell in love with this little boy. I loved him like he was my own child. Then the unthinkable happened. Shortly after his second birthday he was diagnosed with nueroblastoma cancer. This was a cancer that had a very low cure rate. It was wrapped all around his little organs and he had a slim chance of survival. I have never felt so much stress and horror as I listened to his mother tell me the news. But I trusted God. I knew he would live. I knew God would heal him. Two months later our little boy died from an intestinal disease that only little premature infants get. His tumor was almost non-existent. The doctor could not even see the cancer anymore.
I was devastated beyond anything. I felt like my whole world had stopped. The joy of living was completely gone. I felt as if I lost a child that day. I felt as if my life as I had known it, the person that I was on the inside had been ripped in half and thrown away. I did not know what to do or how to get myself back. I was having medical problems myself and the doctors could not figure out what was wrong with me. I was given all kinds of illnesses, brain tumor, lupus, auto immune disease, but none of the tests showed anything. The doctors were baffled. I was so stressed out. I knew something was wrong with me physically but I did not know what it was. I worried all the time about my health. And the whole time I kept thinking I was going thru the change. I told my doctor that is what I thought it was. I was told no way you are too young. I insisted on the test and it came back positive. At thirty-eight years old I was periomenopausal.
I began to become so emotional that I was not able to handle my emotions and I pretty much became an emotional basket case. The Doctors were putting me on different birth control pills every month to try to regulate my hormones, but my hormones were so far out there that I could not do anything but cry constantly. My doctor finally said I needed to be put on an anti-depressant. I was on the anti-depressant for 4 days. On the fourth day I came home from a parent teacher meeting at my daughter’s school and began to watch a show I had taped. As I watched my show the voices on the TV stopped talking. I could see their mouths moving but I could not hear anything. Then I heard a man’s voice on the TV say “Welcome to my world.” An eary feeling came across me and I knew it was satan. A chill went up my spine. I was wondering what was going on. Why had he said this to me? One and a half hours later I found out why. My skin began to get so hot that it felt like I was in the flames of the pit of hell. I felt like I was burning alive. I really started to freak out and then I thought, this is an attack from the enemy. So I opened my Bible and I started to read it. The pain subsided and became bearable. Then I closed my Bible and it came back. This lasted all night long. As long as I was reading the word of God, I was not in pain, but the minute I closed the Bible the pain came back to me. I knew this was some kind of a spiritual warfare. I called my doctor the next day and she agreed with me and told me I did not have to take the medicine again. One week later I was on the internet and an AOL screen popped up on my computer. I do not have AOL. Anyway words began to form on the page and it said, “Welcome to my world wow.” Another eary feeling came over me and I started to panic and then I started to laugh because I knew that this was another attack from satan and I was not about to let him get to me.
I was still griefing over the death of Conner. I was stressed out all the time. I never slept. And then 3 months later I had an anxiety attack. My attack came on in the middle of the day. It was like my brain started to expand and I thought my head was going to explode. I imagined the worst. I thought I was dying. I knew the doctors had missed something, that there was something terribly wrong with me. The attacks got worse and worse over a period of 3 weeks. I was put on anxiety medication, which made me so tired I could not even keep my eyes open. I even was afraid to get on an elevator because I thought I might have an attack in the middle of the elevator ride and not be able to get off. I remember looking in the mirror one day and saying to myself who is this person staring back at me? I did not even recognize myself. I felt like I was strung out on drugs or something. My eyes had changed and they did not look like mine anymore.
I looked in the word and began praying. I knew God could help me to deal with this. I started seeking him like I have never before. God showed me that I had unforgiveness, resentment, bitterness, envy and worry in my life as sins. He showed me that I needed to get rid of the load I was carrying. I had been carrying all of this for so long that it was like a way of life for me. I knew no difference. I knew of no other way to live. I had always worried, always been fearful, all my life. I certainly had never trusted anyone. Everyone I have ever trusted had stabbed me in the back, including God. How could he have taken my little Conner from me? How could I trust in a God that did that?
Then, the day after thanksgiving I was flipping through channels at my mom’s house and I saw Bishop TD Jakes. I have seen him before and did not like him, but this day I stopped. I saw something in this man’s eyes. I started listening to what he was saying. His preaching was about how when you are saved your light shines. And if your light is not shining then you are not trusting in God, you are fearful and you are not doing the will of God. He said there was a difference between reading your Bible everyday and believing and knowing it in your heart to be true. His eyes looked into my eyes as if he was speaking directly to me and it was as if he was looking into the windows of my soul. I had never had a TV look at me the way this man looked at me. It was as if he was sitting directly across from me. The whole time he spoke he referred to “her” and “she” and he kept looking at me. He said her anxiousness and nervousness would disappear. And in closing he said someone is listening to me right now, she knows who she is, she will be healed. When he said this he looked at me in such a strange way I had to turn around and see if anyone else was in the room, as I knew he was speaking to me. I knew it was not him but God. God was speaking to me and God told me I would be healed.
The funny thing is I saw this exact program a week after thanksgiving, the same preacher, same show, the same material only different. First, TD Jakes never referred to “she” or “her”. He referred to “them” and “they”. His eyes were different eyes. The day at my mom’s house he had piercing eyes, and bigger eyes. The week after he had small eyes and most of the sermon his eyes were closed. They were as open as could be the day at my mom’s house. And when he said someone is listening to me right now, she knows who she is, she will be healed. TD Jakes did not say that, he said someone is listening right now and you should get off your couch jump over the coffee table get down on your knees and pray right now. He never said anything about healing. So that was a confirmation to me that the day after thanksgiving, God spoke to me and told me I would be healed.
I have not had a single anxiety attack since the day I saw that program. I began to really listen to the Lord. I watched every preaching TV show I could find. I began to read my Bible twice as much as I normally did. I sought after God with everything I had. My biggest problem has always been worry and trust. I worried about everything. You name it, I worried. My mom told me I had to change my mindset. I had to think of things differently. I began to meditate on God because if you know how to worry then you certainly can meditate. I began singing hymns or Christian music during the day or opening my Bible and reading it.
God showed me that if I can trust my best friend in the whole world to do something for me then I should certainly be able to trust him to do everything for me. He showed me that just because he is not tangible it does not mean I cannot have a relationship with him just like I have a relationship with my best friend. God showed me that I needed to ask him for things just like I asked my best friend. And that is how to leave it in the Lord’s hands. I would always ask God for things and then ten minutes later take it back and worry and fret over what to do with it. I changed my mindset. I started to put my trust in God. And God has shown me his everlasting Love.
I am no longer fearful, I am not worrying about things every five minutes. I am giving my “everything” over to the Lord and he is taking care of it. Not only that, God has shown me his grace. I was singing Majesty on the praise team and during the last verse the words on the page became blurry and I was having trouble seeing. I do not know this song so I have no idea how I sang the words because I could not even see to sing them. The music became so loud to me that my ears were hurting really bad and then my ears started to pop like they do when you are in the mountains and all I could hear was my singing. And it was the most beautiful voice I had ever heard. If that is really how I sing, I am amazed. I never thought I sang so pretty. While I was singing, I looked up and all around me was a yellow light and I could see sunrays coming down from the sky all around me and it felt as if I were singing into the heavens above. Anyway, then something from above came through my head and down through my body and my heart began to beat so loudly that I thought it was going to fly out of my chest. I felt a tugging or a pulling sensation in my ovary area. I began to tremble and to shake and I was wondering what was happening. I was not fearful only dumbfounded as to what was going on. I was starting to feel a tingling sensation all over my body and then the verse was over and whatever it was lifted out of me through my head and left.
At first I thought what was that? I still could not see very well and had trouble getting to my seat. And halfway through the sermon I prayed, “God I have to go back up there and sing please take this blindness away”, and he did. I wondered what had happened to me. What was that? Am I a complete lunatic? Is this what happens to menopausal women? I went home and began to pray and ask God what that was. I opened my Bible and began reading and came across this verse. Jeremiah 30:17. This verse had stood out to me the night before when I was reading but I did not think anything of it. It reads, “For I will restore you to health And I will heal you of your wounds, declares the Lord, because they have called you an outcast saying, “It is Zion no one cares for her.” And then I wondered could I have been healed? I went to the kitchen and noticed a paper sticking out of the diaper bag. I pulled it out and began to read and it said, “Today your child learned that Jesus can do anything. Children learned how Jesus healed a man who had been sick for 38 years. The Verse for the day was Philippians 4:13. I can do everything through Christ who gives me strength.” Well, that struck me even further because I am 38 years old. And a 38 year old was healed. I knew God had healed me.
The next Sunday, the preacher came up to me and told me he did not know what happened to me the Sunday before, but he saw it. He said I was transformed. He said my countenance changed and asked what had happened to me. He said he knew something happened to me but did not know what it was. He said it was so obvious to him. I told him God healed me. This was even more proof to me that God did a work in me and renewed me and healed me. The week following the healing, I felt as if I had been in chains of bondage and that the chains that were wrapped around me had been cut loose and fallen off. I felt set free. Not only that, but at the moment of the healing the words of the song were, I am forever changed by your love.
What happened to Conner shook the very core of my being. I do not know why he was taken from us, but it was in the perfect will of God. For all I know, it was the biggest blessing. Conner was so sick that perhaps he would be going through chemotherapy after chemotherapy and suffering day in and out. I know none of us could have watched him suffer like that. Maybe God knew there was no cure so he opened his arms and took Conner by the hand and said, “Come unto Me.” I do know this, Conner is out of pain, he is safe in Jesus’ arms and he is playing and walking with Jesus every day. He is so lucky to get to heaven and be with our Lord. I finally had to let Conner go. As much as I love him, I know he is where he should be and God is taking care of him. And someday I will see him again.
The week after my healing took place I called my mom to ask her if she remembered the bible promise God gave her for me the night I saw the Lord. She had told me it was Psalm 51 verse 7-19 but specifically verse 17. I opened my bible and began to read and was so amazed at what I was reading. The Bible promise was not for that night but for now today and days yet to come. It reads: “Purify me with hyssop and I shall be clean. Wash me and I shall be whiter than snow. Make me to hear joy and gladness, Let the bones which Thou hast broken rejoice. Hide Thy face from my sins, and blot our all my iniquities. Create in me a clean heart O God. And renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Thy presence. And do not take Thy Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Thy salvation. And sustain me with a willing spirit. Then I will teach transgressors Thy ways, and sinners will be converted to Thee. Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God Thou God of my salvation, then my tongue will joyfully sing of thy righteousness.” This really got to me because when I was in college I got pregnant and I had an abortion. I was so fearful of hurting my parents and was not able to tell them what I had done. I could not face my parent’s reaction and could not bear the thought of hurting them. It has been a tough road and the burden of killing my child has been with me all these years. I have grieved over the loss of my child each and every year. I have cried until I thought there were no more tears to cry. If I had known then what I know now, the after effects, the heavy burden, the deep sorrow that is felt and the guilt and the shame that comes upon you, I would never ever in a million years have done what I did. God has delivered me and forgiven me for the mistakes I have made that is why he sent his son to die upon the cross. Jesus carried our load and bore the shame for all our sins.
During my healing process from my abortion, I wrote a poem for my child. I emailed it to a couple of friends of mine. That evening I checked my email and I had received an email from a sender unknown to me. It read the senders address as (infodev.) As soon as my eyes glanced on this address I became afraid and my eyes formed an (il) on the end of infodevil. Then I looked at the subject line and I began to cry. It read, “contract expired.” I clicked on it and the message read “Okay.” I do not know who sent this to me but all I can tell you is to me it meant the contract that satan had on my life was over. Because I became silent no more. That was when I received complete healing from what I had done to my child.
The thought crossed my mind that the reason I aborted my child was because I was fearful of hurting my parents with the shame I would be placing upon them and the thought of hurting them was to much for me to bear. That is the kind of love God had for us and that is why he sent his son to die upon the cross for us. God loved us so much that he sent his Only son to die for us. I thought of all the grief I have been through and sorrow for the loss of my child and I thought to myself how much it must have grieved God to sacrifice his son, his Only son for each and every one of us. Perhaps the intent of my heart was not as bad as I have thought all these years. Because I chose to abort my child so I would not cause pain upon my parents. How much pain and suffering did God go through when he gave his son for us? Now that thought boggles my mind. Because of the amount of pain and torment and grief I have born all these years cannot even compare to God’s grief. And then what kind of grief does God have when we turn our backs on him? When we are not obedient to his word? When we do not do what he wants us to do? Those of us who know the Lord have no idea or do not even stop to think of the pain and suffering we are putting our Lord through by not being obedient to his word. He must wonder did he give his only son for nothing? Are these people here on earth ever going to get it? Are we ever going to see the light? Are we ever going to seek after him with our whole hearts? Or are we just going to give him a piece of ourselves? Giving a piece of ourselves will not cut it.
We need to give him our everything. We need to wake up and see the light and know the full meaning and truth of what God has to offer us. His love is there, all we have to do is take it. All we have to do is have an intimate relationship with him. All we have to do is die to ourselves and we will wake up so refreshed and so renewed we will not even know what hit us. I am telling you that half the Christians in this world have no idea what they are missing out on. I did not know. I thought I was living right. I went to church. I sang on the praise team. I read my bible everyday. But I did not even have a clue. What God has to offer us is so much more than a warm place to fall. His love is so much more than I ever knew could exist. I went most of my life living in torment and torture from thoughts that would run across my mind. I probably spent half my life worrying over stupid little things, painful thoughts from my past experiences, painful hurts and memories that haunted me each and every day. Jesus has lifted me out of the depths of despair and has taken me into the Light of the living. I had no idea life could be so joyous, so wonderful, so peaceful so great. God is the key to your happiness. People will not make you happy. God is the only one that can give you the happiness that you seek. God is the only one who can bring you out of the depths of despair. Believe me I know because I have been there.
He has blotted out my sins and created a clean heart in me. I had been praying for months that the Lord would give me a pure and a clean heart and he has. My spirit has been renewed and I do have a new joy in my salvation. I have been saved all my life but I never had joy about it. I am feeling a calling to some kind of ministry as I feel like my testimony could touch other people’s lives. The bible promise my mother received in 1987 said in Psalm 51 “I will teach transgressors thy ways.” Little did she know what she had stumbled upon.
The life I have lived as a Christian has been one in which I have suffered and been tormented. My torment is gone, I have been set free. I no longer live in fear. I no longer live in worry. My God has shown me that he will take care of me. I just was not trusting in him. I was not giving him my everything. I was not surrendering my all to him. I know what kind of love he has to offer as I have felt it first hand. The night he appeared to me in my room is one in which I will never forget. One in which I wish all of you could experience if even for a brief moment in time. The love is so outstanding, so wonderful, and so awesome. If Jesus can set me free, he can set you free too. All you have to do is seek after him with all your heart, soul and mind. Medititate on him day and night. Follow him and he will transform you like you could never imagine. Living your life, as a Christian and living your life for God are two different things. I have been a Christian all my life, but I was never living for God. The Love he has to offer is so much more than anyone can possibly imagine.
I am so heart broken as I look at this world today. I look to my right and to my left. I see all these people. People whom I love. They are hurting. If only they could know the Lord. If only they could see the love he has to give to each and every one of us. God makes it so simple. All we have to do is to believe that Jesus was God’s son that God sent him to this earth to live as a man. And that Jesus died on the cross for all of our sins. And was buried and 3 days later came back to life. All we have to do is ask him into our hearts and admit that we are sinners. God will forgive us of our sins he will renew us and make us whole. He will give us everything we need. He will supply us with everything. All we have to do is to ask and he will come in. I have learned so much from this experience.
I had been living a life of unforgiven sin for so long because the Bible says if you cannot forgive others then I will not forgive you. There is a difference in reading your Bible and knowing and believing it in your heart to be true. I have never experienced so many blessings in my life since I was able to forgive those who wronged me and to get rid of the load I had been carrying all my life. I never knew life could be so great, that I could feel this good, that I would have this much peace.
God is so good and all he wants is for each and every one of us to be obedient to him, to seek after him with all our hearts, souls and minds. He is a God that has so much love to offer that we would all be flabbergasted if he showed us the love he has to give. You may come to church every Sunday and read the word every day, but do you believe it? Do you know it in your heart to be true? Are you really being obedient to the Lord? I thought I was. Listen with your ears, see with your eyes. Seek after him, he will show you so much that you will be overwhelmed by his grace and his love.
About the Writer Author
Most Recent From This Writer
Inspired Still - Designs by LaVellaK
Design Challenged? No worries! Among many design services I offer, I'll gladly design hats, t-shirts and more for you or your organized Special Event. Email me at email@example.com for details!
Photgraphy & Design by LaVella Kraft
Select Article or Story