I am working on a book entitled “Stories of Grace”. It will be filled with stories of God’s grace in Christ Jesus and how lives have been changed. It is a precious thing to be saved. Having the grace of God in Christ Jesus is the greatest gift ever given. I invite you to go to the link below and share your story of how you came to know Him, or share a story of how the power of grace has affected your life or the life of someone you know. We are looking for 50 stories of grace to be shared in a book entitled….Stories of Grace. http://www.facebook.com/pages/Stories-of-Grace/165233530222931
Lauren Ashauer Minello shared her story. The following is that story, in her own words.
God brought me out of Egypt (my childhood), into the Wilderness (a wandering new Christian) and into the Promised Land (complete restoration, peace and healing) from early childhood trauma, rejection and abuse, which escalated into drugs, promiscuity, rebellion, then a teenage pregnancy and eventually marital problems. God has been my Deliverer all along, even when I thought He just didn’t care about me when I was growing up. It’s not what we’ve been through but what God delivers us from. From disgrace to His Grace. ”
“In hindsight, I realize that God has always known me, even when I didn’t always know Him. I was born twice, once in the natural and once in the spiritual.
I was only three years old when my parents divorced and my dad retained full custody of me. My biological mom left and my dad remarried soon after. My second “mom” was a practicing Satanist and witch and I endured three years of abusive, cruel treatment by her. Fortunately, that marriage only lasted three years, but by the time I was six years old, I had been through two moms, abandonment and abuse and was very emotionally fragile.
Because my dad worked a lot, I spend more time away from home and in the care of others than I did at home and in care of a parent. I developed a lot of insecurities. When I was eight, my dad remarried a third time and God’s grace overcame both of them and they became Christians not too long after they married. My biological mom also became a Christian and though I had no recollection of her, she and I were reunited when I was about ten years old, after being apart for seven years. We both had many issues and many wounds and lived in different states, so our relationship was pretty shallow and eventually took its toll on me emotionally. It took me nearly 40 years to come to terms with, acknowledge and find peace and forgiveness for the things that I endured during the formative years of my childhood.
By the time I reached my teenage years, I had so many emotional wounds from being rejected, abused in several ways, and I was hurt, angry and confused. I remember feeling like God didn’t care about me, so why should I care about myself. At the early age of 12, I began drinking, smoking, skipping school and a long journey down the road to a rebellious adolescence of drugs and promiscuity. All the while, I attended church with my dad and step-mom. I found myself pregnant at the age of 19.
I remember thinking that would be either the end or the beginning of my life. It was both because soon after, God got a hold of me and the old Lauren died and a new Lauren was born again. I stopped drinking, doing drugs and ended my promiscuous and self-destructive lifestyle, and turned my life over to God. He immediately began a good work in me and He will be faithful to bring it to fruition. He used my unplanned pregnancy to give my parents a vision to start a crisis pregnancy center in Jacksonville, FL and now there are five sister branches. God used my pregnancy for His good and perfect plans.
I ended up choosing the option of adoption for my child, but since then, God has blessed me with a wonderful husband of 16 years and four precious boys. I was able to counsel many girls and women who were facing similar unplanned pregnancies and often times, even shared Christ with them. I know God used me to make a difference in the lives of many women. He used my crisis for good. But even with all the good changes in my life, inside, I was still an emotional wreck because I had never really dealt with some very traumatic things that occurred during my early childhood years. I also had some unresolved memories which affected my marriage and intimacy with my husband.
After years of recurring and unusual symptoms and pain, I was also diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue. One day, God providentially brought me to a Christian counselor for one of my sons, and it was that counselor who had the wisdom and insight to ask me if I had a traumatic childhood. He saw a connection between Fibromyalgia and trauma. After two years of counseling I was finally set free! I had been through nearly 15 years of marriage, dealing with my husband’s severe depression, issues with our boys, fears, ailments, and toxic relationships and I had been a Christian for quite some time. I knew there must have been more to my purpose for living than that. God was healing and restoring me so that He could use me again. He put a restlessness in me that would not subside until I was healed, whole, restored, delivered and completely surrendered to Him.
Then God called us to move from Florida to North Dakota to help with a ministry. He sold our house, relieved us from much of our debt, and we gave away most of our possessions and packed up in a 5×8 U-Haul and moved 2,000 miles away from my family, friends and everything I had known since becoming a Christian at the age of 20. God’s grace has carried me through 40 years of life, half as a non-Christian and half as a Christian. I’m now able to use my personal traumas, trials and triumphs to minister to others. He’s not finished with me yet!
I can honestly say that God is my Deliverer, Restorer and Savior. He has restored that which the locusts have eaten. He has delivered me from disgrace and restored me unto His Grace. He has even restored my relationships with my parents and my biological mother. His amazing, indelible grace has saved me, over and over and over, in more ways than one. Psalm 116:1-16 is my life passage.”
I love the LORD, for he heard my voice;
he heard my cry for mercy.
Because he turned his ear to me,
I will call on him as long as I live.
The cords of death entangled me,
the anguish of the grave came over me;
I was overcome by distress and sorrow.
Then I called on the name of the LORD:
“LORD, save me!”
The LORD is gracious and righteous;
our God is full of compassion.
The LORD protects the unwary;
when I was brought low, he saved me.
Return to your rest, my soul,
for the LORD has been good to you.
For you, LORD, have delivered me from death,
my eyes from tears,
my feet from stumbling,
That I may walk before the LORD
in the land of the living.
I trusted in the LORD when I said,
“I am greatly afflicted”;
In my alarm I said,
“Everyone is a liar.”
What shall I return to the LORD
for all his goodness to me?
I will lift up the cup of salvation
and call on the name of the LORD.
I will fulfill my vows to the LORD
in the presence of all his people.
Precious in the sight of the LORD
is the death of his faithful servants.
Truly I am your servant, LORD;
I serve you just as my mother did;
you have freed me from my chains.