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Steph’s Story

September 9, 2010

My backstory isn’t a pretty one. In fact, I didn’t even begin life as an sweet little planned bundle of joy. My mom was raped and I was the result.

I was adopted by two wonderful parents who loved me and raised me as their own. But from the age of 3 until about the age of 12 my concept of love became skewed and shattered as I was repeatedly molested and raped by two different people in my family.

I was pregnant at 17. Then married. Divorced and a single mom at 19. I spent the next five years looking for love in all the wrong places – which is exactly where I met my husband – in a bar. He was the drummer in the band and our lifestyle was a reflection of the whole rock and roll band scene. Not a pretty picture. But then again, no picture is pretty without God in the middle of it.

Sitting in my apartment one afternoon, I watched a tele -evangelist share a message I had never really heard before. Or maybe I had, but this time it began to make sense. I wanted what he talked about. Salvation. Eternal life. A real relationship with Jesus. But I also wanted my life to remain mine. And so it did. Even though I cried, prayed and thought I was saved, my life remained my own and I remained unchanged.

But about two years later, at the age of 24 I was ready. Ready to surrender all I was for all Jesus is. I knew He was the only one who could save my wretched self, and this time, I was not only ready – but I was willing.

It was a sweet October day in 1987 when Jesus reached down, captured my heart and life and radically changed this broken girl with a bad past and a bleak future. Jesus loved me just as I was. With all my failures. With all my sins – He still loved me so much that He died for me. I didn’t have to ‘prove’ my love for Him, I just had to accept His love for me.

For the first time in my life, I understood what the term, “born again” meant. That’s exactly what I was…brand new…born again by the Great I Am. Sin became something I not only noticed in my life, but for the first time it grieved my heart to grieve His. God’s Word nourished me more than food. It consumed me and I found that it was unlike any other book on planet earth. It changed me. I became incessantly passionate about living for the Living God.

Twenty three years later, I still am.

Through the years, He has continually called me to serve His daughters – passionately teaching His Word, speaking His truth and His principles into lives of women who are hurting and in need of hope, redemption, restoration and forgiveness. I love when God’s girls fulfill their God-given destinies and become who they were created to be.

Today, I shared parts of my painful past that I normally like to keep neatly wrapped in the Christian package stamped “Clean” and hidden from view. Although the Lord has allowed me the privilege of using my past to speak redemption and hope into other women’s futures, it’s not something I freely share.

But I had to. Someone reading this post today needs to know that your value is not based on what you have to offer someone. It doesn’t lie in the web of lies someone has told you. You are loved because you are His creation. Because He chose to place you on planet earth for such a time as this and He longs for you to run to Him – to accept His love for you. It doesn’t matter what your past has whispered to your heart; God delights in using broken vessels. I know because I am one.

Sweet friend, you are never too battered, too broken, too dirty, too unlovable, too unworthy or too unforgivable. He is a Loving God who can make beauty out of ashes. So, for whoever it is that I’m writing this to today, I’m asking you to give Jesus the ashes of your life and let Him make it something beautiful. That’s exactly what He did for me and I know He’ll do the same for you.

So that’s my story, ladies…and I’m stickin’ to it. What about you? Do you have a testimony you can share about when Christ saved you? Do you struggle with accepting God’s love for you because someone else has skewed your view of what real love is?


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35 Comments leave one →
  1. September 9, 2010 5:42 am

    You are an amazingly strong sister in the faith to share your story and your heart. I’m here from iFellowship (a day late) but so glad that I came by this blog. Your story brought tears to my eyes, reminding me just how incredible grace & redemption is to a life!

    I love being able to say that the best thing about me is that I’m redeemed!

    Thanks again for sharing your story! I know it will reach many!

    • stephanieshott permalink
      September 9, 2010 9:23 am

      Penny ~ I’m so glad you popped over here to Scripture Dig. One of my favorites titles of our Savior is “Redeemer.” I’m so thankful He purchased me off the slave block of sin by His precious blood and because of that, I’m His. He really does heal the broken hearted! How great His is His love for us!

      He redeems our past and places us on an unexpected path of promise. What could be better than that!

      Thanks again for digging with us!

  2. September 9, 2010 8:06 am

    Stephanie, thank you for sharing your story with us. Truly, it is God’s story. A story of His faithful wooing and pursuing of you. He is a God of redemption and restoration! Praise Him!

    • stephanieshott permalink
      September 9, 2010 10:14 am

      Kathy ~ God certainly does heal and redeem! What a wonderful Savior. What a glorious God!

  3. September 9, 2010 8:19 am

    Oh, my sweet friend Stephanie. I had no idea that such abhorrent people trampled upon your precious heart this way. I’m in tears for your pain. What a touching and precious message to other women. The Lord is truly awesome to bless you with His message. You are a true light in this dark world. I pray the Lord blesses all you do to serve Him and that others will see the same Light that restored your life. Love you!

    • stephanieshott permalink
      September 9, 2010 10:17 am

      Oh sweet sister…I’m so thankful He redeems us from the pit. Pits others have thrown us into. Pits we’ve chosen for ourselves! I just love how He loves us, my friend!

      Thanks for your words of grace and encouragement today!

  4. Kristi Stephens permalink*
    September 9, 2010 9:00 am

    Stephanie, thank you so much for your willingness to share your heart so freely with us – praise Him for His delight in redeeming our brokenness! We love you so much and it is a privilege to know you. Praying that women who need to read this find their way to SD today!

    • stephanieshott permalink
      September 9, 2010 10:36 am

      Kristi ~ I’m amazed at the vast amount of women who sadly share my story. But I’m so thankful God is able to reach into the darkest places of our lives and shed His marvelous and eternal light for His glory, our good and to minister to others who have walked a similar painful past.

      God is really good, even when men’s hearts are so evil!

  5. Cindy Conner permalink
    September 9, 2010 9:19 am

    Thanks for sharing Stephanie. God’s love is so amazing!

    • stephanieshott permalink
      September 9, 2010 10:19 am

      Cindy ~ I love how God takes our stories of brokenness and turns them into useful tools in His loving hands! All for Him and His glory! 🙂

  6. September 9, 2010 9:52 am

    thanks stephanie! needed to hear this today! we’ve got lots of ashes right now…praying GOD will turn them into beauty for my son! thanks for your testimony!!

    • stephanieshott permalink
      September 9, 2010 10:34 am

      Marci ~ As I pray for the ashes of my own son’s life, I’ll be praying for you son and your family, as well! We never stop being a mom no matter how old they are.

      Praying we will soon get to experience the “no greater joy than seeing our children walk in truth” thing! 🙂

      • September 9, 2010 11:53 am

        so looking forward to that, trusting in him amid swollen eyes, i know he feels the pain. thanks so much, prayers for you guys as well!

  7. Dona Pugh permalink
    September 9, 2010 9:57 am

    Stephenie, such a powerful story of His redeeming love! Thank you for sharing the most tender part of your heart! I know that God is using it this very moment to speak into the lives of many hurting women to give them hope, and the promise of a future! I believe God will bless you, and use your ministry in ways you have never imagined!

    • stephanieshott permalink
      September 9, 2010 10:38 am

      Dona ~ Thank you so much for your sweet words of encouragement. I knew God wanted me to tell “the whole story.” Maybe not every detail, but enough to let women know they are not alone in there pain and that God really can bring hope and healing to their hurting hearts. He’s good like that!

  8. September 9, 2010 11:01 am

    I am so proud (in the Lord) of your willingness to offer your story as a sacrifice of praise, and you share your story in such a gracious way to promote Jesus. Imagine, just imagine, what we would still be without Christ. So grateful to be redeemed. Thank you for sharing today, Stephanie. God doesn’t waste any offerings, so I’m sure this will touch and challenge many more. Love digging with you –

    • stephanieshott permalink
      September 9, 2010 12:17 pm

      Julie ~ I love the way you said that! “God doesn’t waste any offerings.” That encouraged me more than you know. I really am so blessed by your sweet spirit, my friend. And I’m glad we’re digging together too.

  9. Sunshine permalink
    September 9, 2010 11:23 am

    Oh Stephanie, I felt such love for you as I read your post. I’m so glad that you strongly have God’s love as the wind beneath your wings. I prayed for you, your ministry, and your son.

    • stephanieshott permalink
      September 9, 2010 12:22 pm

      We’ll hold each other up, my friend! And then we’ll stand back and see the salvation of God as He parts the red sea of our sons’ lives before our very eyes!

  10. Sharon O permalink
    September 9, 2010 12:12 pm

    Your words so powerful. Your story so heart breaking. I could see ‘the little girl’ so broken. My own story not too different including a lot of early child hood wounding.
    God is a patient and tender God and he heals the broken places piece by piece and takes the time for us heal from inside out. Knowing that as we heal we share our stories not out of bitterness or anger but out of ‘redeeming’ grace.
    No one knows why…things happen. We only can know healing comes if we seek it.
    I pray that your story will bless many who listen and read it.
    A book is in your future? That would be incredibly helpful for those who still struggle for hope.

    • stephanieshott permalink
      September 9, 2010 6:01 pm

      Sharon O ~ As I wrote my testimony, I was compelled like never before to share some of the details that define the extent of God’s grace in my life. God is good to mend the shattered pieces of our lives and I’m so thankful He has done that for me.

      Sounds like He has done the same for you, sweet sister! What a glorious God! What a beautiful Savior!

  11. September 9, 2010 3:49 pm

    “You are never too battered, too broken, too dirty, too unlovable, too unworthy or too unforgivable.”

    Oh Stephanie, thank you for this poignant reminder of that sweet truth! I’m thankful for the privilege of knowing you … and seeing the radiant beauty of the Lord in your life.

    • stephanieshott permalink
      September 9, 2010 6:05 pm

      Teri Lynne ~ I think we all have broken places in our lives that point us to our need for redemption. So thankful the Redeemer purchases us and then sets us free.

      I’m so thankful for the privilege of digging with you, my friend! You are more of a blessing than you know! 🙂

  12. September 9, 2010 4:03 pm

    Thank God we are never too far to receive His grace. Thank you for your beautiful testimony of God’s faithfulness…I love hearing stories for His glory!

    • stephanieshott permalink
      September 9, 2010 6:08 pm

      Melissa ~ I’m so glad you stopped by today. And thanks for your sweet words! All for Him, all because of Him! So thankful for Him! 🙂

  13. Angie C. permalink
    September 9, 2010 5:15 pm

    I was saved as a teenager at the age of 16, and just like you, my life remained my own. I took pride at describing myself as self sufficient, independent and would NOT ask for help because I HAD to do it myself.

    I hit a huge wall in my life a year and a half ago and realized how alone I was in all areas of my life. I too have the little “clean” package that I keep to myself. I know that one day He will use those ashes in my life to speak to someone else.

    Thank you for sharing this and blessing my heart.

    • stephanieshott permalink
      September 9, 2010 6:15 pm

      Angie ~ Like you, I remember thinking, “I didn’t need help from anyone.” Those were attempts to be brave when I knew I was so vulnerable. The walls I put up became stepping stones to His grace. So thankful that every time I put up a wall, He carried me over it! 🙂

  14. September 9, 2010 9:03 pm

    Beauty from ashes Stephanie- truly! God comforts us so we can comfort others, and I know God has used and will use this post (and your story!) for His glory. Thank you for sharing!

    • stephanieshott permalink
      September 9, 2010 10:00 pm

      Sandra ~ Don’t you just love how the Lord makes beauty out of ashes! Only He can do that. What an awesome God we serve! 🙂

  15. Angie P. permalink
    September 9, 2010 9:54 pm

    WOW! What an awesome testimony ~ I can’t tell you how much it spoke to me tonight. I’ll try to be short with my comment. My story is somewhat similiar to yours . . . but with a lot more dirty laundry! I too sat on my couch at the age of 36 and finally told God how much I needed him in my life. I was 8 months pregnant and married for only a very short time to a man I wasn’t sure I was supposed to be with. But we were married and I was trying to make the best of it.

    Fast forward eight years and there are now two very high maintenance children (and I still have the high maintenance husband!!). I haven’t found much time over these eight years to practice what I asked God for that night in April. It’s been hard, hard, hard but boy have I learned much about the Lord.

    Anyway, I tell you this as a way of introducing myself (hope I didn’t share too much!!). I am so happy to have found this site now that I have a little more time on my hands (and the kids & husband aren’t so high maintenance anymore!) Where you’re teaching me what it means to “be a Christian” by starting at the beginning and walking me thru the basics. Knowing how much I’ve learned so far, I can’t wait to get to the big stuff. Thanks for sharing your stories and letting me see that you are real women with real stories just like me!!

    • stephanieshott permalink
      September 9, 2010 10:09 pm

      Angie ~ It brakes my heart whenever I hear that someone had the kind of backstory that I have. Some things just ought not be. But the grace of God reaches down to our place of need and speaks to us where we are. We are all flawed people in need of a flawless God.

      We come to Him, bruised, battered and burdened – and He makes all things new. God gives us the ability to turn the page of brokenness in our lives and begin a new chapter by the power of God and for the glory of God.

      And I am so glad you have joined us and are ready to get digging! We are all learning and growing in our walk with the Lord, but there is something very special about when God’s girls grow together. I look forward to hearing from you in future posts.

  16. September 10, 2010 12:38 am

    Sweet lady,
    Thank you for sharing. I do not have a past like yours. I had a wonderful childhood and great parents. Oh, but hearing what God has brought you through and your love for Him, makes my heart ache over the time I have wasted. Times when I ignored my first love. My Jesus. Times when I should have shown grace and mercy. Times when I was not a good ambassador of my Savior. Praise God, He is merciful and forgives those of us who have been given so much and waste it.

    • stephanieshott permalink
      September 10, 2010 9:47 am

      Angela ~ I’m so thankful your sweet innocence was spared the assaults of an abusive childhood. Oh, how I wish every child could have your story.

      We all struggle in our walk with the Lord to keep Him the primary focus and center of all we do. Life has a way of clouding our view of the One we need to keep ever before us. I’m like you…so thankful for His mercy and grace. So humbled that He would love even me!

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