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Before coming to The Crossing my life was a mess. I had a 20 yr addiction to drugs. In 1997 my wife started attending CCNM (The Crossing) and she was asking me every Sunday morning “Are you coming to church with me?" Most of the time I would be just coming in from partying from the night before so my answer was no. One morning I got up to go with her to see what this church she was attending was all about. Of course she sat front row so I was like, "Man what did I get my self into?" I met Ian that day and I thought to myself that she probably told him everything about me and what I was going through, but hey I made it to church and she was happy and I won’t have to come back for a while now. She asked, I came and that was that.
Well a few months went by and I didn’t go back and then 1 day I was arrested for drugs and put in jail for the night. That night God was tugging at me and made me realize I didn’t want to do this anymore. My life was a mess and the only thing that was going to get my life back was God. So after I was released and I was on my way home, I stopped at Fairview Park and prayed to God that if you’re real, take this addiction from me and I will do anything for you. It was a miracle because he released me from the addiction and I gave my life to him on April 9th, 1999. I have never looked back to that life since then. If it wasn’t for my wife’s prayers and prayers from the people she had met from CCNM (The Crossing) I would not be where I am today.
The Crossing has been a major part of our lives. In many many ways I think the way it has influenced my life the most is through my men’s groups and the couple's groups that I have been a part of. There’s something about accountability that keeps me focused and on track and knowing I have someone, or a group of brothers and sisters, I can come to when I have a problem or situation in my life that I can rely on and share with makes all the difference.
We all have a story. Those experiences in life that make us who we are today. Some of us are just now beginning to understand this. I understood this on Easter of 2002 when I accepted Jesus Christ into my life and heart. This was the end of a long journey and the beginning of my new life in Christ.
I was born on August 5, 1954 in Rapid City, South Dakota. We moved when I was a year old which was the beginning of many moves since my Dad was in the Air Force. I grew up in a home filled with love and a Dad who did not know the meaning of a stranger. He talked to everyone and was one of those people that you never forgot. My Dad also enjoyed parties and what I now see was a social alcoholic. I never remember him drinking unless he was around other people. However, we always had liquor in the house.
I probably took my first drink at a young age at one of these parties. I do know that I got drunk for the first time when I was fourteen and did not take my last drink until June 18th, 1981 when I was 26. During this time I also experimented with marijuana and LSD. I was arrested when I was 18 for disturbing the peace and assaulting a police officer. It was also at this age that I lost my virginity during a black out. At 23 I was arrested for a DUI. My DUI landed me in a court required AA meeting for the first time. I still had not yet admitted that I had a problem though and just got my cards signed and counted the days when I didn’t have to go anymore. I was sure that I could control my drinking.
During this time I also got married and after a couple of years we decided that it was time to have a baby. After nine months of trying I was beginning to think that I would never be able to get pregnant. On June 18th I went to a party and someone that I spoke with that night told me that if I continued to live the way I was living I would not get pregnant. For some reason that was when I accepted that I was an alcoholic and made the decision to stop drinking and three months later got the wonderful news that I was pregnant. A year later on June 22nd, 1982 my son Robert was born.
Although I had quit drinking, I had never returned to those AA meetings and I never dealt with the reasons for my addiction. I still wanted to party and found another addiction in the attention of other men. My marriage ended in divorce and I was a single mother at the age of 30.
My mother-in-law asked me when I met her at 19 “Are you a Christian?” I said yes, after all I grew up celebrating Christmas and Easter so what else would I be. I did not understand what she was trying to share with me. This beautiful woman continued to pray for my salvation for 29 years.
I was taught by Mom and Dad about doing ‘good’ things and about being ‘good’. I also learned somehow about Heaven and Hell and that when we die we go to one or the other. Whenever someone died I would hear “At least they are in a better place”. It was when my Dad died in early 2000 that I started questioning this because I had never talked to my Dad about who gets into Heaven and who goes to Hell. I wondered where my Dad was because I know he was not always good and who decided what was good and what was bad anyway? I sure knew that I had not always been good and that I probably never would be.
In October 2001 I made a half-hearted attempt to take my life by swallowing some pills and ended up in College Hospital for three days. I was ordered to go to counseling and through this was led to a grief support group. A friend of my sons was struggling with alcohol and asked for my help. He and I started going to Recovery at The Crossing. Thus began my journey to find out just what Christianity was all about. It was there on Easter 2002 that I learned about who Jesus is and why he was born human (Christmas). That it was so he could die for my sins and rise again (Easter). I learned that I was not a Christian unless I chose to be. I was not a Christian just because my family celebrated Christmas and Easter. So I started studying the Bible and made my choice.
I know now without a doubt in my mind that I will be going to Heaven when I die and my son will never have to question that. He and I took classes and attended The Crossing together. We learned about Christianity and we both made the decision to accept Christ into our hearts and were baptized.
I began attending a women’s small group and living a life in accordance with God’s will not my own. Each woman accepted me even after learning about my past. I was able to open up and share without any condemnation because they all understand that through there is no condemnation.
My life today is still not perfect however it is filled with the peace of the Holy Spirit. And that beautiful woman Ruth who prayed for me all these years is now in Heaven with our Father. In 2002 she was still with us and I called her the night that I accepted Jesus as my Savior and thanked her for her prayers and told her that I know understood and that “Yes, I am a Christian”.
I have gone to church what seems like all my life and was raised in a Christian home, but certainly have not had the picture perfect life or one you will ever read about in fairy tales. Sometimes I think my life should be made into a "Lifetime Movie of the Week". My parents got divorced at age 7, and although my mother continued to take me to church, I strayed and went my own way around age 15 or so.
I was distant from God and didn't care much. I was hurting inside looking for love and acceptance thru friends, partying, relationships, you name it. Nothing filled the void; I always came up empty no matter what. I kept God only in my back pocket in case of emergencies. I ended up having my first child, my daughter, at age 20 and got married to her father about a year later. Shortly after, I realized I was with a very abusive man who was an alcoholic. I attempted to leave him a couple years into it when I realized I was pregnant with my first son. I stayed hoping things would change. When it didn't and I found myself in a situation involving the police and a terrible incident which led to me having to file a restraining order against the father of my two small children, I finally fell on my face and turned to God.
He was there waiting ever so patiently and picked me up off the ground and it wasn't until then at around age 25 that I surrendered my life over to God. I actually reconciled with their father who had given his life to Christ after a short stint in jail and rehab and we renewed our vows and had two more beautiful children. Our marriage was a testimony to share with other couples in crisis and we were able to offer them the same hope that God gave to us.
After about 5 years, my husband what seemed like out of no where, left me. I knew we had problems but him wanting a divorce was shocking. I then thought my life was a joke and that I was no good. I was humiliated, hurt, confused and thought I was an embarrassment and I went into about a year or so of deep, dark depression. I managed to pull myself out of it with a good church and support group but mostly it was my quiet time just reading my Bible and praying to God, my Healer, my Husband and my Best Friend.
After several years of healing, I met someone at my church in a Divorce Recovery Group, whom I ended up quickly falling in love with. For the first time I felt I had met someone with the same desires spiritually and that I had found my soul mate. We moved very fast, eager to get our lives started but realized that with all the excitement we we're getting ahead of God's plans and made a lot of mistakes while dating. We didn't do things according to God's will and it caused problems.
He moved to Costa Mesa while we were dating and decided to go to this "cool church" down the street from him. It was on a Saturday night the first week of January ‘08 that he went. He had me and my kids come the next Sunday and we have been attending every Sunday since. We got involved right away knowing we had found our "home church" and that there was something special about this church and what God wanted to do in and thru our lives like we had always dreamed. We got married on Valentines Day in 2009 and I thank God everyday for leading me to The Crossing.
I may still have plenty of problems and issues as God continues to shape and mold me from poor choices and as I work on a still stubborn will, but to have the love and support from my church family and the amazing worship and teaching, I know God will continue to write my story and the ending will be perfected in Heaven when I am face to face with my One and Only- My God. I can say with all confidence no matter what my circumstances are at the time that He is Greater, Stronger, Higher than any other...My God is a Healer, Awesome in Power... My God is the author of my story and works in mysterious ways and I’m ever so grateful that someday it will in fact end with Him, happily ever after...