Donna's Story {Friend Friday Guest Post}

It's Friend Friday and I'd love for you to meet another friend of mine.

 Her name is Donna and she has quite a story to tell. 

The photos on today's post are ones she sent in.  

I really don't know Donna well but the few times I have been with her, she lights up a room. She has a love for God and a love for people that is contagious. 

I hope you enjoy hearing what God has been up to in her life. 

Donna writes: 

I was born in special circumstances. 

From the beginning God had a plan for my life and He also knew it would take 26 years for me to give it all to Jesus. 
  
 The road traveled would prove to be most difficult but in there somewhere there was some joy, laughter, and yes some happy memories. 

The happy memories didn’t really begin until I surrendered my sadness and sin to Jesus.  

True joy resulted from giving my life FULLY to Jesus.

My sibling and I are only one year apart but yet she seemed many years older than me. 
She took care of me when my addict parents could not. 
I remember her cooking grilled cheese on the stove at the age of six 
and pouring me a glass of watered down milk. 
She thought that way I would have more to drink.

  
 We were very poor and when our birth mother left, my dad was on his own for a while. 
Until he met our step mother. 
She was a woman incapable of love and 
I think she must have been very hurt at some point in her life 
because she had great difficulty loving her own children.

I often explained our family to friends as like the “Brady Bunch” only we were not happy, there were no joyful sounds coming from our house except for the times when dad had a few drinks and some anti-depressants. 

Then one day I met my step mother's sister in-law. 

She was a Christian single mom and a blessing to me. 

It was not until I was an adult that 
I realized that she prayed for me daily. 

I only have a few childhood photos but I believe that God has a perfect reason for this. 
My childhood was very unhappy for so many reasons. 
My parents suffered with addictions and could not keep a job. 
There was so much stress in the house 
it was natural for them to take it out on the kids. 

Without Jesus in their lives it was easy to continue down the path of sin. 
I did not fit in anywhere because I was poor 
and I struggled academically so I was labeled as “Dippy”. 

It hurt me deeply. 

I always knew there was a God because my Aunt talked about God all the time. 
I attended church occasionally and would often pray and ask God for a new home. 
Although God did not answer my prayers immediately I did feel HIM guiding my steps … that little voice inside that told me “Don’t try that and don't go there." 
That was God protecting me from the same addictions as my parents. 

Still, why wasn’t He answering my prayers? Why wasn’t He finding me a new home? 

I would have the most amazing answers to these questions and more later in life… 

Things got really bad in my house 
around the age of 15. 

My parents were out of control, my older siblings were all on drugs of some sort and I was scared I would go down the same path with so many influences in my home. 

I decided that I would leave home. 

I turned to a lady and her husband I was babysitting for and told her my story. 
She decided to contact my parents and arrange for me to move in with the understanding that they had full guardianship. 

My parents agreed right away. I thought this was my answer to prayer. 

Was God really answering my prayers? 

Within a month I was living with my new family and my parents left the Province with the rest of my siblings. They decided to “start a new life” and leave their debt behind them. They did not leave a forwarding address in fear that the authorities would find them and make them pay their debts. 

At first things seemed wonderful! 

I was 16 now and thrilled to be in a new home and focused on graduating from high school. 

Within a year I found myself in the same situation I was in at home. 
Their marriage was falling apart and 
I was faced with the possibility of having to find a place to live.

One day while in science class I felt an incredible pain in my stomach and they rushed me to the hospital. They rushed me into to surgery to have my appendix removed and during the surgery my heart stopped beating and in the words of one nurse 

“Donna, you are a very lucky girl 
because we almost lost you." 

By this time the person I was living with had contacted my parents to have them speak to the doctor and really they were no help at all. They didn’t even come to see me. 

I was in the ICU for a few days and that is when they discovered I had a defect in my Aorta that needed to be bi-passed. The surgery took a year to plan and during that time I found myself in yet a new house living with a new family. She was a high school secretary and really a positive influence. Her husband was a teacher and they had two young children. 

My parents knew I was having bi-pass surgery but they did not come to offer support. 

I found myself 17 and alone having bi pass surgery. 

With the grace of God I came through a very complicated surgery with some very high risks and 2 months later I decided I wanted to go to college. The family I was living with helped me find student housing and I moved out. 

18 and living completely independently attending college. 

Six months into college it proved to be too much on my health and I collapsed on the floor with pure exhaustion and malnutrition. 

I decided to nanny during the day and take a few classes at night (once I recovered)

That year I met the love of my life.  
I didn’t know it at the time but God hand picked him for me. 

I was 18 years old. 

Six years later I married him.
  
 I thought my life was perfect. 

God was there and I knew it but I was empty and still found myself struggling. 
I was struggling with communication. 
How to I talk to my husband when we are in conflict without screaming at him? 
How do I handle living in a world with so many addictions? 

I began to experiment with alcohol. 
It made me angry that I did this, seeing as my parents and siblings were doing it and I hated it. 

 I hated myself. 
 I hated my husband and I slipped down a road of drinking on weekends and I was out of control. 

One night I screamed “GOD HELP ME”. 

I went to work the following day and a young man that my husband worked with invited him to play volleyball with some “church” friends. So I went along with them to discover it was co-ed. We started playing on a regular basis with our new found “Christian friends”. 

Then one evening my husband’s friend encouraged me to attend a women’s Bible study that his mother was teaching. Reluctantly I decided to attend. 

That night ALL of my questions were answered and my life would never be the same again. The bible study was titled “Lord Give Me a Heart For You”. 

 Really? Seriously? 

After study the first night I broke down and talked to the woman leading the study. She listened to everything I had to say -- my whole life story. 

Her only words were “YOU NEED JESUS”. 

My response “ I sure do”. 

And I did. 

Within two weeks I asked to be baptized and 
it was at my baptism that my husband gave his life to Jesus. 

We still struggled and the biggest test of faith was still to come. 

However, with JESUS anything is possible.  Trusting Jesus -- not so easy at times.  
Even as “believers”. 

The road traveled was difficult, painful, and hurtful, but God redeemed it.

Boy I can relate to the broken, so we decided to start a “Care Ministry” though our church reaching families struggling with addictions and poverty with food and the word of God; building relationships first. 

When a wise woman told me that God will turn all that pain into good and it is for a reason -- well it was. 

Even though we gave our lives to Jesus at the age of 26/27, we would still face a big battle and Trust would once again be put to the test. 

We would have to FULLY RELY ON GOD. 
But could we do it? 
Why would He put us through trials again? 
Especially since we were serving God so faithfully? 

We would be faced with waiting a very long time to be blessed with a pregnancy and a high risk one at that. Pregnant with twins, plus my bi-pass surgery from prior years proved to be very hard on my body. 

Would God take these babies away? 
How can I carry twins with my condition? 

Stay tuned for the continuation of Donna's story in the coming weeks!  
Donna has agreed to answer any questions you may have. Any! 
How's that for being willing to use the pain and hurt in her life to help others in their pain. We'll do a follow-up Q&A post next Friday! 
Feel free to private message me if you'd like to remain anonymous, of leave your questions in the comment section below.

Thanks, Donna, for sharing from your heart. 

I can't imagine the road you've been on and yet I see how God has taken INCREDIBLE pain from your past and brought you to a place of Healing and Hope today! We'll look forward to reading more from you in the coming weeks!

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