I am 31 years old and I had my first child at 12 years old. It certainly was not by choice, however, it was truly a blessing from God and I named him Nathanel, which means a gift from God. I decided to give him up for adoption and his biological father raised him.
A few years later, at the age of 17, I had a set of twins. At this point, I had no education and I had no desire to get one. I only had a desire for the flesh and the world. I had no sense of responsibility. But when I was pregnant with my twins something changed. There were two lives growing inside of me and that motivated me to try to be different. So I went back to school and got my GED. But because I was so young, the State still decided that I was not responsible and my children were taken away from me. This caused me to hate God so much. Because I gave my first child up for adoption, and now I had this set of twins that I was striving so hard to take care of, I felt like God was taking them away too. But He had a purpose. It really caused me to start to cry out to a being I didn’t even know really existed. So every day, I would get on my knees and I would cry out: “If there is a God or if there is anyone hearing me, I need hope!”
At the age of 18, I received an invitation to do drugs. From that moment on, the drugs became my comfort. I remember getting high with a friend who one day told me: “ You know what’s crazy Julia, the other day I went to this church…” I said “Really? A church?” He replied “yeah and the weird thing is how welcoming they were. I smelled bad and I was dirty, but then they fed me and they prayed for me.” He continued and said “They even invited him back to a men’s group. They started talking about this Jesus guy”. That’s when I said “ Jesus? Who’s Jesus?” I had no idea who this Jesus was. After that, I went back home, got on my knees and said: “I don’t know who you are, but if you truly are God and you take in people like me, help me and take away this desire to be high all the time.”I woke up the next morning and my mind felt new. I wasn’t twitching, I didn’t feel like I needed to reach for the bottle or smoke pot. I was so scared. “Is this really happening from you God or is this the Jesus I was praying to.” I just didn’t know what was going on. So I prayed again: “If this is real, please help me get a job.” At that time I was selling my body to make money. Two days past and nothing had happened. On the third day, I went out to look through the garbage and I crossed an old friend. We started talking and soon enough I find out he was the assistant manager at his job. He said: “ I don’t mean to be nosey but do you have a job?” I was so surprise and said “No…did someone put you up to this?” He replied, “No of course not. Come see me this week for an interview.” I went for the interview and got the job. Now I’m really scared. So I decide to pray again: “Jesus, I don’t get high anymore or drink. I got a job. So now if you really are real, please help me find YOU.” The next morning, I woke up earlier than usual. I walked across to this church close by and all I remember reading was “confessions”. Praise God! This is what I need. I need to confess all of my sins. Maybe He has the wrong girl because I’m way to dirty. A man was walking by and he felt lead to invite me to his prayer group. Soon after that I started going to his church. The pastor took me under his wing. I was changing. I was also starting to have a relationship with my children.
Around the same time, this man started coming to church. We dated for a while and he then asked me to marry him. My pastor told me that this man was not the man God had for me. And I was very surprised. I was so desperate for a home life that I decided that there was no way that my pastor was right. He had to be wrong. This man was a Christian! So I married the man. The first night we got married, he grabbed me by my hair and through me across the room. I called my pastor to tell him what had happened. He told me that he didn’t believe in divorce but we might have to make an exception in this case.
A few weeks later, I remember finding out I was pregnant with my first daughter. Not too long after that, the man struck me so hard in my womb that my water broke. In spite of all that, I kept on holding on to my faith. I told my self, if I’m an obedient and submissive wife, things will change. God kept putting leaders in our lives that would try to set an example but then the man would make us change churches.
We ended up moving to North Carolina and got under a church leadership where women couldn’t speak. I kept approaching the leaders and telling them that the man kept abusing my children but they wouldn’t do anything about it. One day, I was crying out to God and asking him: “Why? Am I not worthy? Is this my punishment for being the wounded women that I was? I thought you said that I was precious? I thought you said I was your daughter?” That night I could hear the Lord say: “Julia, I want you to open your mind.”
That night an elder came to our house and I got the courage to tell him everything. The elder told me: “Julia, what makes you think you are better than God? You should die to your self for the salvation of your husband!” That was what God needed me to hear. I would teach my children scripture and I would teach them to pray, but I wasn’t teaching myself.When the elder said that to me I understood that I wasn’t a preacher, but there was one thing that I knew, the Lord had died for me already, so for this elder to ask me to die for an other man, was like asking me to take the place of Jesus.
My son was hearing the conversation from his bedroom. The elder was telling me not to be a hypocrite. My son, who was 7 years old at the time, comes in the room and walks up to his dad and asks him: “Dad, what’s a hypocrite?” and his father replies: “A hypocrite is someone that believes in God and doesn’t do things according to the Word of God.” My son starts crying. He looks up and ask his father: “Daddy, are you a hypocrite? You tell me to love my brother and you tell me if I speak ill of my brother it’s like murdering him.” “Yes son your right.” “So dad, why do you murder mom everyday by hitting her?” The man looks at him and decides to hit him. My son says: “Dad I love you” and he hits him again. My son gets up again and says one more time: “Dad I love you.” The man hits him really hard. He then decides to put his hands around his neck and strangle him. My daughter comes running in the kitchen, crying and begging her dad to stop. It took everything in me to tear his hands off of my son’s neck. He finally stopped and I grabbed my son and locked us in the closet. When he finally left, I took all of my six kids and we went to the first shelter that I could find.
Since then, it’s been a struggle, but that day was a defining moment for my children and me. I believe my calling in life is taking care to my children. God called me to be a fervent mother. God called me to make sure that they understand their value in Christ. Am I sorry for marring that man? NEVER! Because, I’ve learned, I’ve grown. It has caused my faith to become stronger. It has caused me to be more aware and to read the Word of God.
If my calling is to be a single mom, then I’m ok with that. I’m satisfied in him. God has never failed me. He has opened my eyes to all the blessings he has given me.