Monthly Archives: February 2017

And it continues..


  So it’s been several days since I felt inspired to write but now I am anxious to get back into it. So we left off at the end of the retreat, where I was just overjoyed with the new freedom I had just found and overwhelmed by God’s amazing provision and love. 

  So I leave that retreat a completely changed person, I am serious, I felt and even thought like a new person, I can’t put into words how much change entered my life.  And I think i mentioned in the previous post that I went into this retreat with the mindset of ‘having my life together’ and God uprooted it all in a good way.  Thank you Jesus!! 

  And so, I am now going back home, back to life as I had known it before, yet it was completely different now.  After a couple days of being home, I knew that what God was asking me to do, was not going to be accomplished by mere human strength, but only by leaning on Him and allowing Him to do His work.  I knew I needed to be obedient and meet with the very person who had caused me much pain in my life, God gave me two things to tell him.

I needed to tell him that I forgive him and that God loves Him. 

 I will always remember that ride to meet with Him, the Song, No Longer Slaves, was playing as I drove and the words just ministered to my Spirit and I just wept. 

You split the sea
So I could walk right through it
My fears were drowned in perfect love
You rescued me
And I could stand and sing
I am a child of God…

 I knew then, that as difficult as it was going to be to face this person, God was going to provide a way to share the Love of JESUS with him. 

 We met and the tears flowed freely as we talked,there was tremendous healing in the words,”I forgive you” and “I am so sorry, for all the hurt and pain I caused you”. God did a work in my heart and Spirit, as broken as I felt, I could feel God’s love surrounding me and His hand upon me. 

I am surrounded
By the arms of the father
I am surrounded
By songs of deliverance

We’ve been liberated
From our bondage
We’re the sons and the daughters
Let us sing our freedom

   And to this day, every time I hear this song, I rejoice in how it ministered to me that day.  That day, the chains of fear that had held me captive for so many years, were broken and I was FREE!!! 

 No longer did I have to feel that I was the one responsible for having caused myself so much pain. Neither did I think that I was the one that deserved the abuse, cuz of who I was!! The enemy had to flee, cuz where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is Freedom!!! 

    My heart continued to heal, the dry bones were coming back to life, and there was Freedom! Thank you Jesus!! 

 But there’s more…. 

 Thankful for Redemption! 

Vinny 

Amish Years(part 6) 

  

So, as I was saying in the previous post, that it was a night God intervened in a way that still gets me all excited and covered in Glory bumps! This was probably my favorite part of my journey so far, because God’s love became so real to me that very evening and I received a spiritual understanding of how much God really loves us.  

   The speaker had given the opportunity for those who felt God is wanting to speak to them, to gather in a big circle. I wanted to hear God speak and without second thought I got in the circle right away.  And what God did in that circle, is/was the most amazing thing ever! 

  So there were others, that were assigned to come speak to us as they felt led. So there was this very special couple that God had laid a specific message on their hearts for someone, and when I got up to speak earlier, God revealed to them that I was the one they were to relay this message to.  

  The message was one specific thing: 

 She needs to experience the Love of Jesus, and not only experience but believe it as well.  

    Up to this point in my life, I had read, heard, and had a very shallow understanding of how deep God’s Love is for us, but in my mind that was only for ‘good’ people, I didn’t consider myself one of those people. 

 My friends, when you understand how much God really loves you, things start to make sense and I felt like the most loved person in the world, it felt as if the Father had His arms around me and was just pouring out Love like I had never known before.  It was absolutely amazing, and when they told me that God had given this message, I just wept. To know that God orchestrates each tiny detail just blessed me so tremendously.  

Truly the love of God is greater far then tongue or pen could ever tell!!! 

  As we began talking (and remember we had never met before, but it felt safe) I shared with them, some of the hurtful things that had happened in the past and how much it still hurts me, even though I pretend everything is good.   These dear people felt the Holy Spirit prompting them to tell me, that God wants me to go face to face with the very person who had initiated the abuse and tell Him I forgive Him.  

  Now of course, in this situation there was spiritual warfare going on, but Praise God!!  I agreed to it anyway, which was definitely the work of God once again. And after I agreed to proceed with it, it felt like a ton of bricks fell of my shoulders.  I could hardly stand still, I was so excited! 😊  I felt like a brand new person! 

  “Amazing Grace, How sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost but now I am found, twas blind, but now I see”

 As we sang the song:

“Amazing Grace, My Chains are Gone”

 I could truly sing that song from my heart for the first time ever! Oh my heart leaped with Joy! And I knew that I was forever a changed person!! Hallelujah!!

 But there’s more to the story, so hang tight for the next post☺

Grateful for Grace,

❤ Vinny

The Amish Years (part 5)


So the journey continues…. as will some of the ‘hard to talk about’ truths that will be addressed in this post.  

  As time went on, I could feel that God had really healed a huge part of me, but there was still one part that I didn’t feel quite right about and that was forgiving the person who had initiated the abuse, I often prayed about it but it didnt feel heartfelt or like it really meant anything, but God was working on changing that too.  

  So like I mentioned in my last post I had a tough time of trusting people again, especially men (and I am not trying to give men a bad rap here,my personal experience with men wasn’t always so good, therefore I put them all into one category and it wasn’t good) anyway God has healed that part of my heart and I learned that people can be trusted, but it took me awhile to learn that; in fact, God is still teaching me things in this specific area. 

 And the loneliness was something that I needed to deal with time and again, living alone wasn’t exactly ideal for me at the time, but I made do. I hated being alone and yet, I didn’t ‘Wana bother’ anyone, so I just tried to cope the best I could. A kind friend helped me understand that ‘not wanting to bother’ anyone could actually be a form of pride. The truth is we all need fellowship with our brothers and sisters in Christ and my pride was keeping me from admitting that I needed people to encourage me and help me keep going on the lonely days.  

 In this time of healing, I began to understand the power of prayer and how much comfort is in the Word of GOD, like there were so many things I could find in the Bible that spoke to me about the very thing that I was dealing with. Hallelujah! It was like a switch was flipped, I loved reading scripture and talking about spiritual things.   

  So about 15-18 months later I was asked to attend a youth retreat, but I declined twice, finally after being asked the third time, I decided maybe I should go. So I checked with my work schedule and it looked impossible, but God intervened and it worked out so that I could go. I knew that after that much indecision of going and then God intervening like He did, there was something special going to happen, I just didn’t quite expect it to all take place like it did. 

  So leading up to this retreat, I had kind of developed this mindset of; I have quite a testimony, my life is in order, and so I am just gona go enjoy this retreat. Well God intervened once again and totally uprooted my so called ‘orderly life’   

  So this retreat is pretty amazing, the speakers were incredible and the presence of God was definitely there.  So the third night, as the speaker was preparing to share the message with us, I was praying that God would open my heart and ears to receive what He wanted me to hear. Suddenly God spoke to me, and the command was so clear, 

“I want you to share your testimony with this crowd.”

   I was so startled by it that I actually started shaking. I knew I had to be obedient and so at the first opportunity there was, I stood to my feet, shaking like a leaf, faced the crowd and shared parts of my journey with them. I had horrible stage fright, I was crying and I could barely talk, but I managed to get some words out.  I sat back down, feeling pretty vulnerable and odd, and if I only knew what was ahead, I would have probably felt a lil better about it all.  

  Anyway, I managed to collect myself as they dismissed us for a short time. The best was still to come and I can’t wait to share that with y’all.😊 

To be continued…

❤.. Vinny 

My Amish Years (Part 4)

I will just warn y’all right away that this will probably be the post that will expose the rawness, the tears, the frustration, and the pain the most.

  • It was during this time in my life that I hurt the most, yet felt God’s healing hand upon me.
  • The time that I felt the rawest of emotions, yet there was peace.
  • The time I wanted to not ever forgive, yet God reminded me that He forgave me.
  • The time that I cried more tears, yet God was healing my heart.
  • The time when I understood just how much truth could hurt.
  • The time when in my loneliness, God was my constant companion.

So continuing from my previous post..

Even as I was driving to the weekly Bible study that evening, I could feel something was different and through our usual time of worship I could barely keep from crying. We split up into smaller groups then normal that evening, but I believe that it was all God ordained.

My group met in the backyard of that lil country church, where God painted a sunset more lovely then ever before, or maybe it was because my eyes were opened spiritually that very night. Even to this day, I could probably take you to the exact spot where I, amidst tears uttered the darkest secret of my past. Honestly, it was just so hard to admit that this had really happened to me, that as a young child I had been abused, sexually and physically.

As I began to tell of the darkest moments of my life, I cried like I had never ever cried before. There were:

  • Tears of frustration of never being understood
  • Tears of fear of being blamed for allowing it to happen
  • Tears of rejection, cuz I felt so worthless
  • Tears of loneliness, cuz during those dark moments, I had noone to turn to
  • Tears of anger, at the perpetrator for causing me so much pain

Yet, amongst all those different emotions there were Tears of healing and relief that finally, the Truth was out, that I no longer had anything to hide. And there, I met Jesus in a way that I had never experienced before,

I saw a mental picture of the cross and there I was at the foot of the cross and Jesus washed away every dark spot and cleansed me. I was finally free and the weight I had been carrying for so long was GONE!!!! HALLELUJAH!!!

In the following days and weeks I felt such a Rollercoaster of emotions, and those first several nights were almost a nightmare. A kind friend helped me understand that the emotions were a part of it, and that in order for me to move on, I would have to go back and mentally relive those dark and hurtful moments, and oh, it was painful, but I healed tremendously after that.

The loneliness was probably one of the hardest thing for me to understand and sort through. I struggled with it really bad for close to a year after I first talked about the sexual abuse. One of the main reasons is because when the abuse happened I was all alone in those dark moments, and I was at the expense of the abuser. Yet God has healed those wounds tremendously, and is still continuing to heal and teach me things concerning being alone.

Another huge part of it all, was my fear of people, I had to get rid of the mindset that all people were out to hurt me. Here again, God did tremendous healing in my heart and spirit. I began to actually trust people and allow people to become close to me, without being afraid of getting hurt.

It took several years for me to cope with all of this, and even now, it’s still makes me emotional to write about it all, but God is always Faithful and I am reminded of the verse in Zephaniah:

Yahweh your God is among you, a warrior who saves. He will rejoice over you with gladness. He will bring you quietness with His love. He will delight in you with shouts of joy.”

Zephaniah 3:17 HCSB

So now that the most vulnerable post is about to draw to a close, I would like to ask that you give God all the Glory for what He has done and how He has Redeemed what the enemy meant for evil, Into something that brings Glory to God!

To be continued…

Thankful for Redemption,

Vinny

The Amish Years (Part 4) 

And the story continues….

  So this plan would enter my mind at times of great trial and loneliness, at the time I didn’t have very many friends (that was my own fault, cuz I was always working)  I never attempted to carry it out, but so many times I wondered if suicide would be my only option, I wanted to be free from so many things and I didn’t have a clue how to do so. 

  I would work about 50-60 hours a week, go home collapse on the couch, watch TV until bedtime, sleep, and wake up the next morning only to repeat it week after week. I was going through the motions of what I  considered a ‘normal’ life, but deep in my heart I knew there was more. Even back then, God was calling me, asking me to give my broken heart to Him and allow Him to heal me. 

 There was a group of my friends that invited me to their weekly Bible study, I went with full intentions of only going this once, but there was something about this weekly gathering that had me hungering for more. What fascinated me was the way they worshiped together, cared for one another, laying hands on each other and praying blessing and love over one another.  To me, the laying on of hands was quite strange, cuz I had never seen it before, but something about it felt right. After attending for several months, I began to really look forward to these times together with these people.  It felt like a safe place, a place where I could be myself.

  About this time I enrolled in online classes for Business Administration, so with working over 40 hours a week, plus doing college classes in the evening I was busy as ever.   I changed jobs which freed me up a little more, but still my extra time all went into studying and schoolwork.  I had one goal in mind and that was to get a degree, cuz somehow that was gonna make me feel better about myself.  

 But amongst all my busyness, God was working in amazing ways. And one evening as we gathered for our weekly Bible study group, something broke within me and I confessed that at times I just wanted to end my life, because I felt so dirty, so ugly, and so worthless.  As the ladies gathered around me, laying hands on me, and praying, I experienced something I had never ever felt before.  I felt the Father holding me in His arms and telling me that He loves me and He wants to heal every hurt and dry every tear.  It was such an overwhelming, amazing feeling, and I won’t ever forget it! 

  It was amazing how confessing that one thing made such a difference in my life. Suddenly I had something to live for, a huge cloud of darkness had been lifted lff of me and I found victory!! I felt like I was no longer just going through the motions of life, but that. I was actually accomplishing something. Thank you Jesus!!!!  

  So you may remember that in a previous post I had wrote about having serious issues with my feet, well some of those issues began to clear up and there was physical healing happening in my body, along with emotional and spiritual. I felt like a new person, for the first time ever.  It was an absolutely incredible feeling!! 

  And a Lil over a year later, we had once again met for our weekly Bible study, and that evening, I knew something was different, something was going to change.  Cuz that day I had told one of my friends the darkest thing that had ever happened to me…. 

To be continued.. 

Thankful for Redemption,

❤ Vinny 

  

My Amish Years- Part 3

   And now the story continues…

  A plan begin to form in my mind, but if I carried through with it, would it actually work? I had some doubts ,yet I knew that if I was willing to sacrifice some things it would be worth it. 

 What if I would just forsake everything I had always known and leave the Amish world? Just thinking of the adventure it would bring gave me quite a thrill.  I knew that I had to think everything through thoroughly before I tried it, cuz this was a decision that would affect my entire life if I went through with it, and I did NOT want it to fail or I would be eating humble pie for the rest of my years. 

 At this time my life at home was still miserable,(please understand that it was not necessarily my family that made me miserable, of course we didn’t agree on a lot of things that I did) but I literally had so much baggage that I was carrying, that I made everyone’s life around me a living nightmare.   

  So the plan began to take shape, and for a year it continued as I began to weigh different options in my mind. I was serious enough about it that I prayed about it quite a bit.  These were just a few of  the questions that I need answers to..

  • What church would I attend?
  • Where would I live?
  • Should I move out of staute?
  • Who would be willing to help me?
  • How would my family react? 

           Finally, I was tired of thinking about it, and just ready to either go through with it or just forget about it. I decided to go through with it, and with my decision made, I knew I couldn’t leave without telling my sweet Mama how and why I made the decision that I did, it nearly broke my heart to tell her, cuz she was so sweet about it. Her words to me were,

           “I know you are not happy where you are right now, so I want you to go where you are the happiest”

           To hear those words directly from her, did my heart so good, of course she may not have said she supported my decision, but the fact that she acknowledged that she did want me to be happy, just blessed me tremendously.  

           So three days before Christmas, I stepped out that door, wondering if I was entering a brighter future or even more darkness. Turns out I was entering a phase of life, where everything was going to be an adventure. 

           I pretty much ditched all of my Amish garb and dove right into buying “worldly”clothes. I was obviously excited for something new, but then I had another surprise, after all the years of making all my clothes, suddenly I had no rules to abide by, I was free to buy whatever I wanted. I don’t even want to think of the style crisis I had🙈 Honestly, while it was all fun, it was totally overwhelming too, but thankfully I had some friends give me some advice and that helped tremendously.  

           And now for the driving or learning to drive phase🚘🙈 My, oh my, that was an experience! Especially learning how to operate a manual🙈 I will just leave y’all to guess how that went😂  Seriously, the first couple times I was behind the wheel, I was so overwhelmed with all the buttons, knobs, pedals, and all the thingy-majigs that are in a vehicle. I nearly despaired at first, but I caught on pretty quick, after stalling the engine a time or two.  I also remember seeing some gravel flying😂🙈 After I got my license, I would often zoom through the main stretch of the Amish community, passing up a few buggies as I went, somehow it just seemed like so much fun at the time. 😊

            Then there was the shunning part of it, which only lasted for about three months. After that I was free to mingle with my Amish peoples all I wanted and it was less awkward to be with them. 

           About 6-8 months after I left I was living alone in a cute Lil apartment, which I liked alot, but being alone so much of the time was not exactly ideal for me. Once again the newness had worn off, and the darkness from my past threatened to overwhelm me to a point where I could hardly go on.  In my mind, I knew I would never carry through with it, but what if that “back up plan” way back in my mind was my only option? 

           To be continued…. 

          Vinny 

          The Younger Me- Part 2 

           So let’s see, I stopped when I was getting into my teen years and  me questioning so many of things we did. My endless amount of questions, would get me into much trouble, but I had to know the answers, even thought they weren’t very logical.  

            So my parents didn’t exactly like that I was questioning all the things that I grown up with or been taught, and I sure can’t blame em for that.  They simply taught me the best they knew and I am very grateful to call them my parents and for what they taught me  

           At the age of 11-13, something changed I think it was a gradual change, but not a good one. I began having alot of trouble with my feet and I would often limp alot. Many people thought it was all hereditary, but I believe my spirit was so broken, (from some very dark things that happened in my younger years, more on that in a future post) and the enemy saw his opportunity to rack havoc and so he did. There was such a darkness that began to overshadow me, it was so real and yet I was quite oblivious to it at the time. But I sure wondered why I had to be the one that had to endure all this pain, like why couldn’t it be someone else?

           At age 13 I had a minor hip surgery to correct a growth plate that was slipping out of place, but it didnt stop there, my feet, which had been perfectly normal until about 10-12 years of age suddenly began to constantly hurt and cause numerous problems, We tried many different things, chiropractor treatments, therapy, orthotics, special shoes, you name it we tried it and I was willing to try just about anything to get relief from the constant pain.   I knew there had to be a reason for all of it, but I didn’t know what. Through all of this I began to turn to food for comfort, not to mention all the lies the enemy was getting me to believe, leading to loads of confusion, more darkness and pain.  

           At age 14 I graduated from the one room school that I had attended all thru the 8 grades. Now I was at home all the time, and my miserable self began to rebel even more against any and all authority; therefore, causing problems between me and my dear family. Time after time, I would end up in tears at night, cuz it seemed no one could understand the hurt or the confusion within my heart.  I would end up in daily arguments with my sweet mama, who would patiently try to explain things to me, even though it would fall on deaf ears. 

           As my 16th birthday drew near, I began to look forward to the freedom that would come with being 16, and while it was fun for the first while, the newness soon wore off and I was back to the same old, same old again. Several months later I began my first job at a local restaurant, I loved being able to get away from the constant scrutiny of those close to me and be able to be a Lil more of myself.   It wasn’t long before the people I worked with became aware that not all was well in my life.  They tried to get me open up, but I would just end up in tears and not be able to talk. I was taught that you don’t allow your feeling to show and if you cry it’s  a sign of weakness; therefore, I just shut down every emotion and didn’t allow myself to feel. I was a very miserable person, I just wanted to be loved, accepted and loved some more.  

             I actually remember the first time someone have me a hug, and the first time someone told me they loved me, it felt so amazing and I Remember wondering, why I didn’t experience more of these moments, like was I really as unlovable and ugly as the enemy had me believe was, cuz if that was the case then no wonder I didn’t experience it more often.  

           Another miserable year passed and  I got baptized and became a member of the Amish church.  I remember the day I got baptized as being one of the days of my life that was very happy and I felt like I could actually fly, I felt so free. Yet I remember as I said those baptismal vows, that the thought crossed my mind, what if I break the vow I just made to the church?

           So leading up to my baptism, I had begun to understand that I was suppose to be a new person after I was baptized, and I was a church member, so I had to lead a perfect life, or at least that is the mindset I had.   And I had determined in my heart that I was going to pray and have daily devotions; afterall, that is what I thought Christians do.  But with noone to teach me, that resolution soon fell by the way side and I was back in the familiar old rut once again. I began to experience depression, and even though I told noone, I wanted this miserable life of mine to end. The misery was more then I could stand, if I wasn’t in pain physically, I certainly was hurting emotionally.  

          About a year or so after I was baptized, I was asked a question, that I kniw began to make me question and ponder the things that I had ever known, been taught and done. Actually I think it would be safe to say, that this was the question, that would later cause me to change my lifestyle completely. The question was simply, 

          If you would die, where would you go?

           

           At this point my feet were causing me so much trouble, and I finally had a major surgery done, that was extremely painful. Through this time some people that were dear to me couldn’t seem to understand why I couldn’t work even though it was clear that I was laid up.  My heart nearly broke at the words that were uttered, cuz people thought I just didn’t want to work.  My pillow was soaked with tears on more then one occasion as my heart just begged to be understood, for just once. Like why couldn’t people understand that I was a human that had feelings too.

            And so amidst all the confusion and misery, a plan began to form in my mind, just maybe this pain could end and things would be different.   

          To be continued…. 

          Blessings, 

          ❤..Vinny