My story begins on Jan. 13, 1962, in Pennsylvania. My parents were both young and Catholics. Because of that, I was raised a catholic. So I had a belief in God and knew of Jesus from the time I was very little. I went to a catholic school: St. Nicholas/St. Mary's in Wilkes-Barre.

I stayed there until 8th grade. Then the troubles began. I started a public school. Lots more street stuff to be learned there. I hung out with the wrong crowd, smoked pot, hitchhiked to parties with older kids, all the stuff that the good kids didn't do.

I waitressed at a Italian restaurant in my home town and started dating the owner, who was quite a bit older then myself. Of course I didn't tell my family about him. Guess what?? I ended up pregnant! Here I was at 16 years old and having a baby. Well, needless to say I wasn't a Christian at the time, so I had a abortion. So ashamed to admit to that, but it is all part of the testimony in how Jesus washed my sins away, forgave me and changed me completely.

Now none of this change happened quite yet, I still had a way to go. Not telling anyone in my family was hard, especially my mom, because I really could have used her comfort at that time. Anyway, I stayed with this man for the next 12 years of my life. When I was 18 years old I told my family I was moving to Florida with some friends. Still living a lie, I was really going to Florida with the man I would be married to eventually. I never said anything because he was 24 years older then me. In case you were wondering why I had kept him a secret.

Soon after my 18th birthday, I was pregnant again, still unmarried, but 1200 miles from my family. I figured none would have to know.

Since then I had a total of three children, my first being born in 1980, and another in 1981 and my baby in 1984.

I married the father of my children in 1982, things were a little strange in my life all-round, huh? He really didn't want to be married, but since telling my family about him, after the birth of my first child, they pressured me into getting married. It was the "right" thing to do.

While I was pregnant with my youngest child, I asked Jesus into my life and was baptized at a Pentecostal church here in Florida. I never felt happier, I read the bible everyday, witnessed every chance I could. My life was everything I dreamed it could be, except for my marriage. My husband was a catholic and he thought I had joined some kind of cult or something. He never would go to church with me and the kids. He thought I was a fruit cake for reading the bible as much as I did.

Well, life was almost perfect, in July my youngest, a boy was born and my life revolved around my children and Jesus. As a couple, we grew further and further apart, something still seemed to be missing. I wanted a life like the other couples in the church, I was very envious. My involvement in the church was keeping me busy and the children were quite a handful. A three year old, a two year old and a new baby, I really didn't have much time to myself.

My backsliding started as all three children were in school, now there was much more time on my hands. Also, I met a lot of non-Christians from school events, etc. Having some time on my hands and not having a good marriage is a easy way to slowly fall away from God.

My downward spiral started with a little drinking, then trying a little cocaine. Then of course comes lies, and guilt, all from Satan. I had in a few years, gave Satan control of my life.

Bible reading was long gone by now. Romance was no longer in my vocabulary, and had not been for about 4 years. Alcohol and drugs had now replaced that. Where Jesus once filled me, I now replaced with demons.

You guessed it, I'm sure, next came a affair with another man. Well for some reason, some of my morals came back briefly, and I decided that a divorce was necessary if I was to continue having sexual relationships. My, my, wasn't that just the right thing to do.

I was out of control, there was a custody battle going on for at least a year, so the drugged out, pitiful person I was, moved out of the house. Left everything I knew since I was 18 years old. Seems like I did this, leaving everything I knew scenario, once before, like maybe ten years ago.

Now was "my" time, to live it up, come home when I wanted to, go where I wanted to. Freedom, it was great!!! So I thought. My kids were with me three-four days a week, and the other days were just for me, I had to answer to noone. I had everything now, but something was really wrong. At the time I had no idea what it was, but now that I look back, it is easy to see. Satan was the ruler of my life. I had numerous relationships, did drugs, drank to much. My life was disgusting.

Little by little things started getting really bad for me. I lost my job, my car was repossessed, and I was unable to pick up my children on the days they were to be with me.

With no car, and a drinking problem, it was probably for the best my kids didn't see me like that. Somehow or other, there would always be a ride available to one of the local bars. Always just enough cash to bring a bottle of vodka home. Odd, how that works, isn't it?

I won 2500.00 dollars of a scratch-off lottery ticket and bought myself a camaro. Life was a big party, always drunk and not a care in the world. What a lie!!

Well, after a few a years of that kind of life, I admitted myself into a detox program. That was a three day program, cleaned my body of all the alcohol that was in it. I drove myself there, while I was drunk. Don't know why, but I did.

After they let me out, I felt great, went to the school where my kids attended and did my apologies, like the program tells you to do, I was on my way to a new life. I started smelling the flowers again, just still not acknowledging the Creator of those flowers. So sad.

A few brief months passed before I was drinking again, I had a serious problem. My occupation now had become a bartender, just for one of the benefits, I could drink while at work and no one would notice, so I thought. My behavior was appalling, to say the least. Everyone around me knew that my drinking was a problem, except for me. I thought this time, it was under control.

Here comes the part you have been waiting for. While bartending, I met the man to whom I am now married to and serving the Lord with. He doesn't like to admit it, but he also had a slight drinking problem. We were two peas in a pod. But, we were two peas looking for a way out of that pod.

We met in Feb. of 1995 and started dating in April. By June he had moved in with me, and met my kids. I'm sure they were pretty weary of him at first but there was not anything that they hadn't experienced already.

By August we were broke and partying together. Only now I wasn't alone in my life. We fought allot, but nothing really bad, just some stupid arguments.

He comes from a big family that vacations in the area we live, quite a bit. By the end of the year I had met a few of his brothers and old friends from his younger years.

One brother of his is a Christian, (praise the Lord). When he and his wife came to visit, I found out that he had been witnessing to him for a couple of years now. The seed had been planted, the same seed that I had let the weeds just destroy in my life in the past six years.

After they went back home, I told my (now husband) that I was a Christian also, of course he laughed at me. But I was!!! I had said the sinners prayer years ago, (it seemed like a lifetime). I showed him all the markings in my old bible that he had never even knew I owned. There was all kinds of Christian literature that was stashed away somewhere in my closets behind the empty bottles of booze. I had devotions that were wrote years ago, prayers, and even Christian tapes that were not listened to anymore.

Well, he could not believe it!! All kinds of questions started from him, because of the transformation of his brothers life, and the similarity of my walk with the Lord.

In November of 1995, my now husband dedicated his life to Jesus at a local church service. I however, was already saved, since 1984, so I didn't have to do anything, I thought.

We decided to start going to church together and even give up drinking. That was in December of 1995. However, I could not easily stop, for I was physically addicted to alcohol. After having the "shakes" and not going out of the house for days, we thought that was over.

We attended a party with a few of our old friends and I had some "moonshine". I don't know if anyone ever drank moonshine before, but after being clean for a couple of weeks, that got the old ball rolling again, in full force.

Now for the next week or so, I had been sneaking my drinking, because there was no way to let my body go dry, I would go crazy if I had to go through that whole shaky feeling again. I lied to my boyfriend (now husband) and started the whole deceiving life again, all while attending church.

I was doomed, so, I thought!! Jesus knew that I never really rededicated my life to Him, so I had no strength on my own to overcome this demon, Alcohol.

Of course God already knew that, so He had a plan for my life all along. My plans were not quite the same, for I thought that this demon could possibly be kept under control, Haa!

That's when Jesus saved my life once again by allowing my liver and kidneys to stop working properly. I was rushed to the hospital by ambulance. My bac was over the fatality limit, I should have been dead. God had other plans

I rededicated my life to him, and the transformation is another miracle in itself. My health has been restored seventy times better then before I ever started drinking. Paul and I married on Aug. 6, 1996 and attended and graduated from a school of ministries in 1997. We have been to the mission field, attended a multitude of Christian seminars, and have let the Lord lead us since then.

Trying to accomplish true peace and serenity in your life on your own, can not be done. Once you allow God to take full reign of your entire being, you will be totally amazed at what He does.

If by any chance you are reading this and want to experience the same life changing results, all you need to do is close your eyes, ask Jesus to take away all the hurtful things you have done, believe that He can make you whole again. Know that Jesus is speaking to God our Father in your behalf. Pray from your heart and ask Him to help you in all areas where you have failed time and time again in the past. Let His strength bring you to the throne of God. If you try to accomplish this yourself you won't be able. He is able. Believe in your heart that He has forgiven you and start reading His word, so you can truly know what God has planned for you.

Now, e-mail me a letter and tell me how you feel, and ask me any questions you would like. Surf all the Christian sites that this website has provided for you, and grow strong in the Lord. Find a home church where you can meet other Christians and get involved. Finally, Stay in the Bible, never stop reading it. That is your help manual in life. God bless you,Joanne

paulnjoanne@comcast.net

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