I wrote a letter to my pastor today and I realized when I was done that it was more than just a letter to him. It was my testimony and it deserved to be shared with all of you. So here it is:
I just wanted to write you and tell you how much I appreciate you and Tonya. I have been telling my husband “I rebuke his thoughts” for years when he says stuff like. “I am getting sick.” “We are never going to get out of debt.” “We are never going to have a child.”
Your declaration sermon this past week really hit home. Tony (My husband) is better now. He doesn’t talk the way he did in the past but sometimes I hear those negative words coming out of his mouth and I rebuke them.
To tell you a little about us:
I was raised in a FIRE AND BRIMSTONE — HELL AND DAMNATION Church of God. And while I do admit I got saved because it literally SCARED THE DEVIL out of me at a very young age. I found it tiring and mentally exhausting to go to church every Sunday. I then went the opposite way and changed to a United Methodist Church (where I graduated high school) the sermons here left me lacking and wanting more. In the Church of God the Flock was at least lively and active. In the United Methodist the Flock simply sat staring and the man talking on the stage. Occasionally you would hear someone whisper an “Amen.”
My husband on the other hand was not raised in Church at all. It was a loving home but not a Godly home.
When we got married at the tender age of 21 I simply quit going to church. I was not happy at church at that time and Tony wasn’t used to going anyways. It was easy to justify not going to church. I mean I watched Church on TV on Sunday that was good enough, right……
When we got married I said that GOD was going to be my birth control. My mom had come close to getting Cancer from Birth Control Pills and I didn’t want to take that chance. A few years into our marriage and we wanted to have children and it just wasn’t happening. We went to a specialist and eventually found out my tubes were blocked. GOOD JOB GOD! That is one way to apply birth control. But now Tony and I wanted children. The only problem was in order to fix this we would need In-Vitro. This was in the late 1990’s and coming up with the $100 it took to go to the doctor was a hard task for us, much less trying to come up with $40K for In-Vitro.
We went back to our lives, knowing now that God really was our Birth Control. I prayed every day that God would open my tubes and give us a child. Tony began to drink. He escaped into the world of alcohol and gave up on the thought of a child. Maybe it was the woman in me but I could never ever give up that thought. I knew I was going to have a child even if that meant adoption. I WAS MEANT to be a mother. I KNEW it as well as I KNEW my own name.
Years passed 1996 turned into 2006 and Christopher Reeves (SUPERMAN’s) Wife died of Lung Cancer. She was not a smoker but a heavy drinker. Something inside Tony Clicked when this happened and he put down the Alcohol. Cold Turkey. DONE.
Things began to change; we started to work towards getting our finances in order with DAVE RAMSEY. In July of 2008 we were able to move out of a home that was eating us alive in payments and buy a home that was almost double the size and half the payments. GOD WAS GOOD.
In October of 2008 my company changed insurance plans. They are based out of NJ and when I read through the new plan at first I thought. This can’t be true……But it was. In NJ it is mandatory that you get the option of full coverage IN-VITRO and all other infertility treatments in your insurance plan.
I remember when I realized that this was true and about to happen. I sat down on the stairs of our new home that GOD had given us and cried like a baby tears of happiness.
It wasn’t easy. Satan threw things at us along the way. In 2009 while I was getting my tubes removed in preparation for In-Vitro my dad was in the hospital going through Kidney failure and in the process getting kicked out of their home (a small trailer near the lake – they said they didn’t want him to fall and sue them…). My parents moved into my living room.
They had told us that my tubes were THE ONLY thing wrong with me so getting pregnant should be easy. The first time it failed. I was devastated, HEARTBROKEN. I wondered WHY God had opened all these doors for us only to shut them in our face. The second time it failed again. We tried a 3rd time this was going to be the last for a while. I was tired. In case you don’t know IN-VITRO is hard work. There are bi-weekly doctor’s appointments multiple self given shots in a single day. It is a physical and emotional rollercoaster. But when I saw that word “Pregnant” come up on a home pregnancy test I have never been happier in my entire life.
During all this my mom was diagnosed with Cancer (She died September 2012) and my dad would die in 2009 when I was only 13 weeks pregnant. Bittersweet heartbreak but I knew the child I was carrying was my reason for living. She gave me hope again.
Our sweet bundle of Joy that we named STORMY was born on APRIL FOOLS DAY! After she was born Tony and I both agreed that we had to thank GOD for what he did for us, what he gave to us. We took our baby girl to my mother’s church (The HELLFIRE AND BRIMSTONE Church) and had her dedicated to Christ. We knew this wasn’t the church for us so we began to search for ours. We went back to the United Methodist Church I graduated from and although I love the pastor and he had good messages, the congregation was so sullen. It felt like they were just going through the rituals for getting to church on Sunday morning.
My best friend’s mother-in-law sweet Gail Yarbrough had been trying to get us to come to Bethany for years. Too bad we waited until she was gone to do just that.
I remember that first Sunday sitting in the parking lot and watching everyone I MEAN EVERYONE come in wearing jeans. I remember being judgmental and wondering what we were doing at a church who didn’t bother to dress up for God. This was how I was raised in BOTH churches after all.
But once inside I knew. I had the answer. They weren’t dressing up to please the other members; they were going to church in WHATEVER they had to worship and LOVE God. To simply hear the WORD of GOD. The GOOD NEWS…. Live life and HAVE GOOD Days.
I am so Thankful for you and Bethany and mostly to MY GOD who placed us there.
18 years after we were married and made that vow that GOD would be my birth control, I had my daughter. Truer words have never been spoken, “God’s ways are not our ways.” But I am so thankful that he is a GOOD GOD. And by DECLARING those words “I WILL BE A MOTHER.” For so many years, it came true.
I am sorry to have rambled for so long but I thought it was time I shared our story with you and thanked you for what you and Bethany are to us. Home.
Filled with God’s Blessing even in the darkest hours,
Shelly & Tony Taylor (& Stormy too)