By Roger Worsham
Michelle was raised in an abusive home by an extremely narcissistic mom. When she was 9 her mom married for the fifth time. This stepfather was abusive, like some of the others, and molested Michelle from age 9 to 13. When she told her mother about the molestation, her mother refused to believe her. She told Michelle, “You are too ugly for him to be interested in having sex with you.”
Later Michelle’s mom remarried again. This marriage didn’t last. Michelle’s mom stole a check from her estranged sixth husband, and he sent another woman to collect from her and kill her. Michelle opened the door for the woman who came to see her mom and invited her into their home. When her mother came into the room, the woman pulled a gun on Michelle and her mom. Michelle’s younger brother came in from another room and momentarily distracted the shooter. Michelle grabbed the gun and began wrestling with the woman. The gun went off inches away from Michelle’s head. She and her brother fought for their lives and were able to get the gun away from the shooter while their mother ran out the back door, leaving the two children to fend for themselves.
Michelle’s mom was able to put on a good façade, and even went to church, but this was all about image management and was not a genuine pursuit of faith. She was good at fooling people and providing for herself. She became a foster parent, having up to five kids at a time. However, it was Michelle who loved the children, cared for them, and fed them.
When Michelle left home, she got into a lesbian lifestyle. She kept longing for a fulfilling relationship, but in the end she would experience disappointment, emptiness, and heartache. Michelle kept saying to herself, “one more time,” through almost 40 years of searching. Michelle says, “There were a lot of ‘one more times.’ Looking back, all of my partners were using me and all of them were emotionally abusive. I just didn’t realize it in the darkness where I was living then.”
Michelle’s unhappiness led her to contemplate suicide, but “God led me to call Life Springs Christian Church.” She made an appointment with Roger Worsham. He shared the gospel and the good news of God’s love regardless of her past. She accepted Christ and was baptized, and she began meeting regularly with a pastor to help her grow and experience God’s healing from past emotional wounds.
She now knows God’s love and is able to listen to him and be still before him. She reads her Bible daily. While she shares her faith at work, she often finds herself listening to Christian music through her headphones to avoid the gossip and unhealthy drama of her coworkers. The Christian music is one step in her effort to renew her mind. She’s part of a women’s Bible study where she is learning to pursue healthy Christian friendships.
Michelle is now experiencing the ministry of Jesus foretold by Isaiah: “He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners . . . to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair” (Isaiah 61:1-3).
This woman who was once told she was “too ugly” by her mother now knows that in Christ she wears a crown of beauty, and that is an extremely better story!
Roger Worsham serves as senior pastor with Life Springs Christian Church, Las Vegas, Nevada.