My name is Debra.
I heard about The Grace Mask when I met Aurelia at my home church.
I grew up in a physically, mentally, and emotionally abusive home. While I never feared for my life, the abuse was debilitating. My father was an alcoholic and a drug addict, and my mother was a co-dependant. My father was volatile and physically abused my mother and my siblings. He touched me in ways that a father never should. I grew up angry at both my mother and my father for not caring for me like other moms and dads I knew. My mom tried to do special things for us all the time, she did the best she could, but we needed a savior. I wanted her to save us all from the hurt we experienced each day and she simply couldn’t do that for us.
My first connection to The Church was through the bus ministry. The church bus picked me up when I was in 3rd grade, part of my 4th grade year and then part of my 5th grade year. My 5th grade year, I lived about an hour away from the church, but a sweet couple from the church drove the big bus all the way to my home and back each Sunday so I would never go a week without hearing about the love of Jesus. My mom started taking us to church when I was in the 6th grade, but it only lasted for a few months. The tension between my mom and my dad grew when mom took us, so she stopped.
As an adult I tried to medicate the pain from my childhood and even the pain I was creating as an adult with drugs and alcohol. I really had no hope. I believed in God, but I refused to give Him my heart. I still knew that He was real and He loved me. I just didn’t realize how much He wanted a relationship with me.
Jesus never gave up on me, but at the age of 30 I still had not submitted my will to Him. I was pregnant and I was using the people of the local church instead of the meth I had been addicted to before I was pregnant. The church gave me a baby shower; they gave me Jesus and I knew I was safe with them. But after our baby was born, after giving her a clean beginning free of drugs, alcohol, and cigarettes, I still did not value myself enough to stay clean. I went back to the meth and distanced myself from my church family, still unsaved. One day my neighbor offered me a ride to her Sunday School class and I accepted – I didn’t want them to think I was a bad mother. Her Sunday School class was studying the book of Nehemiah verse by verse. As I read that Old Testament book, the Holy Spirit began to speak to my heart. I realized that I was the exile, and Jesus wanted me to come home and rebuild my life. No one in the class knew the real truth of what was going on in my life. I had them all fooled. I wasn’t fooling God, though. In the ninth chapter of Nehemiah the poople came together, confessed their sins, and asked God to forgive them. And it finally clicked that I could do the same that day. I was fearful at first, and bargaining with God the whole way, but He finally spoke so loudly to my spirit, “Stop bargaining with Me!” I fell to my knees and asked Him to save me. That was 13 years and 4 months ago. I have been in love with Him since, and I’ve never once turned back to my old ways of living. I really did GET IT! New creation in Christ…old is gone, and new is come!
Never in my life had I felt respected or honored. When I gave my heart to Jesus everything changed. Through the help of many mentors Jesus began to teach me that I AM His beautiful Bride! Not only that but I have a Heavenly Father that thinks I’m beautiful too. I felt like I could ask Him anything, and still do, and He listens to me, and smiles at me, and He sees me how He always saw me….restored. I have nothing good in me, but because of the blood of Christ, my Father sees a spotless Bride when He looks at me, He no longer sees my sin and my shame. I am holy, and I am grateful…so grateful.
Jesus Christ has broken my chains and freed me from a very dark place. He could have simply freed me from the chains of alcohol and drug abuse, but He didn’t stop there. Before Jesus, I was doing my best to make my dungeon of “self” as livable as possible – but no matter how “good” I tried to be I was still doomed. The moment I surrendered all to Jesus the chains of addiction were broken and I started running to HIM. At the beginning it was a desperate escape from the darkness of my past, but as I continue down this aisle of life to the Great Wedding Day and His strong, loving arms I find it’s easier to run and I can sing as I go. He is my ONLY Goal.
I have been saved from a horrible past to a beautiful future. My heart is to tell people about His grace and mercy. I have made poor choices. But those choices allow me to understand people who are making the same poor choices I made. I am grateful that He works all things together for the good of those who trust in Him. My husband and I will be opening our in-house facility for families this year to help people who have been affected by life controlling problems as we minister to the WHOLE family. I am called to glorify Him Who saved me and to point hurting people to the same Jesus who called me out of darkness and into His glorious light!
Romans 12:1 And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. 2 Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.
Hebrews 12:1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. 2 We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne.