Friday, February 27, 2009

Jesus Breaks Every Fetter

J.J. and Darci Lawrence

It is so exciting to serve Jesus. You march to the beat of an eternal drum. My husband and I have always enjoyed hearing the spiritual journey of others. I thought for a change of pace I'd share a few testimonies of a few members of our flock. Below is the true story of Darci Lawrence.


When you see me, I usually have a smile on my face. Jesus gave me that smile. It wasn’t always that way. I went through sixteen years of alcohol, street drug abuse and hopelessness until Jesus passed by and made me a new creature in Christ Jesus.

I was a church kid but felt that Jesus had let me down. What I realize now is that I let Him down. My “disease,” as it’s called in treatment centers started long before it broke loose. I had a perfect childhood. My addictions were not my parents’ fault.

When I was fifteen I was dating a senior in high school. He introduced me to my first college party. I didn’t know the feeling of alcohol and how fast it affects you and your decisions. I made some poor decisions that night. I dated this young man for a year until he announced to me the birth of his new son. The mother was a good friend of mine. That was my first taste of rejection.

When I turned sixteen, I had saved enough money to buy my own car. I had a lot of friends and clung to them after the breakup. We started drinking every weekend.

My folks were devastated when during my senior year I told them I was pregnant. I moved to Cedar Rapids with a nice family that a nice adoption agency close. I finished most of my senior year there. I gave birth to a boy. He was adopted by a wonderful family, but I never realized the impact that decision would have on me for the rest of my life.

I went back home to graduate. Even in the midst of my partying, I still had a good work ethic and held down a job or two. After graduation I tried college and had my first encounter with my future Gospel Lighthouse family members – Mike and Amy Miller. Drugs had become a way of life for me, causing me to lose any direction or purpose I had in my life. I dropped out of college and entered the University of Adversity.

When I was nineteen I met a twenty-seven-year-old man. We had a baby boy (Brock) the following year. When I found out I was pregnant, I put my drug problem on hold. My mom was diagnosed with breast cancer when I was pregnant with our second child – Brittany. We moved to Manly, Iowa, so I could be near my mom, but my drug addiction continued. Even though I had two beautiful babies, I had a hole in my heart.

My mom was in remission and my children’s father had gotten a new job. We were so excited because a house was provided by his company. Things were okay for awhile, but a single man with two kids lived across the street. He would eventually become my first husband. He dealt drugs out of his apartment. Sin always takes you farther than you want to go. I chose to be with this man and that’s when I became a slave to drugs. They were everywhere and I could have them anytime I wanted them. In the midst of this drama, my son Brady was born.

Mom started getting sicker and died in 1999. I was devastated and began to blame myself for her death. I was sure God was punishing me for my sinful lifestyle. I married this drug dealer and one week after we were married, I became a battered wife. The first time he punched me he told me that my mom told him to hit me because it was my fault she died. I believed him. Everything had to be perfect or I was slapped, punched or locked outside. I remember two nights I spent in the dog kennel one February. He allowed me to come in to change Brady, make meals and clean the house. I could work, but if I told anyone, there would severe consequences. We purchased a nice acreage in January of 2000. I was hoping to have a fresh start, but my hopes were soon dashed.

I knew my husband had a gun. He began threatening the children. I tried to leave. He beat me so badly I couldn’t see for a week. I had no hope. The drugs were my escape. At some point he was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. Things got even worse. The meth was in his system causing him to have me under his thumb 24/7.

One morning I was getting ready for work and his eyes burned through me. I felt evil around me. To get a moment’s peace, I locked the bathroom door. I heard him go outside, open the garage door and get his saw. He came back and started sawing through the bathroom door.

In 2002, I convinced one of his friends to take him on a fishing trip for the weekend. The kids and I packed all weekend. We were planning to leave before he returned, but he came back early and saw the bags. He locked the kids outside, pointed a handgun at me and pulled the trigger. The bullet clipped the tip of my ear and hit the wall. I could hear my children crying. They didn’t know if I was dead or alive. My husband calmly said, “Next time I won’t miss.”

A few days later I had a call from D.H.S. They told me to go get my kids and come directly to their office. They warned me not to call my husband. I did what I was told. Brady had told his teacher that his dad shot him mom.

You would have thought I would have learned from the trauma I had been through, but the gnawing hole in my soul continued. It wasn’t long before I found myself in another dysfunctional relationship with another alcoholic. Soon I found myself pregnant again. In September of 2004, I gave birth to a baby girl. I knew the only chance this baby had was to give her to a good home. I was smart enough to realize that I couldn’t keep her. The three children I had needed my attention.

Shortly after my daughter’s adoption, I met a kind man – J.J. Lawrence! Our relationship was completely opposite of the abuse I had encountered for so many years. He was kind and gentle. His love for me began my much-needed healing process.

J.J. and I knew we wanted to be married. We tried several times to reach a local minister to see if he would marry us. Our phone calls were never returned. J.J.’s father told us, “Just ask Pastor Paul from the Gospel Lighthouse to marry you.”

We called Pastor Paul and he set up some counseling sessions. After one of our meetings Pastor Paul invited us to attend the Christmas program at the Gospel Lighthouse. When we left I warned J.J. “He’s up to something. He just wants to save us. I don’t think we should go.”

J.J. said, “No, he’s just being nice, Darci. I think we should take the kids and go.”

Well, we went and we’ve been going to church there ever since. Through the preaching of God’s Word, we came to know Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior.

J.J. had met Dave Walters at some A.A. Meetings. Dave was constantly telling J.J. he needed to find the Lord and attend a Bible-believing church. The Sunday J.J. went forward to the altar to receive Jesus into his life, Dave and Chris Walters visited the Gospel Lighthouse. God knew that Dave and Chris were supposed to be part of our spiritual journey.

J.J. and I are eternally grateful for saving us. Our children attend Lighthouse Academy. We are enjoying our new life-in-Christ. He filled the hole in my soul with His love.

The bullet hole in our wall is still there. It serves as a reminder of all that God has done for us. Great is His faithfulness!

As a mother, it thrills my heart to hear our children make plans for the future and it always involves Jesus.


Rae Nolt said...

WOW! What a story! God has been so good to them to give them a 2nd chance! Good stuff!

Kristi Butler said...

What a powerful testimony...and proof of God's persistent pursuit of us, no matter how far we fall. He is so gracious and full of mercy. He is great...and greatly to be praised!

Miawa said...

My heart is just glowing after reading this life story, thank you for posting it Dixie.
I too spent years making wrong choices and am now enjoying every day by allowing God to control my choices.
"I've been there and done that", tell your sister in Christ "I learned the hard way right along with her, but I too learned" God bless her and her family

Jean said...

Praise God for His longsuffering and mercy!

Jean Hall

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