This is the question I have found myself wrestling with for most of my life. Why is it that even when I try, I can’t seem to fully be satisfied in God? And dear Lord, why is it that I feel more satisfied when I receive love and attention from an ill-mannered man then I do in the presence of the my God? These were the questions I found myself wrestling with for years. Literally years, not even realizing how I was in bondage to them. The enemy had made me believe that I would never be fully satisfied in Jesus Christ until I was married.

From a young age, I believed that in order to be married I needed to be the best Christian and, the better I was, the greater odds I had at meeting my spouse. So when I thought I finally did meet him, I was convinced that I was indeed was a “good enough” Christian. It truly was a perfect kind of love, the one you dream of and more. That’s why the day we broke up out of the blue became the day my world fell apart. I was 22 years old when my happily ever after became an instant nightmare. I was left broken-hearted, alone, and feeling so unworthy of love. Not only did he break up with me, but he disappeared and didn’t tell a soul where he was going.

He left me with so many unanswered questions and, to numb my pain, I turned to drinking. When I went out, all kinds of men would give me attention. I would attract them with my short skirts, tan skin, and ethnic flair. I had never had so many men interested in me and this seemingly innocent fun I pursued filled a void for a moment that was so deep within me.

I don’t remember much from that night because of all the alcohol. But what I do recall is painful. I found myself in bed with a man whose name I couldn’t tell you. He was on top of me, ripping off my clothes as I begged him to stop. I yelled out for help but there was no reply. He forcefully threw himself on me and laughed in my face when I told him I was a virgin. In fear and with tears in my eyes, I stopped fighting him and eventually gave in. I let him have his way with me and when he finished I ran into the bathroom in disbelief at what just happened. I came out asking for my friends who weren’t there anymore.

I had nothing. No way to escape and no idea where I was. I asked this man to take me home. He instead gave me a t-shirt and told me he would take me in the morning as he beckoned me to bed. I laid awake in his arms the entire night, disgusted with myself and feeling so alone. I was sure that this was punishment for my sins of drinking too much. Morning finally came and the drive in his black Tahoe to my apartment was silent. I stared out of the window the entire time, asking myself how I got to this place.

That was the day it happened. That was the day I resolved that this ‘love story’ of mine I always dreamed of was forever lost.

I felt like I couldn’t tell a soul about the events of that evening. I was sure it was my fault. I kept hearing a voice tell me that it was over. That there was nothing I could do to fix this.

Even when I had moments of hope, they were overshadowed by the guilt and shame of what I had been through. I no longer recognized the person in the mirror. I was stuck - alone with my thoughts. Soon these feelings of loneliness and unworthiness began to take root and I began finding a temporary escape in alcohol. Drinking helped me forget but it also took me deeper and deeper down this never-ending hole.

The next two and a half years of my life were a blur. I didn’t tell a soul what happened to me. I thought I could hide and fix it on my own. So I began to live a dual life: church on Sunday after a weekend consumed with alcohol. I kept hearing a voice tell me that Christian guys don’t like damaged goods, so I thought getting married to a decent guy would fix everything. But instead of finding the love of my life and freedom from the lies; I only found more and more rejection. I dated seemingly good men who eventually would pressure me into sex and then leave me the second I said ‘no’ or gave in.

One day I came to grips with the fact that I couldn’t live this way anymore. I was so tired. I was exhausted from fighting to escape this prison. Everything I tried failed me and I was running out of options. I eventually became angry with God - I wanted answers.

I wanted to know why my heart desired a husband more than it desired Him so I began to search. But I was so afraid to find Jesus; I was sure He wanted nothing to do with me.

The name Monica means alone, and for 3 years, that was the only emotion I felt. I felt completely alone and misunderstood. Sitting on my couch, all alone one night, I felt the Father ask me what my name means; my full name. I knew Monica meant alone so I looked up Amanda. It's meaning? Worthy of love. In that moment, I felt Him say, ‘my child, you are worthy of my love.’ That night changed everything for me. I began to see that in my running Jesus was always right behind me, chasing after me.

I had heard the gospel my entire life, but that day I experienced it for the first time. The moment I turned to Him, He ran to me, happy to welcome me home. He met me in my mess and disgust and pulled me out. He wasn’t afraid of it; instead He washed it off and reminded me that He has always been there. He asked me why I was wearing so much guilt and shame. He told me to remove the old, dirty garments and gave me a new, righteous, and pure robe. Most of all, He gave me back my life; the life the enemy tried to take away. It has been a journey, but the past two years have been full of hope. I feel like myself again. I know that I am made new. The love story I’ve always wanted and dreamed of was right there, in Him. And every day since has felt like a feast. I am constantly celebrating my return with the Father.

I’m still learning to believe that God is enough. That I am enough. And that my identity isn’t found in what I have or haven’t done, but in who He says that I am. I am grateful for true freedom, true forgiveness that keeps no record of wrong, and for a love that never stops pursuing me.

How has God changed your life? How has he changed how you see yourself?
We want to hear your story (even the in process ones) of victory in Christ!