Rescue the PerishingSearching for Everything
Leslie Basham: Mothers are supposed to protect their children. When they ignore that responsibility, it leads to great destruction, according to a young woman named Angie.
Angie: The first time I smoked crack was with my mom, and we drank a lot together. My mom was more like a girlfriend to me than a mother. So I guess at that point in my life I went searching in other places for love and affection.
Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Friday, January 18. Today’s Revive Our Hearts isn’t appropriate for younger children. You’ll want to get them involved somewhere else. Here’s Nancy.
Nancy Leigh DeMoss: As you’ve been hearing, this coming Sunday is when we observe, in the United States, “Sanctity of Human Life Sunday.” This is a response of many who’ve been concerned about the decision that the Supreme Court made forty years ago, back in 1973, when they ruled that abortion is legal in this country during all nine months of a woman’s pregnancy.
Sometimes we throw out these figures about abortion—you know, a million and a half or so aborted babies every year. You see the signs and you see the demonstrations and you hear some of the rhetoric. It’s easy to forget that this is not about statistics. Every one of these abortions is a human life, not only the life of the child in the womb, but the life of the mother, the life of the dad, the life of the parents and the grandparents and the brothers and the sisters. So many human stories involved in this whole issue.
This week and next we are listening to the dramatic story of one woman who had to decide whether to protect the life of a child that she was carrying. First, let's go back to a bit of what we heard on yesterday's program.
Angie: No, when I was thirteen, I remember one night specifically right before they got a divorce, my mom and dad were arguing. This was a common thing at our house with alcohol and drugs and stuff. My brother was there, and he was in the middle of them. They were arguing because my mom found out that my dad was whistling at girls, or something.
My mom got really angry, and they went into their room. My mom went into the bedroom and was yelling at him, and she tried to grab him, and she hit him. He hit her back, and she went and got the knife off the table, and she stabbed him. She came into the room where I was, and she picked me up, and she had blood splattered on her shirt. She told me that she had just killed my father.
My brother ran to the neighbor and called the police. The police came, and thankfully, my dad was saved from that. I just remember my mom had this glazed look in her eyes with the same shirt on. She just had this look that said, “I can’t do this anymore. I’m not going to do this to you anymore.” No tears, I mean there was no emotion in her face. It just this glazed look, like, “I’m done.”
Nancy: When I first heard this story from Angie, we were both speaking at a banquet to raise funds for the Pregnancy Care Center, located in my hometown in Michigan. Angie spoke first that evening, and we really all could have gone home after she gave her testimony.
By the time she was done, there was hardly a dry eye in the place. God just spoke so powerfully through Angie's testimony. So when I got up, all I had to do was just encourage people to consider how God might want to use them as part of the process in some other young woman’s life.
I couldn't wait to get Angie here in the studio to share this story with you. Let's listen to this next part of my conversation with Angie.
Nancy: So, Angie, thank you so much for not only following the Lord’s direction—though you didn’t realize at the time that’s what it was—to have this baby, who is now your six-year-old son, but to come and share with us on Revive Our Hearts your story because I believe God’s going to use it as an instrument of grace and encouragement and hope in many other lives. Young women, grandmoms, moms, people at every part of this whole story of life. So thanks so much for being with us again today.
Angie: I’m glad to be here.
Nancy: As I look at you, you’re a radiant young woman today in your mid-twenties and married to a godly young man and raising a son for the Lord. People who would just meet you and see you initially and see the sparkle in your eyes would not imagine the atrocities that took place in your home as you were growing up.
You shared with us yesterday kind of an overview of the first thirteen years of your life: a lot of drinking, a lot of drugs in your home, your parents, a lot of anger and angry words and arguing. You left us yesterday . . . I hated to stop there, but we had to. The clock was running. But your parents had had a very serious argument. Your dad had been wounded. Your mom had stabbed him. As a result, they end up—your mom—filing for divorce from your dad.
You’re thirteen years old. What’s going through your head—your heart—at this point in your life?
Angie: I was anticipating the divorce because my mom had spoken about her desires to part from my father for a couple years before, since I was ten. My sister—my older sister—had actually paid for the divorce because she worked down the road at a local Burger King and loaned my mom the money to get the divorce.
Nancy: Your sister, who was a teenager herself.
Angie: She was only seventeen. My mother seemed very hurt by my dad. When you’re a child, you don’t see the whole picture. You just see what you’re shown. My mom was the biggest influence in my life and I loved her dearly, as most daughters love their mothers. Naturally, I didn’t want to spend time with my dad, and I was grateful that my mom had the opportunity to leave him. He was the reason for all of our hurt and pain that we went through—my mother and I together.
Nancy: As far as your perspective was then. That’s what it looked like to you.
Angie: Right. Of course, I see with different eyes now. But then I really blamed my dad for all of my mom’s hurt. It wasn’t even about me necessarily. It was about how hurt my mother was and how she had to resort to being with other men all the time because he was so cruel in words and actions. So at that time, the divorce really wasn’t to me traumatizing. It was more of like a relief, I guess, so we could get normal now.
Nancy: Yet at this point in your life, you really ended up having to raise yourself because your mom is now having to go out to work, and you said she was partying on the weekends. What was life like and what happened when you ended up kind of on your own?
Angie: During my earlier years, my mom would sleep all day. I would get up in the morning and we would just do our own thing as kids. Then when we would come home from school about 3:30, she would be waking up. So it was more at night where we had closeness with my mom.
After my parents got the divorce, it was kind of the same way except for my mom had more freedom at this time. She would go out, and we would be home alone. We would get up ourselves in the morning and things like that. Then my mother had to get a job and so life got pretty hard. My mom was gone a lot. When she was home, she was drinking and men would come over. I remember having parties. I would have my friends over because everybody thought my mom was like the coolest because she would buy us all alcohol, and we were only fourteen years old.
I remember this guy she worked with. I was laying in my bed around 2:00 in the morning. We had all been drinking, and my other girlfriend was laying with me. He got in between us and was trying to do stuff with us. He was twenty-nine years old. I guess that was a very grown-up time in my life.
My little sister—she’s fourteen. I look at her and think about when I was fourteen and the independence I was given at such a young age . . . I could go anywhere I wanted. I could do anything I wanted. My friend’s mother taught me how to smoke, and so I started taking up cigarettes as a habit.
My mom had this distorted thinking that she wanted me to try drugs with her first in a safe way so that I knew if I liked it, and it would be safe because she knew what was in the drugs. If I went on the street and just got it, who knows what would be in it. The first time I smoked crack was with my mom, and we drank a lot together. My mom was more like a girlfriend to me than a mother.
So I guess at that point in my life, I went searching in other places for love and affection because I started to realize that I wasn’t receiving it the way my friends were with their parents. Their parents wouldn’t let them stay out until 3:00 in the morning, and I couldn’t understand that. We would always talk so bad about their parents. “They’re so mean. My mom lets me do anything. Your parents are so . . .” But in all reality, in my heart I knew that I needed more.
About that time I started reaching out to my dad. Up until this point, I really hated him in my heart. I didn’t care if he lived or died, I thought. He was the cause of all of our hurt in our family was my presumption. So I started calling my dad. I started answering his calls because he would call for me, and I would start answering them. He would talk to me and try to talk me into going some places with him. I would never go, but I just wanted to feel the water.
I finally started going with him for short times. It’s kind of fuzzy in my mind. I don’t really remember exactly how this happened or took place, but my mother moved out of the house that we lived in. My dad moved in, and I stayed. You remember how I told you that my house was really nasty?
My grandparents came. My dad tried to get them to fix the house, and they were like, “Nope, you made this bed, you lie in it.” But my grandma saw my room and my friends had came in and wrote really nasty things on the wall and there was profanity. When my grandmother saw this, I was so ashamed because she’s so pure and good and here am I. I’m so dirty. She said she wanted to help me, so she opened my door and went in and she saw all this stuff.
I left to go to a friend’s house. I was so ashamed. I went with my friends, and we went out drinking, and I just ignored everything. When I came back, she had painted my whole room white. My walls were . . . It was like they were washed clean. First, she scrubbed my walls from top to bottom. My grandma was like sixty-five or something. All by herself—just my room.
So when you walked into my house, there were cracks in the floor. The walls had holes from parties and boys getting crazy, and then you opened my door, and it was just beautiful—white with brand new fluffy carpet and my bedding was new. It was just a haven for me to go to.
Nancy: What a picture that was of what God was one day going to do with your life—rescuing and redeeming you out of that situation. Not just physically, but spiritually. Well, you weren’t there yet, and you became involved with sexual relationships with guys in the process—which you’d seen modeled from your parents, you began to practice yourself. What were you looking for?
Angie: Well, I guess I went searching for what I wasn’t finding at home because, although I was living with my father, he was really emotionally detached from me. To this day, he still says I’m a reflection of the hurt that he once felt from my mom, so how could he dare feel that hurt again from me. I’m assuming. He’s never said this, but he said to me that I’m my mom. “You’re just like your mother.” He always says that. He always said that to me.
So I lived there and I dealt with her . . . I got the consequences from her actions. He would call me a slut and a whore, and I wasn’t even having sex at this point. I reached out for the last time to him and I just felt so . . . I started to hate him all over again. It was like I had bounced in and bounced out and . . . I mean, it was just like this . . . I can’t even describe how it was emotionally for me.
But I didn’t want to give up. Something in me was just like I want it so bad. So finally when I knew that I couldn’t get what I so longed for in my heart, I started hanging out and doing drugs more. I felt like when I did drugs, nothing else mattered, when I smoked pot or when I did ecstasy or cocaine. I mean, I did everything. But look at me now, and people think, “No, you never did a line of coke.” And I’m thinking to myself how amazing God is that He can change the inside and out.
Angie: I feel like I didn’t want to feel the pain of my dad anymore because I had felt it and accepted it for so long. So I decided to absorb myself in the world and my friends, which were not, by any means, good influences on me. I fell into a really bad crowd. They introduced me to many drugs and alcohol and ways of living that I wasn’t accustomed to because I had always kind of been sheltered in my house trying to make things perfect there.
I started sleeping over at other people’s houses and my dad was angry because I wasn’t bringing my friends over for him to have attention and all these things. So he kicked me out. I didn’t have a place to live. I just remember searching.
There was a longing in my soul. In the very center of my heart, there was this deep feeling of need that I believe now was for Christ. And I feel like Jesus was the only One who could have ever filled that in me. We always search for everything else in the world, but the only One that can really fulfill that in you is Jesus.
Angie: But I was looking in every other avenue. It’s so obvious to me now. It wasn’t then.
I had this really nice guy friend, and I had never had sex before. So I decided, well, hey, this might be what I’m looking for. Drugs only is temporary. Alcohol—it’s only temporary. So I ended up on a basement floor feeling just as alone and vulnerable as I had before I made the choice to lose my virginity.
Although I thought it would be different, and my friends who were outside in another room were kind of rooting me on. “Yeah! Go! This is going to be exciting. You’re going to be like us now.” I was the last one to lose my virginity.
Satan was really working hard in my life because he knew that God’s plans were stronger than his. He was trying to get every little last punch in because he knew that I was on my way to something better.
After that, the guy was gone, but the emotions stayed. The next time I was at another guy’s house. The emotions were still there. He left. The emotions stayed. It was like . . .
Nancy: The emotions and the pain . . .
Angie: The pain, the hurt, the loneliness. Everything you feel when . . . I guess when you don’t know God in a close, personal way. That’s the only way that I can describe it. I know sometimes it seems kind of corny. I don't want to seem like I am one of those evangelical . . . I don't want to be like, "Christ is the way. Choose God or die." I don't want to seem like that. But I just feel like I know because I searched every other possible avenue and nothing, nothing filled that emptiness in my heart. Nothing.
After the second time of going there and reaching out in that kind of way—in a sexual way—because that’s the only way that I thought . . . Well, everything else has failed. This has got to be it. I had so many examples of my mother and my older sister going going down that path. My sister had an abortion at the age of fourteen. So it had to be the way. Right? That was my perspective anyway.
After that second time, I was like, “No, I’m not the kind of girl that goes and sleeps with everybody because I know that’s not appropriate.” I knew in my heart that that was not acceptable. I believe that was from my grandmother’s influence because my grandfather was her first and last, and she was a Christian. She didn’t make love to my grandfather until they were married, and I knew that.
I feel like my mother’s influence was strong to a point—like I was trying her side. But I knew, no, this isn’t working. I need something different. And I decided I’m not going to do this. I dove straight into drugs and alcohol deeper than I already had been. I started selling drugs to make more money to buy drugs. I did ecstasy like it was going out of style, and that’s a very dangerous drug.
That’s the kind of drug people say that makes it go away. You’re happy. I used to think if everyone in the world was on ecstasy, everyone would be happy. But after it’s gone and over, you go on this intense low feeling. When you feel really good and then you feel the opposite, that causes depression and all those things. So I just dove in really deep into alcohol and drugs. I just tried to cast away everything that made me feel anything. I detached myself emotionally from everyone and everything.
Nancy: Then you ended up in another relationship. This one a little longer than the previous ones.
Angie: This guy had hung around my circle. We hung out with guys and girls, and it was mixed. He was very charming. He had a great smile, and he was so nice. When I had talked (because under the influence of alcohol, you kind of just tell everyone your business and it doesn’t matter who it is—the waitress at the restaurant or the operator on the phone because you don’t know what number you’re trying to dial), he listened. That was his avenue to earn my trust because you didn’t just get it because I wasn’t that kind of girl anymore.
So as our relationship progressed, he never wanted sex from me. He never wanted drugs. He never wanted anything but my attention. So I started thinking in my mind maybe this is a good way to be. Maybe it is possible. He asked me if I would date him, and I said yes. He waited. He didn’t want to have sex right away, and I thought that that was admirable. So he waited a whole two weeks, which seemed so long to me because other guys were like, “I’m not going to date you unless you have sex with me first.”
So we dated for two weeks, and then we had sex. Everything was fine. I felt good about my life. That seems funny because I didn’t have a place to live. I had no job, no car, no license. I was sixteen years old with absolutely nothing. I had dropped out of high school, and had lost contact with a very important person in my life—my grandmother. My parents were doing their own thing.
Here I was with this guy that I knew loved me with all his heart, and we were going to be married. He didn’t have a job or a car or a license, and he did just as many drugs as I did. He dropped out of school as well. So here we are on top of the world.
Nancy: Until the bottom fell out on your seventeenth birthday. Something really dramatically changed this story.
Angie: Two months after we were dating, I had my very close friend, my best friend, and she was with this guy. She wanted so badly to be pregnant because he kept leaving her. She was like, “If I just have a baby, he’ll stay,” which I think so many girls feel. She was under the assumption that if she got pregnant, he would definitely stay because guys always stay when they have a baby to stay for.
Nancy: She thought.
Angie: She thought. So she was like, “I think I’m pregnant. Let’s go get a pregnancy test.” So as kind of a moral support thing, I said, “I’ll get one, too.” So we went to the health clinic. We were sitting there, and we went and did the whole duty. We came back, and we were in the waiting room giggling and laughing, and I was reading Cosmo or whatever.
So the woman comes out and she brings us both back into the room together because we were together, and it was fine. She gave us these little pieces of paper. She handed them both to us and she said, “Congratulations.” She looked at me, and I looked at her eyes, and I just laughed. I said, “You got the wrong paper.” I grabbed my friend’s paper and gave her mine. She goes, “No, honey. You’re pregnant.”
At that moment I just felt tears stream down my face. I didn’t want to have a baby. I didn't want to hear anything anyone had to say. I was looking at my friend, like, "Let's go." Of course, she was disappointed because she wanted the paper that I had. I was the one that was pregnant and she wasn’t.
Nancy: Obviously, when Angie received that news, her world changed dramatically and immediately. We're listening to a pretty heavy story for the last couple of days. If you are wondering how somebody could possibly survive this story, much less see a positive ending, I want to encourage you to join us again on the broadcast next Monday and Tuesday, as we hear the rest of Angie's story. I know that you'll be encouraged as you see God's ability to take the broken, messed up pieces of our lives and make something beautiful out of them.
Now, it is striking for me to realize that Angie's story took place just a few miles from where I'm sitting right now. It makes me wonder how many other Angie's are out there. Women who are in desperate need to experience God's love, His direction, and His forgiveness. I'm confident that there are Angies in your area right now, as well.
As we approach this Sanctity of Human Life Sunday, I hope you'll ask the Lord how He would have you get involved in the lives of these needy women. One important way that you can do that is to volunteer at a pregnancy care center in your area.
I know that the one in our area is always in need of volunteers. There are people who come and do repairs on the building, some work in the office, some meet with women who are in crisis, some share stories of their own abortions and the grace that they've experienced from God as they come to a place of repentance.
There are always practical needs and supplies that these pregnancy care centers can use to ministry to these expectant moms and then the newborn babies. So I want to encourage you to look up a pregnancy care center in your area and to pray about how the Lord may want to use you to help protect the life of the unborn and to provide healing for hurting and needy women right there in your community.
Leslie: We’ve been hearing about Angie’s difficult home life. And things got even more complicated for her when she received the results of a pregnancy test. Hear more of this story Monday on Revive Our Hearts.
Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.Offers available only during the broadcast of the radio series.