Deborah A. Bates's Testimony

Having Jesus Christ as my personal Savior has made such a difference in my life, I wonder why it took me so long to accept His glorious offer of salvation.

I was raised in the Roman Catholic Church and attended catechism while in public school. For four years I attended a catholic school and considered a life of service to God, but when I was 13 years old everything changed. My grandfather, who had served as both father and grandfather to my sister and me, died. After his death, my family, which had been close, disintegrated before my eyes. Family gatherings were frought with tensions and bickering. No one wanted to gather for birthdays or anniversaries anymore. My mother and grandmother both became involved with married men and no one in the household could get along anymore. My mother, her boyfriend, my sister,and I moved out of my grandmother's house. My mother and her boyfriend fought constantly and she began to drink. My grandmother, who I saw regularly, was in a similar relationship. My sister and I found that the best way to stay out of trouble was to stay out of the house.

When I was 14 years of age, I began drinking and using drugs. I stayed in high school and maintained a B average, so no one realized I had a problem. I continued substance abuse for 14 years. During this time I left home and moved from relationship to relationship, but no one could make me happy. I only lived alone for about three months this entire time. When I was alone, my house was robbed twice and I was raped. After this, I started another relationship so I wouldn't be alone. I was married at 21 and divorced at 23. I had a daughter who was stillborn during one of my live-in relationships. I was very depressed for the next seven years. I was married and divorced again and attempted suicide.

At age 28, I quit drinking and doing drugs and decided to remain unattached. I started drinking a couple of times after that and became suicidal again. I went back to college and tried to bury myself with a full time job and school, but nothing would take the pain away. While at school, I met a born again Christian who had a very important message to give me the message of salvation.

I had wanted to turn back to God many times in my past but I didn't know how. I figured God wouldn't want me back with all the sins I had committed, but my Christian friend taught me otherwise. Although I was very skeptical, my friend didn't give up on me. I came to a point in my life where I was going to kill myself or accept the gift of salvation. I can say now that I definitely made the right choice.

Things have not been all rosy since I've been saved, but God is always there for me. Reading His Word and prayer help me through anything. I also have a very supportive church family. Every problem that has come my way since I was saved has proven to be a blessing in that it has helped me to grow stronger in my faith.