Ellen Martin | @ellenmartin03
Because the ministry of The Back Row focuses on healing, I will tell my story of healing. I cannot summarize everything Jesus has done for me. He is continually transforming my life. I am so incredibly grateful for and humbled by all He has done and continues to do.
I’m currently 23 years old and completing my Masters of Education degree. I grew up in a Christian home. I have two younger brothers – aged 21 and 17. I accepted Christ when I was seven years old at a Christmas Eve service at my church. I did not know how much that small prayer would affect my life. In fact, I still have lots to learn. I was baptized at age ten at my grandparent’s cottage. Life has been an incredible and crazy journey ever since.
I attended a Baptist church from when I was six until I was twelve years old. After a series of events, my family was asked to leave the church. At that time, I realized I had a decision to make. I could either stand up for Jesus for the rest of my life, or succumb to the devil’s wishes and turn from the church.
Throughout my teenage years I struggled with honouring my parents. We were close during my childhood, but I struggled with trusting and listening to them once I reached my mid-teenage years. Emotionally separating myself from my parents left me feeling unloved and unwanted. As a result, I ended up seeking love from the wrong people.
I was 17 when I began to question my faith once again. I felt more accepted by my non-Christian friends than I did by my Christian friends. I could not understand why non-Christians appeared to be nicer, more caring, and more serving than Christians. Because of this, I started to hang around with my non-Christian friends more. I went to and hosted parties. I flirted with boys. I sought love in the wrong places. Being liked and popular became more important than serving Jesus. I stopped reading the Bible, I did not enjoy attending church, and I was easily annoyed with theological discussions.
Shortly after my 19th birthday, I realized that what I was doing was not who I was supposed to be. That person was not the person God called me to be. I decided to change my lifestyle. I knew I had to change. Because of my choice to seriously follow Jesus, I lost the majority of my friends. God was faithful, despite my poor decisions. He once again restored my passion for reading and the studying of His Word. He helped me to restore my relationship with my Christian friends as well as providing new ones. We help keep each other on the narrow path. God provided the peace I needed.
Fast forward to shortly after my 21st birthday, I was just out of a long-term relationship with a great guy. A close friend and I began talking more frequently, and before I knew it he was asking for my parent’s permission to court me. Our relationship was great for a few weeks. Before long, it turned abusive in almost every aspect of our relationship. We broke up several times, only to get back together a few days later each time. No one knew of the abuse I experienced – physical, emotional, and sexual – when we were together. I felt the need to stay with him despite the mistreatment, because I honestly felt that no guy would love me after what I did and went through.
Eight months later, in February of 2014, God provided a way out of the relationship. One night, my then boyfriend got into a huge argument with my dad. Two days later, the youth pastor at our church told my parents to do what was right. They told me to break up with him. For the first time in years, I firmly put my trust in God and my parents for knowing what was best. I felt extremely helpless, broken, and unwanted, but I ended the relationship. I felt so free, but so very broken. For months I could not shake the feeling of “no one will love me now.” I do not remember a time when I felt more unwanted, unloved, and used.
Two weeks after the break up, my family visited a friend’s church. My parents quickly realized that we needed to leave the church we had been attending for nine years, and start attending this one. My life was changing so much in a very short period of time. I realized I needed Jesus. I really needed Him. The church we now attend is a conservative Baptist church with several solid young adults in the congregation. My parents realized that my brothers and I needed sound Christian friends. Although changing churches was difficult, I knew it was for the best. God was working in a wonderful way (but when does He not?).
Over the past year and a half, God has healed me in a way I cannot describe. He has been faithful in loving me, despite the many poor decisions I have made (and continue to make). My relationship with my parents is restored. I am in a wonderful church, surrounded by supportive and encouraging friends who keep me on the straight and narrow path, and am closer to God than I ever have been. I have learned that God really does heal. He really does love you. I screw up every day. Despite this, I am loved and I am wanted by the One who created me and this world. How amazing is that? I encourage you to seek your Creator, your Maker, your Saviour. Seek him today, tomorrow, and every day.
One verse that has been stuck in my mind for the past year is Psalm 39:7 “And now, O Lord, for what do I wait? My hope is in you.”
My hope is in Jesus. He is faithful.
Ellen Martin is a follower of Jesus Christ from Ontario, Canada. She is currently completing her Master’s of Education degree. She is passionate about apologetics, creation, and children. You can follow her on Twitter at @ellenmartin03.
The real, brutally honest testimonies to God's redeeming power from people on The Back Row.