(Posted October 31st 2017 @ 7:20 AM by: Melody Reever)
My life started as a mess, and I made it worse.
I grew up in a small town of about five hundred people in southwestern Manitoba, where my dad was the town drunk. From my youngest memories to age seven, I saw nothing but violence and abuse where my dad beat my mom and eventually my nine-year-old brother. He once tried to kick in our car door while on the side of a highway, angry because my mom wouldn’t let him drive in his condition. A vehicle driving by hit my dad, and he lost the use of his left arm and sustained damage to his right leg. The last straw for my mom was when my dad beat my brother, wanting him to drive the car and take my dad somewhere. I was in the house, taking care of my infant brother and keeping him away from my dad. During these years, I was sexually molested by three non-family members.
Through all this, I somehow knew there was a God. I had a set of Bible story books that I read and loved. I would pray, and at about age ten, I got baptized and was told all I needed was to ask Jesus into my heart and I’d be saved. I remember walking around that church, asking over and over again for Jesus to come into my heart. It just didn’t seem like it was enough.
In the beginning of fifth grade, my mom, her new boyfriend, my two brothers, and I moved to the city of Calgary, Alberta. This was a big change for me, moving from a small town to a large city. But I loved seeing and learning of the people of different nationalities and cultures.
I didn’t realize the toll my childhood played, but it was a huge factor in how my teenage years went. The choices I made led me down a dark path. I lost my virginity at age thirteen. I drank and smoked and went to parties. Going to under-age clubs and drinking with friends was normal to me. I was a thief who stole whenever I got the chance.
When I was sixteen, an old boyfriend started going to a Pentecostal church and completely changed his life. I was invited to go, and I walked into a church of about three hundred people, worshiping and loving God. I thought it was rather crazy, but I loved it! At one Saturday night service, I began crying and praying after the message. My mouth started trembling. When finished praying, I heard people say, “You almost got it!” Later, in the restroom, I asked a young girl, “I almost got what?” I was so new to the church, I didn’t even know of receiving the Holy Ghost.
The next morning, God filled me with His wonderful Spirit, and I was baptized in Jesus’ name. I loved being in the presence of God! I remember running around that church, sometimes feeling like I was flying.
Despite this brief association of about six months with the Pentecostal church, I continued to destroy my life. I started trying a few “heavy” drugs, then got pregnant and had an abortion—which took me into a downward spiral. It emotionally destroyed me. I became extremely addicted to crack cocaine and prostituted myself. I didn’t care about me; my body was just a tool to get drugs. I was a broken nineteen-year-old.
I remember being by myself in a hotel room, crying out to God. I needed Him so badly! I promised Him if I ever got pregnant again, it would be my way out of the lifestyle I was living.
Then I got pregnant again—and decided to abort this pregnancy as well. I was very sick, and I weighed only ninety-eight pounds. It’s amazing how God protected my daughter when I was planning to abort her. I made an abortion appointment and had a man drive me to the abortion clinic. However, I fell into a deep sleep, and the man could not awaken me for over two hours. I missed the abortion appointment. I believe God allowed that to happen.
I moved back to Manitoba in December 1999 and was twenty weeks pregnant. I lived with family members for the next few months, recovering from the effects of drug use and attempting to get healthy. I started praying every night, and I felt a sense of peace that my baby would be fine. Thanks to God, I gave birth to a perfect baby girl in April 2000.
How I loved this perfect little girl who I named Savannah! She was my world—exactly what I needed—and everything I did was for her. When she was six months old, I moved out on my own.
In the summer of 2002, I took Savannah to a splash park to play. I noticed two girls who were playing there, observing they were dressed modestly. I asked them where they went to church and exchanged phone numbers with them. I called the United Pentecostal Church where they attended. I became acquainted with the pastor’s family, the Wittmeiers. They loved Savannah and me like we were their own. They gave us a ride to church (where I gave my life completely to God) and invited us to visit in their home. I am grateful for a pastor and his wife who took time to invest in me!
Two years after giving my life to God, I met Gilles at a youth retreat. We were married one year later. I was in awe of the Lord’s blessings! I felt I didn’t deserve a man who loved God more than anything else. I wondered how he could love me, considering my past.
Gilles was the first convert in the home missions church he attended and was their youth leader when we married. A few years later, he became the youth president of the Central Canadian District and served for six years. During that time, Gilles also became assistant pastor of our local church, The Rock UPC in Steinbach, Manitoba. Then in 2012, our pastor and wife moved to Ontario, and Gilles became pastor. In March 2017, he was elected to the position of district secretary for the Central Canadian District.
Gilles and I have been blessed with five wonderful children: Savannah, Josiah, Isaiah, and Daniel. We raised my husband’s nephew, Jared, and consider him as our son. God has been so good to us!
For the past few months, I have been able to share my testimony with many people. God has been opening doors in the ministry to which we are called. And He has been doing great things!
Our nine-year-old son, Isaiah, has high-functioning autism. I’ve been fearful that he was unable to understand who God is. However, he recently received the gift of the Holy Ghost in our camper when it was just he and I praying. God blessed me to have that powerful moment—just Isaiah, me, and God!
We baptized a young lady to whom we had witnessed about God and His forgiving, saving power at her house in her bathtub the night before her wedding. The presence of God was so powerful! After the baptism, a different young lady expressed that she wanted to experience the peace she sensed in me. I prayed with this lady, and God’s presence surrounded us. It was awesome!
I want God to be gloried through my life. Everything I am is because of His great grace and mercy. He is so amazing, and I love Him so much!
Jennifer Grenier is a stay-at-home mom in Kleefeld, Manitoba, where she loves spending time with her husband and children and making her home a place full of joy. She loves to make opportunities to share the goodness of God with others.