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  My Witness

Vol. 7, No. 1, January, 2002

My Story of Christ in Me
By Linda Otero

I was raised in a foster home since I was nine months old. There were no legal steps taken for this placement. I was just snatched from one bad situation and placed in another. My family members told me that they couldn't recall ever seeing me cry. Emotionally I was just not there. They just didn't know about the silent tears that I was shedding because I was being sexually abused. If I said anything about this no one would believe me because I was always being accused of lying. Fear dominated my life regarding men. Even my foster mother held back showing me any kind of affection. She seemed to have this affection for others but not for me. Jealousy and envy became a part of my life.

At an early age I used alcohol as my escape. I graduated to drugs which became my god for many years. It gave me the "happy" feeling I had been searching for. But it came with a price. The depression after the high was unbearable to the point of attempted suicide. Sex became a drug for me but it also had its downside abandonment. I was out of control.

Why didn't anyone want to love me? I wasn't ugly. I had a good job. What was wrong with me? I still searched for that love which eventually resulted in my having two babies with no husband. Their father left me for other women plus he had a drug problem. I finally thought I found love when I married my husband. He would surely give me that love and take care of me for the rest of my life. It didn't happen. He had his own person problems. Now what? Educated people seemed to have a grip on life, so I decided to go to college. Wrong! I couldn't handle the load. I had a full time job, mother to two teenagers, wife, cleaning and cooking. Was this all there was to life?

One morning getting ready for work my knees began to buckle under me and I fell to the bathroom floor. I found myself in desperation saying, "if You are real, then do something with my life." It happened! God came in a rush and removed this weight of darkness from my heart and filled it with His love. For the very first time in all my 37 years I FELT LOVED. I cried out for mercy and forgiveness for all my wrongdoing and in that same instant I knew He had forgiven me. What a miracle! I am a miracle!

I have never been the same since that moment in April 1985. Six weeks after this victorious event, I went to a Life in the Spirit Retreat given by the Sisters of the New Covenant. I was prayed over the release of the Holy Spirit and then real life began for me. I was able to forgive from my heart all those who had hurt me and asked for forgiveness from those that I had hurt. The pain of my horrible past left me. During the following five years, I became a Catholic and joined the Sisters with other Companions in our efforts in evangelization.

My life continues to have its struggles and challenges, but it has only strengthened my trust and love in Jesus Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit. I even had the honor of praying with my foster father before he died. The Bible has been a major source of learning God's ways, love, encouragement and meaning for my life. I know now that I am never alone or without help. My children have come to know Jesus in a personal way as well as their spouses and my grandchildren.

The scripture that first encouraged me in this new life and continues to do so is Ps. 18:16 19: "He reached from on high, he took me, he drew me out of many waters. He delivered me from my strong enemy, and from those who hated me; for they were too mighty for me. They came upon me in the day of my calamity; but the Lord was my stay. He brought me forth into a broad place; he delivered me, because he delighted in me."

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