Girl Meets God

Growing up as a young girl I remember getting up early every Sunday morning with my Dad and going to church.  Although I have fond memories of singing in the choir and  hearing about Jesus in my Sunday school class, I did not know that we had such a loving God until years later.

Much of my life as a young school girl I witnessed a bitter-sweet marriage with my mother and father. Rarely did I encounter love.  The only time I remember a little peace in the home was usually during the holidays.

In Michigan at the age of 10 I remember my father standing on the landing with suitcases in hand say to my mother that he was leaving.  When I heard this it felt as though my heart dropped into my stomach.  As I look back that was probably one of the most heart-wrenching times in my life.

As the days and years went on I watched my mother take prescription drugs to help numb the pain. As I look back, I can’t help but remember that what was once supposed to be a temporary fix, turned into years of addiction for my mother.   This was a time when doctors would  write prescriptions without getting to the heart of the matter. To me many drugs then and now function as a band-aid to cover  a wound that is much worse and needs more care than just an abrasion.

Over the next five years I witnessed first hand the heart-ache and pain that my mother so desperately tried to endure. But her battle was lost at the young age of 45 when she decided to end her life. Before her death I remember one particular incidence:  It was the middle of the night and for some reason I awoke and found my mother so stoned standing in the kitchen with a knife in hand cutting an empty plate.  I know now that the Lord was with me as I gently took the knife out of her hand and put her to bed.

Aside from all of this I remember that I began to gravitate toward people my age and older that were big on alcohol and drug use. I remember (and I do NOT encourage) there were times when I would sneak out of the house in the middle of the night to get drunk with my friends while sitting on the corner of our street.

This behavior went on for a few years until one day, because I could no longer deal with my mothers illness,  I decided just days before her death to go and live with my father along with his new wife and family.   Two days after moving in with my new family my father received a phone call from a concerned neighbor asking him to come and see if my mother was alright since there had not been any activity at the house.  When my father, who was a firefighter and captain of the paramedic squad arrived, the door was locked which led him to climbed through the back living-room window. It was there he found my mother overdosed with a note at her side.

Now I had a new hurdle to overcome and that was my struggle with the enormous guilt that I carried for the next five years of my life:  The only thing I knew to do at that time was to drown my sorrows with drugs and alcohol. It was during this time that I had also become anorexic until one day I was literally scared into eating again after my body began to act abnormally. I remember saying to myself, “I have got to start eating again” and so I immediately got up, went into the kitchen and began to make myself something to eat.

In my senior year of high school I decided to get married (mainly to get out of the house) but it lasted only a year and a half and it was not long after that I began “partying” again. Then one day after my divorce (and while living again with my parents)  I remember  my brother Bob came to visit and shared with me about this amazing person named Jesus. While he was talking to me I knew that there was something different about him which that in itself captured my attention. As I look back I see how God’s perfect timing was spot on because I was getting real tired of my life fast!

It wasn’t long after this that I had been given a cassette tape with the personal story of a woman by the name of Sandy Brown.  She was a former cocktail waitress in Vegas.  She spoke about how Jesus showed himself to her and she didn’t even know who he was until He said his name and then she thought to herself: “I know that Name, I use it all the time!” From that day on Jesus  began to transform this young womans life by helping her to overcome her drug addiction and ultimately opened the doors of churches all over the country allowing her  to share her amazing story with others about God and His amazing love through Jesus Christ.

Because of all that I had been through I knew that  I was ready for a change.  So I said a prayer that I meant from my heart, and it went something like this, “Jesus I believe in you..I believe that you died for me and rose from the dead…forgive me of all I’ve done wrong.  Help me to follow you, be my Lord and my Savior” After talking to the Lord I remember lying on the floor in my sisters bedroom and it felt as though I had a blanket on top of me, it was very comforting, I was also crying, not because of sadness, but because it felt like this huge weight was lifted off of me and I knew that something inside of me was different.  Although the outside did not change much right away I knew that on the inside my heart was filled with God’s love, joy and a peace that I had never felt before in my entire life!

Has my life up to this point been perfect? No. But one thing remains true: I have by the mercy of God experienced the Lord’s goodness and feel a great passion to share His unconditional love with anyone who is willing to listen.

The Lord has led my husband Rick and I along with our two boys to start the first church ever in the history of our home town.  Pastor Rick teaches the Bible in ways that can help us on a day-to-day basis.

If you are looking for something more meaningful in your life, just know this: God loves you! There is nothing that you have done, or are currently involved in now that will keep God from showing His love to you.  He is ready and waiting for you to call out to him. “They that call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved”

If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to ask. You can also access Pastor Rick’s messages for free at http://www.poncechurch.com

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About Nina Tidwell~Writer, Photographer & Pastor

I am happy to say that I have been married to my wonderful husband for 24 years. I love being a mother to our two boys. I am a published writer and photographer. My written work has been published in local magazines while raising our children in Phoenix, Arizona. While living in Ponce Inlet, FL my photography has been published in "Locals Only Surf Magazine" in Daytona Beach/Ponce Inlet, FL. I also love pastoring Ponce Church, Surfside located in Ponce Inlet, alongside my husband Rick. In 2003 as a family we pioneered the first church ever in the history of our wonderful town. As a family and a church we love to help others. My husband and I enjoy going for rides on our motorcycle and we love to walk on the beach. I am thankful to God for all of the blessings in our life. View all posts by Nina Tidwell~Writer, Photographer & Pastor

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