Skip to main content

A Sweet Testimony Of God's Grace by Colie Maxwell

A few days ago I was invited to share a testimony with you of a young woman. A young woman whom I've never met, but through the grace of God, our paths have been brought together for only a purpose greater than my own. I love when I get to witness God moving. When we share from our hearts, feelings, raw emotions and all, we draw closer to one another. We come to understand one another and we get a glimpse of the life before us. The life that God is creating glory through. I invite you to read Colie's testimony. It is a story that will change your heart and open your vision to a great and mighty God filled with grace and passion. This is Colie's story..

I was born three months premature. Because of that, my eyes have poor vision and the surrounding muscles are underdeveloped. This made me look different. So, as is often the case with those seen as “different,” I grew up the odd girl out. I was made fun of by students, teachers, friends, and family. Alcoholism and critical words plagued my home life. I had no escape or comfort. I believed in God but had no relationship with Him, and I didn’t grow up in the church. I had one best friend who was manipulative and controlling. She was my friend when it was convenient.

I was bullied all through elementary school and Jr. High school. In seventh grade, I moved to a new school. I was shy and afraid and did my best to be invisible. Unfortunately, I couldn’t help but be seen, and the verbal abuse continued from every side. One of my teachers even called me an “ugly duckling” in front of the entire school cafeteria. My mom found out that I had no friends and threatened to place me in private school. I felt like a loser. Like I was worthless.The first time I cut myself, I was twelve years old. I felt like no one cared whether or not I was alive. No one liked me. I wasn’t pretty enough.

By my freshman year of high school, I started to learn how to fit in. I dyed and straightened my hair, removed my braces, got contacts, and started wearing make-up. Despite my outward appearance, I was broken and hurting inside more than I could put into words. When I was 14, I started struggling with anorexia. I began to restrict my food intake in hopes of becoming more physically attractive. At the age of 16, the sum of my repressed pain and my fear of the world drove me into a deep depression, and at that point, I started counseling. After three months and making no progress, I put on a happy face and left counseling.

I decided to escape into extracurricular activities. By the time I was 17, I was in color guard, student council, varsity cheerleading, and track. Because of my intense physical activities in sports, my struggle with my eating disorder quieted, and I started eating healthier. Over my four years in high school, I became the image of a perfect life. I graduated with a 3.3 GPA. I coached young girls in cheerleading, volunteered at concession stands, and was on the homecoming court. I was accepted into the college of my choice and I had a plan for my life. All the while, on the inside, I was depressed, empty, and above all, without hope. I ran from my pain and was drowning in self-hatred.

My freshman year of college started, and anxiety and depression hit me head on. I didn’t eat or sleep. Seven years of uncried tears flooded from my eyes. I went to class often enough to get by, but I couldn’t focus at all. I was dying inside and starving for hope. I started attending a Christian fellowship at school. For the first time in my life, I had Christian friends, and I was learning about God and His love for me. He became my hope and purpose. I wanted to know Him more, and at 18, I accepted Him into my heart.

Soon after, my atheist roommate wanted nothing more than to prove to me there was no God. She tried convince me that Jesus was not real and she took away the little hope I had been clinging to.It was then when I hit rock bottom and found myself lost in darkness. I started cutting again to numb the pain. I went home to start counseling again and started attending a community college. I was diagnosed with severe depression, and as is common, they put me on anti-depressants. Even with medication, I was still unable to handle the pain and was screaming with self-hatred. The cutting quickly went from an addiction to an obsession. I couldn’t make it through the day without ripping myself apart.

When the semester ended, I left counseling and moved to Ohio for a summer job at an amusement park called Cedar Point. I was happy to be out on my own and away from home. Once I settled in, the pain inside me started screaming again. Self-harm had a death grip on my life. I brought razor blades to work just to get through my shift with a smile. I found a Christian fellowship and started going to life groups. One of the girls tried to help me stop cutting, but I kept trying to quit in my own strength but couldn’t.

At this point, my spiritual mom suggested that I apply to Mercy Ministries, a residential Christian counseling program for troubled girls; but, I insisted I was fine and didn’t need to go. However, I knew something needed to change. I went back to the doctor and he prescribed a stronger medication. Still, the pain inside grew to be unbearable. I started abusing over the counter and prescription drugs to the point of becoming numb. I felt hopeless and dead inside. I attempted suicide by overdose twice that summer.

In the fall, I went back to school. I tried to run from the hurt again. I joined color guard and got involved in a co-ed fraternity. I lived off campus in a house with two other Christian girls who I became very close friends. My spiritual mom and best friend lived about five minutes away. They did everything they could to help me, but I wasn’t doing anything to help myself so I grew worse. I started counseling again. I put a smile on, went through the motions as expected, but I was falling apart even faster. Eventually, I was no longer able to function. I began skipping all my classes. I stopped eating altogether. I would either not sleep at all or sleep all day. I wanted so badly to die and just escape this world and the mess I had made of my life. I finally decided to apply to Mercy Ministries, because I had no other options. I knew only God could save me. Unfortunately, even as I was going through the application process, I continued to spiral further down. I again attempted suicide and hoped never to wake up, but (God had other plans for me because) I woke up the next morning with no ill affects from the attempt. Shortly after this I admitted myself to the hospital and was placed into a psychiatric ward.

I reached out for help from my friends. I withdrew from school and went home to live with my parents. They monitored me for cutting and suicide attempts. I was not to be left alone; my parents even distributed my medications so they could be sure I was taking them properly. I began seeing a counselor again. For three months, my parents did their best to get me through. They fought for me because I had completely given up on myself. Because I could no longer cut, I resorted to tattoos and piercings. Though I was angry and rebellious, God used my time at home with my parents to begin restoring our relationship.

Just when I thought I couldn’t hang on any longer, I got the call that I was accepted into Mercy and had a spot in the Louisiana home. The day I got there, I was excited and terrified at the same time. At first, I chose to act out in my issues instead of going to staff members for help when I was struggling. Because of that, I was placed on probation. During my time at Mercy, I learned to ask for help, trust God, and focus on Him rather than my issues. It wasn’t a fun experience, but I am so very thankful that I went through it. I don’t think I would have stopped cutting if I hadn’t had that opportunity.

Mercy, for me, has been an incredible journey. It is also the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. Giving up is easy, but fighting against the devil is not! It isn’t my war though, it’s God’s, and the war has already been won! Mercy has equipped me with the armor to live victoriously in the freedom Jesus died to give me. I have a choice. I can choose life over death, faith over fear, and His unconditional love over my self-hatred. I am not a bad person. I am an imperfect sinner saved by grace, and nothing I could ever do will ever make Him love me less. I am not alone; God will never leave me or forsake me. I am forgiven, and I have a life worth living. God has healed my broken heart. He has restored my emotions and my hope. In Christ, I am strong, pure, and beloved.

Friends take a few moments and visit Mercy Ministries and pray for Colie. She will be stopping in and I know she would love to hear from you. We all have a story worth hearing. Your story may be what brings change to another heart.

Colie, sweet blessings to you as you continue to grow in the Lord and walk this journey. Thank you for sharing your testimony with me and my readers. God knew before breath was breathed into you what a blessing you would be. You are a treasure
and you bring hope to many who are hurting. Thank you for adding joy to my heart.


Chelsea Maxwell said…
Wow thank you so much for sharing this moving testimony. It's clear that God has big plans for Colie. I'm so thankful for organizations that make such a huge difference in people's lives. Many prayers and blessings to Colie <3
Robin Prater said…
Chelsea, Amen girl. Isn't she just a breath of fresh air? Praise the Lord for His sweet grace. I just love hearing stories of how He touches and changes lives.

Blessings to you, girl

Popular posts from this blog

The Illusionist's Apprentice by Kristy Cambron

I want to begin this review sharing two reviews I was blessed to do. The Butterfly and The Violinand A Sparrow in Terezin. For me these two novels were masterpieces. Works of such exquisite beauty. They showed that Kristy Cambron is gifted with the pen, a master storyteller. They remain two of my all-time top favorites. 
It was for this reason I was thrilled to be receiving a copy of The Illusionist's Apprentice. Once again Cambron shows us a masterpiece of bringing a story to readers that speaks of faith and our Lord. Although throughout the novel these aspects are not boldly proclaimed, but are masterfully weaved throughout the story. 
Magic and illusion are not the same. I love how she brings this truth. Love that the main character was an apprentice to the master of illusion. She takes the use of being an apprentice and walks that road with integrity and hope. When we choose to walk with Christ we are His apprentices. We are to walk as the main character, Wren Lockhart walked…

The One True Love of Alice-Ann by Eva Marie Everson

Oh, just where do I begin? This is the stuff in which great novels are made. I made my way through this richly beautiful novel turning page after page with such deep emotion and thought. I couldn't turn the pages quick enough, but I didn't want it to end to soon. It's one of those novels you could continue reading as long as there were pages. No page just made of fluff, words with no meaning on the page. Every single line in this novel created a story that will last in my heart forever. 
Ms. Everson, I am so happy stories of the war were shared with you. Oh, to have your Sunday school teacher share with you, "You can't choose who you fall in love with, but you can choose who you marry", is a blessing that has now enchanted your readers. What a story you have weaved together. History penned with such depth, detail, and a story that captures the heart. 
This lovely story begins in 1941. The war has started. Picture a family gathered around the Zenith to hear t…

The" I Am" Makes Us Think About What "i am"

In Genesis 1:26-27 it shares something valuable to each of us about who we are in God. We are created in His image. What I love about this verse below is that is says, "make man in OUR image". What's OUR? The trinity, God, the Holy Spirit, and Christ Jesus. Ponder that. I mean really go deep. We are make in THEIR image. 
"Then God said, "Let US make man in OUR image, according to OUR likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth. So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him, male and female He created them."
We are His workmanship. He knew us before we were ever born. He weaved us together within the womb, but even before then He planned our life perfectly for us. That's so much to ponder isn't it? 
"For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared…

The Glassblower by Petra Durst-Benning

I came across this selection on Amazon. I had seen so many reviews that it intrigued me. I had never read anything from this German author. The cover caught my attention as did the description of this novel. 
It's a part of a trilogy. I am getting ready to open up book 2, The American Lady. I cannot wait to begin. I tell you this book marveled me. I wasn't quite sure what to expect. What a journey into another time and place. 
We travel to Germany where this novel is set. The year is 1890 and we find ourselves in Lauscha, Germany. The author did a fantastic job at the perfect description of not only the area, but circumstance, and heart of the characters. Her writing style flows so easily that the pages almost turn themselves. 
The characters are easy to love. Three sisters who are now wondering, after their father had passed from this earth,  how they will now provide for themselves. It isn't going to be easy, but these sisters show us how to prevail over challenges that…

Unexpected Blessings

The last words my dad spoke to me from his hospital bed were, "Rob, take care of your mom." Those are words I have never forgotten. I have not only honored them for my dad, but for my mom. I too am commanded by my Father to honor my mother and father.
"Honor your father and mother so that you may have a long life in the land that the Lord your God is giving you." Exodus 20:12
My mom gave her life in caring for me. On my first birthday, my very first Christmas, was spent in the ICU as I was very sick with pneumonia. A little later I would burn myself with spilled coffee. A few years later I would tumble down many stairs and once again spent time in the hospital. 
I remember all the times I was sick and could feel my mom's hand brush against my forehead as she checked for fever. All the times she must have stayed up all night as I was sick. 
When I was little she would pour me a bowl of Raisin Bran. I loved it. Only I didn't like the raisins. She would take t…