Today, TerriAnne speaks to us about raising awareness and spreading love for non-moms, her profound warrior story, and making restoration attractive. Thank you, TerriAnne, for your vulnerability and for blessing us with the story of your restoration. You are a light that shines bright.
**Please be aware that we discuss trauma in this story, which may be triggering for some.**
Tell us a bit about how you grew up and your childhood: I was born in Atlanta, Georgia, but raised in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. I have the classic broken home story; my mother (an alcoholic) was killed when I was 3, and my father a bar musician wasn’t seen as a good father, so I spent several years in foster care. It was there I lost myself. I was one of many children who lived in horrible conditions, fed cat food and sexually molested.
At 18, I tried to run from my pain, traveling the US, city to city, state to state, working odd jobs. One day, as I was wandering the beach boardwalk in Daytona, Florida, when a man approached me stating I looked like I needed help and he could help me. I trusted him. For the next week I lived with his ‘friend’ as she ‘trained’ me on how to have lots of love and make money – “You can have everything you want just do as we tell you.”
He took me by bus across the state to Tampa, and we checked into a tiny dive motel. As we walked in the room, he grabbed me by the hair, handcuffed me to the bed and raped me violently, over and over, even using the barrel of his gun. After 4 days, while in the bathroom, I escaped sliding out the tiny bathroom window. The housekeeper ran over, covering my nude, beaten body with a sheet. The police came, he was arrested for my assault and a murder charge – he was a fugitive.
I am saddened when I think of the younger me, remembering the desire to just be held, loved, wanted. To be normal, to feel safe.
Inspiring biblical passage of the moment: Psalm 116 the whole Psalm is my hearts cry to my Savior, for He rescued me!
Spiritual growth focus at the moment: I am letting Him love me; I am receiving it. I’m doing Brian Simmons Song of Songs study with his book Sacred Journey and learning that He is and has always been with me and how precious I am to Him ( as are YOU!) Even in the darkest moments – He has always, always been my safe place. So, my focus is relishing in Him. Being His beloved.
Profession: I have a small home care business.
How do you incorporate your connection with God into your daily, secular work?
This is easy; I work alone, and am always listening to teachings, worship music and praying. I pray for my clients, anointing their home. Many are not Christian, so my job is unique in I have the opportunity to intercede on their behalf.
If you wrote a memoir, what would the title be? Sweetly Broken – Rescued and Restored (I want to write a book, just not sure how).
When did you first encounter God and how did you encounter Him?
I gave my life to Jesus when I was 13, but I don’t think I knew what to do with ‘it’…Salvation that is. And, my worth was broken, I didn’t think He could really love me, I was so bad.
In October 2017, I was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and was told I would probably not see the holidays in 2018. [In] April 2018, I had surgery to remove 55% of my pancreas and my spleen. When my oncologist woke me up in recovery, he said, “The necrosis was centralized to the tumor – you won’t even need chemo/radiation!!” I knew it was Jesus and my wellness plan (provided by Him). When I was diagnosed, he told me to use frankincense; specifically, ‘if it was good enough for me, it is for you too.’ I know without a doubt He healed me. PERIOD!
Then, about 3 months after my healing (about 8 months ago), He came to me. I’d never had an ‘encounter’. I was (still am) fascinated when hearing people share their encounters. I prayed for one, desperately prayed for Him to show me His face, His heart… for me. I was in the shower, all nude and vulnerable. His blanket of grace, mercy and love covered me so greatly, all I could do was fall to my knees and let Him hold me, until the water ran cold; I laid there, on my shower floor in His love. Since then, I’ve such a hunger for more and more. To live in His presence continuously, I can’t get enough!
This past year has been the most beautiful. He has been revealing to me all the times He was with me. The times He literally saved me from death (I’ve attempted suicide several times), and the times I was oh so alone, He was there.
Since He visited me, everything has changed. EVERYTHING!
“The times I was oh so alone, He was there.”
What has helped you grow spiritually in this season? Simple trust. Trusting God is who He says He is. Trusting in people – I had none! Trusting I am worthy – for so long, I’d felt nothing for myself.
I’m a worshipper, in this season I am constantly praising Him in song. I don’t do much TV, it’s usually on betheltv, hillsongchannel or tbn – I’m always watching, praying, learning, singing of His glory!
During this [year’s] Lent season, I’ve [had] been praying for Him to walk me to the cross. To experience the journey; together we’ve revisited my past. My past hurts and sin. I have to admit, the realization of the cost of The Cross wasn’t so real to me. Yea, I said that. Trauma hardens the heart; it builds untrusting walls. Yes, I knew, but didn’t know – if that makes sense. Seeing my sin on his shoulders, within each stripe across His back, I am undone. Sometimes the most growth is in the presence of doing nothing, just sitting in His revelations. I do that a lot.
Top three essentials: My Bible, essential oils and phone.
How did God speak to you recently? Ironically, it was last night! Kinda have a little challenge going on right now, and just before bed, I opened the Bible app on my phone for a final quick read to calm the fears and the verse of the day was,
“Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.” Psalm 27:14
I think it was exactly what I needed to hear, it kinda took my breath away! He is so provisional! So very providing!
Hobby: I love cycling! Riding miles and miles! I also love animals and volunteer every chance I get with several local rescues and Best Friends.
Top three practical tips for staying spiritually strong: Stay in the Word. It is my lifeline. My whole life I’ve let society (others) write my story. Staying in His Word writes our story together thru the Sacred, in Him.
Resist evil. It’s so hard, I know! This is my biggest hurtle. When our minds have been molded in sin and darkness life-sucking thoughts can destroy a weak heart. But I’ve found simply saying, “Jesus’ almost like a mantra when untruth creeps in is my biggest weapon! In fact, in Matthew (12:43-45) says: “When a demon is cast out of a person (demons can be self-thoughts, self-destructive precepts), it roams around a dry region, looking for a place to rest, but never finds it. Then it says, ‘I’ll return to the house I moved out of,’ and so it goes back, only to find that the house is vacant, warm, and ready (this is what happens when we don’t fill the void with truth, God’s truth of who, whom and whose we are) for it to move back in. So it goes looking for seven other demons more evil than itself, and they all enter together to live there (evil will always multiply). Then the person’s condition becomes much worse than it was in the beginning.
Do good – literally (because He is good!) The old saying, ‘helping others, helps us’ is so very true. I have found when I’m serving Him, helping others, praying for others, sharing with others, my battles are less severe.
In addition, I think sharing (like this) how He has restored us is crucial in the commission. We’ve become a seeing is believing people. People need to see Him in us; we have to make Christianity attractive! I’ve discovered this as I learn to share my story. Because it’s so dark, I have to share the Light which saved me. For 20 years, I’ve lived on Pity Street, sharing Mercy Street increases my awareness of His glory, and I HAVE to share it. When He showed me His love, I became hung[rier]… that hunger is what we need to share. We are a broken world, evil is easy, restoration is hard work, so it must be attractive!
“I have found when I’m serving Him, helping others, praying for others, sharing with others, my battles are less severe.”
Favorite person in scripture? I am the bleeding woman. My whole life was suffering. When I came to the end of myself, I knew… I just knew if He’d touch me just once, if I leaned in, I’d be healed – in every area of my life. Her determination to reach through the crowd and barely touch His robe, the faith that that one touch would change it all…yea, that is me. Just one touch!
What do you want people to learn about God when they look at you? That we can overcome all adversities, no matter how traumatic they are. He is faithful, He is loving and He is life. Nothing is beyond Him.
How do you leave your mark on your community? I love loving on the homeless. About 10 years ago, God told me to ‘feed 25 with 25’, He gave me a shopping list, and sure enough, for $25 I was able to make 25 sandwich sacks with chips and cookies. I included a note from Jesus, too! We call it Sandwich Saturdays, and it continues today.
Bringing hope and love to those enslaved in the sex industry fills me. Since 2006, I’ve been involved with ministries that fight human trafficking, and frequently visit them as well as the girls on the streets.
I love sharing my redemption story, and His amazing grace. What I’ve learned is the cross isn’t a revelation of my sin, but rather revealing my value, my worth. My prayer is He will lead me into dark places, shining His light thru me. Hope is lost on the streets, in the brothels, under bridges, and in prisons. So, I share. Whenever, wherever and as often as I can. If my story can help just one, it would all worth it.
“What I’ve learned is the cross isn’t a revelation of my sin, but rather revealing my value, my worth.”
Favorite holiday? My birthday of course, that’s when He said, “Terri, take my breath, and breathe!” *laughs* Then, Christmas and Easter of course. Easter more so, though. It’s not just His resurrection but all of ours. We are to celebrate our rebirth into the Kingdom.
“It’s not just His resurrection but all of ours.”
A goal you have? My only goal is to serve Him. In my life ‘out there’, I’ve had it all and had nothing. At 53, I don’t really ‘want’ much other than Him. My goal is His heart, and whatever that looks like, I’m all in!
“In my life ‘out there’, I’ve had it all and had nothing.”
A special tradition you and your family engage in or keep: I never married, nor had children (the trauma to my body when assaulted caused severe damage, and left me barren, then, due to medical reasons, I had to have a hysterectomy at a very young age). So, no family traditions, but, for myself, during Christmas, and Easter I like to watch movies for that holiday.
Question you will ask when you get to heaven? I’ve only one, and it is about my inability to have children. I continue to struggle with this. The longing, the missing. It is overwhelming sometimes. I do, I turn to Him – always. Still, why? It’s my hearts cry. I so wanted to be a mother.
Thing you want to raise awareness about: Human trafficking, homelessness and for the barren. To be honest, there are tons of resources for human trafficking efforts, and homelessness, too. But, the barren without alternative options, is minimal. The pain is real. Most can’t understand, not because they don’t want to, but because they can’t. The simple act of passing a pregnant lady in the checkout line can create all kinds of emotional trauma. There needs to be more love for the broken non-moms.
“There needs to be more love for the broken non-moms.”
What does your morning routine consist of? HA! I get up about 6-6:30 and run, not walk to the Keurig! Then, it’s let Gemma (my blind, diabetic 10yr old dog) out. Feed the fur-kids (I have 5 cats and Gemma), grab my coffee and Bible, and spend time with Him before showering and off to work.
What is on your nightstand? Reading lamp and glasses, diffuser with a gazillion bottles of YL oils and homemade Chapstick.
Define Christianity in a sentence: It’s simple; it’s love. Without reservation(s), just love. For He is Love.
If I may finish with this: Everyone, all of us, have someone in our lives who is broken. It’s easy to add them to our prayer list, think of them when we hit our knees or ask some else to pray for them. These are all wonderful ideas, but know – you can be Jesus for them. More times than not, they are so broken, asking, and receiving help is foreign. We have to go the extra distance, be persistent, don’t wait for God. He is waiting on you to be His servant. I had to learn love. It didn’t come natural – in fact I’m still learning. It takes an army, be that.
‘When He is all you have, He is ALL you have.’
“It takes an army, be that.”
For more TerriAnne:
Young Living Essential Oils – #10408257
Workshops available: 281-628-4261
Until next time, keep witnessing!