Journey to Freedom

Have you, or someone you know, ever fallen into the bottomless pit of abuse or addiction? Then this book is for you. I pray that as you join me in my life journey you will find hope and encouragement in the midst of your own.

My book cover illustrates the broad and narrow roads as recorded in the Scriptures: “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it” (Matthew 7:13-14).

The narrow road illustrates the beauty and peace that can only be found in the presence of knowing God as one’s own personal Saviour. The other gate leads to the broad road of destruction caused by one’s own sin due to fleshly desires (Examples: alcohol, drugs, sex addiction, gambling, etc.).

For the majority of my life, I have headed down the broad road to destruction.

I am a mother of three wonderful children (two girls and one boy), and I have an awesome man. I have always tried to be the best mother, companion, and friend that I could possibly be, but it has not always been easy. Throughout my adult life, I have had to walk through many dark tunnels of trauma, not knowing exactly where I was going.

My life journey of survival actually started at the age of five. At that crucial time, when a child should feel loved and adored, I was being rejected. I hardly ever remember my mom showing me affection or telling me that she loved me. This left a big gaping hole in my heart and had me questioning what was wrong with me. By the age of twelve, rejection seemed to be following me everywhere.

Rejection is known to be the most painful emotion. Many addictions, abuse and suicides develop out of this emotion. As the root of rejection grew deeper, I isolated myself in fear of being rejected once again. The pain was so unbearable that at times I believed that I could not go on another day and thoughts of suicide entered my mind. What I really needed in this season of my life was to begin building a real close connection with God and accept His love for me. In return, I believe I could have learned to love myself. Unfortunately, my identity was already engraved with lies from the enemy.

Still rejecting God and any professional help from the outside, I only fell deeper and deeper into the pit of destruction. I believed that my value solely depended on what others thought of me and not on how I was seen through the eyes of God. After all, if my mom rejected me, how could God love me and why would He be putting me through all of this pain? I truly believed God would not be doing this to me.

To find acceptance, I quickly became a people pleaser. As time passed by, I began to lose sight of my own needs, desires and dreams. I also began to fall into poisonous relationships because of my love addiction. My love addiction developed out of my irrational fear of being alone. At times, I lost touch with reality–especially during the times when I was physically and sexually assaulted. These assaults led me into a rapid downward spiral resulting in me losing sight of my own identity.

Still having unresolved trauma about my relationship with my mother, I began to crave a long-term relationship and longed to bear children. I had the belief that having children would fulfill the void left by my mother. Eventually, I did marry. Unfortunately, shortly after we were married, he became a drug addict. My second husband became a sex addict. And my third partner was an alcoholic. In each of these relationships, however, the Lord did bless me with a beautiful child. My only regret is that each child also went through so much pain.

Trauma upon trauma led me to increased depression, anxiety and PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). I had trouble holding down jobs, lacked joy and contentment, and it seemed like with every step I took I had to hold on tighter and tighter to the very little hope I had that my life would ever improve.

The Lord finally brought me to Himself in April 2017. As I fell to my knees, He opened my eyes to all the destruction in my life and the realization that I could no longer live without Him. Yet I was in the midst of more trauma as He put division between my alcoholic partner, myself, and our two children (my oldest daughter had already left the nest). He also brought an end to my relationships with my parents and siblings. Truly, I had no one left to turn to except for my Saviour.

My emotions and feelings were running into each other. I cried, shook uncontrollably at times, and had some days when I could hardly get out of bed even though I had to be strong for the kids. I had days when I was full of anger, shame and guilt. I definitely didn’t know what true forgiveness was and the unknown filled me with fear. How could I have locked the Lord out of my life for so long? To this day, I still cry knowing that I made such a mess for both my children and I. Truly, I had believed I didn’t need the Lord.

Over time, the Lord has shown me how to forgive my family, my ex-husbands and partner, those who I thought were friends, myself and my Saviour. Forgiveness to me is like taking a key, unlocking the prison doors and removing the shackles and chains. This has allowed the Lord to soften my heart and renew my mind. He has promised that as long as I abide in Him, He will abide in me (John 15). I have learned that I can abide in Him by studying His Word, attending church on a regular basis, praying and worshipping Him. Besides spending time with Him, I try to work on meditation, gratitude, positivity, visualization and “I am” affirmations every day. Healing is a continuous journey until the day we enter the heavenlies.

Since being born again, my relationships with my parents, partner, and my two youngest children are growing stronger every day. Also, the Lord is restoring my peace, joy, contentment, love for others and, most of all, love for myself. I see the Lord now directing my life towards helping others in their healing journey. With God, everything is possible and He will continue to transform our lives as long as we abide in Him. One thing that no one can ever take away from us is our salvation. PRAISE GOD!

Now that you have followed me in my life journey, I ask you, have you already accepted Jesus? If not, I ask you, are you willing to accept Him today? He would like to walk hand in hand with you on your journey.

Dear God, I know that I am a sinner and that I cannot live my life without Your presence. I trust in your Word and that You have died on the cross to bear my sins. I believe that after three days You were raised from the dead and have guaranteed me that there is the promise of life after death. Help me to surrender my whole life over to You and be assured that You will help me walk through my life journey. I pray that, from this day on, You will mold me and that I will learn to trust in You.

Prayer of Salvation

Shauna Hettinger

Journey to Freedom book and e-book available on Amazon.

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