Sunday, December 27, 2009

Today, 20 Years From Tragedy...Why I have a heart for people

Today marks the anniversary of the day that would forever change my life 20 years ago. Since twenty years seems like such a long time and such a significant number I just had to pause for a moment to reflect on my life since that day. I often have people ask me "Why do you have such a heart to help people?" I have never really known the answer to that question until just a couple of years ago it suddenly hit me. It all made sense. First of all, I think each one of us were designed and put on this earth for reasons that exist outside of ourselves. I think our true purpose will always revolve around the influence that we have on others and not just revolve around ourselves. A lot of the time we look inward to find our lifes purpose but until we look outside of ourselves I don't know that we will truly find it. I asked the question for a long time and longed to know my life's purpose. But it was when I laid that question down and just started serving others, that I truly found my calling in life. In the past few years I have been made aware of where my passion for others comes from.

God also uses our own life experiences to mold us into who he has called us to be. Our own life experiences can make us or break us. The choice is up to us but if we allow God to
truly come alive in us then He can use whatever we have been through to help others. He brings purpose to our pain. He allows us to experience His divine healing so that we can spread the good news and let others know that healing does exist and it is for them too.

So what is it that fuels my passion?? I will explain......

Twenty years ago, I was 16 years old, it was a typical weekday night. I put on my new Christmas outfit and headed out the door just before dark to go to my job at the local Hallmark store in the mall. I had some errands to run first. As I came out the door of a store and got as far as putting my key in the lock of the car door, I was approached by a man who stuck a knife to my neck and told me to not say a word or he would kill me right there. I completely froze with fear. I even saw a girl on a pay phone probably only 100 yards away and i couldn't even scream because I was so frozen with fear. He grabbed me and put me in the car in between him and a man wearing a ski mask. They drove off and here I was in the middle of my worst nightmare as they went on to explain everything they were planning on doing to me. If I cried I got punched in the face and I quickly learned that I was completely helpless.

My nightmare went on into the night as they raped me and I was convinced I would die. When I never showed up for work my mother entered into her own nightmare that is any mother's worst fear. She called the sheriff and submitted my picture and said I was missing. My family and friends searched up and down the roads for me into the night for fear that I had run off the road.

Meanwhile I am subject to the abuse of these men. By the grace of God they drove across the state line to pick up a woman who was the wife of one of them. Their plan was to drop her off and keep me for God knows how long before they eventually killed me I'm sure. They threatened my life before she got in and told me not to say a word. I kept quiet.....until we drove past the place that they abducted me from and I saw a police car with its lights on right beside my car in the parking lot. There we were driving by and I saw my help out the window as we were getting ready to pass it by. I knew this was my only chance so I started screaming at the woman to stop the car and let me out. This started a lot of arguing and back and forth between her and one of the men as she was trying to figure out what was going on. She drove past the site and I kept screaming at her to let me out. She finally pulled over and lifted her seat so that I could get out of the car. I ran across a parking lot and ran straight to the policeman who had just happened to spot my car just minutes before we drove by.
I had been missing for several hours at this point.

They ended up pulling them over across the road, one left on foot and was missing for a couple of days until they later found him hiding in a hotel. There is much, much more to this story that I hope to put into a book this year. Both men are still locked up to this day in the prison system.

All I can say is that at that time in my life I truly lost myself. Everything I had ever known came crashing down and would never be the same. But I can also say that I lost myself only to truly find myself. I did not know God at the time. It took a couple of years but after trying several avenues of trying to find healing on my own, which only led my life down more wrong roads, I discovered I was not made to carry the weight of that on my own and that I did not have to.

ter an unexpected teen pregnancy about a year after the rape, I gave my heart to God when I was 18 just before my first daughter was born. My husband and I completely surrendered our lives to God and have experienced His blessing since that day.

So as the anniversary of that tragic day occurs I can only rejoice at what God has done to turn my life around. I rejoice that my life was spared on that night when there are many who are not and we don't understand why. I rejoice that due to illness from the rape the doctors told me I would never have children BUT God allowed me to birth 5 and gave me a beautiful adopted son. I rejoice that I have received His divine healing in my mind, body, and spirit. I rejoice now that He has given me a heart to help others who, like me, find themselves in some kind of helpless situation that is out of their control. I rejoice that He has brought purpose to my pain and that I can encourage others that He can do the same for them.

He can do the same for you. God is the ultimate healer. But it doesn't stop at just us being healed. He brings healing so that we can then help bring hope to others, who can then help bring hope to others, and so on. You see, we live in a fallen world. We must have God's grace to make it and so many don't know that God's grace is there, ready for them to step into. And who better to understand what someone is going through, when they feel completely alone, than someone who has been through it themselves and has come out on the other side to exclaim that life can go on and it can be blessed and better than it was before.

So yes, today marks twenty years from that awful night but it also marks 20 years of God's redemption and purpose in my life. I know I relate to those that hurt in this world and I will forever try to bring hope where I can and let them know that I understand and that God loves them right where they are, no matter what their circumstance. Helping people gets contagious once you start.

If you woul
d like to see a video of my story that the 700 Club did, you can CLICK HERE. They did a great job of putting my story out there and bringing glory to God around such a delicate issue.

I encourage everyone to search their hearts and ask yourself how God wants to use your life to help someone else. In that, is where true purpose is found. People look at all the great things that Ordinary Heroes do. But a true ordinary hero looks like the logo that is on my site. He is a little distressed by the way that life has brushed across his path, but underneath lies the purpose for his pain and the hero that busts out to help others. That is what makes us ordinary. That is what gives us an extraordinary purpose.

God Bless,


  1. Thank you for sharing the beauty that God brought to your life through such tragedy. I feel so blessed by your story.

  2. What an extraordinary story! I cannot imagine the fear you experienced. I hope that you do write a book about it.

    Merry Christmas!

  3. So sorry for the tragedy. Even though God has brought amazing things about because of this, I'm so sorry that you had to endure it, as well as always having the memories associated with that night.

    I think I will squeeze my daughter a little longer tonight and thank the Lord for his purpose in all of our lives, whether we recognize it or not.

  4. wow, can't believe it's been twenty years!! Crazy!! You are all of our HERO!! kj

  5. Kelly, ashes to beauty is a wonderful thing! Praise God for your triumph over evil!! I'd like to share a few lines in Courage and Calling by Gordon T. Smith. "Each of us has something that we feel is the very reason for which we have been designed, created, and redeemed. In the end we embrace this call, this purpose, because this, so help us God, is who we are. In the end there is something about which we say THIS I MUST DO. And we will do it, regardless of whether we have parental approval, regardless of whether we get praise or financial return. It is at this point that we understand we must give up our lives for the sake of others, for only then will we find our lives (Mt 16:25). We live out our calling because we must. And we accept this calling as from God- as that which God has placed in our heart. What drives us is our conviction that God has placed it there. This is vocational integrity and personal congruence."

  6. I, too, became pregnant at the age of 18 and kept the child...while I am still not with the father of that child, I now have 4 children and am happily married...I hope and pray to one day adopt from Africa (or anywhere)...I was adopted when I was a newborn as well!! I have a question for do you explain to your child that this teenage pregnancy was God's plan? That he/she is not a mistake? What are the scriptures and how do I explain that she was a part of God's awesome plan for my life and that she has purpose as well? ~DIANA in TN

  7. Thank you Kelly for your honesty and for being transparent for the glory of God!!!!!!! How beautifully the Lord has woven your story for His cause! I am praising the Lord for His protection over your life and for your testimony of deliverance and resurrection of new life!

  8. Thank you for sharing your testimony.
    Your an inspiration!
    God has blessed you so generously:)

  9. Thank you all for sweet words and encouragement. In response to a couple of comments.....Kristi and Dale, I LOVE the lines you posted from Gordon T Smith. I could not have said it better. That was just great. Thanks for sharing that.

    Diana, In response to your questions about teenage pregnancy, You have to go listen to the Faith Hill song, A Baby Changes Everything. It really puts it into perspective. We have to look at Mary, who did everything right, and still got pregnant. It makes us realize that no matter the circumstances, right or wrong, God has planned this child's life from the beginning of time. God knew the circumstances around it as well. My daughter knows that she was the best thing that ever happened to me. Life is a blessing. She was a gift to me that just spoke God's mercy. In spite of my mistakes God still works all things together for good. By the time she was born God's forgiveness for any mistake had already covered the whole thing and made it new. Therefore she was born as a blessing and not a mistake. God has great plans for her life. Having her also forced me to grow up which was a part of God's plan for me, considering the things I had been through and the way I needed to heal. I don't have all the answers but I do know above all else that God works all things together for good, without a doubt.

    Thank you all for your comments.


  10. WOW! Thanks for your response to my comment...beautifully said! Never looked at it that way! Thanks for being a shining light! ~DIANA

  11. Now I am crying....Thank you for sharing your story. And the glory be to God....

  12. After reading your story, who could think they couldn't overcome their circumstances and be a light for others. So powerful, I don't know what to say. Amazing!

  13. Kelly, I had no idea. Would have never known this part of your story except for reading your sisters blog.
    I love your healthy, spirit influenced outlook on God's plan for your life. You have a tremendous testimony that is touching so many. I would love to help in any way even if prayer is the only way. God's greatest for the year ahead! It is going to be a great one. They just keep getting better and better.

    lots of love, Amber

  14. This is an amazing story! Thank you for sharing. I am so glad through it all you became who you are now. You have some really good points there, and your story is truly inspiring!

  15. Thank you for sharing your story. God does use our life events to help us help others. We are adopting a 3 year old little girl with a complex heart problem from China. In one year we pray to begin our adoption journey again. I feel so drawn to Ethiopia. We are in TN. When I saw that you are too, I just had to leave you a note. Our blog is at

  16. Wow- what an amazing story! Your journey has obviously been a very painful one...but you have triumphed and allowed God to work through you and your experiences.
    I wish you continued happiness and health as we enter the new year :-)
    God Bless You,

  17. wow I am so sorry for all that you went through but praise God that He saved you and now God is using your life in amazing ways! You inspire me so much and you are truly a hero! Thank you so much for sharing. I know your story will help and encourage so many others. Thank you so much for your dedication to the orphans and helping people in so many ways!

    Love, Heidi

  18. Just watched the video. Wow thank you for sharing how God can take the bad and terrible and bring healing. This would help some of the girls at youth group and the pain some of the girls I'm sure have gone through. My cousins good friend had gotten raped a few years ago. I am going to email this to her as well. So thankful to God that He saved you and brought Shane into your life. What a neat story of forgivness too. You are such a beautiful women of God!

  19. What an amazing story and testimony! Thank you for sharing it!

  20. I love your testimony Kelly. I know a woman who was abducted at 4 years old and started an orphanage/children's home for formerly abducted child soldiers of the LRA in Gulu. This is where her passion stems from. She wants to give them a safe home and help with their healing. Thank you for doing what you do and working so tirelessly to find these children homes!