Portraits of Grace – Tina Hice

      My name is Tina Hice. My husband is a Pastor in Salamanca, NY. I have 5 children and 3 grandchildren. My two passions besides my family are helping ladies overcome their brokenness while learning to use it for good and teaching families how to use God’s creation to better their health both physically and mentally. I love teaching on these topics and do so as often as I get the opportunity! I have a Facebook page called Broken But Not Finished. Psalm 147:3 “He health the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds.” My business is Oil is Well and my healthy website is www.myyl.com/oil.iswell  III John 1:2 “Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.”

My name is not “Divorced”

      When I was asked to write this testimony, I was a little uneasy at the way I believe the Lord was asking me to write it. See we all have things in our lives that tend to define us if we let them. Things like abuse, divorce, death etc. These things although difficult to overcome, do not have to define who we are! Failure is an event, it is never a person! The only time failure becomes a person is if you quit after the last failure.

      We all have a story! We all have brokenness; my brokenness does not define me. It does not make anyone else’s brokenness more or less difficult to bear. It is simply my story of God’s grace!

      My story is tainted with abuse, divorce, a chronically ill child, 2 total loss house fires, infidelity of a spouse, miscarriages and more. Yes, I am a broken person with a broken past and probably some brokenness in the future, but I am so much more… I am a Child of the Living God! I am a product of His mercy and Grace!! Jeremiah 29:11 “ For I know the thoughts I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you and expected end.” He knows where you should end up and if you let Him, He will get you there in spite of our failures!

      To sum it up, I was in an abusive marriage for 10 years. I could write books on God’s love, protection and grace towards me and my children during those years. I did everything I knew to do, prayed and sought Godly counsel from my preacher. I did not and still do not believe in divorce, but in the end, it happened. I remember listening to Bible on cassette almost 24 hours a day to keep my mind right. God held me through those times and answered so many prayers! I did not deserve His love, but He reached down and gave me peace that truly passed all understanding!! What a wonderful, merciful God.

      I write all this to say, I am divorced but that doesn’t define me! I am a Child Of God, and that is what defines me. God has blessed me beyond measure. I truly believe if I had pursued a divorce or left the Lord and sought my own happiness, He would not have blessed me as much. Even though He has blessed me, sin comes with a price. Whether mine or yours, sin affects those around us. I have watched my kids have to go through such difficulties as a result. But I have also watched as God has showed them His power first hand. I want to say, if you are married, fight for your marriage!!!! If you have already suffered a divorce, or any brokenness, that does not mean God is done with you! Get up and serve Him! He loves you!

Portraits of Grace – Terri Shuerger

“Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.” Isaiah 41:10

     I am 53 years old, and I have been married for 35 years to the best husband God ever made! (sorry, girls!) I have 2 sons who are 31 and 33; 3 beautiful granddaughters, and another grand on the way! I am a First Generation Christian. I was raised in a nominally Catholic home, but got saved when I was 20 while we were stationed in Madrid, Spain. We were called into Full-Time Service in 1991, and for the last 20 years, have served as Church-Planters in Zacatecas, Mexico, and Tucson, Arizona.

     I would like to speak to you about the Grace of God that is present even when we are unaware. When I was 9, my    parents divorced. I was an only child. Ultimately, my dad was awarded custody of me due to abandonment/neglect issues concerning my mother. It was not long before I began to be sexually abused by my father. This continued off and on until I was 15, at which time I was considering suicide. It was during this time that I met my now-husband. A few months later, in hopelessness, I called my mom and asked her if she would come and get me. After I told her what had been going on, she accused me of lying. I was crushed, and seemingly abandoned again. She took me back to my dad’s house to get my things. She also sought counseling for me. I was eventually referred to a group called Daughters United; for girls who had been sexually abused. It is during this time that the Grace of God was actively at work in my life, yet I didn’t know it until almost 15 years later.

     Let me jump ahead and give you the retrospective; when my sons reached the ages when my abuse had begun, I     became overwhelmed with feelings of anger, resentment, and hatred towards my father, “How COULD you?! I was just a little girl!!” I became eaten up with these sinful emotions. Then, a sister in the Lord gave me a workbook for victims of abuse. I began to do the study, then one day the question came, Where was God during your abuse? I was floored. HE had let this happen to me! Why?! Where was He when a little girl who had been abandoned by everyone else in her life   needed Him?! I became angry at God! Then, slowly, but surely, the Light began to dawn; He WAS there! I had felt Him in my room when I asked to die; I believe His angels took me in their arms and carried me safely over the threshold of death (being unsaved, I would have gone straight to Hell, otherwise).

     Then, He brought me to Daughters United where I learned strategies to survive the abuse and neglect that I had suffered my whole life. But, more importantly, He had brought my 16 year-old boyfriend who drove me to the Daughters United meetings 2x/week, and waited in his car for me; he never asked me any questions. He was just there; quietly,   patiently waiting for me. When I looked back and saw that the arms God had used to sustain me in that awful time were the arms of my husband, I was brought to my knees with thankfulness at the mighty and wondrous grace of God! He had never left me! Even in my unsaved state, He had sent a pair of loving arms to hold me, to comfort me, to be there in the darkness! (Isaiah 41:10)