NOT THE ANSWER
(The Patricia Fennell Story)
By: Patricia FennellSay "thank you" to the Lord for being so good, for always being so loving and kind. Has the Lord redeemed you? Then speak out! Tell others He has saved you from your enemies. Ps.107:1&2
Hi my name is Patricia Fennell. Fifty years ago I was born into what I thought at the time was a loving family. But it really wasn't until years later that I came to realize how wrong I was.
My parents raised my two older sisters and me as best they knew how. Much later in life my younger and only brother joined the family. As it was, my father was always verbally abusive towards us and when he got really mad, could be physically abusive too. His motto was, 'Hit first and ask questions later.' For us growing up in this kind of atmosphere - it was the norm for us.
My mother, who was not of a very strong character, tried her best to try and defend us but was not very successful. Later when we became older she let too much go on and tried to make excuses for our dad's behavior. My dad himself came from a broken home. His own background was really quite sad. He never truly knew what real love was and therefore never knew how to love himself, let alone others. Though much of what took place happened mostly to my older sisters, I saw what went on and was around it. None of us grew up with healthy self esteem. We were forever being told we were dumb and stupid. Sure gives you alot to look forward to as far as a future...
By the time I was twelve years old I discovered I had a talent the Lord had given me and that was I could sing. My dad was not a Christian and did not attend church except when we were baptized as infants. My mother taught us about the Lord but rarely attended church herself. Ever since I could remember I always wanted to either go to Sunday school or vacation bible school, which I absolutely loved. So if my family didn't go with me, I'd either go by myself or take a friend.
I joined the junior choir at our church and later on the adult choir. Once a friend of mine in the seventh grade invited me to visit her church and I was more then willing to go. It was a Baptist church; so different from the Methodist church I was growing up in. The Pastor kept talking about being saved and I didn't understand what being "saved" meant. My friend even asked me if I was saved and I honestly said I didn't know if I was. So later that week I received a visit from a couple ladies from this Baptist church. They came in the evening to the house and my dad answered the door letting me know they were there to see me. So he left us alone in our livingroom to visit and during that visit they explained to me the plan of salvation and it was there I came to accept Jesus into my heart as Lord and Savior. I was thirteen years old. I'm forever grateful for the faithfulness and obedience of those dear sisters in Christ.
It would not be until years later that I eventually made Jesus the "Lord" of my life. When I became age sixteen my mother began to take a major interest in furthering my singing. She arranged for me to start taking private voice lessons. This was a dream come true because I wanted to do this big time. By then I was singing for everyone and anyone, whenever there was an opportunity. And my mother was more than willing to help me out. In alot of ways she was reliving her youth through me because she once turned down a singing career for marriage and a family. I came to realize that when I was singing, people accepted me. It was a form of recognition that I never got at home. Folks enjoyed the gift that I had and that me made feel accepted and loved. Something that was not known in my home life.
Just before I graduated from high school, I was given an opportunity to move out to California to establish a professional singing career by my former voice instructor who already moved out there two years before. In l968, one month after high school graduation, I left Michigan to live in California with high hopes and a dream. I remained out there for ten years only to have nothing turn out the way I had hoped. No career, but only broken promises. What I didn't know at the time was the Lord had other plans for me.
I stayed in California because I had a good job and I needed to be able to stand on my own; make a life for myself. I did, but I also got caught up in living a very sinful lifestyle. Drugs, parties - you name it. After all folks, I was living in the heart of Hollywood. I got out of that neighborhood hoping to get away from the lying, and phoniness of the people I was hanging around with -- not realizing that the sinful thinking and habits I had, I'd carry with me no matter where I lived. All the while...still attending church every Sunday morning, singing in the choir and teaching Sunday school as well. No matter how much I blew it, I knew whatever happened to me I was going to heaven. I had my insurance policy
There was coming a day when my wrong choices almost cost me my life. But for the time being I continued to live the lie which caused great depression in my life, mainly because of the deep feelings of loneliness and emptiness inside of me. Asking the Lord, "How long do I have to deal with these feelings and are they ever gonna' go away? Will I ever experience wholeness, completeness and especially total unconditional love?"
No one knew what was going on inside of me. I learned at an early age to keep everything to myself because if I didn't, I'd run the risk of being hurt. My dad was the same way. He always told us when growing up, "never trust anyone." The only way I could express my deepest feelings was in my singing. It was an emotional outlet for me.
In l979 I decided to move to Houston, Texas. Nothing was happening in my life there in California. The doors were shut and there was no longer anything left to keep me there. I still had Christian friends and asked them to keep me in prayer about my future. I called my sister one night in June and asked her if she would like it if I moved out to Texas and live there with her and her family. She was so surprised and said of course! I had not discussed my plans with anyone. When I made a decision that was it. I had learned to be a survivor on my own without anyone's help, or so I thought.
I got out to Texas and found a place to live along with a good job. My sister was so good in helping me get settled in. I did find a church by way of a woman I worked with. Her name being Marylou, she kind of took me under her wing. But not soon enough because already I had started my old habits again...hanging around with the wrong people. And the one thing I vowed I would not let happen to me did. I found myself pregnant. This was the same thing that happened with my sisters before they were married and now I was no better them. I knew the father and I had decided years before that if I ever found myself in this kind of situation I would have an abortion.
That's exactly what I did. I went to the father and told him my condition and what I was going to do to take care of it. He did not argue with me and took me to have the abortion. After all, it was my decision, which turned out to be the the biggest mistake of my life. Three days later I had to rush myself by way of yellow cab to the emergency room of a nearby hospital. I was hemorrhaging profusely and had a fever of 106 degrees. I couldn't call anyone for help since no one knew of the abortion. I called the father but he said he couldn't get away from work. In my darkest hour the Lord had not abandoned me. He got me to the hospital in time and arranged for certain individuals to be used in the process of getting me there. Having had the emergency surgery, I remained in the hospital for a week, and making the arrangements for my sister to come get me and take me home. Again I lied about the hospital stay; no one knew the real reason why I was there.
During this time I came to know a gentleman from my church, his name being Jerry. He moved into my apartment building and we became friends. We went to the single activities together and he'd come by and pick me up for church and the activities we were both involved in. Here was someone who was so different. Someone who accepted me for who I am -- not knowing of my past and treating me as a real friend. I wanted to be married and raise a family. After committing the sins that I had, I believed the lie of the enemy that the Lord would never send me a Godly husband because I was unworthy. When Jesus went to the cross He died for all sins.
My friend Marylou - one day her husband asked me if I ever thought of getting married, and I answered, "Yes." He said to me, "If you begin to pray and believe the Lord has a husband for you, He will answer that prayer request and I too will pray for your future husband as well." That's all I needed to hear. Though in the past I was forever choosing and dating men of my choice, I finally gave it totally over to the Lord, trusting He would send that future husband to me.
Over the next few months Jerry and I began to see we had more then just a friendship, and we had both been praying big time for the Lord to show us what His plan was in all of this.
On October 11, l981 Jerry asked me to marry him and we were joined in holy matrimony on February 16, l982. Everyone who knew us in church were completely taken by surprise. They had no idea the seriousness of our friendship. I told Jerry when we were seeing each other outside of church I didn't want folks to know because in the past I had been hurt too many times when certain relationships broke up and well meaning people wanted to know why.
As of this writing, Jerry and I are into our twenty-first year of marriage and we have two beautiful teenage daughters who also know the Lord. The Lord truly has been good to me, to us. Several years into our marriage I shared my past with Jerry and he said, "I know the Lord has forgiven you and so do I." And then he prayed over me. I felt the weight of the world had been lifted from my shoulders. I had carried that secret with me for so long.
In all this, the Lord has given me the privilege to work with and minister to other post-abortive women through a post-abortive ministry for the past eight years. It is a ministry that helps these women to know there is forgiveness and healing in Jesus Christ -- that they do not need to carry their dark secret alone and by themselves any longer. The enemy wants us to do that so we will continually feel and walk in shame and guilt. But the Lord wants to set us free. Back when I laid in that hospital recovering from a wrong choice that I made, I knew the Lord had spared my life. I told my Heavenly Father, " I am so sorry for what I had done, to please forgive me and from this day on be the Lord of my life. I will serve you in whatever capacity you see fit." And my life has never been the same since.
And yes, the Lord has also given me the privilege to use my singing for His glory - something He had planned right from the beginning. The Lord will never disappoint us when we leave things in His hands. His plan as far as my singing is concerned came in His timing, not mine. He has not forgotten the desire of my heart and has opened a door for me. The Lord's timing is always perfect. I am redeemed and restored for His glory.
The Bible assures us that no sin is so great (or so bad) that the shed blood of Jesus won't forgive it. No amount of sins we've committed are "too many" for God to forgive either.
Dear Reader - are you at peace with God? If not, you can be. Do you know what awaits you when you die? You can have the assurance from the Holy Spirit that heaven will be your home, if you would like to be certain. Either Jesus Christ died for yours sins, or He didn't (He did!). Are you prepared to stand before God on the Judgment Day and tell Him that you didn't need the shed blood of Jesus Christ on the Cross to cover your sins? We plead with you ... please don't make such a tragic mistake.
To be at peace with God; to make certain heaven will be your home for eternity; to make certain that you are in right-standing with God right now ... please click here to help understand the importance of being reconciled to God. What you do about being reconciled to God will determine where you will spend eternity, precious one. Your decision to be reconciled to God is the most important decision you'll ever make in this life.
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