great church in collinsville il

Member Testimony: Sonya

I grew up in a rural area in Missouri that was 18 miles outside of town. I had an older brother and have a sister, plus a twin brother. I lived a very sheltered life as a child. I was only around family, church, and school. I grew up thinking there were no bad people in the world. I was very open and trusting. My parents never showed any anger or had disagreements in front of us kids. I never saw my parents argue until way into my adult life. I grew up believing in God and going to a Baptist church. I was baptized at 12-years-old. Life was great, I dreamed of being a mother and a wife someday. I wanted to be like my mom but have more than 4 children.

My world changed at 15-years-old when I went through menopause and realized that I could not have children. I felt rejected and worthless. I wondered, “Who would ever want me now?” I remember hearing in church that women are supposed to bear children and provide a loving home and be a companion to their husband. I kept asking myself, “What is my life good for if I cannot do these things?”

I started thinking I was going to need to move far away so that I wouldn’t be reminded of these things.

My older brother was in the Navy stationed in California, so that was my way out. I thought if I could move in with him that things would work out. Then my older brother, at 23-years-old, died tragically in a motorcycle accident. After his death I shut down. I lost hope and became cold and distant. I had felt so close to my older brother. I thought I would not make it past 23-years-old, the same as him.

At this point, I started drinking and using drugs. After high school, I moved to St Louis and stopped having anything to do with church. Church, at that time, just reminded me of my failures. I used my body to get what I wanted, since my body had no purpose to me. Then I was sexually assaulted by different men, one was a trusted family member. I always thought it was my fault, I put myself in that situation and I deserved what I got. I put myself in bad situations so that maybe I wouldn’t wake up the next day. I would wake up in places I had no idea where I was, but I was alive, so I felt like a failure again. “Why GOD? Why are you keeping me alive?” I was distant from my family but I always knew my mother was praying for me and figured that’s how I kept surviving.

Then I met my first husband and for the first time I was in love and felt loved. I started thinking that maybe I did have a future. He had two young children and didn’t want any more, which seemed perfect. I was happy for a time. Towards the end of our 13 years together, he became a full alcoholic. To avoid his drinking, I started drinking and using more than I already had been. After I felt some physical abuse, I moved out. He died from a heart attack about a year later. We ended on bad terms, and his family blamed me for his death. I was not allowed to go to the funeral per the kids’ request. I lost a husband, son, daughter, and a grandson. I was devastated and turned to things that helped me avoid dealing with it even more.

Later, I married my current husband. He also had 2 children and didn’t want anymore, so I committed to helping him raise them. The boys have different mothers, so this gave us many challenges. I thought, “Ok God, this is my destiny. Here are children that need a mother figure that is constant and reliable.” The problem with that was that I tried to fill that role without God’s help. So again, I felt like a failure. We struggled for a long time. After the boys were old enough and moved out, I was separated from my husband for about 18 months. We are together now and continuing to work on our relationship.

During this time, I was overworked at my job and started having panic attacks along with chronic migraines. “You are a failure,” kept ringing in my head. I wanted to give up but was reminded of a friend of mine. I remember this friend was kind, happy, encouraging, and proud to show that she loved God. I met her after she began her relationship with God, then I learned of her past and was amazed at how happy she was, and how she was able to let go of her anger. Then one day, I decided I wanted to be happy again and realized everything I was doing was not working. I was missing something, and it was God. I finally started seeking God. I was listening to Bott Radio every time I was in the car, and that’s also when I started talking to God. The more I listened, the more my heart wanted to be close to GOD. I wanted a church family. I tried different churches around town but was not able to connect. There was no support from my husband or children. My first service at The Crossings was at the Temporary Hotel Location. I was immediately welcomed by Stephanie. I could tell right away her heart belonged to God. I am thankful for her giving/loving heart. I kept coming back and joined a bible study. I was baptized in 2020, and this time I felt the Holy Spirit enter my heart. The feeling was so overwhelming with joy. I continue to grow and yearn to learn more about God.

Beginning in my early 20’s, I started having migraines. They have progressed into chronic migraines and after the many, many treatments I have tried, they continue today. I am currently very sensitive to light, smell, and sound. Loud noises, crowds, make it difficult for me to communicate. So, if you’re trying to talk to me and I am not answering, I might be locked up in pain and cannot find the words. The pain is so intense at times that I cannot breathe. The fall weather change is the hardest time of year for my migraines. During that time, I miss out on so much fellowship it saddens me.

With all the challenges of life and migraines, I can get depressed very easily. I have to force myself to get up and move. I have learned that my past was not all failures. God has shown me that my past has given me knowledge and I should use that knowledge to help others. I am not a failure. I am a Child of God, and I am never alone. I used to have the fear of dying alone and now that fear is gone. I will have the LORD with me always. I deal with intense pain on a daily basis, and I believe that someday I will be without pain. If it takes until I am in heaven, then I am ok with that because I know the Lord is walking with me in this life. I feel very grateful and thankful to be alive today. I love to help anyone with anything I am able to. Thank you Lord, every day, Thank you Lord.


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The Crossings Church Collinsville

Where the Problems of Life Meet the Power of God.

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