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Season of Stories: April's Story

Season of Stories: April's Story

Awhile back, I mentioned on Facebook that I wanted to start a season of stories. More specifically, using our platform to help share your stories and testimonies to help encourage other women and give God the glory for creating beautiful lives out of broken situations. I was so overwhelmed and overjoyed at the abundance of stories we received! If you haven't heard back from me, I did get your story but am taking time sorting through each story and deciding when and how to feature each of you. I am so excited to announce the first story in this season of storytelling: April's story.

April has been so brave and gracious to share her story with us (or with anyone) for the first time ever! Her story is one of brokenness, shame, despair, and sin, much like many other women's testimonies. She found herself looking for love and validation in all the wrong places but only finding a long line of hurt and rejection. Each pain point in April's story only led her closer to the one who would never leave or forsake her: Jesus. Check out April's amazing story of finding love and acceptance through rejection below!

April's Story

"I was scrolling on Instagram and saw an advertisement for your clothing brand to be a brand ambassador. I am a stay at home mom of 4. I have really been wanting to do something like this for a clothing brand but wanted to find the right one. I truly feel like God put me on this path and that I saw your post for a reason. I applied to be an ambassador and got the email with the link to your website. Once I was on the main page, before I even clicked on the clothing, I saw your blog post “Your Story Matters.” Once I read it, I knew God had sent me this direction for a reason. 
Like I said above, I am a mom of 4. I am recently married and have a new baby with my husband. We have a beautiful home and he loves my other 3 kids as his own. I prayed to God for this. My family to be complete. Because my life hasn’t always been this way. My story is long but I hope you read through it. I hope that I can save young girls from making the same mistakes and bad choices that I did. 
I have never told my story to a stranger. I am very very ashamed of it. I think back to being younger and I’m very unsure of why I did what I did. But after reading your blog, I feel like this is the place I can share my story and save other young girls from making the same mistakes as me. I know God has been wanting me to share my story somehow, I just didn’t know how. He has put it on my heart for so long, but again, I am so ashamed. Especially being married now and having my past constantly coming back to haunt me. It has caused tension in my marriage and made my husband uncomfortable. I wish I would have thought about how it would affect my future a long time ago. I wish I would have staid close to God and believed that his love is good enough and that I didn’t have to find it in a man in order to feel loved. 
I have always believed God is my savior and known God. But at a young age I started seeking the attention of boys in negative ways. At the age of 13 I got myself alone with a boy that pressured me into sex. I buckled and did it. After I felt so awful. I was so young. I didn’t know much about love but I knew I didn’t want the way I lost my virginity to be this way. I wanted to save myself. But he liked me for giving in. Maybe this was how I got boys to like me and love me. If I do this then they will stay with me. If I do this then they will be interested in me. From there it spiraled. I slept around a lot as a teenager. Every boyfriend I had I slept with. Even if they weren’t my boyfriend, if I did it they liked me. They gave me attention. But that wasn’t true at all. They saw me as a target. Someone who was easy to manipulate because of my insecurity and need to be loved. They new I would do it. And after they would break up with me and leave me, I felt so dirty. I felt used and disgusting. I hated myself. Why did I do this? Why?! 
At 17 almost 18 I was pregnant, I fell for a narcissist. The typical kind of men I went for. He had no interest in being with me and raising my son. After my first son was born he left me. He never came back. For awhile I didn’t date or sleep with anyone. But soon I was back to finding someone to love me. I wanted a family so badly. I would give anything for a family. I started sleeping around again. I was working at a Boot Barn and got mixed up with another narcissist who swept me off my feet and took me and my son to Texas where things went from bad to worse. He cheated on me. And after he cheated I found out I was pregnant. He had no desire to be with me, he wanted the other woman. I came home and lost the baby. I still believe it was the stress he put me through. 
After I was home for a little while with my son and I healed from the hurt of losing the baby, I found myself back in touch with a guy I hated dated when I was younger. He was good to me and my son at first but he was raised by a male chauvinist and he hated women. Women were beneath them and were easy to be disposed of. Even worse he did not believe in God. But I thought I could fix him and bring him to know Christ. I put up with it because he accepted my son and said he loved us. He told me he wanted to marry me and have a family with me. But when I got pregnant things changed very fast. He told me pregnancy was disgusting, nothing about it was beautiful. I was crushed. We moved into our own place and things just got worse from there. He started cheating on me and being awful to my son. Two days before Christmas I packed up and left with my son. I had my daughter on my own. 
When my daughter was 3 months old or so I came back in contact with yet another person from my past. He would be one of the worst men I’ve ever come across. He lied so much. Not one thing from the time that we started dating to the end was true. He loved my kids and me, or so I thought. Right after we got engaged things started to surface. He was cheating on me left and right. He put me in financial debt. He drove me away from the woman I was. The woman God wanted me to be. When I found out about the first affair I also found out I was pregnant. I tried to stay with him. But the lying never stopped. He drove me insane, when I would try to leave he would say he was going to commit suicide. I felt trapped until all the cheating and lies had me completely fed up. I told him to leave me alone and he did. He had no interest in any financial responsibility for a child. Instead he raised a baby with the e girl he was cheating on me with, and that baby wasn’t even his. 
 
I stayed single for awhile after that. I had Christian on my own. Life went on. And I started sleeping around again. I still wanted a family. I wanted a man to love me. Why couldn’t I have that!? Why!? What was wrong with me. Was I just a used up mother that no one would ever want? I had three kids on my own, no one was ever going to want me. I accepted that and just took what ever attention I could have. The good and bad. I hated men. All they did was break my heart. So if it worked out then great but if not oh well. I met a fire fighter and he ended up leaving me too, after he got me pregnant. I lost that baby too. I still dated. I met some nice guys. I just kept walking the wrong path. I remember several nights hitting my knees and asking God to please stop me from sleeping around. I didn’t want to do it anymore. I would cry myself to sleep because I felt so awful. I would date men that I had no intention of sleeping with and still did it anyway. I hated myself. I had no respect for myself. I was empty inside. But that’s what made me feel loved since no one was going to love me. I felt flattered by men that were attracted to my beauty. Negative attention was bad attention. But it was still attention. 
Without God in my life I never would have made it. I have been blessed with amazing parents and friends that have been there for me every step of the way. I wish that I would have leaned more on God’s understanding and waited for the person he intended for me. I wish I would have known how much he loves me and how my actions hurt Him. I wish so badly I never would have slept around like I did. I’ve been with a lot of men. I’ve had to go to extensive counseling because of my anxiety and guilt. I have raised my kids alone, and while I loved being a single mom and just raising my kids I have to say it is incredibly hard. Had it not been for my parents we would not have what we do. My kids have made me a better person and pushed me to get through school. But, my journey has been long, hard, and stressful. 
God’s  mercy for me is crazy. I can not believe how blessed I am. Even though I hurt Him and sinned so badly, He never gave up on me. My kids are all healthy and through all the dumb and senseless things I’ve done I’m still here and I’m healthy. I hate to think of all the bad things that could have happened to me. I wouldn’t be here right now and my kids wouldn’t have a mother. I’m all they have. God was truly watching over me. He never stopped fighting for me. He always knew I loved him and wanted His love more. I just needed to have faith in Him and trust His timing, not mine.
When I met my husband I was not expecting it at all. I had put my faith in God this time. I was ready for Him to lead me. I was closer to God than I had ever been. My husband loves our Savior, he loves me, and most importantly he loves my kids as his own. I prayed so very hard for that. God answered my prayers even though I was so undeserving of His love and blessings. We have a 2 month old baby girl together and after a very rough pregnancy and practically starving due to a paralyzed stomach, she was absolutely perfect and healthy. 
 I live in a small town and we see a lot of my past encounters from time to time. It really bothers my husband and puts a strain on our relationship. We have had to work through a lot of things. I honestly can’t blame him for feeling the way he does. I guess I would too if he would have slept around like I did. Some days I don’t know why he is with me. But then I am just thankful to our God that He never gave up on me and believed I deserved someone like my husband. 
My story is mine to keep, some days I wish I would have written it differently. But if it would have been written any other way, I wouldn’t have my beautiful kids that light up my life and I wouldn’t have my husband. It is crazy that we go through what we do in order to be so thankful of what we have and where we are now. I guess that’s why we go through bad things, so we can come out and know how Great our God is. He uses us to tell our stories and witness how He got us through every single bad moment. 
If there was any amount of advice I could give to someone who struggles like I did, I would say just don’t do it. Wait, that’s not love. It will never be the right kind of love. It will only lead to bad things and you will feel nothing but used and regret. God has your journey ready for you when you are ready to take His mighty hand and let Him lead you. Build your relationship with Him and you will find how mighty His love for you is. His love is unlike any love that you will ever find. It is enough and always will be. It will carry you farther than you ever imagined it would. 
Now more than anything I want to be the wife and mother God intended me to be. I want him to guide me where ever I go from here. I pray more and talk more to Him than I ever have. I despise who I was, but I love who I have become."
Author: April Abernathy
@the_mama_kahuna

 

God is able to take things that the world has broken and turn them into something that is so beautiful like April's family. She faced so much pain and hurt but God loved and led her through it to be able to give Him the glory for the restoration and healing in her life. I am so happy that April found a loving husband but more importantly that she realized the loving Father that had been there all along. 

God will never leave or forsake us. He loves us unconditionally, even when we do not see it or cannot understand it. And He DOES have a plan for us and for our lives to be able to glorify Him. God's glorification in our lives lead to our joy and peace. 

If you have a story you would like to share, please email shelby@shewhoisapparel.com. We receive so many submissions that we will not be able to share every single story, but will do our very best to share and highlight your testimony to give God the glory.

 

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