We praise Jesus that the Internet started at roughly the same time as Mars Hill Church. It’s allowed us to put all our content (sermons, blog posts, worship music, etc.) online for free for over 15 years. In January, 1,488,593 people from all seven continents visited marshill.com. We love our global family and are grateful for the opportunities technology has given us to share Jesus around the world. This is Erin’s story.
Hi Mars Hill,
I’ve been asked to share my story.
It starts like a lot of others—Christian home, Christian school, Christian upbringing. No relationship with God.
My life was smooth sailing until I reached 19 and the world got in the way of what I knew was right. I met my future husband during this period of my life.
When I was 22 I moved to the country to complete my three years country service—I am a teacher. I got married during this time and fell pregnant with my daughter. She was born in 2011 just after we moved to the Sunshine Coast in Queensland. I was 25.
My husband started an electrical business, we went overseas for two months, bought a house, and fell pregnant with our second child.
At the start of 2013 when I was three months pregnant, my husband hired a 21-year-old secretary. This coincided with his revelation that he was not happy at home and couldn’t be there unless he was drunk.
This is when my relationship with God started. Carrying my son, raising my daughter, and dealing with an absent, emotionally abusive partner was too much for me to bear. His behavior was erratic and unstable and I constantly had to leave home and stay with my parents for the safety and stability of my daughter, my unborn son, and myself.
During this time, my husband was constantly drunk, verbally abusive, involved with marijuana, started smoking, refused to help around the house or with the children, refused to get help, and covered himself with excessive tattoos and piercings. Rumors surrounded him about an affair with his secretary—he denied them profusely on a weekly basis.
All this became too much for me and I asked him to leave in June to sort himself out—the idea was that we would seek counseling once the baby had been born in July.
My son was born on July 28, 2013, 9 pounds 6 ounces. I chose the name Raven. I had always been a fan of Dustin Kensrue and was inspired by his song ‘Consider the Ravens.’ When Raven was five days old [my husband and I] had a counseling session. It was horrible. After the session I could see my marriage was a lost cause. I ended our relationship with the advice from my counselor that he had ‘already made up his mind and left.’
We didn’t see him for six weeks, at which time I contacted him to ask him to see the children. For the six weeks following he came to visit once or twice a week for an hour. Then he told me that he was in love with the secretary. They had moved in together.
Since this revelation in October we have seen him once on my daughter’s birthday for one hour. He doesn’t contact us.
When this season started, I would scream to God, asking for patience, asking for wisdom, asking for help, asking for the strength to stay, and begging him to save my husband and marriage. Worship music played all day everyday. God surrounded me with women who knew God, people like neighbors, ladies from church, and my teaching partner. Women came out of the woodwork to surround me and help. Our community now is full of these women—we have been abundantly blessed.
I asked the Holy Spirit to give me the power to decipher the truth and to give me wisdom, I asked Jesus to hold me, and for God to fill us all with his love.
And he did.
Each day, through each new trial, through each new battle, I was filled. I was given the strength to proceed, to carry my children, to continue.
When my husband left so did a cloud of heaviness. I knew I needed to give my marriage everything so I could look my children in the eye and know that I’d exhausted every avenue and had eventually been released from my obligation.
I prayed my way through the birth of my son; I was held and carried as I stood outside my own body watching myself function and care for my babies confidently and capably. This wasn’t me—it was God. Nothing else but the strength given to me by him who covered us with his blood, grace, and love.
Through news and evidence of affairs, lies, and indiscretion, peace surrounded us and rested in our hearts.
I was baptized on my birthday—December 1, 2013. I turned 28 and was baptized for the first time.
Hard times; good God
Since then, there have been more trials, more challenges, but we stand firm in Jesus.
By the world’s standards we should have been shaken and shattered long ago. We aren’t. We are strong, loved, and supported. We are happy, safe, confident, and awesome! We are in Jesus.
I’m not saying this season has been easy. I’m not saying I live without questions or doubt or fear. But I pray though them. I have freedom. We have freedom—Stella, Raven, and I.
I would not change this season of my life for anything. I have Jesus now—he was always there; he never left. But now I know him. I would rather [have] Jesus than anyone or anything and if this is what it took for me to know him, then I thank God so much for gracefully being with me through this trial. Even if he didn’t cause it, I know it passed through his hands. I know he saw it, looked at it, and now I know he will use it for good—for his glory.
Dustin Kensrue led me to the Mars Hill site, which led me to the sermons, which led me to Mark Driscoll, who led me to Who Do You Think You Are, which I have just completed reading and listening to. My journey continues as I deepen in Christ every minute of every day. I frequent the Mars Hill site daily. One of these days I’m coming to visit you. I’m so grateful for the part you have played in my journey.
Now I live confidently in Christ and I teach my children to do the same. Before 2013 I knew nothing about anything. Now I know two things—there is a God and he saves.
“She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future.”
–Proverbs 31:25 (NLT)
God bless you Mars Hill.
Erin, Stella, and Raven
Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia