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Melinda Purcell

I was born in Murphysboro, IL.  I grew up in a home where both parents were married; my dad drank at the time.  As I got older, and I got into junior high I was an honor roll student. 

Um, I began running with the wrong crowd.  I began to drink with them – no morals whatsoever.  I thought my mom and dad were too strict and that these were the people to be with, they were the fun people. 

I was very young and at the age of 15 I became pregnant.  I got married a few days after my 16th birthday.  The party really began then because there was no parental supervision after that. 

About 8 and half years into the marriage, I was making the living for us.  I was becoming very resentful.  I had met someone who was older, made good money, I saw that as a way out.  It turned out to be a violent relationship.  I began to drink more and more – do more drugs to escape that.  I began to get very depressed and felt hopeless.  I finally began to get rid of the “live-in” boyfriend; he popped a lot of pills, and he was drinking.  He had called me at work one day and he committed suicide. 

One night I ran into a man in a convenience store, and it turned out to be my second husband.  When I thought it couldn’t get much worse, it did.  He was violent, he had a drinking problem.  There were drugs.  The hate in me was just overwhelming.  I hated him.  I hated everyone.  And mostly I hated myself, and I felt like I had no hope.  It was like I was looking out a window at the world and everyone had a life and people were happy except for me.  I could not get out of that pit that I was in. 

Things got so bad that one night when he threw me across the room, I went and stood over him with a cast iron skillet with the intention of taking him out.  At that point, I looked up to heaven and I said “If You are real, if You’re there, please help me.” And the next day, miraculously, he was ready to leave.  At that point I had no hope. 

I had a Christian friend at work; she gave me some Joyce Meyer tapes and I threw them down in my vehicle and I thought “I don’t want to listen to any preacher tell me how to live.  They have no idea what it’s like.”  Well, they kept sitting there and one day I picked them up and I began to listen and I heard this lady on the other end who had embezzled money from a company that she worked for, who had done drugs and had been a bartender and I began to realize I wasn’t the only one. 

During this time I was invited to an Easter musical at a church and I had gone.  After that in 2000, I told my “live-in” boyfriend at the time that I was going to go to the church that did the Easter musical.  I went very angry, but I knew there was something there that those people had that I needed, that I desperately needed.  They had a hope that I hadn’t seen before.  They just kept loving me, and I kept coming back and ignoring them and being hateful. 

As time went by, God began to speak to my heart how much He loved me through the people in the church, and it continued to draw me in and they accepted me just as I was.  One year later I was baptized on Easter morning of 2001. 

I almost didn’t get baptized.  I had come in that morning and they said, “Are you getting baptized?” and I said, “I can’t.” and they said, “Why can’t you be baptized?” and I said, “Because I feel so unworthy.  This is something that good people do.”  The pastor said to me, “Nobody’s worthy, if we were worthy we wouldn’t need God.” 

Out of all the people in this world, I just can’t imagine why God would keep trying to draw me in.  He went (about) it different ways, through different people, and eventually, as I had gotten to the point of no hope, he gave me hope. 

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