BeLoved Testimony

There is a very distinct line in my life: a line between searching and turmoil and peace and hope. Notice I said peace, not ease! I was raised in a religious family that went to church every Sunday but not a family filled with God's truth. I was raised a Christian Scientist. I know that I had a God-sized whole in my heart, because I spent years searching and filling that hole with things of the world. I had a very good time, was very social, and that led to some very bad decisions. After getting a divorce at the age of 35, I started dating and eventually married a man who was abusive. He went to church every Sunday, read his Bible and pressured me to do the same. I wanted to please him, so I began attending church. My husband's family attended an annual church camp in Flovilla, Georgia called Indian Springs Holiness Campground, and I joined them. Picture exactly what you imagine when you think of an old time church camp—preaching three times a day in an open-air tabernacle filled with Bible-waving, hollering, gospel singing, and people running in the isles. I had never seen anything like it. There was an altar call after every sermon, something I had never seen. One night I had an uncontrollable urge to go to the altar. I knelt at the altar and prayed. I prayed that God would forgive me for all my mistakes and the lifestyle I was leading. I prayed that I would live differently. I really just gave up! The preacher came over and layed his hands on me and prayed too. I cried. When I stood up, I was a different person. No one had ever told me about being "saved" or what that meant. I didn't know any special prayer. I just knew I felt completely different! The next day my husband said, "You look so different; your smile and your eyes are shining. It's like you are walking two feet off the ground." A few months later my daughter came home from visiting a Baptist church and told me she had been "saved." I asked what that was and as she explained it to me, I thought hmmm so have I! I call this "salvation in hindsight!"

My husband and I were eventually divorced, and God blessed my two children and I with seven years of peace and a happy home. I worked for my church as an assisstant to the youth minister and led a Bible study at the local domestic violence shelter. Two years ago, the Lord began pushing me out of my comfort zone. I read two great books, Radical and Hole in our Gospel, and went on a mission trip to Costa Rica to work with LightForce. (LightForce reaches out and helps women trapped in the sex industry find freedom from their bondage.) I came back feeling pushed to work in this area but closer to home.

My family moved to Atlanta 18 months ago and started working in the direction we felt God leading us. My daughter and another young lady founded a non-profit called BeLoved Atlanta. BeLoved provides resources and shows Christ's love to women trapped in the sex industry. We opened our first home three months ago and currently have two women going through the BeLoved program. It is the hardest thing, and the most amazing thing I have ever been a part of.

I've shared all this to encourage you. During my marriage to my abusive husband, I learned to cry out to the Lord and depend on Him with everything I had. I now feel myself back in that same dependence on the Lord as I often know I am not going to get through the day without His strength and perserverence. In our weakness, He is made strong!

I pray every day that my steps will line up with God's will and that BeLoved Atlanta will glorify Him in all we do. We are always looking for prayer partners, volunteers, supporters, and contacts that would be interested in partnering with us. Please check out our website www.belovedatlanta.org. Also, feel free to contact me if you have any questions or would like more information dallen@belovedatlanta.org.