Linda M Carleton was born into a dysfunctional family in Lake Luzerne, New York. She grew up enduring and witnessing child abuse and child sexual abuse, and acquired a dysfunctional mindset.
Linda never had the moral guidance and biblical truths required to live an abundant life in the Lord Jesus Christ. She lived in the darkness of sin with fear most of her life.
As a young mother, Linda endured domestic violence for three and one-half years. She lost custody of her two children and ran in fear for her life.
Several months later, she repeated the dysfunctional patterns of childhood once again. Linda left behind a new apartment, counseling help and getting her GED to move in with a new boyfriend.
Now in her early twenties and still wandering in darkness, Linda flew to San Fransisco California with her boyfriend and their two-year-old son.
They were searching for an abundant life.
They ran out of money after a few months and began eating at soup kitchens and city missions. One evening, at a city mission in Oakland, California she listened to a sermon before the meal.
Linda was at her lowest point in her life.
She was in another state with little money and lacked the job skills to earn an income. She had a broken heart from losing her two children. Her spirit was downtrodden and oppressed from years of physical, mental and verbal abuse.
Linda paid close attention to what the Minister was saying that night. When the service ended the Minister invited everyone to come forward. He asked her to receive Jesus Christ as her personal Savior.
She needed the Lord Jesus Christ the Minister had been talking about during his sermon. Linda decided to walk forward to confess her faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
When Linda looked out the window of her 7th story apartment, the next day everything was different to her. On that day, everything felt different to her on the inside. She felt the presence of peace deep inside, love in her heart and the Holy Spirit in her.
Linda’s life began to change forever that day!
Linda enrolled in a six-month Certified Nurses and Home Health Aid training class. Afterward, she found employment at St Josephs Convalescent Hospital in Castro Valley, California.
Linda attended the Salvation Army Church in Berkley, California for more than a year. The pastors Harold and Jeanne Stromberg taught her the Word of God and guided her on the right path in life.
One day while waiting for a public bus with her 4-year-old son. An older man started talking to her about raising him on the streets. This man told her that when you raise a child on the streets, they turn out like the cement on the sidewalk. He said that children learn from their environment. And like the cement on the sidewalk, you can’t separate the two again.
This man encouraged her not to raise her son on the streets of Oakland, California. This encounter prompted her to raise her son in the country. Within a few months, they traveled for a month across the country back to New York.
Linda continued to learn the Word of God by attending a weekly Bible study with family members. Over the years, she learned to place her faith in the Lord and trusted Him to provide for her needs. However, she was not obedient to the Word of God and following Jesus Christ on a continuous basis.
Linda was still walking in the world of darkness with sinful conditions. All the while she grabbed onto the word of God. Linda was sitting on the fence as a part-time Christian. She was living in the “partial” light of Christ and was bound to the darkness by the chains of sin.
Linda continued to make unhealthy choices and decisions in her life. She continued to live in fear of an abusive husband. She carried the burdens of shame and guilt around with her.
After living in an unhealthy relationship for twenty years, she decided to move on her own. Linda wanted a man who made her feel respected and loved. She wanted an abundant life.
Just before moving she became involved with another man. She acted in haste even though the Lord had given her the word “fool.” Linda didn’t listen to the Lord. She chose to do things her way; to follow her feelings.
Those actions brought about devastating consequences. She suffered once again because she didn’t trust his word “fool.”
That was the biggest mistake of her life. It was also the pivotal turning point in her life. Praise God; she finally learned to “listen” to and place her “trust” in the Lord.
Within a few months after, Linda joined a dating website to search for a good man to date. Shortly after she received a short message “Is that u Linda?” in her inbox.
Confused, she clicked on the profile name “oJoEo” to view his photos. Linda clicked the logoff button to leave the website. His message, “Is that u Linda?” now held meaning. It put extreme fear in her.
The past twenty-four years came rushing back like a violent tidal wave. She wanted to run away again. She wanted to hide in the darkness and thought about deleting her account on the dating website.
Linda had a chance to face that fear.
She decided to step out in faith, knowing that God was always with her and that God will always protect her.
“Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.” Isaiah 41:10 KJV
Linda sent a reply back saying,
“Why must you ask when you know it’s your wife? I have forgiven you in my heart that is all I have to say.”
He responded back saying,
“Just wanted to say I am VERY sorry for all I had done. I am not that person anymore, not by far. Only some punk ass kid would do the shit I did. I was devastated by Anthony’s illness, made me very angry. I had a lot of issues, period, but, my life has changed. I am not trying to be a friend, to get back or none of that. I just wanted to say sorry and hope life sheds a ton of happiness upon you and yours.”
the next morning.
Linda sent a reply back that afternoon saying,
“And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7 KJV
Linda chose this passage of scripture because she couldn’t understand why he abused her or how he could do such awful things to her.
His words “I am not that person anymore, not by far” stood out the most. Linda knew he was telling the truth. He wasn’t that same punk ass kid anymore, not by far. The proof was in one of his profile photos.
Her husband loves tattoos, and in one of his photos, his entire back had a tattoo with a depiction of Jesus head wearing the crown of thorns. It was beautiful!
At that moment, God’s purpose had been revealed.
“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28 KJV
Linda carried the secrets of abuse and lived in the darkness with fear, guilt, and shame for over twenty years until he sent those messages. She never disclosed these secrets in detail to anyone out of shame.
That day, Linda walked out of the darkness by faith and was able to overcome fear by the grace of God, and forgiveness was made possible by God’s transforming love.
By the grace of God, she has been rescued from the darkness, and no longer lives with a dysfunctional mindset. She has been set free from the bondage of sin.
The Lord Jesus Christ has rescued her and renewed her sick mind with the Word of God. By the grace of God, her spirit has been healed of past afflictions and her life was transformed by his everlasting love.
By the grace of God, Linda has walked out of the darkness into the light of Christ.
Note: I still need to resolve my marriage by obtaining a divorce. I hope to accomplish this shortly.