As a follow-up to a recent blog, “As the World Turns,” you will enjoy this Reader’s Digest version of Vanessa Coleman’s story of God’s miraculous work of rescue and restoration in her life as He turned her world downside up, brought her a godly husband, and set her on a path of fruitful ministry through song and speaking. You will be amazed and inspired by her whole story as she wrote about it in her book, “Turning Point, When You’ve Got to Have a Real Change,” available on her website, vanessadalecoleman.com.
There was a time in my life when daily I was plagued with a dark, dreariness; I couldn’t remember a time when I was truly happy, free of some consuming negative thing in my life. I had lived a pretty racy lifestyle; living with a man I was not married to who was nothing more than a toxic hindrance to anything positive in my life. My risqué lifestyle was only slowed down when a Nashville, Tennessee, judge threatened to put me in prison if I didn’t make some changes. That court situation was the beginning of a turn in my life, which eventually led me to a new life in Christ.
To comply, I did a job search that ironically landed me a position at a religious publishing house. My duties entailed filing images about Jesus, typing articles and manuscripts about Him, and daily interacting with Christian graphic designers, artists and authors. Go figure! When I returned to court, I was spared the prison sentence and given a period of probation. What a close call!
Slowly my life was changing before my eyes, but that dark, dreariness was still there. I was in and out of that toxic relationship for short periods, but always went back. I was using drugs to medicate all the time, but usage was increasing with my pay. To overcome the emptiness in my life and a dread of going home, I became a workaholic. I would be the first one in and the last one to leave.
Finally, a day came when I could no longer stand myself, the people around me, or my life as it was. I really wanted to die but was afraid to attempt suicide because of a couple of failed attempts earlier in my life. I was able to take a “Stress Leave” from work, which gave me at least nine months off with 90% of my base pay only to fall deeper into a hole of isolation, darkness, emptiness, and drug addiction, now with alcohol added.
One day a friend called me from a penal institution where she was incarcerated. She began to tell me about how she had been “saved” and her life was so different. Well, of course I didn’t believe her, thinking she was playing some type of game to try to get out of prison, but somehow what she said stayed in the back of my mind.
A couple weeks later, when I had used the last bit of drugs I had, I was on my way to get more when I heard an audible voice say, “This is your last time going this way.” It was so loud, I turned around to see if there was someone in the back seat of my car. Of course, there was no one there. I shook it off and went ahead to make my purchase.
One evening as things seemed to be spiraling out of control in my life, I kept using my drugs, thinking it would help, but I couldn’t stop crying. During those moments, I remembered the conversation with my incarcerated friend who said she had been “saved.” I felt like screaming and suddenly said loudly, “Lord, help me please!” I was in such despair and just couldn’t stop crying. Tears flowed all night long as I voiced my sincere sorrow for how I had lived my life and how I so wanted change. I remember feeling so sorry and ashamed.
When daylight came, I noticed there was absolutely no desire for drugs or food; I felt as if I had been washed clean. Also, another strange thing was that I wanted to read the Bible, but didn’t know where to start. Tears were still flowing as I remembered the voice that had spoken, “This is your last time going this way.” And it was my last time going that way, never to return.
Later I was introduced to 2 Corinthians 7:9-10 (NIV),
“… yet now I am happy, not because you were made sorry, but because your sorrow led you to repentance. For you became sorrowful as God intended and so were not harmed in any way by us. Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.”
Miraculously repentance had lead to my healing, mentally and emotionally, and I knew it. I called to be released from my therapist. I was so hungry to know the Lord; by His grace I was taken to a church where I was taught the Word of God and experienced rapid spiritual growth.
As a very young girl, around five years old, I had dreamed of being discovered as a singer. After turning to the Lord, that dream was brought back to me when I began to sing along with an artist on TV. The Lord spoke into my spirit, “I have discovered you for my glory” and I realized I was to sing only Christian music. Glory to God! Since then I have produced five CD projects and one book.
My relationships changed too. Three weeks after turning to Christ some brothers from the church helped me move out of the place I had shared with my live-in into a nice place the Lord had prepared for me. When I returned to work, everyone knew that I was different. I no longer led the gossip mill, nor did I speak in profane phrases anymore.
A few months later, I left that job to work at my church as secretary and learned so very much from my pastors and the congregation that I worked with daily. First off I had to learn how to present myself as a Christian woman. Prior to coming to Christ, I had dressed relatively provocatively in mini-skirts and all. Initially, I went to another extreme and started covering myself from the neck down because of some advice from some well meaning, but misguided folks. I was very determined not to fall into fornication with anyone and treated men with a long handle spoon. I began to realize that I did want to be married someday, but most men seemed afraid to talk to me because of my “don’t touch” attitude. In my spirit I heard, “The one I have for you will not be afraid to talk to you at all.”
Some weeks later, a man who was not yet a member of our church showed up at a morning prayer meeting. There were only three of us there, and we all joined hands to end the prayer time. As we closed, I heard the Lord speak into my spirit, “This is your husband.” It startled me, made me nervous and I quickly dropped hands and went downstairs to the office to work. He followed me downstairs and started talking to me without any apprehension whatsoever. To make a long story short, we entered a courtship (never kissed before marriage) and were married nine months later. We’ve been married for 25 years now and continue to grow together.
My turning point from darkness to light took place on March 9, 1989, and my life has never been the same. Perhaps you are at a turning point in your life. Dear Friend, know that God may be drawing you to a place of true repentance and healing. He is a miracle-working God.