Who Am I?
My name is Ariel Shanelle, co-founder of Misfit Ministries. My husband, Owen Bey, and I created this ministry because we believe all people who follow Christ should have a safe place of unity and growth.
There are many people who believe in Jesus Christ, but are ashamed of themselves and their sins. Although that’s not biblical, I know that place all too well. I did not let my sin separate me from God and neither should you. Because I put myself aside and followed God whole-heartedly, I’m now in a place I’d never thought I’d be.
I didn’t get here overnight, though. I’m going to share with you my Christian testimony of how I found Christ and how He changed my life.
My Life Was ‘Normal’ Until…
I honestly and truly believe that the first tactic the enemy used against me was fatherlessness. My father abandoned my mother and me when I was three years old. I didn’t realize until after I got saved how pivotal that moment was for my life. However, God makes it clear that the father is to be the head of the household and without that structure, everything else struggles.
And struggle, we did. My mother, who I’ve gotta say is a warrior, worked full-time hours to provide for her children. This I believe is another tactic of the enemy. If you remove the father and leave a single mom to work full-time, then who raises the child? The mother and child have no choice but to use the resources that are available to them to survive.
Luckily, my mom had friends with children my age so they took turns watching me. That wasn’t so bad. I would say life was completely fine until I reached middle school.
I would say that one of my biggest issues was that I wanted to be liked. This is why I believe my father leaving at such a young age played a very important part of my downfall. Without a parent who affirms your good works or tells you that you’re worthy, the devil can easily convince you that you’re not.
Therefore, I started copying everyone else’s bad habits.
A Quick Side Story
It’s important to mention this story because I feel like it also was used by the enemy to dig me deeper into a pit of feeling worthless.
My mom did end up finding someone who she loved very much. He was great to me. He was the father I never had. I truly believe he cared for me and did his best to be a stepfather to me. He even tried to adopt me, but my biological father wouldn’t allow him to.
Anyway, his best wasn’t good enough and Satan was able to use this man for the worse. He cheated on my mother and I can still remember her broken-hearted face after all these years. She really thought he was the one for her.
Many years later, he came back into her life begging to be received again. Being hurt and desperate as a lot of other single moms who have been abandoned, she received him. They got married, but after he hurt her the first time I no longer loved him. In fact, I may have hated him.
After a year or so, he cheated on my mother again. I truly believe this seared my trust for men. Can you believe he actually tried to come back into our lives again? Thank God that didn’t happen!
Deadly, Addictive Sins
Many years later was when my quest for love turned onto a dark and evil route.
At the age of 12, I began smoking cigarettes. Of course, I tried it because I thought it was ‘cool’.
I had the same train of thought at age 13 when I began smoking weed and having unprotected sex.
As if those behaviors weren’t bad enough, I began cutting myself and drinking alcohol at age 14. All in the name of wanting to feel accepted and loved.
I was a magnet for the enemy’s devices. My loving mother who was fighting her own battles was so concerned. She took me to a counselor’s office who I began to see once a month. Her diagnosis combined with a psychiatrist’s ability to prescribe drugs got me on antidepressants. I’m not really sure if they worked.
I believe the counselor’s advice helped me a lot more, but it didn’t stop the evil thoughts that the enemy was pouring into my head. Thoughts such as “I hate my life”, “No one loves me”, “I’m worthless”, and “The world would be better off if I wasn’t here.” Not only did these thoughts constantly pour into my head, I believed them.
Seeking A Way Out
Therefore, I smoked, drank, and cut myself more. I had this deep residing pain in my chest that wouldn’t go away no matter what I tried. Now, I know that deep, painful void inside was the result of not having the love of God that I so desperately needed. But without knowing God, I sought many ways and men to try to fill this painful void.
I’ve gone through many horrible and evil relationships. Relationships that I should’ve never even encountered. For example, when I was 14 I began dating an 18-year-old. Illegal much?! That relationship was horrible. I spent my 15th birthday in an abortion clinic aborting twin babies. I can’t even type that without feeling emotional.
It was during this relationship that I tried to commit suicide many times. Although unsuccessful, I remember thinking that I was such a failure that I couldn’t even do that correctly.
After that relationship, I ended up being a 16-year-old in a relationship with a 22-year-old. Again I’ll say, illegal much?!
This relationship was by far the worst! This guy was a player and when I found out that I wasn’t the only girl, he hit me. It was the only day I called out of the job I had at the time. I was left with a black eye, a knot on my head, and a twisted ankle (I couldn’t walk without it hurting). A grown man punching a vulnerable child in the face is only one of the many manifestations of demonic entities in my life at that time.
This man was evil.
Is There A God?
Throughout my hardships in life, I always felt comfortable talking to my brother about it. I have an older brother and sister who are way older than me and left home to pursue their careers. That’s why you haven’t heard much about them because I was still the only child living at home.
I have no idea why I felt comfortable talking to my brother because he wasn’t always the nicest guy. He was bullied in school and had this strong hatred for the world. When he joined the Marines, he had no idea he would leave being a born again believer in Christ. He thought there was no God and if there was, then He wasn’t a good one.
But God worked on him over the course of those four years. Now, he’s one of my best friends and loves God with all his heart.
As you can imagine, I called my brother and was ranting, raving, and crying about my life and how unhappy I was. He always listened to me and understood because he had felt the same hatred for the world growing up.
This Phone Call Changed My Life
I don’t remember the exact conversation, but my brother shared with me the gospel of Christ. Believe it or not, I’ve never heard it before. The way he broke it down made sense and I truly believed that he was telling me the truth. “Yeah, I believe in this!”
But how did that really change my life?
Well, I had no idea what would happen next.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”
– 2 Corinthians 5:17
When I woke up the next day, everything was different. I remember waking up and being amazed at everything. This is how the conversation went in my head.
“Wow, I have a bed. How many people sleep on dirt floors? Oh wow! And a roof! We are so lucky!”
Then, I looked outside and was really flabbergasted. I noticed the grass looked so beautiful, almost glowing while it swayed in the wind. “Isn’t it amazing how God keeps the grass alive and yet we walk all over it? How does He do that?”
I looked up and couldn’t believe my eyes. “We have pavement and cars! And look! A park! This stuff is so amazing!”
That’s pretty much how my whole day went. I’m still amazing at how plumbing and city water operates. We have clean water to take nice, hot showers. Isn’t that so cool?
Anyway, as you can imagine, I thought I was going crazy. I must be losing my mind! So I called my brother and told him everything I was experiencing. His response was, “It sounds like you’ve received the Holy Spirit and can now see and hear as God does.”
Hooked On God
That made sense to me. Throughout the days, I noticed that my behavior bothered me too. I’ve never heard of the word sin before, but I just knew smoking, cursing, and drinking was bad. It didn’t feel good anymore. With all that was happening, I had to find out more. I began to read the Bible and from then on, I was hooked!
God loves me. He created me. I have a purpose. Vengeance belongs to the Lord and He repays the wicked. I’m His child. Jesus died for my sins and God no longer sees my sin. He threw them in the sea of forgetfulness. He hears my prayers and responds.
These are only some of the truths of God I’ve learned while in my beginner stages with God. These truths of God changed my entire life. I started to understand that there is a spiritual war going on. The enemy tried to take me out and God preserved me. My life could’ve been so much worse.
God healed that deep pain of a broken heart. My sins weren’t removed right away because a lot of them were deep-rooted habits that had to be dismantled over time, but I never gave up.
After two years of being obsessed and emerged in the Word of God, He sent me my husband and we soon after had a wonderful family.
I can truly say that I don’t deserve the life I now own. Everything I have is an answered prayer of God. My brother shared that life-changing message with me when I was 17.
To every parent out there who has a child that has lost their way, never stop praying.
If you feel like you’re burned out and have no hope, emerge yourself in the Word of God and speak His promises over your life.
The God of Israel loves those with a pure heart and will come to your aid if you seek Him. He has not forgotten you and He holds every tear you’ve ever cried in His hand.
He is real and He loves you.
Thanks For Reading!
I shared my testimony with you because there are so many others who are still suffering like I was. There are people who feel worthless and unloved. A lot of things people are suffering from are demonic and only spiritual warfare will be able to win their battle.
Pray for those you love, those who hate you, and anyone else the Lord brings to your attention. We may be in a battle, but we’re on the winning team. Thanks for reading!