My Story

A blissful childhood

My childhood was almost idyllic, yet I’m well acquainted with pain, trauma and tough choices. Dad was a general contractor (he built the house that we grew up in). My Mom was full-time at home, for most of my childhood. There were ups and downs, but we were happy and life was good. In high school I gave my heart and life to Jesus, He became my Lord and Savior.

That’s when the poop hit the fan!

Mom didn’t understand Bible studies and prayer meetings – she feared I had joined a cult. Phew! There was drama and persecution at home. I was constantly yelled at, smacked, and punished. I had to apply the Word as soon as I accepted Jesus – choosing to forgive, honor and respect my Mom. One evening Mom was extra harsh with me. After I left the room, I heard my Father say to her, “You’ve got to stop treating her like this or you’re going to lose her.” The home I grew up in had become a sizzling frypan. Then I met a young Christian man; he loved the Lord, was kind, caring, smart and responsible. Young and in love, we married. The first 2 years of marriage were blissful. Pregnant with our first child I took a sabbatical from teaching, to also be home as a full-time mom. I was so delighted!

Who could have known the journey that I was about to walk into and go through?

From frypan to furnace

Rapidly our blissful marriage disintegrated into a living nightmare. Alcoholism turned Dr. Jekyll into Mr. Hyde. (Addiction/Alcoholism is a terrible disease, it swallows up a person and wrecks whole families.) My ex-husband would have fits of rage screaming, smashing things, and threatening. I feared not only for

myself but our children (we came to have 5). They acted out, the erratic anger affected them negatively. Sometimes I would literally shield the children with myself. I was never physically abused, but the unpredictable mental and emotional abuse was immense. In addition, I was cut off from finances, home full time, barefoot and pregnant, I wasn’t given even a dollar for gas, coffee, etc. Unbeknownst to me, I was going through the school of the Holy Spirit’s accelerated course; exercising forgiveness, honor and respect toward my husband. I also attended support groups (Al-Anon) and we went for counseling, several times. Nothing was helping, things were only getting worse as the alcoholism progressed. There were times when I curled into a fetal position and silently cried myself to sleep.

Crying out to the Lord

Beside myself, I cried out to the Lord – daily! Overwhelmed in a lifestyle of chaos and insanity, I asked my pastor whether I should divorce or not. He gave me the best advice ever, “No one can answer that for you. You have to get still before God, grab a hold of the horns of the altar, and hear His voice for yourself. Whatever you do, don’t make your decision from the seat of your emotions. If you do that no matter what you decide, you’ll always look back and second guess yourself. You have to know that you’ve heard from the Lord.” It’s easy to ‘get still before God’ in times of tranquility and plenty, but to be still in His Presence and hear His voice clearly while in a war zone, that’s a challenge! And that is how I got ‘good’ at intercession – it was my lifeline. Daily life and decision making depended on hearing Him in a very real and vital way. Bottom line it took me forever to hear the Lord clearly, after I had exhausted every possible effort of reconciling with my ex, God released me. (see Malachi 2:14-16, NIV) After 27 years, 25 of them extremely trying, I divorced. I talked with my children one on one regarding it. My oldest looked at me and said, “I just have one question – What took you so long?”

Count it as joy!

It wasn’t just about coming out of a difficult situation but entering wholeness and abundant life. During those years of ‘tribulation’, I worked hard on me. The only person we can ever really change is ourselves. Me, myself and I were/are a full-time job! A constant process of decision making and submitting to God, while simultaneously guarding my heart and mind in Christ. Although I wouldn’t want to go through 1 day of my tumultuous marriage again, I’m thankful for it. Everything I went through prepared, equipped and empowered me for the purpose and destiny He’d created me for.

The birth of His Kingdom Ministries


He Makes a Way Where There Is No Way

There’s so much more to my story! How I: re-married to a gentle, caring man in Christ; my ex being set free and redeeming the time with our children, even his asking me for forgiveness; the children growing into sound men and women with beautiful families; enjoying family restoration. The Lord blessing me financially: His principle of sowing and reaping in action – times of choosing to give sacrificially when I had nothing, then being given full scholarships (that I didn’t even apply for) for my master’s and doctoral degrees at a prestigious university. And of course, more opportunities to forgive, as I was passed over for a job to one with lesser qualifications (due to organizational politics), betrayal, backstabbing, etc.

One instance left me particularly embittered. Washing dishes at the kitchen sink I had a full-blown pity party, whining and grumbling to God about how unfair it was.

His response was quick and to the point, responding, “You can stay in this chapter for as long as you’d like – or you can forgive it and move on.” I wanted this chapter over! Immediately, I forgave and asked for forgiveness for harboring resentment. Within less than a week I had a new and even more opportune job. The Lord opened doors that I couldn’t have imagined, which led to even more open doors. I feel as though my story is just beginning! The school of hard knocks while going through things His way has been my best teacher, which has required forgiveness and dying to self – ouch. He’s been grooming me for ministry all of my life – for such a time as this!

What He opens no one can shut, and what He shuts no one can open. (Is. 22:22)

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Dr. Janet Shuler is a published author

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