The ugly truth is hard to dredge up, especially when you are so far past it. But sometimes God wants us to share our “junk” so others can see what He has done in our lives….how He can take the most broken, convoluted spirit, restore it, and make beauty out of ashes. So for the first time, I will reveal my broken road publicly.
When I agreed to write this article, I intended to describe the journey of my business ventures and how God led me to this amazing place of many blessings. The story is fascinating as I look back over the last 37 years. But once I started trying to write it, I felt God wanted me to dig deeper. This is the third draft of my story. Why? Because the first two drafts were edited so as not to reveal the painful beginning of this journey.
The Enemy Steals
At seventeen years old I accepted salvation from Jesus Christ. I loved God but unfortunately was not mentored at all by any mature Christians following my salvation. Looking back, I believe the enemy saw a golden opportunity to swoop in and make sure this new Christian would never influence anyone else around her. You see he can’t interfere in our salvation, but he most certainly can ruin our testimony and keep us from bringing anyone else into a relationship with Christ. His choice was to interfere in my life.
Being raised up in a stable Christian family, I was in church every Sunday for as long as I can remember. Both sets of grandparents were deep in their faith, and I was fortunate enough to have both of my parents the entire time I was growing up.
I married my best friend at twenty years old. Unfortunately, the marriage was brief due to my growing restless nature. I sought out worldly adventures as I had never experienced with strict parents growing up. I thought in the thrills of this world I would find happiness. However, the deeper I delved into the world I became more miserable than before. Two months after wrecking my marriage I recognized the grave mistake I had made, but it was too late.
Pride, immaturity, stupidity, or whatever else you want to call it made me an angry and bitter young woman. My parents suddenly went through a very painful divorce, as well, and now my perfect family was completely destroyed. I spent the next twenty years making bad decisions. Partying, staying away from the church, failing miserably in personal relationships, and making poor business decisions became my life as I ran farther and farther away from God.
I was so far out of God’s will for my life. Because I was saved, this time span would be even more excruciating because I was grieving the Holy Spirit within me as my own spirit groaned in continued disobedience. I was ashamed but still angry so the cycle kept repeating itself.
What I find interesting about those years, God blessed me anyway through the long valley with two healthy children and gave me periods of undeserved happiness. My family continued to love and support me unconditionally. And the blessing of these two precious children would soon be used by God as earthly anchors to keep me grounded in the coming years.
My Broken Road To Redemption
On February 19, 1995, my life shifted. Since I had surgery five days prior, my doctor told me to take it easy and not do anything for ten days. After a couple of days I felt fine, though, and decided not to listen to the overly cautious doctor so I resumed my normal activities. I remember feeling a twinge inside my abdomen while doing housework on the third day but I sat down quickly, and within a few minutes it stopped, or so I thought.
Two days later I was attending a ballet in Atlanta. At the intermission, I was feeling a little odd. I left my seat and went to the restroom, but just as I stepped inside of the restroom, I fainted and woke a few moments later laying in a huge puddle of blood. The next thing I remember looking up and seeing people stepping over me. My long black dress concealed the blood until I moved then I remember a woman screaming and calling for help. I assume prior to me moving people stepped over me probably thought I was a drunk.
After waking up in an ambulance I remember rushing into Grady Memorial with medics all around me. Due to my hemorrhaging, it would take several hours to stabilize me. They sent me home later, told me to stay in bed and see my doctor the following morning. Well, once again I did not listen.
Upon arriving home I immediately went to the shower, understandably, but then passed out again as I began to hemorrhage for the second time. They rushed me to our local hospital where the doctor forced me to lay flat on my back for three days. There is nothing like being afraid for your life that will make you seek God in a hurry.
His Amazing Love
At 2 am I was lying awake thinking not only about my fragile mortality but also about the mess I had made of my life. With tears streaming down my face I cried out to God to forgive me and instantly I felt the presence of the Holy Spirit. It is crucial for Christians to understand God never moves away from us. It is we who move away from Him. Because He is a God of free will He will never force himself on us but He is ever ready to receive His prodigal children back into His loving arms.
I lay there broken in my sin, and He immediately covered me with His amazing love and forgiveness. My life would never be the same. Not to say I am free from the bad seeds I had sown over all of those years. I still had to work through the harvest of bad choices and consequences. But this time I was not alone.
Life does not always go according to our plan. Two months ago I wanted to write the next part of My Broken Road story for you. However, my sweet Daddy became very sick suddenly and went home to be with Jesus three weeks later. I was devastated to lose him because even though he had been declining mentally due to Dementia/Alzheimer’s his body was healthy as a horse!
It feels a bit surreal, but God faithfully brought me to a place of peace as I leaned on Him for strength. Immediately following his death, I had eye surgery, which thankfully was a huge success, and why it has taken me two months to return to the story.
Releasing My Stinking Thinking
One of God’s many mysteries is why He sometimes chooses to immediately change our circumstances in order to rescue us. Then other times He leaves us there while covering us with His divine protection. If you have ever listened to Joyce Meyers’ testimony of her childhood abuse, you understand what I mean.
But in my case, laying in the hospital bed on February 19, 1995, I begged God to touch me and not only heal my body but heal my broken spirit and change my “stinking thinking.” I asked him to release me from the guilt of my past and accepted His unconditional forgiveness. And instantaneously it happened for me!
Though my circumstances were in a mess, I knew God would guide my steps from this point on, and I felt a new strength in my soul. After wandering carelessly for twenty years, my hunger for the life God planned for me increased.
Was it too late for me to receive my heavenly Father’s blessings for my life?? Twenty years
is a long time!! Thankfully our God’s infinite power is not limited to our finite understanding. He was about to flex His mighty muscles and show me how big His plans were for me!
In my studying, I discovered God uses all kinds of people, all sinners, to achieve His will and bless His children. He is no respecter of persons. In Acts 10:34-35 I learned He loves us all the same! God showed me how many people who wander from God’s plan go through fiery trials like me and He restores them to greatness through Him.
This gave me hope like never before. Could it be my God was giving me another chance to come back to His will for my life? Would He be willing to not only restore me but could I do something great for Him as well?? How is this even possible I said to myself? My life is such a mess! And just like a child draws closer to his parent when he is fearful I drew closer to my Heavenly Father.
A Fork In The Road
The twenty-year journey led me to a fork in the road. My broken road continued in the distance before me if I chose the first path to continue doing things my way. Or, I could choose the other road, which looked inviting and beautiful, and faintly familiar from a path left behind many years ago. I chose God’s path this time, and though the journey would not be easy, it would be full of life lessons and wisdom used in my life by God in years to come to help other people.
One month after my surgery and the second scare in the hospital I returned to work in the Spring of 1995. I was now in my third year of owning a small gymnastics/dance school in Milledgeville, and struggling financially due to a foolish business deal I had made five years prior (1990). My foolish decision had led me into bankruptcy and an IRS debt of $45,000.00.
My first business was a thriving daycare center for ten years (1981-1991) which established me in the community as a trustworthy caregiver of children. While I owned my daycare, I ventured into the health club business. I started small with a ladies-only club, and it was absolutely wonderful! It was next door to my daycare, and everything about it was perfect!
But success quickly went to my head, and I carelessly plunged into the worst business decision of my life! I bought a distressed building and invested way too much money in repairing it up to code for a multifaceted health club. I apparently did not do my homework which led to a devastating reality check.
At a time when the industry moved to automatic monthly drafts for clients, I contracted a third-party company to re-structure all of my accounts to an automatic draft. I had no idea our rural area was not set up for such a thing at the time, and now I had a building with an enormous overhead and no income for three months while this technicality was worked out. However, even when resolved, the cash flow could not be recovered and it catapulted me into unexpected bankruptcy. It was devastating financially and I lost everything!
My many fair-weather friends quickly departed from me like roaches in a spotlight. The humiliation was humbling, and the shame made me want to run away! I remember the helplessness and loneliness being overwhelming! But with two kids depending on me, I had to figure it out.
Fighting Back For My Life
Again it is important to remember this was during my “broken road” period and I was still trying to do everything my way. After feeling sorry for myself for about a year, I eventually came to the realization I had to stop the pity party and fight back for my life and family.
I decided to put all of the training certifications I had earned from being in the health club business to work for me. By offering personal training, wellness seminars, and traveled around training aerobics instructors, I had more work than I could handle.
The same contractor who had built my daycare twelve years earlier gave me the option to lease purchase a building. I shared my hesitation to take on another business this soon, but he offered me a deal I could not refuse. He gave me six months to make it or break it and walk away. Here we are 26 years later, stronger than ever.
After my recovery, God began slowly revealing His promises to me as I drew closer to Him. The children’s gym was the perfect combination of my passions ~ kids and wellness. The marriage of the two created this dream job for me!
I was able to resolve the IRS nightmare with a settlement of only $4,000.00. With enrollment at capacity for several years running, I became pressured by staff and clientele to expand our cramped little building.
Considering my experience, I was understandably gun-shy to find a larger facility. I did entertain the thought, however, and talked with several contractors about expanding the existing building. I even looked at other locations to move, but nothing panned out.
The “Jump for Jesus” children’s ministry on Wednesday nights had grown too large for the existing building. I prayed for God to open doors we needed to open and close doors we needed to close in our search for a new location and or an addition. If He would provide a larger place I would make sure I did everything I could to grow the children’s ministry, I promised Him one night after we finished with “Jump for Jesus.” His plans were so much bigger than my plans. I had no idea what He had in store for me!
His Perfect Timing
And in His perfect timing, He revealed His amazing plan to me, and we moved the business to a facility four times our size. It was terrifying but thrilling, to say the least! I sought wise counsel and completed my homework this time while I trusted God with this entire project.
Our facility is a blessing to my staff and me. I pray over it and give thanks every single day! God not only restored my business but in the process, he has used me in a position of authority and influence throughout the community to tell people about His goodness. I still wake up every morning excited to go to work. My faith has grown stronger with each passing year, and in perfect unison, the business continues to grow as well.
“Amazing grace how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me.” God is faithful in our weakness, and He never leaves us. That is imperative to remember. My hope is that anyone reading this will understand we have a God of restoration who loves us so much that He sent His ONLY Son Jesus who willingly died for us. ALL OF US!
Come as you are … broken or defeated … and He will heal you too. I stand on His promise. May God bless you all!
Article first appeared on Middle Georgia Christian Voice
About the Author
Coni Adams-Moore, a native Georgian, was born in Macon and moved to Milledgeville in 1981 where she opened her first business. She is owner and CEO of Elite Gym USA which has two locations, one in Milledgeville and the other in Sandersville.