The Testimony of Roxanne Draper
I was raised in a catholic home with my two sisters and grew up the typical child of well meaning parents. The first time I remember hearing the gospel I was in 8th grade. There was a group in my school that had meetings in the cafeteria during study hall. The girl who led the meeting dressed modestly in skirts and had an amazing voice. I was curious as to what it was all about so I decided to attend. In this meeting I heard the good news about how to be saved and I prayed and asked God to save me. The next week I found out that the school had banned the group from meeting and I was left alone to flounder on my own; with no support from a church, my commitments went out the window. The one thing that did change was that I began to pray from that day forward.
At the age of thirteen I began to drink and smoke and this eventually led to smoking weed. I felt as though I was the outcast child and the black sheep in my family. I was always getting yelled at, called names, and even physically abused from time to time. I used alcohol to numb the pain I was feeling inside and out. I began skipping school and doing whatever I wanted which included stealing anything and everything I could get my hands on. I eventually quit school and joined the job corps to learn brick masonry (what made me chose that field I will never know). I ended up completing the program and got my G.E.D.
After this I met the "man of my dreams" who I thought was everything I was looking for and I gave myself to him completely. I had a rude awakening when I realized that he used his fists to get his way. Then came a man who I thought was my "knight in shining armor" because he saved me from the bully I had for a boyfriend. I found out soon that this new guy had another girlfriend that he didn't plan on leaving, so I was hurt again. It was at this time that I met the man who would be the father of my first four children. Like the others, he was nice and loving at the beginning and I never saw it coming when he first threw me across the floor. I had become very jealous and untrusting because of my previous relationships and I was always questioning him. He became lazy, bitter and abusive and when my first child arrived he never lifted a finger. I remember at one point getting angry with him and hitting him with a pizza box . He chased me with the baby in my arms and bent me backward over the crib, I was terrified for myself and my baby. I prayed every day and every night wondering if God even heard my prayers.
By this time I had stopped drinking because having a baby had changed me, but I couldn't quit my cigarette habit. My abusive relationship continued so I decided to move out ,but only two houses down from my baby’s father. I worked out an arrangement with him where he would watch her at night while I worked the night shift. Many mornings I came home I to find him asleep and her crying hysterically and covered in her own feces. I was so tired, but I stayed strong for her. I ended up having 2 more children with this man. He told me he didn't love me and that I was ugly, but he would stay with me because of the three kids. He threatened to take my kids away from me and forbade me to see my sister; when I stuck up for myself it only enraged him. At one point, he threw a full bottle of Pepsi at me, which missed me but grazed the baby in the playpen. The kids were all crying and traumatized and I decided right then that I would leave. We were in the car and my oldest child, 3 1/2 at the time said, "Don't worry, Mommy, he can't hurt us anymore. We're leaving". I knew right then we were leaving for good.
I found out that I was pregnant with my fourth child by him after we left. I couldn't find anyone willing to watch all my kids so I lost my job, my house and with no where to go, I lost my kids. This was the worst day of my life. I watched as my kids drove off with their father to Reading, Pa. I cried for two days. I moved in with my parents and got a job that would at times distract me from the pain that was in my heart, but at night I would cry myself to sleep. I missed hugging and kissing my babies and I became very depressed. No one knew my secret about being pregnant with my fourth child and I began to drink again. I would ask God, "Why is this happening to me?" and I wallowed in negativity. In my hopelessness I started to sleep around and smoke weed again.
At four months pregnant, I came to my senses and stopped the partying and it was then that I met another man. He would father my three youngest boys. Sweet and handsome, caring and loving at first, but like the other men in my life, he too became abusive. Christmas of 2004, the man I loved threw me into the back door. I thought to myself "Not again!". He apologized and I thought he was sincere. He couldn't hold a job, didn't help with the kids. I was not an innocent lamb in all of this. I was mouthy and jealous and knew how to push his buttons and things began to escalate. He began to hit me all the time, even while I was pregnant. I would make excuses for my bruises to hide what was going on. I remember the first time he put his hands around my neck and squeezed. All I could think of were my children and I cried out, "Please stop! God please help me!" Living with him became a nightmare. He threatened to kill me; pointed knives at me and put a pellet gun to my head. He forced himself on me and raped me. He dragged me a 100 feet by my hair (I cut my hair short after that). He physically abused me in front of my children as I watched their eyes fill with tears and yet I stayed with him because I didn't want to be alone.
I finally decided to leave him and told him so in the pantry. He gave me the hardest blow to my ribs and I remember his hands coming to my throat. In my head I screamed " No! No! No! God Stop him, please! I beg you!" He let go. My whole body shook, I could barely see, and I staggered around in a daze praying, "Help me God. Help me God". I fell to the floor and began to relax. I cried and thanked God for his help.
I started working at Walmart and met a Christian man there named Bob Page. He talked about God and he gave me the gospel. Though I had prayed a prayer before as a young girl, when I prayed this time my heart changed. Everything was different: I started putting feet to my new faith. I went to his church and began listening as the pastor preached. I became convicted that I was living in sin (living with a man out of wedlock) and he moved out. I had to live with the ramifications of that but I knew I was obeying God.
My salvation has changed my life and the lives of my precious children. I still have problems but I know God has a plan for me. I fall many times but with the godly counsel of my Pastor and my Christian family, I get back up and I give my all to the Lord. Just hearing my children pray is amazing. I see myself and them growing in Christ and making decisions to serve the Lord. My children's hearts have changed and I feel so blessed to have them. I see God's blessing all the time and I know when he chastening me; but it is always with a loving hand to help me. The abuse I suffered at the hands of others was not his fault, he was the one who delivered me through it all.
Praise God for his mercy and grace!