Marilena Fackerell – transformed by the Love of God

I was born in Bucharest, Romania. I had a normal childhood, until I was 7 and a half years old, when my mother got sick with cancer. I have been told that she did an abortion and that’s how she got sick. It was illegal to have an abortion under the communist regime, which I think it was good. I was struck with a hard reality of life, seeing my mother suffer in the home, wailing with pain, eliminating blood and suffering.

She did get better with some treatment that she was getting and there were hopes of getting totally healed. I actually read in the newspaper after years that the same treatment that my mother was getting, worked complete healing in a man, who was in his last phase of cancer, and my mother was in the second last or last at that time. But in her despair to get healed she went in the country to a witch doctor which told her to drink the mercury in three thermometers! And she did that. I studied nursing in my high school and I have learned that the intoxication with mercury is one of the worst, since mercury travels all over in the body.

After that I saw my mother coming home, getting worse, I saw her leaving the house and looking in the house, as if this was her last look. And sadly it was. I saw her then in the hospital in coma, on my birthday, making an effort to open her eyes and looking at me for a second because of her great love for me and then letting tears drop from her eyes and then I got the report, three days latter that she breathed her last.

I was socked when I heard that she died and I started to cry a little bit, but my grandmother, thinking she was protecting me from pain, she told me not to cry anymore and to just go to sleep, which I did, but now I know it would’ve been much healthier for me to cry when I needed it. I went through the whole three days almost not crying at all. But something in me deeply changed. Before this I was a normal child, rejoicing and being childish, which was normal for my age. After that I became an introvert with a very sober, serious look on life and I grew before my time in maturity.

My relatives told me how much my mother loved me – which seemed to be a lot – and they all looked with pity on me as well as many other people. They looked at as if to say: “Poor you!”. I am not at all convinced that helped actually, because it probably built inferiority and insecurity in me, making me think of myself that I am not a normal child. I put a lot of effort in being very good at school, since God gave me a good brain and people congratulated me for my school results, which made me proud.

My father couldn’t cope with the pain of loosing my mother which was only 36 years old when she died. He liked drinking before she died and he was sometimes getting drunk, but after my mother died, he just drank uncontrollably, I think to try to get out of reality, since reality was too painful for him to live in. Therefore, he would fall on streets and sometimes wound himself, or at least he would get drunk enough to not walk straight and that often. Every day if he wasn’t coming home before 4 a clock, I would start worrying and be fearful, imagining all kinds of bad things that could’ve happened to him.

My grandparents didn’t know how to react to him and they didn’t understand him – neither me – so we would judge and condemn him, which did damage to his confidence and manhood, especially that I, a child, was advising him and judging him about how he should live his life.

My grandmother was telling me from time to time, showing me the icon on the wall, that that was God and told me how to pray. I think there always was some kind of attraction in me for God from the time I was little. Even though it was communism, they allowed the general population to go from time to time to the Orthodox church, which is the main one in Romania, as long as you didn’t go too often, or as long as you weren’t higher in the communist party or in the army or police and as long as you said nothing at all against them. Many of the orthodox priests were secret informers for the party. But any time I would go to the Romanian Orthodox church with my relatives – they took me from time to time – I had a feeling of awe within my heart for the things of God and I was serious about the whole thing, with few exceptions when others made jokes and made me be joking about some holy things.

All the times from the time my mother died I had a strength and a wisdom to just thing that: Yes, these things happened to me, but I must keep leaving my life and help my father. If he is not able to sustain me, I HAVE to sustain myself and him.” So, I put unconsciously some walls of protections all around me and I moved on. But in fact, God did carry me and was strengthening me all this time, even though I did not know Him. He is full of love, and he saw that the enemy was trying to
destroy me as a child, when I mostly vulnerable. But God knew how much I needed Him and He came to my help, without me knowing it.

Finally, my father tried to find a wife, mainly a mother for me. And he found in less than a year a nice looking woman who was nice to me, too. Life became nice again for around 5 years until my parents starting arguing and fighting. My step mother had her bad faults and my father started drinking more again. They divorced and tried twice to live together again, but it didn’t work.

I became very bitter and angry on her, thinking that she should’ve stayed and take care of me, since I was in a difficult age – I think around 16. I didn’t understand her side of complaints then, but I do now. My father also had his side of complaints. I was also very rebellious towards her, since sometimes she was strict on me and I felt imprisoned. My relatives all told me how much love my mother, who died, had for me. So, sometimes when I didn’t like how my step mother behaved towards me – I would go and stay alone and compare her with what I heard and vaguely remembered about my mother, how much she loved me.

After she left, I was faced with having to care for my father in cooking, washing and all other things, that I knew very little off. So, I started to learn, but I wasn’t very good at it. My father got worse into drinking. I think he was a very hurt man deep inside. Before marrying my mother, he was also hurt from the previous marriage, where he found his wife one day in bed with another man and after a while, she left him and took everything, including their son. So, this was the third marriage that went down the drain and he also had an addiction to alcohol. That addiction lead to him missing days at work and sometimes not having a job at all. We lived on the pension that the state gave me for loosing my mother, which wasn’t a lot and some of the money that my father earned when he was working. Everyone condemn him, including me, sometimes with very hush and exaggerated hurtful words. This only made his confidence of getting out of the drinking problem almost non-existent. I didn’t understand that under all of this there was a lot of pain and distress and only true love and friendship will help, not reproach and condemnation.

Please, if you meet or know anyone addicted to alcohol, please try to help, not condemn and judge harshly. See why is the person so – yes, help him/her see it is wrong what he/she is doing, but don’t dwell on it, offer a solution, get involved to help and dwell on loving the person. I agree, sometimes, it’s just bad will that makes people drink and do damage, but I am almost 100% sure that in most cases that’s not the situation.

To come back to my story, I went through a lot of pain and fear in that time. I was craving for love. I even thought of throwing myself from the balcony or cut my veins if a boyfriend left me. I once took a knife and brought it to my wrist, but I could not kill myself. God was keeping me alive for better things.

I enjoyed the times with friends and at school, but deep inside I was depressed, yet I thought I was very melancholic. I would sit for hours sometimes on my balcony at the eight floor, where I could view the sky, either the clouds or the stars in the night. That gave me a feeling of peace, it drove me to meditation and gave me an atmosphere of freedom where I could pour out my inner pain and depression by writing poems, dreaming and fantasizing love stories of finding the man that would really love me. In this period of time, I also had friends that left me and these just added to the pain. But God’s sky was helping me to pour out my heart and release some of the pain. There was something in me that was drawn towards the sky. Sometimes, I would sit and look at the formation of the big white clouds, as they moved along, trying to find something that would look like God’s face or an angel.

It was at this time in my life that a friend of mine, to whom I started to get closer by God’s grace not too long ago, told me a bit about God and gave the Gospel of John, a portion of the Bible to read. Many of you maybe know that that’s the Gospel with the most words about love in it. I was so hungry for God in my heart, but I didn’t know it. Before she gave me that, I still kept praying in front of the icon, or I was reading some books about prayer or of the life of a saint. And I really enjoyed them, but not as much as reading the Gospel of John. As I read through it, there was something coming out of the pages at me. I normally read by getting involved in the story and living the story myself. So, I read the Bible the same way. What seem to touch my heart as I was reading was that Jesus healed, Jesus cared, Jesus fed others, Jesus had compassion and so on. I felt touched in my heart by this Jesus who was so good and loving. I would read and cry while reading and I would underline all the parts I really liked. I was really taking it in.

Then after sometime, she bought me a Bible, which I read bits and pieces every day and I was praying with her in a very simple way about my situations. She wasn’t going to church and neither was I, since we didn’t know we had to. We just met very often and pray for 15 minutes or less and we were asking God to speak to us from the Bible and then we would open it at random and many, many times, even when I was by myself God used that method to REALLY encourage me and strengthen me, by pointing scriptures to me that were his promises. I one day very soon prayed a prayer to ask God to forgive my sins, to give me eternal life and to come into my life. A very simple one and I believe God heard it.

In the mean time, things at home continued to be bad and also I had friends that left me. Sometimes when life was hard for me, I would go to God and simply pray and tell him what was in my heart or if I was hurting too much, I would just sit there, knowing that God saw me and my state and I was just somehow waiting and He would come and surround me all around with a great amazing love that I have never ever experienced before in my whole life and I just felt like being embraced by love… That gave me peace and strength to go on. Most of the times the problems I had didn’t go away, but would come up from prayer with a strength to go through them.

After that I became a bit involved with a group of people that believed in God, but in the depth of their organization, the foundation was pretty crooked and not of God. But most of these people were young, full of love and joy and I believe many of them were Christians, but didn’t know the Scriptures very well, or the foundation of the group from which they were part off. But these people were very active in sharing the message of God’s love and forgiveness with the people on the streets and in parks. Being encouraged and pushed by them, I gained courage and talked to people as well. We went in teams of two and sometimes had from 3 to probably 9 people pray the prayer to receive Christ with us. We would start around 9-10 in the morning and not finish sometimes until 4 in the afternoon. The joy that we had at the end of the day was amazing, we were like jumping from one foot to the other. We sometimes go home and keep talking to our friends from our area where we lived. We loved it. It is so wonderful to speak a message of love to people and to see them pray to receive the same God that blessed you with love and peace!!!

But the devil wasn’t sleeping and he saw my desire for God, but also that I didn’t know the Bible very well. So, he sent to me through a friend who believed in God, the mormon missionaries. Lovely girls, but deceived girls. I got involved in their church for about a year, in this time, I was still meeting my friend, reading the Bible and praying with her quite often, but I drifted from God for a while. God used a scary situation though to make say to Him that if He would save me from that I would serve Him. And he did save me.

In the meantime, as I was getting deeper in the mormon system, they gave me a book called ” Doctrines and Covenants” in which they stating very bad doctrines (e.g.. Jesus was brother with Satan before Satan rebelled and other bad things). My friend, who by this time, knew more about God, visited the mormon church once with me and warned me of some of its unbiblical practices and doctrines, but I wasn’t very convinced.

Yet, God used one man from the Mormon church, who was convinced that they were wrong and I became more and more convinced of the reality. One day, this man told me about a meeting in town with some evangelist. When I heard, I had a strong desire in my heart to go there and I almost had to beg my friend to come, because she didn’t want to come. We went there and we heard beautiful songs and the message of the Gospel preached. Don’t asked me what was said, because I don’t remember, but after the message, they sang a song that was describing the cry of my heart in a way, so it really touched me:

More love,
More power,
More of You in my life.

And I will worship you with all of my heart
And I will worship you with all of my soul
And I will worship you with all of my strength
For You the Lord, You are my Lord.

As I sang this song, the presence of God was there in a sweet and loving presence and I began to cry. Then the pastor asked the people who want to give their lives to Christ to come in front and pray the prayer. I felt embarrassed, but I went in front and prayed the prayer and gave my life back to Jesus.

Since it was after a set of exams, I was fed up with books, I really wanted to go again and speak to people about Jesus, I had a strong desire for that in my heart. So, in the same night I spoke to one of the Christians I knew from before, who was one of the members of the team who had the evangelistic meeting. I went evangelizing with him for few days and then he brought me to meet the pastor…who latter on was meant to become my husband.

I began involved in their prayer meetings and in the evangelistic street meetings that they were doing. I got baptized in water and also with the Holy Spirit. After that, my whole life changed, I didn’t want to live for parties with friends, I wanted to daily, from morning till evening be there with the team to work for God. I loved it. I had joy and fulfillment in my soul. I was now spending time with peaceful people, who loved God, and I was learning many of the wonderful things of the Bible. I also preached from time to time on the streets and even though some people were against me sometimes and didn’t like what I was saying to them, it was the most fulfilling experience. I HAD A GREAT PURPOSE IN MY LIFE NOW!

Things were not very bright at home with my father. We were poor, but God started to put faith in my heart and I believed that God would take care of us. We still had poverty, my father didn’t always have a job and we had debts and people were upset about us not paying back. Many times my father would have to go to my aunt or some other person to borrow money or ask for some food, and sometimes he had to really insist in order to get it. It is a very humiliating and denigrating and destructive experience to a human being. But I still had a problem with stealing at that time and because of that and maybe other factors, God couldn’t bless me as much as He would’ve. But He did bless me anyhow. I became involved in the church working with girls and I was paid for that.

I also had few meetings in our home and my father, even though a bit touched by alcohol, was really happy in the presence of God, he wad crying with joy. You see, most of the people told him off quite often because of the effects that his alcohol addiction had on him and me, but now he had people gathered into his home, singing joyful songs and filling his home. He was blessed by it!

At one time, I was distressed because my father disappeared and I didn’t know anything about him for about 2 days and 2 nights. I was very worried and afraid. It was a very cold winter, too and I was afraid that my father got drunk and fell on the streets and died because of the cold. I was imagining all the bad things that could’ve happened. I rang around and no family member or friend knew about him. In the last night of this experience I stood up and I was really worried. I was listening to any noise of the lift, with big heart beats, just in case someone brought him home dead or wounded.
I didn’t say to Michael, the pastor anything.

In this period of time, my friend who first led me to Christ, was in the mountains in a holiday and she had on her heart to send me a post card with a Bible verse on it. It was Jeremiah 29:11:
” For I know the thoughts that I think towards you , says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.”

This was not a coincidence. The card arrived at the right time. My thoughts were full of what evil might’ve happened to me and I might have to face. So, God took care of me to encourage me when I needed it.
In the last night, as I was really distressed and afraid, suddenly a strength came upon me and I was able to say to God an amazing prayer, which naturally I would’ve found it difficult to say. I said to God something of the effect: “God, if you know that my father will not receive You into his heart before he dies, I accept him dead (not a normal thing to say, eh…), but if you know that he will receive you into his heart, please help me find him!”

The next morning, my uncle rang me and said that a colleague at work told him that he saw a poor man in a certain hospital with no papers, so that he would be identified, and my uncle said to me to go there, maybe I will find him. Why would that woman tell this to my uncle. I went to that hospital and I found my father in there! He was beyond any risk, but what actually happened was that he fell on the streets drunk, and got froze bite to his legs and hands and a bit at the head. This was at temperatures probably around minus 5-10 degrees Celsius! In the morning after he fell, some people found him and they called the ambulance. They took him for a while in the intensive care and then in a normal room. He didn’t have very much froze bite and was looking well.

He came home the same day after I have found him. God took care of him so that he would live and not get too much froze bite. God is great. He answered my prayer and gave me some confidence that my father will be saved, since I have found him alive!

In the mean time I was from morning till night involved with the church, and my father who didn’t always have a job, became very lonely and depressed, actually I would say distressed. I did wrong not to spend more time with him, but I didn’t understand that at that time. My relatives and I also didn’t understand him, we just condemned him. We were even pourer, we had debts, he was still getting drunk, even though he wanted to get rid of this addiction and the friends that he had were themselves depressed. At this time, the pastor gave me an walkman and the tapes of the New Testament in Romanian. Since I started to feel compassion for my father, who was complaining about loneliness, I gave that to him to listen and I also bought an radio, so that he would be able to hear something, not be completely alone, since our TV wasn’t working. That was a seed put into him by God, added to the other times when Michael or me spoke to him about God.

One day my father told me or I said it to him and he acknowledged that the friends that he had were depressing him even more. So, God gave me this great idea, that what my father needs is good friends who will lift his moral and encourage him towards good things. So, I felt to encourage him to come with me to the church. He came one day when Michael, the pastor and my fiancee at the time, was preaching in a park. My father listened to him message and when Michael said to the people that whoever wants to receive Christ, to stand on their knees and pray after him, my father was the first!

Since that day, my father didn’t drink anything for a whole month! That was a miracle, since he once at two days or daily he would get drunk! He also became more uplifted in his outlook at life and he even went one day by his own initiative to give Christian literature to people on the streets! But one day, the devil made him stumble over, while carrying a big pot of hot water and so he had an leg burned. That stopped him from coming to church for some days and he slipped into getting drunk once more, but only once. He didn’t get drunk the second day, as far as I could see, and it was easy to recognize, but he was distressed because of a bad news that he heard that came on top of a bad heart condition and other problems.

He died the next night, of a heart attack or a broken blood vessel or both. But he went to heaven and God’s word to me ws fulfilled that my father will be saved. Also, I think that God considered that my father suffered enough on the earth, so He will take him into happiness for ever…

I found my father dead the next morning on his bed. I went to wake him up and as I moved him to wake him up, he was stiff. My first reaction was of despair and to pray for his resurrection, because God promises in the Bible that He gave us power to raise the dead. I prayed once more before for him when he had a coma and he recovered from it, praise God! But now, I started to command the spirit of life to come back into his body or something of this kind, but I felt that God stopped me with an AMAZING PEACE. God spoke inside of me and told me that, no, that’s what had to happen (in other words God didn’t want to bring him back to life, He decided to take him then. It might’ve not been God’s perfect will for my father to die in his fifties, but it was at least God’s will for my father to never come back to life, but to be with God.

As I said, God filled me with amazing peace, which made me give up praying and accept that that’s what had to happen, I had to accept my father dead. I started to walk around the room and look at his body, knowing in my heart that what I was seeing was only my father’s body, he wasn’t anymore there. I still had a bit of trembling in my heart, because of the shock of the situation, but over that, there was a deep amazing peace, which can be only explained supernaturally. God gave me great peace and was sustaining me. Then I went on to do all the usual things for burial. When some friends came to see me, they didn’t see what they were expecting to see, a person destroyed, by loosing the second parent at the age of 19. No, I was strengthened by the almighty power of God so that I talked to them about God!

You may ask how do I know that my father went to heaven. One of the other things that God did for me in the waiting period before the burial, was to assure me of that in the following way. I cried out to God from my soul and asked Him to speak to me where was my father – in heaven or in hell. The way I wanted God to speak to me was by me opening the Bible at random and Him make me put my eyes straight on the verse that applies to my situation. I don’t do that now, except rarely, since I grew in maturity in God. But as I opened the Bible at random, the first verse that I put my eyes on was, praise God, the following:

“PRECIOUS IN THE SIGHT OF THE LORD IS THE DEATH OF HIS SAINTS” (Psalm 116:15)

God spoke to me about death when I asked concerning death!!!

After a short period of time, I got married with Michael, the pastor. That was another one of God’s great works in my life, in the fact that He fulfilled another word that He gave to me one and a half years before I married my husband! He gave me this Bible verses in Haggai, which say ” On the twenty-fourth day of the ninth month, in the second year of Darius, the word of the Lord came ……, saying: ……………. Consider now from this day forward, from the twenty-fourth day of the ninth month ……….. from this day I will bless you.” (I only took the main parts from Haggai 2:10-19). Well, the miracle is that not the same year, but the second after I received this word from God, on the 24th of September I got married!

And God’s word to me was true. From that time on I had plenty to eat or just enough, but most of the time I had more than enough. I also was able to live the country and go overseas in a number of countries, I traveled many times with the plain, we had so many good things that we were able to share with others. And since my husband is Australian, I now live in Australia in plenty. Not that I was looking for riches or even to go overseas, my heart wasn’t after those things, but I’m rejoicing in God’s goodness. If you read that whole portion of Haggai, you will see that it first talks about the state of poverty I have had and then about the fact that from this day on He will give me His blessing. And He did more than I ever thought.

In all this time until now, I have experienced a big amount of tangible love from God enveloping me many times, while spending time in His presence, in prayer. Such love is never found in the world from no one. The love and the peace and the joy that flooded my soul many times is indescribable, there is nothing like it in the world. Only if you taste it, you will understand how wonderful it is, otherwise you have no way of knowing.

He also gave me friends and a number of ladies who volunteer to be my mothers. Also, I have experienced the love of the Father, since He took the place of my Father in my life!

I don’t want to say I didn’t have any more troubles or ups and downs. But God is able to give me the strength to go through this things and come up again, even if I was feeling down. God didn’t promise a trouble free life, but He did promise that we will overcome life and He promised the best life there is: eternal life in the future and living in His loving, peaceful presence here on earth, having His help and protection, having His strength to overcome and His power at work in our life and through us.

He promised a life full of true satisfaction and a meaningful existence of soaking in His love and then sharing that love that we received with others. He has a plan and a destiny for every one of us, even if you consider yourself the worst of all, the most unloved, the most insignificant, the most wicked person. He actually delights in taking the worst people and transforming them in such a way that they outshine sometimes even the best of this world – this way He is glorified most for His transforming power.

Why don’t you come and taste from this love and peace that I have shared with you. Ask God to show Himself and His love to you and invite Him in your life, to save your from your sins and to lead your life, as He is the wisest and knows best what’s good for you. I’m not asking you to give up the evil, just for the sake of becoming religious. But rather that you give up the evil, so that you can experience THE BEST. Come to God just as you are, with a willingness to change towards the best and He will clean you up step by step. He did that in my life. But JUST COME TO HIM. LET HIM SHOW YOU HOW LOVING HE CAN BE. I CAN PROMISE YOU THAT YOU WON’T BE DISAPPOINTED.

Marilena

What do YOU think?

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About Marilena Fackerell

Comments

  1. MelodyCat says:

    What an amazing testimony. God certainly does work to bring us to Himself.

    Mel

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