"...weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning."
I first "met" the sweet young lady being interviewed today through her mother, Holley Gerth's blog,
where I am a follower and have been a sporadic link-up participant for the past few years.
The first time I remember clicking over to her blog, I read this post and watched the accompanying video, which I am including towards the end of this post.
I will never forget how much her words ministered to me that day,
in light of some circumstances my family and I were walking through.
in light of some circumstances my family and I were walking through.
As I became acquainted with her story, my heart went out to her so much.
I was just floored, as I read of how God has redeemed her pain and brought her out of the hurts of her past, leading her to a place of peace and happiness and fulfillment in Him.
I am so blessed and grateful to be able to introduce her and her amazing story to you today,
and it is my prayer that you will find hope for your own situation as you read how God has worked in and through her life.
Speaker, Writer, Life Coach, Encourager,
Lovelle Gerth-Myers.Cheryl: Please introduce yourself to us.
Lovelle: I love to write, speak, and encourage people. I have seen God do amazing things in the most impossible circumstances. I am passionate about helping others deepen their relationship with the Lord by using my story to help people truly see that we serve a limitless God. I live with my husband David, my dog, Buford, and my parents Holley and Mark Gerth in the South. I love teenagers, especially the ones that are rough around the edges. My background gives me the ability to help them in tremendous ways. I am passionate about mentoring our youth. We can’t expect the next generation to be a good one if we don’t guide and direct them. I also love coffee, carbs, running, and the great outdoors.
Cheryl: What was life like for you growing up?
Lovelle: Well, horrible. I don’t remember much of it. I was in the California foster care system from ages 4-8. I had a few good years with my grandmother, but when my grandfather died, I moved in with my abusive mother and step-dad. I was physically, emotionally, verbally, and sexually abused from the ages of 12-17. I moved out at the age of 17 to escape it.
Cheryl: Can you tell us about your earliest recollection of hearing about Jesus? What about Him most stirred your heart and drew you to Him? When did you become a Christian?
Lovelle: My first recollection of hearing about Jesus was definitely with my grandma. The short 3 years I had with her really did get me through the next 5 years of abuse. I learned the foundations about Jesus but didn’t follow Him. Honestly, I hated God for letting my parents do all the horrible things they did to me when I was a teenager. I accepted God into my heart at the age of 17 when I was homeless. When I moved out of my home I didn’t have anyone but my grandma, so I went to church with her to spend time with her. Every time I walked through the church doors I felt the Lord poke at my heart. Even though I hated Him for everything, He still stirred at my heart. I had tried so hard to control my surroundings because of my past, but on that cold winter evening, when I had literally nothing, I let Him take control, and it’s been the best adventure ever since.
Cheryl: Looking back over your life, so far, what would you define as your darkest moment? How did you make it through?
Lovelle: To be honest, I feel like my whole entire childhood was dark. I have a lot of horrible memories that I will never be able to forget. How I made it through? I am not sure. The only thing I can think of is that God had His hand on me. When I started following Christ I held on to Him. I literally had no one. I prayed a lot and held onto his promise that everything was going to be okay. It took a long time but God fulfilled his promise to me. I have amazing adoptive parents, a husband, family that loves me extremely well, and healing. God gave me a purpose. I can honestly say, I wouldn’t change anything because I have had to lean on God in a way not a lot of people have ever had to experience. I’ve seen him provide gas money when my tank was on E. I’ve seen him provide a home when I was homeless (twice). He provides, and hardships built my faith and endurance.
Cheryl: We would love to hear about what happened on August 28, 2014. How has life changed for you since this monumental event? How did your life intersect with the lives of Mark and Holley? What events led up to your adoption?
Lovelle: On August 28th 2014, I became a wanted daughter to an AMAZING couple named Mark and Holley Gerth at the age of 21. Life has changed a lot. I have had to learn how to interact with families. I never really knew how to do that because I didn’t grow up with a family that interacted. As bad as this sounds, I have had to be less selfish. When you only have yourself, you don’t really have to think to ask someone to do something or to call other people. You just get used to being alone. I’ve healed so much because I have an amazing support group that love me through my pain. The abuse caused attachment and trust issues. I don’t really know how to let people in. My heart is like an onion. Slowly those layers are opening up and my amazing family is letting me take my time. I met Mark and Holley at a transitional facility I was living at called Saving Grace. My mom volunteered there, and we met and just clicked. The more we hung out, the more we got closer. Mom and dad waited 10 years to adopt a 21-year-old, and God told them it was me. I am the luckiest girl in the world.
Holley, Lovelle, and Mark Gerth
Cheryl: What does Ephesians 3:20 mean to you?
Lovelle: God can do more than anything that we could ever come up with. His plans are great. We may not see it, but it’s true. He never fails, and is always faithful.
Cheryl: Will you share with us about your love story? How were you and your husband introduced? When did you hear God whisper that he was the one for you?
Lovelle: Ready for the cheesiest story ever? My husband and I met because of a forced blind date. I wanted nothing to do with it. Our mutual friend wouldn’t leave me alone, so I agreed to go on a chaperoned meeting IF he was interviewed by a couple of my friends and passed. I wasn’t present at the interview either, and he passed. I gave him my number after our chaperoned meeting and told him that until he knew if I was the person God had for him then we couldn’t really be in a relationship or anything. I told him to pray about it. We both prayed about it and started Courting. Within 4 months we had a wedding date. I think we knew we were going to be married within a month and a half. We didn’t hang out alone for over a month. Didn’t hold hands until almost 2 months and didn’t kiss until around 4 months into our courtship. David had never kissed anyone or even held hands. I was his first girlfriend. Through him the Lord has really showed me what freedom means. I am not defined by my past or the things that were done to me. Even though I am still going through healing because of my past, I am not damaged goods. I do deserve a good husband and Godly man. I may be biased, but I tend to think I hit the jackpot. ;-)
Lovelle & David on their happy wedding day!
Lovelle: I can’t really think of one thing in particular, so here are some things I love about my husband…. I love how patient and tender my husband is. I love having someone by my side and not feeling alone anymore. I love having someone who takes such good care of me and loves me so well. Someone who holds me accountable and leads me spiritually. Wounds heal when people love you extremely well. My husband has done such an amazing job at that within the last 2 years.
David & Lovelle
Cheryl: Of all of the hurts you have suffered throughout life, which would you say has been the hardest to forgive? Why? How has God given you victory in this situation?
Lovelle: Definitely the sexual abuse… My husband has been super patient, but it has definitely been hard in marriage. It’s affected how I think about life and how I let people in. It’s affected my trust level with everyone including my husband. It makes me so mad sometimes because people are having to pay for what one person did. Still… I believe forgiveness is a daily thing. When you are affected by triggers, sometimes daily, it makes it hard to be okay with what one person did. I have to choose to see them the way Christ sees them. I may not like them sometimes, but I can pray for them and ask God to help me. That’s what I do. Take it one day at a time. I am slowly working towards victory in this situation. My husband and I have been going to counseling (for me) for a couple months and will continue. Just to clarify, we are completely fine. He goes because I am learning to let him in on some of my biggest hurts. I don’t really know how to let people be there for me. When he goes, he is there for me and I am learning to let him be. I am learning a whole new level of intimacy. I’ve gotten a lot better and will continue. The Lord is good. It just takes time.
Cheryl: To what part of brokenness can you most relate?
Lovelle: To all of it. I’ve seen a lot of things in my 23 years of life.
Cheryl: How has God turned your tests into testimonies and allowed you to use painful life experiences to help others?
Lovelle: My life verse is Philippians 4:12-13. It says, “I have learned the secret to living content in any and every situation. whether its with a full stomach or empty. With plenty or with Little, for I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.
This verse is why I have been able to turn tests into testimonies. I’ve lived in virtually any situation you can imagine, and God has taught me to be content through it all. I’ve learned to see trials as lessons. They teach me what I can do better and have shown me how I can help others. I love working with troubled teens because at one point in time I was one of them. I currently work with teens that struggle with drugs and/or were abused. My past gives me insight that not a lot of people have. It’s been wonderful to see the Lord use the hardest parts of my life for His glory.
Cheryl: While going through the roughest times, who did God use the most to minister to you? What suggestions can you offer to those who want to reach out to others who are hurting? What specific actions of others have been most effective in helping you to heal?
Lovelle: When you are struggling I don’t think there is ever only one person. You learn to embrace the good because it doesn’t happen very often. He’s used teachers, my grandmother, and a lot of random kind people to encourage me. My suggestion would be to keep your eyes and ears open. Every second we have on this earth is a second we could be using to minister to someone. Listen to God’s voice, and He will lead you to people He wants you to help. A lot of people hurt and may not say anything. God has insight we don’t have and if you ask, He will give it to you.
Lovelle & Buford
Cheryl: What would you say to the person reading this who feels unloved, rejected, abandoned, or hopeless?
Lovelle: People will fail you. That’s a guarantee, but God won’t. God created you and knows you better than you know yourself. He knows your past, and He knows your future. He loves and embraces all of that. You are worthy, and you are loved more than you can possibly imagine. Trust in the person who created the heavens and the earth because He’s got a plan, and it will come to pass. He wastes nothing. It’s our darkest moments that God can use the most.
Cheryl: How difficult is it to receive or feel worthy of being so abundantly loved after living through the pangs of hurt and abuse? How can we, as the body of Christ, penetrate and break through the barriers and walls of those who have have been deeply wounded and are afraid to trust again?
Lovelle: Extremely difficult. I don’t know how to let people love me or be there for me. I’m getting better, but it’s still hard. The best way to help is to walk out God’s love and have no expectations. I’ve been hurt by a lot of Christians who have expectations in me that I just didn’t meet. I couldn’t open up or trust in the time they wanted, so they left, and my walls got higher. Love like God does. Let Him do the work. If you just walk it out, and trust that He is working in the hearts of the (ones who are) hurt, then it will save you and the person who is trying to learn to trust a lot of heartache. Remember, it’s not your job to save someone. It’s God's. It’s our job to lead by example, and God loves people right where they are at. It’s a process.
Lovelle: I work with teenagers who have drug issues and some have a background of abuse. Almost all of them have pretty bad home lives. My passion is to use my past for God’s good. I am doing that, and I am so grateful God is allowing me to do that.
Cheryl: We are living in such discouraging times. How do you remain hopeful and encouraged in your walk with the Lord? What are some of your favorite Bible verses, hymns/music, books, and other resources that you turn to and use on a regular basis?
Lovelle: My favorite bible verse is Philippians 4:12-13 and Hebrews 12:1. I love the First5 App by Proverbs 31 Ministries. I am a firm believer in reading your Bible. I have a journal, and I write letters to God. I try to do it every day, but sometimes I don’t. Any books by my Mom, Holley Gerth are amazing. I listen to Christian music. I currently have the Planet Shakers Outback Worship Session CD on repeat in my car. That’s been a huge help.
Cheryl: How can we pray for you?
Lovelle: You can pray for direction and for God to open doors. I’ve been going through a depression, and I want to feel better.
Cheryl: I completely understand, Lovelle, and I will surely be praying for you. I can't thank you enough for being so willing to be transparent and share your testimony with us here. I know it will bless and encourage every reader. May God abundantly bless you, your husband, your parents, and your ministry. May He enlarge your coasts and expand your opportunities in new and unexpected ways, and may He keep all of you safe in His tender care.
As I read through Lovelle's interview responses, I am reminded of Joseph's words found in
"But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive."
God is turning all of Lovelle's pain into good, as she pours hope into the lives and hearts of the young people He brings across her path and allows her to connect with and minister to.
Please add Lovelle and her prayer requests to your regular prayers, dear friends,
and I hope you will stop by her blog and consider becoming a follower/subscriber.
And, now for that promised video.
I can't begin to tell you how much Lovelle's words meant to me when I watched this back in March,
and I hope her words minister to you and your situation today.
If video doesn't load, click here.
And, here is a bonus video in which Lovelle talks about the amazing story of her adoption
and what it means to "wait well" for God's promises.
One of my favorite takeaways from Lovelle's words in the video below is this...
"Our dreams can only go as far as we allow God to take them."
I know this will bless you as you watch and listen!
If video doesn't load, click here.
Thank you again, Lovelle, for sharing with us here.
Your life is truly a shining light of Jesus' love,
and I know God is going to use you and your story of redemption in ways you have not yet imagined!
Thank you, dear readers, for your support, encouragement, and faithfulness to stop by here.
Your visits are so appreciated.
God bless you all!
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