The good news of Jesus doesn’t just rescue us spiritually; it also can rescue us from physical harm. Such was the case with Darcey, whose journey to Christ meant leaving an abusive partner and finding healing and restoration through the Gospel. Darcey spoke with us a few months ago to tell her powerful story…
“I had a typical childhood,” Darcey shared. “We had good values, but my parents just didn’t see religion as a foundation. We didn’t talk about God.”
As an adult, things changed for Darcey. She found herself in an abusive marriage and began asking tough questions about a God she wasn’t even sure she believed in. “Things just kept getting worse and worse. I don’t even know how this got into my head,” Darcey said, “but I started to ask, ‘If there’s a God, then why doesn’t he do something? Why doesn’t he see this?'”
Darcey’s coworkers started to notice something was wrong and reached out. She recalled one friend in particular who babysat her son during that time. “She would leave her Bible open on the counter. I didn’t think anything of it at the time, but I feel like those were the little seeds that were planted.”
One day, Darcey overheard that one of her coworkers was going to church. “It put the idea in my head that maybe I could do that too,” Darcey said. She looked up a church near her house and made plans to go. “It was so hard to get through the doors of the church,” she recounted. “I remember shaking the pastor’s hand and thinking, Okay, I can do this. I felt so broken, but I was in!”
As Darcey began to attend church more regularly, her life continued to spiral. “I kept trying to manage my life, but it was falling apart. I was going through depression and PTSD,” Darcey shared. “Financially, I was in ruins. It was just a really hard place.”
It was during this spiral that Darcey’s pastor invited her to Christianity Explored. “I had a lot of self-doubt,” Darcey said. “I was worried I wouldn’t fit in with this group of Christians that I didn’t know anything about.”
Despite her fears, Darcey decided to go and was surprised by what she found. “We sat in a circle with our chairs facing in. Just the aesthetics of it was really welcoming. I didn’t feel threatened or pushed. We would laugh and talk; it was very easygoing! It felt safe.”
Darcey remembers being struck by one thing in particular as she went through Christianity Explored. “In one of the classes, it just hit me. That Jesus would do so much, that he would be here with us and reach out for us… that is real love.”
Transformation happened gradually for Darcey, both spiritually and physically. As she untangled herself from her marriage, she continued to learn more about Jesus. “It wasn’t easy. It’s going from one set of thinking to another,” Darcey said.
Though she was hesitant, others around Darcey couldn’t help but notice a change. “I was going to a support group for women in abuse. They kept asking me what was different about me. I didn’t want to say it at first, but I remember thinking, ‘Well… it’s Christ!'”
“I kept pushing back, thinking I couldn’t change,” Darcey said. “But I remember one day at work, this thought came to me from out of nowhere: God wants you just as you are.” Darcey paused as she recalled the moment. “And I just said… okay! I couldn’t argue with that. Broken, sad, scared, fearful, all of it. God wanted me just as I was.”
Darcey’s discipleship journey continued over the next year. She read through the Bible, kept going to church, and eventually was able to leave her marriage. She attended Christianity Explored again, this time with her mom. The next summer, her church announced they were doing baptisms.
“I remember asking myself, ‘Why would I not?‘ I just had this sense that God is for me, and I’m for him,” Darcey shared. “I was so excited and confident in that decision to get baptized. I just felt free!”
In the years since her salvation, God has continued to redeem Darcey’s story. She remarried and had another son. She found community in her local church and continued to grow in her faith. “It wasn’t always easy. I still have trouble with my ex at times. But I feel like God carries me through each situation.”
A few years after she met Christ, Darcey felt a call to uplift women like herself, survivors of abuse. She held a dinner and dance event and invited local shelters and organizations to attend. “I wanted a speaker to uplift and encourage these women,” Darcey said, “someone that had experienced setbacks and abuse and had overcome. I tried to search for someone through local resources, but I later realized that maybe I could be the speaker. I didn’t feel like a speaker at all, but I just shared my story. I opened up about Christ being the only way to have helped me through, including through forgiveness.”
One of the dancers approached Darcey after the event. She thanked Darcey for sharing her story and told her how much it meant to hear what Darcey had overcome. “It’s just amazing how God works, even if the whole event was just for that one woman,” Darcey said. “When I look back over my life, I’m able to see God’s love and where he was in each situation. And then I’m able to help others!”
Darcey Leischner lives in Sherwood, OR with her husband and two sons. She works in IT and project management.
To learn more about running Christianity Explored at your church, visit our website: https://www.christianityexplored.us/