Greetings from North West Georgia, a beautiful Southern State, full of God’s grace, with luscious water falls, great mountains, and a place to worship on nearly every corner! My name is Laura and I am a faithful believer in Jesus Christ, a volunteer Awana Teacher (a bible teaching ministry), and a women’s small group leader.

My faith in Jesus Christ began as a child, in a southern Baptist Church, where I sought freedom from the abuse in my home. My parents, although they remained married, had a loveless marriage. My mom was always bitter and unwilling, and my father stayed away as much as possible. Neither one did a good job of teaching us how to love or receive love.

As a child I was sexually abused by a family member’s boyfriend, and that is when my mom turned her back on me. Our relationship was forever damaged. The church was the only place I felt safe, until my mom took me away at age 11 and moved me 800 miles away. We continued to move every two years after that with my dads job. At that point the only time I was able to attend church was the occasional sleepover at a friends. I grew into a teenager with the seed planted, but no accountability and lived as the world live.

I married my husband at a very young age. He has been the only man I have ever loved (besides my daddy). We have three children, a daughter 20 and two sons, 14 and 11. Our marriage has been very eventful, and at times, possibly the most painful moments I have had to endure. I lost my job in 2012 and have been unemployed since. That created a great strain on our finances, which led to the next painful event, our separation. Our marriage is an “unequally yoked” marriage and many compromises and sacrifices have had to be made. Agreeing on much of anything has been extremely difficult, and raising children, well lets just say that’s been a disaster.

In the early years I had stepped away from God and lived my life according to my standards. After getting nowhere and with my marriage on the brinks, I went back to what I knew, God, my Father. I devoted my days to spending all waking hours reading, studying and communicating with God through prayer. Every day I found Him waiting for me with open arms. He took me on a journey that was bitter sweet, painful at first, but oh so refreshing after awhile. I learned the meaning and importance of being equally yoked. I learned who I was in Him, how important my marriage was to Him, and my role in the marriage, regardless of what my husband believed or didn’t. He showed His face to me, used a stranger of another culture, to speak truth to me regarding His plan for me. It was amazing; this stranger would have had no way of knowing my current circumstances or desires, but to this very day I am so thankful that he was obedient and allowed God to use him. It was then that I realized that my actions would make other believers either seekers of Jesus Christ or cause them to turn away. I began focusing more on prayer, forgiving and surrendering everything to God. I humbly made amends to my husband for my judgmental, condemning, “holier than thou” attitude, and began loving him (as well as all others) just as God loves me,  with all my sin. I understood that day that God is my father, my husband and my friend.

Now my husband has been baptized, his heart has been softened, and although he is not where I am in his relationship with Christ, he is a work in progress, just like I once was. I never gave up, never stopped praying, never lost hope, and to this very day my faith continues to grow as I see daily progress. I knew “it was not by my might, but by God’s might” and left everything up to God. I tried to focus more on being an instrument to be used, an example of Christ, so that my actions would produce love and love conquers all!

My dream is to be able to minister to others who struggle in their marriage, especially those who may come to know Christ ahead of their partners. Or maybe to those who are considering marriage, but don’t understand the importance of being “equally yoked”. The divorce rate is very disturbing to me, and people don’t understand the devastation divorce places on their children, not just while their young, but the effect it has on them as an adult. I would also like to encourage those who have lost hope.  My Goal is to take the fundamentals of what God has revealed to me and be able to teach it in a way that is useful.

I have come to Christian Leaders Institute with the anticipation that it will not only further my knowledge, but more importantly, prepare me to teach it. To take the wisdom God has given me and minister it in a way that those listening will understand. That I can be used as a speaker for God,  a trusted source speaking with grace, the instructions from His Word. That I will be a confident encourager and helper for individuals whose marriage is in need.

I understand how difficult it is to find biblical help that is affordable, and therefore I seek a scholarship that will allow me to pursue ministry training so that I can do all that God has for me.

My local church is a great supporter. They have encouraged me to start a small group for women, to build them up in Christ, strengthen an Army of Women , laying the foundation of this ministry. They have provided me a place to host this weekly small group and purchased the materials I needed. I ask CLI to pray for the development of this “Women of Wisdom” ministry, and that God will send all those He has chosen!

God Bless all who read this, and thank you CLI for your commitment to Christ and providing this service.
Your sister in Christ,
Laura D’Elia