Mark Darling – Story 85
I came to The Rock in 2003, as a mess. I was in an emotionally abusive relationship, had ten thousand dollars of credit card debt, struggled with depression, and felt like I had failed God.
Mark talked about how to have a real relationship with God. He explained how praying is talking to God, and reading the Bible is listening to God. I started doing the things he talked about. The way he explained how to apply things to my own life made it really easy to carry out.
Mark talked about how he prayed for everything, so I started to do the same. I took a class through the church on budgeting, and within one year, I went from 17 credit cards with balances on them, to only two. I had been cutting myself during deep depressions before coming to The Rock. I started praying for God to remove the scars on my legs. Mark talked about how much God loves us, and I saw for myself how much He really did when he took my scars. I did such a selfish thing to myself, but I was God’s daughter, and He loves His children.
That same year, the abusive boyfriend broke up with me. I was too codependent to break it off, even though he had been cheating on me with multiple women and men for a long time. Around this time, Mark shared a couple of messages that have really stuck out for all these years. One was Healing the Father Wound, and the other was Finding Mr. or Miss Right. I learned about how growing up with divorced parents affected me as a young adult, and I completely related to all the examples he gave. I had never heard these things before. It gave me insight into my own behaviors, so I prayed to be healed from my past.
In the following years, I did have one relationship that fell apart, and after that, I had a “Deal-Breaker List” party with some girlfriends. We used the notes from Mark’s message on Finding Mr. or Miss Right, along with some other resources. I made a long list of preferred and required qualifications. I took it out and reviewed it over the years, adding things, moving things from one column to the other. After just over six years of singleness, a little Mexican guy tricked me into going on a date with him. I knew he didn’t match up to my list, but I took it out and compared him to it anyway. He fit all the preferred and fell short of almost all of the required qualifications for a future husband for me, but I felt that there was something more to him. There was some reason I felt like I couldn’t say no to him.
I had some conversations with Mark about this guy, and he told me I needed to just be friends with this guy for a year or two, and let him grow to learn all the things I had learned over the years. I did it—I broke up with him, but nothing changed. We still spent all our time together. I prayed to God that if there were some way to make this guy learn and grow faster, maybe in six months, that He would make that happen. Within two weeks, he was arrested and spent six and a half months in jail for accusations made by a jealous ex-girlfriend.
That was probably the most difficult part of my life I’ve experienced, but it was the best thing that could have happened. We were forced to have appropriate boundaries, and he learned all the things I had taken years to learn, in that six months. Juan now matched up to every single item on my long list. Mark told me regularly that he was praying for me and for Juan. While in jail, Juan told me that he made a promise to God, that if he was allowed to come out of there and stay in this country, he would be baptized in our church, and marry me in our church. And God allowed him to do both. The first day he was able to come to church, Mark greeted him with a big, fatherly hug. It’s still one of Juan’s favorite memories.
Juan has learned so much from Mark’s messages. He listens to them every night while getting things done around the house. He would never be the man he is without Mark’s influence. Neither of us would be who we are today without Mark’s influence in our lives.
Shared by Lindsey