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Torn Between Two Worlds

“I had my master’s degree. I was exceptional when it came to education. I was fantastic when it came to moving up the ranks in any profession. But when it came to relationships, I was a disaster,” says Dana.

Dana Goodrum’s life was torn between two worlds. Raised Catholic, she understood what it meant to be and do good. But more than that, there was a deep longing to be seen and affirmed—especially by her alcoholic father.

“I constantly just tried to impress him; I tried to get his approval. I did well in school, my sports were exceptional…it wasn’t enough.”

However, it was one of her middle school softball games that served as a turning point in her heart when she decided to look elsewhere for acceptance.

“He showed up so wasted and I was pitching. And he stood behind the backstop and he was rattling the cage and he was like, ‘Come on Dana Joe, pitch the ball!’ And he was cursing, and I just thought about all the times I wished he was there and now he’s there and I wanted nothing but for him to just leave,” she recalls. “Because of that, I remember seeking approval elsewhere. I was doing hard drugs at fourteen, and the drinking group is unfortunately where I found my relationships with men.”

From her early teens until her sophomore year of college, Dana struggled with drugs and alcohol, but quit when she met a man whom she eventually had her son with and then married. Despite his verbal abuse and cheating, she stayed with him for two years until they divorced.

“This is the man who’s supposed to protect me, protect my feelings, my confidence. And I completely just shrunk into myself. It was that feeling of rejection and I went right back into panic mode,” Dana says.

Even though her world was shaken, Dana went back to college and received her masters, which helped her land a good job. She also landed in another abusive relationship and had her daughter. She left him after two years and continued the cycle with yet another abusive man.

“I didn’t care about anything. I didn’t think that life itself could get any worse.”

Unfortunately, it did get worse. Dana lost her job. Then, shortly after ending what would be her last toxic relationship, she found out she was pregnant. In desperation, she got an abortion.

“I knew at that moment I was going to hell.  I think that people assume that it is an easy decision, and it is not. I was in a fog; I was terrified,” she says.

Jobless and at rock bottom, she and her children were now living in a one-bedroom apartment in a bad neighborhood, just surviving.

“I had applied to 152 jobs and got rejected by every single one,” Dana recalls.

Finally, Dana called her mom—who shared how Jesus had recently changed her life. Then she told Dana He could do the same for her, and all she had to do was lift up her hands and give it all to God.

“I listened to my mom. I got down on my knees, I lifted up my hands to the ceiling and I just said, “God, I know You are probably so mad at me, I cannot do this on my own anymore.” I said, “I just can’t.” And I started crying. Everything was just coming out—I was crying about the abortion, I was crying about the guys, I was crying about my dad, I was crying about  my kids, you know, the people I had let around them, the situations I had put them in. And I just released it all. I started to follow Him that night.” Dana continues, “I woke up the next day, and I got two phone calls with job offers. The very next day. But bigger than that, it was me knowing one that God heard me, and two that He wasn’t mad at me. That I hadn’t exceeded His grace, that I hadn’t surpassed His mercy, that I wasn’t going to hell. And that was bigger than any job offer and all of the sudden my entire perspective and outlook shifted. And I started to understand His reckless pursuit for me.”

Dana began attending church, got baptized and now continually inspires others with her testimony. Through giving her life to the Lord, she’s come to understand the deep affirming love of her Father in heaven and that there’s no need to search for any other approval than His.

“Even though my earthly dad may have failed me, my Father in heaven was with me the entire time. I can stand here, firm in my faith and be able to speak to other women and speak to children who are in that place and tell them confidently and boldly who their Father is even when their earthly parents fail them,” says Dana.

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