Grace: From Joyce to Grace

God can transformed a life from nothing and make something beautiful out of it. My childhood life was hopeless. I didn’t stand a chance to survive life and be an adult. I had no hope. I didn’t know what it was like to have hope. I was tossed back and forth living from one family member to another. Then I grew to be a teenager, and at fifteen years old, I was raped, and my future was taken from me by rape, and I got pregnant and gave birth to a child. I was a mother before I became an adult. I had no experience about life, and there seem to be no future. Then I had a relationship and lived in a battered relationship.

One day, I was told by my abuser, “You think you’re Jesus Christ? You’re so goody-goody.” I don’t know why he said that. I retaliate back verbally but not physically. We were married by this time, and there were three children in the marriage, and although he didn’t beat the children, they were there to witness the abuse. I stayed in the marital abuse to protect my children from not having a home with a mom and dad. Because I wasn’t raised in a home with a mom and dad, I wanted that for my children. Then it came a time because of the beatings, I could no longer stay in the marriage. The beating became severe, and I had to make a choice. If I stayed in the marriage to protect my children so that they can have a home with a mom and dad like I didn’t have, there would have been only a dad because I wanted to die. I didn’t want to live anymore. My life was being beaten out of me.

One day, after I was beaten so badly, my eyes swollen and my head swollen, I lay on the floor, and I cried out to God, “If this is what life is, I don’t want to live anymore take me. I want to die!” Then quietly within me, I heard, “It doesn’t have to be that way. Leave.” I didn’t think before that I could leave permanently because I left once with the children, and he came and took us back, but God gave me the strength that I needed, and He directed me how to escape, and I was set free from marital abuse, and through God’s grace, He made something beautiful out of me, and my life was transformed from nothing to something good. I will always give God the praise for His goodness, His mercy, and His grace to (me) Grace all the days of my life!


--Grace Neils Woodbridge