SET FREE FROM THE PAST: AUDREY PETTY
By Dave Earley
Steve and Audrey Petty are a couple in the City Group that meets at our house every week. After the first Sunday of our new sermon series, PUSH (Prayer Until Something Happens), Audrey emailed me her story about how God is working in her life. Let me warn you, reading this might make you cry.
“I am from the island of Fiji (an island country in Melanesia in the South Pacific Ocean about 1,100 nautical miles northeast of New Zealand’s North Island).
My father was the son of an Indian priest. His last name was Maharaj, indicative of the highest caste. He became a born-again Christian and changed his last name to Bernard, giving up his Hindu religion to preach the Gospel of Christ. He married a Polynesian girl, my mother, Esther, and the two of them helped in expanding the Christian movement in Fiji. We initially had a good life by Fiji standards.
Everything changed, however, when I was six because my father passed away, leaving my mother with ten children. Suddenly, we were very poor and life was extremely difficult.
By the age of 13, I was preaching on street corners under the direction of a 70 year-old preacher. After church on Sunday, I would walk with my ukulele and my Bible for two hours (with no shoes) to remote Indian villages where nobody spoke English. I would sing, preach, and teach in Hindustani. I visited three houses each week, spending about an hour in each house. Many people were powerfully delivered from demons.
Today, the church we established is still going strong under their direction.
When I was 21, I was hastily married to a man I barely knew. Everything was fine right up until the day we got married. That same day he told me that I could not be involved in church any more.
We lived very close to the church, and when I would hear the music from the church, I could only cry. He would beat me for crying. The beatings continued every day, even when I was pregnant. When I was 8 months pregnant with my fourth child, he beat me up so badly that I lost the child. He threatened to kill me if I told anyone.
I was like a prisoner. He was very cruel. I lived in fear and had no self-confidence. After 12 years of taking his abuse and torture, I took the kids and moved out when he left to visit his native island of Rotuma, (A few years ago, we discovered that while married to me, my ex-husband also had a family in Rotuma, with a wife and four children).
Since leaving him, I have remarried and have a great marriage. My husband, Steve, is a former missionary/pastor that I met when he was working in Fiji. We have been together now for 20 years. He and
I have a good life here in the United States and have continued to serve God as He opens doors for us.
Even with a good husband, I wrestled with scars, fears, and anger toward my ex-husband. Several years ago, I was able to forgive him. I have learned to continue to let the joy of God and His peace flow through me.
But part of me was still in bondage to my past life.
Last month, I learned that my former husband will be retiring and wants to come to the United States. He has always said that one day he will come back and kill me. Suddenly, the ugly memories of that past life, of the lack of self-confidence, of the abuse and fear, and of the pain, all flooded back.
That was until Sunday, February 8, 2015. Pastor Dave started a new series called P.U.S.H., or Pray Until Something Happens. One of the things I put on my list for prayer was to be set free from the past. I have prayed about this before, and have had some measure of victory over it, but it was always with me. My husband and I went Sunday morning and went back again Sunday night. The services were beautiful and powerful with a genuine presence of God’s Holy Spirit. God deeply touched me in both of those services and I felt the spiritual chains fall and the load lifted. I am now so free and at peace!!
That night, I had a very intense, graphic dream. I saw a demonic shape of my ex-husband come to me and start to abuse me. He pushed me against a wall and the fear came flooding over me. I was shaking with fear of him. Suddenly, in my dream, I remembered the services and the preaching and God’s presence. I shouted at him, “You have been defeated in the name of Jesus, and I’m going to pray until something happens.” As
I shouted this over and over, he fell right in front of me and passed out.
I immediately woke up. Now awake, I was still shouting and rebuking him out loud. This is something that has never happened to me in or after a dream. It was at that point I knew this was a confirmation of what I had experienced on Sunday: I have been set free!
I felt like I could climb a mountain! I am filled with an overwhelming joy!
I AM FREE! I give God all the Glory and Praise!”
“You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free