My Journey to Finding God, His Healing, and His Sabbath
By Sharon Darling
The Sabbath is a delight and is a beautiful gift our Father has given us. I did not always know this though. The story of how I came into it is long, but I know it is exactly what God knew I needed so I could follow Him. So grab your favorite drink, get cozy and if you are like me, some chocolate perhaps, while I tell my story.
I grew up without any religion in my life. My father did not like his religious upbringing, so he purposely chose not to introduce anything about God or Church to us. We were taught that religion was a crutch; he made sure we understood that it was bad. I believed there was a God out there, but He was not real to me. I was so broken inside that I did not care. In fact, anything to do with the concept of God or Jesus made me very uncomfortable. I did not believe that life could get better.
A lot of people say they had a terrible childhood from which they never recover. That is so sad and tragic. During those early years, my life was traumatic. Thank God He had a plan for me to be free from that dark place, but it would take years to come around to accept His reality. You see, my mother left us when I was a baby. When I became older, I found out that I did not know my biological father. This does explain why I was treated so poorly.
When I was very young, we moved in with my grandmother. I had a cruel childhood. I lived much of my life feeling worthless, unloved, and hated. I felt as if I was a burden. I was demeaned and endured some pretty awful treatment. At fifteen, I was kicked out of the house. In those days, I had a major attitude and mouth on me that I am not proud of. In my teens, I was very angry and stayed away from home as much as I could. I wanted to feel like I mattered to someone and being away from home at least brought some peace in some way.
When I was fifteen, I met my now husband, Aaron. We were friends for a time before we started “dating”. I could tell that something was different about him. I was very drawn to that young man, but I had no idea why. God will work things out whether you want them to or not. We were fifteen and seventeen when our journey began.
There was one thing about his family that stuck out to me. They kept the Sabbath and His ways. My husband had been born into it and raised that way. He grew up in the Worldwide Church of God. I have never heard of anyone keeping the Sabbath outside of Jewish people. It was kind of strange to me, but I didn’t care. By this time, he wanted nothing to do with it. He did not care.
Aaron had become disaffected with the church and the Sabbath because of the hypocrisy he witnessed throughout his childhood. He saw it and there was plenty to go around. Kids who are surrounded by hypocrisy in their families, brethren, and the leadership can get to the point where they do not see anything good from following His way. It turns them off, like it did him, and that continues to this day with the youth who see division, discord, and hypocrisy all around them by those who claim to be following God.
As I mentioned earlier, I had never been interested in religion because I did not trust anyone or anything. Aaron was the first person who ever made me see my own worth. He made me feel that I was worthy of being loved, the first person I ever trusted, and the only person to ever stood up for me. He was what my brokenness needed to start healing. Certain barriers in my brain and heart were penetrated by this man. God used him to start preparing me for my calling.
It was quite the journey to us getting married at nineteen and twenty-one. God took two broken people and brought us together at exactly the right time. As much as I needed him, he fully admits he needed me too. About the age of nineteen I started wondering about life. I wanted to belong somewhere. I did not really do much other than occasionally attend a Baptist Church and another Christian Church.
One and a half years after we got married our son was born. It was then that I started questioning life and our purpose in a bigger way. I did not know where to go or what to do so a relative and I started going to their old church. I got baptized that summer and something entirely shifted within me. During the laying on of hands I felt a peace come over me that was completely foreign. A hunger to know the truth of God began to be lit inside of me.
Within months I stopped going to that church and knew it was not what I was supposed to do. I started diving into the Bible and anything I could get my hands on which helped me understand the Bible. That went on for months. I wanted to know which day was the Sabbath and our purpose on earth. It is easy for us to say to someone: “Just look it up… it is easy to see.” However, I had zero background in Bible study or the things of God that would help me. I was inspired by God to search out Truth in His Word and to try to find likeminded people. Since I was already aware of keeping the Sabbath through my husband’s background, it was a familiar concept to me.
As part of this process, I did ask questions to learn about it. I read the Bible a lot. I can remember that my first focus was everything relating to the Sabbath. That was what I was truly searching for inside to know for sure. I do not remember how long it took for this subject to become solidified in my mind. During this same time, I also was receiving a lot of literature and material that I requested from various ministries. I cannot recall all of them but there were many. I had stacks of books and tapes. I listened to a lot of messages and read material online too. A lot of them were about the Sabbath.
It was a process, but it did not take long – perhaps a few months. God revealed to me the true Biblical Sabbath. I was able to finally see that God wanted us to keep the Sabbath as His set apart day. I also did not have anything to unlearn when it comes to what day to keep in the same way as others. I wanted to follow Him, so I started observing it and wanted to know more of His Truth.
Even by this point, my husband still wanted nothing to do with any of it. Despite this attitude, he did not hinder me from pursuing God. I am thankful for that! At first, it was sad that I was on this walk alone but praise Yah that this situation lasted less than two years. God then opened his heart and we have been walking this walk together since about early 2006.
I wanted to find a group with which to fellowship. I looked heavily into the splinters that came from WCG. I had so much literature that I received or read online from some of them. They were a huge focus for me since I was familiar with them. Some got back to me, and some did not. One group had more information and responded more favorably than the others, so I chose to attend with them.
Although I attended by myself at first, I hoped and prayed my husband would come with me. He was a little hesitant because the group reminded him of his youth. After a year, he decided to go with me. We attended this group until 2016, when it became clear that it was time to leave. We have been on our own ever since.
My story shows that God can turn anything into something that glorifies Him. Personally, it was a long hard path for me to unlearn the lies and brokenness within. I was that child who was told so many horrible things from a very young age like “I didn’t have to take you; I could have left you in foster care.” I was yelled and screamed at with such a vitriol that it just wounds you. Things would be held over my head for months at a time and some of it was never let go last I knew. I didn’t trust anyone. Angry men scared me for many years.
I still don’t like confrontation, but it doesn’t do the same thing to me internally anymore. The things that I lived as a child breaks you. I did try a few years ago to have a relationship with the man who may be my father but unfortunately it did not work out. I still do not know my biological father, but I am satisfied knowing my Heavenly Father. Broken people do things that are just so unkind sometimes. Sometimes we do not understand the why, but we all need our Savior. This is a very broken world. One day that will change. Hallelujah!
Rejection was a constant theme in my life. Along my journey, I finally understood that our identity is not in other people, but it is in God and Jesus. We spend so much time in this life chasing the love and acceptance from people, but God is waiting for us to respond to him and to experience real, true, Godly love that is unfettered to human error.
My process took from spring 1998 until 2004/2005 for me to fully surrender to God, but I still had much to learn. While I was so blessed to have been called into His way; it would take years for some of my broken parts to heal. Sometimes God does not instantly heal our brains and hearts. We must go to Him and continue our pursuit of His will for our lives. We fail when we try to do it on our own. God wants to heal the broken hearted and bind up their wounds. I finally learned that our Father in Heaven can be trusted! He loves us unconditionally! Yes, there are lots of “if….thens” but He does not withdraw His love from us the way humans sometimes do.
God is willing and waiting to forgive us! HE LOVES US! Everything He asks from us is for our good and His glory. He is not selfish or broken. He is love. Calling us into the Sabbath and following His ways is such a gift and not a burden. As I consider all the changes I have been able to make over the years, the changes I still am trying to make, where I am, where our marriage is today, the man my husband has become, and how our family is, I believe much of this progress comes from starting with obedience to the fourth commandment. How glorious that is! Praise Him. Something so simple ushers in so many blessings!
Sharon’s Ministry – Heart of a Torah Woman
Sharon Darling is the founder of Heart of a Torah Woman. This ministry was birthed out of a God-given desire to help other women in their walk with God. She provides mentorship that helps women focus on how to bring glory to God in all aspects of life. She helps women adjust their thinking and approach to Biblical womanhood through an emphasis on the importance of routine prayer and Bible study, strengthening our marriages and families, and encouraging and supporting each other. You can find her on social media, her podcast, and her blog www.torahwoman.com
May you be blessed by what God is using her to do.