Nora was no stranger to hard times while growing up in Egypt. From her childhood with an abusive father to living in a ghetto to escape his abuse as a teenager, Nora’s life began in chaos. Her life continued to be filled with pain and disappointments for years to come. She lived in a state of anger and resentment after decades of fighting through life. Nora felt hopeless, but as she made it to the end of herself, God changed everything. Nora is now living in the freedom and forgiveness that she never knew was possible. Today, Nora shares how God moved her from focusing on her past pains to realizing the hope we have in Christ.
I grew up in Egypt with a very dysfunctional family. Because my father was an abuser, my sisters, mother, and I had to seek safety. Unfortunately, that meant moving into a very dangerous part of the ghetto. At sixteen years old, I ended up having to provide for my sisters and mother so that we could survive. Over time, I was able to provide a decent enough living for us to move.
God brought us out of the ghetto, but I refused to give Him credit for that.
I was raised in the Orthodox Church but struggled with the beliefs that were taught and the rituals that were required so I began to isolate myself from God. During this time, I met a devout Muslim man and fell in love with him. I married him, despite my religious background and the concerns of many people, and we had four kids together.
He turned out to be abusive, just like my father.
After years of this abuse, I made up my mind that I could not continue in my marriage and needed to file for divorce. Over the span of the next four or five years, I met and fell in love with my current husband and we moved from Egypt to Texas. My children hadn’t lived with me since my divorce and could not come with us when we moved to the US. After years of separation, I missed them with all of my heart. My ex-husband agreed to send them to visit me for a few months. At the end of their stay here, they decided not to go back to Egypt. They were finally with me and have not left me since.
I felt like the sky was the limit. I finally had my kids back, was able to work on my education, and learned how to drive, but eventually it all fell apart. I turned in hundreds of job applications, but they were all denied. My marriage was in turmoil and we talked about divorce hundreds of times. My kids were very rebellious and didn’t want to listen to me. My house was a battlefield.
I felt I was a failure and decided to end my life, but God intervened.
I heard a voice asking me, Is this how you want it to end? I knew it had to be God speaking to me. I was in tears and I just told Him, “I am very tired and angry. I have so much hatred toward all of these people. I’ve been abused, beaten, and I am tired of being a failure.” His peace covered me as I heard, Let me in and I will help you. I’ll heal your past, I’ll be in your present, and I’ll change your future. Knowing that this has to be true, I immediately became a totally different person.
I devoted my life to Christ once and for all, three years ago.
Since then, my marriage has been healed because of God’s peace in my house. I found a great job and cannot explain how happy I am. My husband and I found Milestone a year ago and instantly, we felt like we were at home. Two of my kids came to relationships with Jesus through Elevate. One was baptized here at Milestone last year, and two of my other kids will be baptized soon. They are taking very fast and serious steps with Jesus. While there are still hard times, it is clear that God’s hand is moving in my family and in my marriage.
Even though I can remember vividly every beating and every abuse, I can see now how God was there through it all. God took the pain and sorrow of my past and put it behind me—that’s the power of Jesus.