Woman looking across lake

Looking for Love and Acceptance

by Aura Erickson, Volunteer Storyteller |

Darkness was familiar to Marcia Gladwish. She had grown up in an abusive home where she felt invisible and disconnected. Those who were supposed to nurture and love her did not. Fortunately, not all was dark. Her aunt talked to Marcia about God and encouraged her to seek a relationship with Him. God used this aunt to bring love into Marcia’s life.

Marcia went to college, and a friend invited her to church. She started to learn more about Jesus and His love for her. However, she still felt the need to be accepted and loved. She joined a local church where she met her first husband. They were blessed with four beautiful daughters. They experienced a difficult relationship, however, and eventually, parting ways was the only option for them.

As a single woman, Marcia still felt that deep need to be loved. It was like a hole in her life that couldn’t be filled. She met her second husband at another church. At first, their relationship was the best thing that had happened to her. After a short courtship, they got married. Soon, Marcia began to notice that her husband’s behavior was changing. He demanded to know everything she did, every hour of the day. As time wore on, his behavior became even more frightening to her. At that time, she didn’t recognize what was happening. Marcia was full of fear and believed that she deserved his abusive treatment.

It was like a hole in her life that couldn’t be filled.

Something inside Marcia prompted her to search for help and support. She prayed and started looking for a women’s support group near her home. She tried reaching out to her own church community, but those efforts were in vain. Instead, God led Marcia to Northshore Community Church. When she first arrived here, she was afraid, angry, sad, and experiencing darkness in her life. She joined a group called, “The Morning Light,” which spoke to her heart. It seemed like the perfect place to start.

That small group of women affirmed Marcia’s feelings and helped her understand her situation. She had to face what was happening: she was a victim of domestic violence. Through their constant care, support, and showing God’s love, she began to heal.

Through their constant care, support, and showing God’s love, she began to heal.

In the midst of her despair, the Bible became Marcia’s source of comfort. She found the story in the book of John, chapter four, about the Samaritan woman known as “The Woman at the Well.” In that story, Jesus reaches out across ethnic and religious boundaries to ask a Samaritan for water. He embraces her questions and offers her the ‘Living Water.’ He tells her, “When you drink from this well, you will get thirsty again. Anyone who drinks the water I give will never thirst again. The water I give will be a spring just like a fountain of endless water lasting into eternity.”

As she read the story, it became clear that she was much like the woman at the well. She had looked for love and acceptance in the wrong places and needed what Jesus was offering. While reading the Bible, and with the support of the small groups at Northshore, Marcia healed. She found the living water and no longer felt spiritually thirsty, except in wanting to know Jesus more. Marcia has been transformed and is now transparent, visible, and loved by her Heavenly Father.


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