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CBN.com Debbie Lowe had just found out that the man she loved was married. She was well on her way to getting drunk when she said, “The next guy that walks through the door is mine.”
That’s when John Lowe came in to the bar.
“I said, ‘Come here, Blondie.’ I reached over, grabbed him, and kissed him,” Debbie recalls. “That was it.”
John and Debbie’s wild encounter that night started a relationship between two broken people.
Although Debbie grew up in a well- to-do Christian home, she was molested by a family friend when she was only four years old. At age 13, she gave her life to Christ. Then, during high school, she was raped. Drugs and alcohol became a way to numb the pain of sexual abuse. Thoughts of suicide often crossed her mind.
“I would spend hours crying, isolating myself in my room.”
Debbie ran away from home when she was 16. To survive, she turned to stripping and then prostitution.
“It was partly the money, and it was partly just the adoration,” she says. “Somebody accepted you, somebody wanted you.”
As much as she liked the attention, Debbie was still drawn to God. She and another stripper often read the Bible together.
John, on the other hand, grew up on the poor side of town. As a teenager, he worked as a money collector for his drug-dealing brother.
“That job would entail something like a van pulling up in front of your house, the van door would slide open, four or five guys would get out of that door with shotguns, blow the windows right out of your house, and shoot until the guns were empty,” John says. “The door would close. We would drive off.”
But John had talent. He won a football scholarship to a college in West Virginia and was offered a chance at a better life. That’s when he was jilted by his girlfriend and went to the strip club where he met Debbie.
Their passion for each other led to marriage just five weeks later. Debbie stopped stripping and devoted herself to John.
“When he proposed, I couldn’t believe it,” she says. “Somebody actually wanted to commit a lifetime to me.”
But soon after the marriage, Debbie’s excitement diminished. John wasn’t exactly the man of her dreams.
“Who did she marry? A maniac. A guy who has a temper problem; a guy who doesn’t know how to be tender or gentle; a guy who doesn’t know how to communicate; a guy who’s selfish and got married out of lust,” John says.
Three months into their marriage, Debbie became pregnant. But seven months later, during a routine examination, the doctor gave them tragic news.
Debbie remembers saying, “You’ve got to be kidding me. The baby’s dead?" She was devastated.
John recalls, “Everybody told me that God killed it. So, I went up on a mountain in West Virginia and basically told God off, gave Him the finger, and said, ‘If that’s the way You are, I don’t need You.’”
“I was really losing my mind at that point,” Debbie continues. “It was a complete emotional breakdown.”
Debbie searched for something to hold on to. She turned on The 700 Club.
“They were saying words that seemed to give me some glimmer of hope that started to bring some life back into the possibilities of God having an answer for me,” she says.
But John dealt with his pain by putting all of his attention on football and other women.
They separated for two months. During that time, Debbie needed to know if it was really God’s will for them to stay together.
“I got my Bible out and I prayed,” she says. “I asked the Lord, ‘I just need to know.’ So the Bible fell open to 1 Corinthians 7:13, where God speaks to the issue of marriage and said if the unbelieving husband doesn’t choose to depart, then for you not to leave.”
But when she went back to give John another chance, he gave her divorce papers.
“I was just telling the Lord how much I wanted to make my marriage work, how much I wanted to live my life to please Him and that I would do anything He asked me to do,” Debbie recalls.
Debbie also knew that the only one who could change John was God. She asked John for one last favor -- to go to Easter service with her the next morning.
“After awhile I looked at her and decided to get her off my back,” John explains. “So I said, ‘OK, Deb, this is the deal. I will go to church with you tomorrow, but you have to leave as soon as church is over with. You have to promise me you will never come back.’”
Debbie accepted John’s terms. But during the Easter service, John whispered something to Debbie…
“I said, ‘If I go down there and do that prayer thing, you’re not going to cry, will you?’ She said, ‘No, I won’t.’ So I got ticked off. Here she is in this church, all these people know who I am, and she’s crying. But I stepped out into the aisle anyway, got down in front where the pastor was, and prayed the prayer of salvation. We walked out of church that morning, and instead of my wife leaving, it began a miracle of healing in our marriage and in our lives.”
John and Debbie decided to devote themselves completely to Jesus Christ. The drugs, alcohol, and adultery stopped. Through counseling, John and Debbie were able to overcome their past and learn how to live as a loving husband and wife and parents.
“He’s forgiving and gracious to me,” John says. “He’s given me multiple chances. He never gives up on me, and He has always encouraged me. He’s strong.”
“There is hope and healing even in the most devastating types of circumstances that couples go through,” Debbie says. “To say from experience, we’ve been through that, and we’ve come out on the other side in victory. If God will do it for us, He’ll do it for you.”
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