The Christian Broadcasting Network

The 700 Club with Pat Robertson


Paula Abbott: The Love of The Father

By Zsa Zsa Palagyi
The 700 Club -Paula Abbott was only a child, but she was suicidal.  “I was laying on my bed and I wrote a note that says ‘Why doesn’t my daddy love me?”  And I looked at the fingernail polish remover and drank the whole bottle because I didn’t want to live anymore where my daddy didn’t love me.  And my mom looked at my dad.  She handed him the note and my dad said, ‘You can take her to the hospital if you want to,  but I’m not going.’ And my dad sat down and he turned the TV on and he didn’t even look at me.”

All Paula wanted was for her adoptive father to notice her.  But the harder she tried to get his approval, the more he pushed her away.

Paula remembers clearly, “He said that I was worthless, would never amount to anything.  That I was not his.  We were all scared of what would make my dad snap.”

Simple things got Paula in trouble.  “I was making milkshakes for our family and I was 7 years old.  And we were all getting the same flavor and my dad wanted a different flavor, which meant that I would have to clean up the blender to make his special and I just sighed and said ‘Oh daddy.’  And that sparked something in him.  He was so angry that he jumped up and pulled his belt off and started beating me and yelling at me and screaming and told me “I would never do that to him.” And my mom had to stop him.

Paula’s parents divorced when she was a teenager, but she quickly got involved with an abusive man - who took advantage of her and got her pregnant.

“He controlled me and told me now that since I was pregnant with his child, I would marry him and I would be silent about what happened,”  says Paula.   “And he would take pictures of my face when he would smash it and said ‘This will remind you that I am in control.’ I begged for forgiveness because it was always my fault.  The reason that I got beat was because it was my fault.  It was something that I had done.  Just like with my dad.”    

Paula was afraid of what her husband might do to their daughter, so she gave her up for adoption. Soon the marriage ended.  Paula had two more children by different fathers— and she eventually left those men and her children too.

“These babies needed something so much better,” Paula painfully remembers.   “I was dead inside and felt like I was leading them down the wrong path.  I didn’t want to take them down the path that my dad took me.”

Paula moved out of state, hoping that would wipe away her past.  And in her mind, it did--- but only because she started using methamphetamines.  “It numbed the pain that I was feeling and it gave me a whole new outlook on life and I liked it.  I liked the feeling of being better than what I was.”

Soon, Paula was dancing at a strip club to support her drug habit and feed her need for validation.

“If it was just for a second or a minute of time, I would get to hear a man’s voice say you’re beautiful or oh wow, you’re good. I like this. I just needed some kind of approval,” Paula confesses.  “And then I would leave feeling so dirty because this wasn’t really what I was supposed to be doing.”

After living like this for several years, Paula wanted to die. “I would do as many drugs all at once that I could.  But the thing is that I was so scared of really dying. I would always tell somebody right after I did it, hoping that they would come and take this away and make it stop and that’s all I was looking for. I was looking for the pain to stop.”

Then Paula came across a sign.  She remembers clearly, “I was going to meet my drug dealer and I passed a sign on the side of the road that said “Cowboy Church.”  The church part did not catch my attention--that was not intriguing at all, but the cowboy part was!”

Paula found the church and heard a cowboy preacher talking about the love of Jesus for the first time.  “I had never heard the name of Jesus in a positive way,” says Paula.  “I’ve always heard it in a negative way.  I’ve always heard God’s name in a curse word.”

Paula wanted this love she heard about, but thought she needed her drugs even more.  So for the next two months, Paula was reckless—and she overdosed again.

 “I was so tired of living the way I was living and I just wanted it over.  And at that moment I screamed out the name of Jesus.  I said, ‘I need you. I need you.  I need you in my life.’  And for the first time right then at that moment I felt that my daddy loved me,” Paula weeps.   “It was the most awesome feeling and I felt like I was good and everything was okay.”

From then on, there were no more drugs and no more stripping. The only thing Paula wanted more of was Jesus’ love.  And a Christian man she knew named Toby stepped-in to help.

Paula says, “He started by teaching me through a children’s bible.  And I got so into it because I could relate to so many people in the bible and I was like… oh my gosh, look here.  Here’s me.  Right here.”

Paula learned about God’s forgiveness, “First thing is I had to receive the forgiveness of my lord and savior.  I had to know without a shadow of a doubt he forgives me for everything I have done.  And then I had to forgive myself.  I had to say you know what?  I can’t turn back time, I can’t turn back the past. I can’t change anything but what I can do is I can embrace the future and embrace what is given to me now.”

She even forgave her father, who recently passed away.
Since then, Paula has been re-united with all three of her children.  In spite of her extreme drug use, her body has been completely restored.   And while she married Toby, she says the only approval she needs now is from Jesus.

He is my everything and I put him above all,” Paula declares.  “I don’t have to make anything happen anymore.  I don’t have to power my way through it. All I have to do is live and love and love in the grace God has given me and I just stand there and let him do what he loves best -- and that is make my life perfect.”

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