Would you like to hear my testimony? If you want to find out how I came to Christ, this article is for you. I will share my story of faith from the beginning – the day I started wondering if there was actually a God.
I remember a sunny hot Russian summer. The city of Kursk. It was a factory-city and also had multiple universities, as well as half a million people who lived there. To me, Kursk was reduced to what was called “Murynovka.” Murynovka, where I lived, was a ghetto.
Uhtomskogo street, a dirty, beat up, Soviet-typical two-story red-brick condo building with a falling apart wood staircase and outside benches for elder ladies to people-watch and gossip while spitting out sunflower seeds and covering the ground with black trash as the result.
Nearly a non-existent, worn-out door to our condo was not opening and closing – it was mostly slammed by the family members I lived with who fought daily.
My grandma, grandfather, mother, aunts, and cousins weren’t the only people I lived with: my aunt and mom brought strangers-men and had sex with them right there.
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They didn’t protect out little minds (me and my cousins Vika and Yulya were one year apart). Those adults talked about sex even with us, openly and regularly. They let us see and hear what was going on.
I was five when me and my cousins were practicing cunnilingus on each other.
I remember listening to a cassette recording of my mom and grandma’s interview of me about boys and dating.
They were telling me what I should do to get a husband, and evaluating different neighborhood boys as my husband-prospects.
I was five years old.
The adults served us alcohol early on and all of us girls became alcoholics.
They taught me how to smoke when I was ten, and the cigarettes also came from the family members – the adults who gave us alcohol, cigarettes, and sex lessons.
There was also a family custom: Anna was the scapegoat.
I am Anna.
On that one particular hot sunny summer day, I couldn’t take it anymore and attempted suicide.
There was an ambulance, and the nurse was a big man. I remember as if it were yesterday: I am on my bed facing the window, he is sitting on a chair at my desk facing my bedroom door.
He asked me what happened.
I told him I couldn’t take it anymore. I was abused in so many ways. Every day. I was twelve. It was my second suicide attempt in two years.
My mother laughed and encouraged me to try again so that maybe I could finally succeed at killing myself.
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The thing was that summers were unbearable for me: there was hard work to do on the farm a few miles away, there was cooking, cleaning, laundry, dishes, and abuse, abuse, abuse.
With no school, summers were survival tests because I was my mother’s and everyone else’s scapegoat 24/7.
“Whoever Brings Blessing Will be Enriched” Proverbs 11:25
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The ambulance guy looked at my desk.
Under a large piece of glass, there were multiple awards and letters of recognition and appreciation from my school.
School #36 on Stanzionnaya St was where I was a student of the A track. My picture was on the honors board on the first floor for years.
The nurse asked: “Is this you?”
“Yes,” I said.
I was a straight-A student. School was the only place where I was a somebody. I was a nobody at home, and everyone showed that to me consistently and passionately, every day. They hated me, called me “a miscarriage,” deprived me of food, and violated me in every aspect of my being.
The nurse looked at me and said: “If I get a call like this one more time about you, I’ll go straight to the Principal of your school and tell her what you do at home.”
I never attempted suicide ever again.
I loved the Principal.
She was a woman with deep and scary voice, big hair, and an even bigger heart.
I Am Loved By God
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I had attempted to kill myself because I had no hope. I was hopeless.
The fact that I failed at it and the fact that the ambulance guy cared enough to figure out what was important to me and used that to protect me from my hopelessness – all that planted a seed of faith in my heart.
At 12 years old, I began thinking that perhaps there was a God who wanted me on earth for some kind of divine reason.
After I attempted suicide twice, at 11 and 12, I never tried it again.
I went to my school librarian, Emma Alexandrovna, and asked for something to read to figure out the root of my hopelessness.
At that age, I had no perspective. What I saw around me was the only thing I knew.
I didn’t know that children lived in clean homes with parents who didn’t violently abuse them physically.
I didn’t know that other children’s grandmothers didn’t hate them and didn’t try to chock them.
I didn’t know that other children’s after-school life wasn’t filled with family violence, drinking, and adultery.
It was typical for me to walk out in the morning to go to school and see my naked aunt under the bench outside our condominium building entrance on the ground drunk.
I didn’t know anything but that.
RELATED: My Suicide Story
Yet, based on the ambulance guy’s reaction to my suicide attempts and the fact that I was still alive, I had a thought that perhaps the kind of life I had was not all there was to actual living.
Of corse, there was no God of any sort in Soviet Russia where I was born, so the book my librarian gave me was secular.
God was evicted out of Russia when the communists took over. They burned churches or turned some of them to movie theaters.
The revolution happened in October so the big beautiful church building in Red Square in Downtown Kursk was called “The October Theatre.”
I Have Faith In God
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The book my librarian gave me was scientific research on “difficult children.”
I found out from the book that I was difficult. I also discovered that I was fatherless.
See, the fact that I had no father was apparent to me of course, but the fact that it was impacting my whole life and making me “difficult” wasn’t a thing I ever considered.
Well, I was twelve…
The book explained to me that my family was not normal. I was raised by adulterous alcoholics who violently abused me and one another daily, and it was not how a typical child lived in Russia.
Wow! How interesting! There was more to life that what I was experiencing?
I had a strong burning desire to survive, escape, and thrive.
Thriving was defined in my mind as being far away from the monsters with whom I lived. Thriving meant being alone and at peace.
When I envisioned some kind of world different from what I knew every day at home, that world was free from yelling, screaming, blaming, hitting, chocking, chasing, striking, pushing, pinching, humiliating, shaming, and suicide threats.
My mother threatened me to commit suicide if I didn’t meet her every expectation. She promised to me to hang herself on the kitchen chandelier and leave a letter telling everyone that her suicide was my fault.
In the world I envisioned, I was peaceful, silent, safe, and joyful. I could breathe and be. Being was hard for me growing up.
But the seed of hope and purpose, planted in my heart as the result of that second suicide attempt, got me wondering about God.
My thought process was this.
I started being curious. I began reading. I discovered that God was a man, He had a beard and a book where He wrote all my faults to later condemn me.
God lived at church where I could go if I’d cover my head, wear a skirt, wear special shoes covering my toes, wear no makeup, but before I could go, I’d need to make sure I was already perfect and had my life together.
I wasn’t perfect, and my life was not at all together.
I didn’t have any idea why an angry, fault-tracking God would still want me here.
But I did go to church a few times.
Everything there was made of gold, it was dark, scary, and smelled like candle wax.
I was taught that the more candles I’d buy and light to specific angels, the higher the probability of me winning their favor.
Even church was corrupted in Russia.
God was surely not loving. He was performance-oriented, like my mother.
From the perspective of those teachings, I was surely messed up and unworthy. I had no chance with God.
I was confused about everything, except one thing: if God wanted me to survive suicide, He must have designed some kind of plan to use me with all my suffering.
What could I possibly even be good for, since I was pure shame and guilty of everything bad, according to my mother?
I went on to speak publicly since I was 13 years old. I began developing myself.
All I had was a little bitty hope that there was God. But, I had huge confidence in my own ability.
Books were my life. I spent hours and hours in libraries studying, reading, researching, writing, thinking, and gaining insights.
Don’t take me wrong – I drank a lot of alcohol, smoked lots of cigarettes, and at 16 I started sleeping around because my mom couldn’t stand my virginity anymore. Clubbing was living too but so was reading.
I went on to graduate from four colleges.
My love for books, libraries, reading, research, studying, and writing saved me at the same time as I was drinking, clubbing, and sleeping around.
I read about politics, mathematics, physics, biology, history, globalization, phycology, self-help, goals, addictions, trauma, self-healing, success, self-discipline, and visualization.
I began regular visualization practices when I was very young. I used the power of my mind to disassociate myself from my family and to associate myself with my goals and my big dreams for the future.
Books taught me about a better life, a different world, and personal transformation I could experience in order to be “not like my family.”
That was my goal.
My family was uneducated so I valued education. My family had no appreciation for intellect due to the prosecution of Intellectuals in USSR and massive killings. Intellectuals were the enemies of the working class. My family was mostly janitors. My mom’s dream for me was to be a janitor. I was not complying. I was becoming an Intellectual. I was an enemy to my family.
That was fine with me. They always rejected me anyway.
My grandma demanded that I never address her as “grandma” because I was fatherless and she was ashamed of me.
I had books to escape to and I had earplugs. I’d plug my ears and read, study, write, memorize and recite poetry, and that was my escape from generational misery in that cursed condo.
Occasional police calls also helped me survive. Only one time did anyone there stood up for me: my grandpa kicked out my aunts when she tried to kill me. It was the aunt whose boyfriend my father was.
I survived that unbearable family environment because of my genuine passion for learning.
The same passion that helped me learn and master the Theoretical Fundamentals of Mathematics was the passion I used to learn about God.
But that was much later in life.
Growing up, I learned about math, literature, history, arts, globalization, economics, entrepreneurship, and sex.
Sex was my mom’s genuine obsession.
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She taught me that sex was love and love for sex. She taught me that I was for men, men loved sex, so I was for sex.
Since God lived at church and I only went there rarely, plus I didn’t have sex at church, sex was secretive, involved married men, and the purpose of it was to master my skills so I could get a husband eventually. That was all my mom’s propaganda.
Then, according to my mom’s plan, I’d get married, have a child, get divorced, and live happily ever after with all of the members of The Adams family and my child.
Did I mention that my mother has always lived with her mother and sister?
Today, my grandmother is 90 something (she never disclosed her actual age), my mother is 64, and they all still live together in that same condo in Russia.
I do not have any children but I did experience teen pregnancy and miscarried as I was imagining my life with the Adams Family in that condo.
I got pregnant from one of the guys I slept with randomly. Sleeping with many guys was the best strategy for getting a husband, according to my mom’s daily teachings.
Sex was a must-have skill to master for me, and my mother kept me accountable.
I tried to win my mom’s approval and bond with her by sewing, knitting, drawing, singing, dancing, writing, and in many other healthy ways.
Any time my mom saw me succeed at any skill, she’d criticize and condemn me. I’d stop trying.
I Can Do All Things Through Christ
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The only time of bonding I remember was when my mom would sit with me in the kitchen over a cup of hot Ceylon tea, and interview me about my sexual experiences.
I had no perspective. I had no idea why she was doing it. She encouraged me to sleep around and report every detail back to her.
In 2014, I hit the rock bottom and was diagnosed with sex addiction. That’s when I met Jesus and gave my life to Him.
Before that happened though, I was already divorced twice.
In 2006, I met Prince Charming online.
Here’s an autobiographical Christian fairytale I wrote about it.
"The Miraculous Escape from The Wicked Witch" #PrincessLanaFairyTales
Once upon a time, there lived a beautiful and capable Princess in a faraway kingdom called Russnia.
The Princess’ name was Lana.
When she was in her mother’s womb, God made her perfect in His image.
He created Princess Lana for a very special purpose - to glorify Him.
To fulfill God’s purpose, The Princess first had to overcome many great obstacles.
She also needed to develop faith and fortitude.
When Princess Lana was born, her loving Mother Queen protected her, held her close, and sang soothing songs to her.
Life was wonderful. The kingdom was safe. And Princess Lana felt loved.
Shortly after her birth though, a terrible misfortune came upon the kingdom.
The kind and affectionate Queen became possessed by the spirit of The Wicked Witch.
The Wicked Witch took over, and the Queen was never ever seen again.
From that mysterious and unfortunate day on, Princess Lana suffered much adversity and heartache.
The Wicked Witch hated and mistreated The Princess.
The Witch was violent, rude, angry, resentful, and bitter most of the time.
Though sometimes, to manipulate Princess Lana to do as she wished, The Witch pretended to be nice.
Princess Lana felt sad, lonely, and discouraged.
She missed her Mother Queen. She was confused as to what happened to her beloved Mother. She had many unanswered questions.
Especially, Princess Lana wanted to know what was the purpose of her life.
As The Princess was growing up, The Wicked Witch was becoming more evil and violent toward her.
Soon, the pain was just too much to handle for the lonely Princess.
One day, overcome by deep sorrow and despair, Princess Lana jumped off the cliff to end her life of suffering.
God saw this and rescued The Princess.
Safe, she was delivered back to the kingdom of Russnia and continued her life with The Wicked Witch.
God knew His great and beautiful plan for the long and fulfilling life of Princess Lana.
But she didn’t know God’s plan.
As her journey of rejection and hostility continued in the kingdom of Russnia, Princess Lana developed faith and fortitude by overcoming adversity.
She also learned to love books, which served her as an escape from the painful reality where The Wicked Witch reigned.
Princess Lana discovered that she was a great learner.
She enjoyed studying math, literature, physics, and geometry.
She memorized and recited poetry often.
And she dreamed a lot.
She wanted to be creative.
She wanted to express her heart.
One day, she practiced drawing and created art which illustrated a gymnast performing gymnastics.
The art was beautiful!
When The Wicked Witch saw it, she cast a magic spell on The Princess.
So, Princess Lana was never able to draw again.
But God gave her a passion for dancing.
She practiced ballet, and you could see all the pain and suffering disappear when Princess Lana was dancing.
As soon as The Wicked Witch found out that The Princess enjoyed dancing, she cast a spell on her, and Princess Lana was never able to dance again.
But God gave her a passion for sawing.
The Princess designed and created a beautiful green dress. Everyone complimented her marvelous work.
However, when The Wicked Witch discovered the new passion of The Princess, she cast a spell on her.
Princess Lana was never able to saw anything ever again.
Her new passion was for knitting.
The Princess created a very unique black dress with gorgeous glitter-fillet buttons.
Princess Lana was proud of her work.
But as soon as The Wicked Witch heard about this, she cast a spell on The Princess.
Her passion died, like many times before.
Princess Lana had still so many gifts left in her.
She wanted to pursue a new hobby, but this time, she knew that it had to be a secret from The Wicked Witch.
Princess Lana began writing stories about an imaginary forest right outside her bedroom wall.
The forest was beautiful and safe.
Green trees where everywhere. The birds sang from the bottom of their hearts. It was a place of peace and joy. The Princess wrote about faith and fortitude.
One day, The Wicked Witch heard about Lana’s stories of empowerment and encouragement.
The Witch cast a spell on The Princess again and forced her to forget all about writing.
During the reign on The Wicked Witch, the kingdom where Princess Lana lived turned into a dark place.
People hated each other. There was sorrow and despair everywhere.
The Princess was so discouraged and hopeless, that one day, she went to the cliff and jumped off again.
God watched over The Princess all the time. He saw what she did and He saved her again.
This time, God touched the heart of The Princess. He revealed just a glimpse of Himself to her, which gave her a new hope.
After that, the young Princess knew that there was God who had a plan for her and was guiding her toward a beautiful future.
As her life with The Wicked Witch continued, The Princess learned a few valuable lessons.
The Lessons Princess Lana learned were these:
1. In life, you must have faith and hope.
2. In adversity, you must develop fortitude and persevere.
3. In moments of sorrow and despair, you must remember that God’s plan is good.
4. In times of loneliness, you must remember that God is with you.
One day, Princess Lana met Prince Charming.
He lived in a far far away kingdom called Amerun.
The Prince was handsome, kind, loving, and wise.
He wanted to marry Princess Lana, but The Wicked Witch didn’t want The Princess to be happy.
She tried to beat and burn Princess Lana.
She yelled and screamed spells at her every day.
She told her consistently: “I just hate you and I want you dead!”
The Princess knew that it was true.
She felt scared and sad.
And she got very sick.
One day, Prince Charming came to her rescue.
On a white horse, armed with his powerful armor, fearless, The Prince appeared in the kingdom of Russnia.
He freed Princess Lana from The Wicked Witch.
As he was taking her far far away to the kingdom of Amerun, The Witch used her dark powers to chase The Princess.
She wanted to bring her back into captivity.
She kept casting spells on The Princess, and that’s when God stepped in and helped propel Princess Lana into her destiny.
God separated The Princess from The Wicked Witch by 8,646 magic measures and delivered Princess Lana and Prince Charming to the kingdom of Amerun safely.
The Princess never saw The Wicked Witch again. She was hopeful and excited about her happily-ever-after with Prince Charming.
And she went on to share her miraculous life story to give God all the glory.
3-9-19 © Anna Szabo, JD, MBA. All Rights Reserved.
The autobiographical fairytale ends here but real life did continue, and Princess Lana soon found out she was called a “mail-ordered bride.”
She was enslaved in the kingdom of Amerun (aka America).
On July 31st, 2008 I stepped on this land, and America has been my home ever since. I thought my marriage was the best thing ever, the ultimate happily ever after. However, Prince Charming changed the minute I arrived in the United States.
He yelled, screamed, and abused me physically. He controlled my every breath. He never filed proper updates to my immigration documents so my immigration status had expired.
I had no SSN, no driver’s license, and I wasn’t allowed any freedoms. I wasn’t allowed to go anywhere or talk to anyone. I was turned into a slave.
Was God actually there?
If God was real, why would He allow something like this?
God was not real. I knew that.
If God were real, He’d never allow me to endure Domestic Violence after everything I had been through growing up.
I was a victim of Domestic Violence, and God was a myth.
I was beaten, pushed around, and abused physically, sexually, economically, mentally, and emotionally, as well as lied to every day of my marriage.
But everything looked great!
We went to Cirque du Soleil, Celine Dion concerts, The Biltmore House, and even to Peachtree Presbyterian Church for Christmas.
It was all a facade because the reality was that I was not allowed to talk to people or even think my own thoughts.
RELATED: Domestic Violence
After that Christmas, for me, church was associated with freedom. Specifically, Peachtree Presbyterian Church. I dreamed that one Christmas I’d go there all by myself and be there and think!!!
That was my dream. It came true in 2009.
But I didn’t go there for God.
God wasn’t real and I was confident in it.
Realizing God – The Beginning of My Testimony
On April 9th, 2009 three Dunwoody police officers rescued me from Prince Charming during our fourth incident of physical violence on record.
They delivered me to the International Women’s House, a shelter for battered women in Stone Mountain, GA.
There, I saw a blue banner with the names of 300 women who were murdered or committed suicide as the result of abuse in 2008 in the state of Georgia.
I was overcome by something I couldn’t explain. I felt that this was the why that I’ve been looking for, the purpose of my life, the reason why I wasn’t able to kill myself, the plan of God who was preparing me to encourage and empower women.
I didn’t speak English.
However, the purpose I felt dwelling in my heart was strong. Everything made sense. God was real. He had a plan.
I dreamed that someday, when I could speak English, I’d share my story and if I save at least one woman from suicide, it will all be worth it.
I taught myself English in 18 months and passed the Academic English Test on January 24th, 2011.
I was liberated from Prince Charming by the Atlanta Legal Aid Society which helped obtain a divorce for free.
I was also liberated in terms of my identity when Catholic Charities Immigration Legal Services took on my VAWA case and I was able to get my documents, SSN, driver’s license, and work permit, thanks to the Violence Against Women Act.
Until I got my immigration documents, I worked as a nanny to humans and dogs, as a hostess in restaurants, as a driver for a car dealer moving cars from lot to lot across town, and as a housekeeper.
I wrote an autobiographical Christian fairytale about my experience.
"The Unfortunate Metamorphosis of Prince Charming" #PrincessLanaFairyTales
Once upon a time, there lived a beautiful and capable Princess. Her name was Lana.
She travelled 8,646 magic measures away from her native kingdom of Russnia in order to escape the spells of The Wicked Witch and marry Prince Charming of Amerun.
God had a big purpose for the life of The Princess. But she didn’t know it yet.
To fulfill God’s purpose, Princess Lana first had to overcome many great obstacles and develop faith and fortitude so she could share hope with others.
In the foreign kingdom of Amerun, she became a wife to Prince Charming and hoped to live happily ever after with him.
When Princess Lana first met Prince Charming, he was caring, loving, kind, and wise.
He adored and showered her with flowers.
They loved each other very much.
However, once The Princess and The Prince got married, everything changed.
An unfortunate tragedy came upon The Princess.
On the day after the wedding, Prince Charming was attacked and became possessed by the spirit of The Prince Of Darkness.
The Evil Spirit took over, and Prince Charming was never ever seen again.
Princess Lana was trapped in a foreign kingdom, completely alone.
Being in captivity of The Prince Of Darkness, she dreamed of freedom and joy.
The Princess was made a servant.
She worked hard cooking and cleaning for The Evil Prince. She washed his clothes, made his bed, and served his guests.
The Prince Of Darkness confined The Princess to himself with magic invisible chains.
She was trapped and wounded.
The Prince Of Darkness mistreated Princess Lana.
He also took away her identity and planned to never ever let her be free again.
Without her identity, Princess Lana was unable to prove to the honorable people of the foreign kingdom of Amerun who she was.
Also, she wasn’t allowed to work and earn money.
So, Princess Lana became a slave to The Evil Prince.
The language, which people of Amerun spoke, was very different from the language Princess Lana knew from her life in the kingdom of Russnia, where she grew up.
Now, she was far far away from home, trapped in the foreign kingdom without speaking the language, and enslaved by The Prince Of Darkness.
She felt distressed, traumatized, devastated, and bewildered.
The Prince Of Darkness was very angry and profoundly controlling.
He prohibited Princess Lana from ever interacting with people. He prevented her from learning the language common in the kingdom of Amerun.
Princess Lana felt hopeless and helpless.
She felt lonely, heartbroken, and desperate for help from God.
The Prince Of Darkness often felt enraged by his thoughts of possibly losing Princess Lana.
Even though he didn’t love her, he wanted to control her. Controlling The Princess made The Evil Prince feel powerful and secure.
On the days of his rage reigning, The Prince Of Darkness would violently abuse Princess Lana.
She was very scared and deeply sad.
God was watching how The Princess persevered through adversity with faith and fortitude.
He knew that His plan for her was good.
God wanted to uniquely equip Princess Lana with faith and fortitude, so that she could do good work and glorify Him.
Soon, God sent Princess Lana some help.
Three Angels Of Hope came to the rescue of The Princess.
They took her away from The Prince Of Darkness into a secret shack where he could never find her.
The Princess was now safe.
However, she was very ill and needed a lot of help and healing.
Also, the secret shack was not a home, and The Princess was homeless.
Homeless, hopeless, and helpless, Princess Lana was overcome by sorrow.
She was thinking about jumping off the cliff and ending her life of suffering.
That’s when God grabbed a hold of her heart and showed Princess Lana a heartbreaking picture of 300 other princesses who did jump off the cliff when they faced The Prince Of Darkness.
Those princesses lost their precious lives forever.
God revealed to Princess Lana that He needed her to help fulfill His greater plan.
Princess Lana felt called to continue her journey.
She was empowered by the new courage from God.
She wanted to help others to overcome adversity.
She understood the meaning of her past and the purpose of her future.
God placed a burning desire into the heart of Princess Lana and enticed her to persevere so she could share hope with others.
Princess Lana decided to grow her faith and fortitude in order to survive and thrive.
The Princess dreamed how one day she would be able to save many lives by sharing her story of God’s glory.
While hiding in the secret shack without identity, The Princess had to work really hard.
She cleaned the homes of honorable citizens of the foreign kingdom.
She watched after their children and pets.
She served food to them.
And she even learned how to operate their horseless carriages.
Princess Lana was able to make little money and hoped to free herself from the invisible chains one day.
Soon, witnessing her fortitude and faithfulness in adversity, God sent Princess Lana much-needed help.
An Angel Of Hope restored the identity of The Princess, and she was free from the invisible chains forever.
Now, The Princess was finally able to prove to the honorable people of Amerun who she actually was.
Also, God gave Princess Lana an instant ability to speak and understand the foreign language, common in the kingdom of Amerun.
Princess Lana received this help from God with gratitude and appreciation.
She felt overjoyed and strong again.
God blessed her with super-powers, and Princess Lana went on to build a new life for herself in the kingdom of Amerun.
She found friends, created great relationships, and was able to start a new home for herself.
The Princess felt encouraged and empowered by God.
She learned many valuable lessons from the unfortunate metamorphosis of Prince Charming.
The Lessons Princess Lana learned were these:
1. Marrying Prince Charming is not a guarantee for happily ever after.
2. People can change suddenly and significantly, that’s why we must place hope in God and not in people.
3. Happily ever after is an illusion, real world is filled with both the good and the bad.
4. Life is a series of seasons, with moments of sorrow followed by happy moments.
Princess Lana was happy and free once again.
She used the new and supernatural foreign language ability to share her life story giving God all the glory.
3-10-19 © Anna Szabo, JD, MBA. All Rights Reserved.
In February of 2011, I was accepted to Georgia State University premium Professional MBA program, Buckhead Campus. I held a Government job, I was in a relationship with a doctor who had two young sons, and I was writing my first book that was recognized by multiple industry leaders in 2013. It was the book about SMART goals.
At GSU, during my MBA, I met people who knew Jesus personally and taught me how to pray.
MBA at GSU not only helped me assimilate better, meet new people, and gain a strong competitive advantage in the marketplace, but also it allowed me to learn about Jesus.
GSU MBA and My Testimony
In 2012, while attending an MBA program at Georgia State University in Buckhead, I signed up for an entrepreneurship class.
It was a field study. At the end of that year, we had to decide on the internship company.
On November 16th, 2012 at 6:30 pm my life was about to change forever.
Interestingly enough, God approaches each of us in the manner that’s the most familiar to us individually. God was using school to lead me to Christ.
I Am God’s Masterpiece
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I’m going to share with you some details just so you can see how amazing God is and how He knows our hearts.
He knew how to draw me to Christ. He knew it would have to be a sophisticated modern-day woman who could influence me and open the door into my eternity with Jesus. But I didn’t know any of it of course.
That evening, November 16th, 2012 at 6:30 pm, professor Gemmell sent out an email to our class. It changed my destiny forever.
In the natural, it went like this:
Field Study Class, I would like to welcome all of you to entrepreneurial field study, MGS 4590/8590 for spring semester 2013. Field study is a demanding but also an exciting and in some cases, life-changing experience. I am excited to have you in the course and look forward to working with you. I have attached the course syllabus for your review.
Please read this email carefully as it contains important time-sensitive information. Attached are the company profiles for the entrepreneurial firms who have thus far expressed an interest in participating in our course this fall. Please review these profiles immediately and begin contacting the firms that best fit your interests and skills. The companies attached are sincerely interested in our course but they do not have to hire someone unless they see a good fit.Professor Robert Gemmell’s email excerpt
However, looking back today, I see what the email actually was about:
Dear Anna, I would like to welcome you to a family of Jesus Christ, which you will soon join, though you have no clue what this even means right now. I know you don’t think you are a good fit for ministry and you were not raised in church, but God doesn’t require your application or permission. He chose you, and interesting things are about to happen in your life. They will seem like terrible adversity but know that God’s grace is sufficient for you. All the things that are coming at you soon God will use together for good.Professor Gemmell’s email the way I see it in 2019
I chose a company for my internship. It was a social business in need of digital marketing help. Perfect for me! I applied and got the opportunity after they interviewed me.
In early 2013, I began the internship.
The first meeting was “odd.”
In the beautiful King and Queen plaza in Dunwoody, GA met a team of real-life people who looked “normal.” In a modern conference room, with modern furniture and equipment, the business meeting began with… a prayer? What?
I was… um… puzzled. I was puzzled.
A prayer to start a business meeting?
I thought only those people who lived thousands of years ago did that kind of thing. I had no point of reference in my whole life to be able to comprehend modern people praying in a business meeting.
The CEO was a skinny, blond, drop-dead-gorgeous, high-heels-wearing, modern entrepreneurial woman. She started sharing with me how God told her what to name her business and that it was actually a regular occurrence (I mean talking to God).
Talking to God about business?
I had such a mix of feelings and thoughts. This was all too crazy for me. It felt really odd and abnormal. I had never seen people like this. I surely wasn’t exposed to God-hearing people ever. And the idea of relying on God for naming your business was beyond my comprehension.
I wanted to quit the internship but it was too late in the semester, and the company had already paid $1000 to GSU for me to intern with them.
I was stuck with God-hearing business folks, and it’s the very reason why you’re reading this very article. That season was the beginning of my walk with Christ. I just had no clue at the time.
Our professor required regular digital journaling. It meant that I had to write about my experiences and email all that to him every day. And I did. I wrote how hard the whole God thing was to comprehend and that the only way I saw myself being able to manage the internship was to “empty my cup” and take everything the people at that company said about God as if it were true. And so I did.
Here’s my email to my professor from January 28th, 2013 sent with daily details describing my learning:
This is my journal. I am very impressed with where it’s taking me, really. Moreover, I hope you will not think that I am crazy. I honestly am very open to learning from Carol and her quite UNIQUE way of doing business. If you find this whole thing crazy, let me know, because that’s what I thought at first, too. I will shorten my journals, if you ask me to, and will make sure I don’t share too much.Internship report excerpt
My professor responded to my journal entry saying:
Hi Anna, wow – interesting report! Sounds like you are doing a lot of great things that can make a major impact. I agree that this is an unusual approach to business…but the company seems to be on sort of a mission that goes beyond traditional business principals.Professor Gemmell’s response to my journal entry
Indeed, the business had a very special mission in my life – the CEO led me to Jesus!!!
The Beginning of My Walk with Jesus
My colleagues at the internship company taught me a lot, but the most important first step in my faith journey was to learn from them how to pray to Jesus.
RELATED: Who Is Jesus?
They also shared with me how to hear from God. They invited me to come to church with an open heart. I signed up for the Starting Point at Buckhead Church where I asked lots of questions. It was a group environment facilitated by three seasoned Christians, and we all were given an opportunity to question the Bible or anything at all.
The blond, beautiful, and modern CEO of the internship company helped me breach the gap between the Jesus-time and the 21st century. Witnessing not just her faith but faithfulness made my faith and faithfulness possible.
My professor was right.
The internship changed my eternity. That’s my testimony.
I was baptized just a year later, but before I gave my life to Christ, my sexual addiction and alcoholism took me on a downward spiral.
Here’s what happened.
I passed the entrepreneurship class with an “A” and I graduated with my MBA that same year with a 3.74 GPA.
After that, I continued my journey of spiritual growth and healing. While at school, I got married to the doctor whom I mentioned earlier but we divorced in 2014.
I was still drinking heavily just like I was taught by my family for years, and I was still sleeping around.
Yet, a special kind of seed of faith and hope was planted in my heart.
One night in 2014, I fell on my knees and wept from guilt and shame about my past, who I had become, and what I had done with my life. And God stepped in to change things forever.
I invited Jesus into my life and He offered me His forgiveness. I confessed my sins and asked Jesus to come into my heart, rid me of myself, take over, and make me new. I asked Him to prune me for greater fruitfulness. I asked Him to lead me and guide my everyday journey through life.
The Bible says this:
“In Him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace.”Ephesians 1:7
God’s grace liberated me from my past and made me new in my consciousness. That night, my soul experienced deep healing and peace that passes all understanding. I accepted Jesus as my lord and savior.
I understood my justification. The blood of Jesus washed me white as snow. I was redeemed. I became celibate that very night.
My Celibacy Journey
After I met Jesus, I was made new and I became celibate. For 600 days, I didn’t go on any dates. I celebrated holidays alone for a year, which allowed me to get to know myself, to stop fearing aloneness, and to learn to be with Jesus.
I hosted Christian book clubs at home. I was a part of several church groups at Buckhead Church. I learned to worship for the audience of one, I learned new habits, I felt Jesus changing me and my lifestyle, and I began recognizing and listening to the voice of the Holy Spirit.
God was real! He had a plan. I saw it. I was living out His plan and every adversity I ever endured made total sense.
During that time, I created a Udemy course called Dating Advice for Women.
RELATED: Dating Advice For Women
I published some videos on YouTube to share about my course and my testimony, only I never thought that someone evil and cruel could watch them and figure out what I’d be looking for in a man and then try to become that with the goal of deceiving me.
I talked about celibacy openly on social media using the hashtag #LoveSexDating.
The New Rules for Love, Sex, and Dating was a series of four sermons by Andy Stanley where he invited me to accept a no-dating challenge for a year. It was also a book.
I did what the book and the sermon recommended, only the reasoning suggested there was all wrong. However, I had not realized it timely.
You see, Andy Stanley invites you to do the no-dating challenge so that you can become whom the person you’re looking for is looking for. So, basically, you must figure out whom you’re looking for, then figure out whom they’re looking for, and you need to spend a year becoming that person. Also, the person looking to deceive you could be doing the same thing.
What a clever trickery!
There’s something fundamentally wrong with this motivation. It sets you up for huge deception.
It set me up for a deceptive skim by the Narcissist who worked at Andy Stanley’s church in Alpharetta and desired to conquer me for a checkbox in his head.
He saw me on Facebook in January of 2015 at my Birthday party through a mutual friend (she’s a former friend now).
He inquired about me then, after which he went on to stalk me at Northpoint Ministries’ events.
None of it I knew until later. I didn’t know the guy.
He met me 11 months later.
He was checking out my profile so much that Facebook’s Artificial Intelligence algorithm suggested him to me for befriending.
When I clicked on his profile, 99% of his Facebook content was about Jesus. So, I befriended him.
He quickly manipulated me into meeting up, then started love-bombing me, and six months later we were married.
In the meantime, he manipulated me through a series of premeditated mental tricks into remodeling his house, for which I paid with money and labor.
After the wedding, he no longer worked at church, nor was he interested in Jesus. He began rejecting me and treating me with cruelty, abandoned our marriage and called his bicycle “My Other Wife I Cheat On You With,” he started demanding to sell the remodeled marital residence for profit, said he no longer was interested in me, posted on Facebook about his IronMan aspirations 99% of the time, wasted my paychecks as we had a joint account, and four months after the wedding he filed for divorce.
RELATED: Narcissistic Relationship Abuse
The mental cruelty and deception I endured from the Narcissist led me to complete hopelessness and suicidal depression.
Depression and suicidal ideation are very common for victims of Narcissistic Abuse. Not only was I abused by the Narcissist but I was also abandoned by God.
Or was there God ever at all?
Was God dead?
If He was real and not dead, why would He allow something like this to happen to me? I was His faithful servant.
I began learning about Job and Esther and Paul…
I began believing that God was preparing me for something and that I was anointed.
I Am a Difference-Maker
Check Out Christian Apparel #52Devotionals
But I didn’t expect what was coming…
My wedding was on May 14th, 2016.
On September 24th, 2016 I was at my friend’s birthday celebration, after which Joe and Sheila invited me to join them for the first day of Harvest, the Christian conference organized by Greg Laurie.
I was there, encouraged by the community worship, Greg Laurie’s testimony, and also his little grey book called “Tell Someone.”
The book was about sharing the Gospel. I took in to give it to the Narcissist at home. He attended and claimed to have graduated from Metro Atlanta Seminary. Yet, he never shared the Gospel.
That night, Greg Laurie said: close your eyes, I’ll pray right now, and the Holy Spirit will speak to you. I did that, he prayed, and the Holy Spirit said: “You will redeem your husband.”
I was excited and had hope that God would absolutely restore my marriage. The next day was the second day of Greg Laurie’s conference. Sheila, Joe, and I went there again.
At that Christian conference, a private server Jerry served me with the Narcissist’s divorce summons.
That’s when I began Biblical counseling with Berean.
During that time, my Spiritual advisor guided me toward Jesus, my identity in Christ, God’s promises, Spiritual Warfare, the Armor of God, and the truth about God’s perfect plan.
Life was hard, and I was in Narcissistic Abuse Therapy to help cope with the Narcissistic Abuse I was enduring.
In November, the Narcissist asked to reconcile and I said yes.
In December, the abuse worsened and I demanded that he’d seek counseling.
In January of 2017, I was served with his second divorce summons.
The Narcissist filed for divorce twice in our first eight months of marriage.
We had gone through premarital counseling, and he deceived all of us.
Our premarital counseling mentors were good people. Upon graduation from counseling, right before our wedding, they gave us the gift of a book by Laura Story called “When God Doesn’t Fix It.”
I never read it.
In February of 2017, not only was I going through the second divorce with the Narcissist but also he got the flu and I was asked by Jesus to take care of him, which I did.
When I cleaned his room (we lived in two separate bedrooms for the majority of our marriage), I saw under a ton of dust and crap a little grey book called “Tell Someone” by Greg Laurie.
I was overcome by the Holy Spirit as I saw this book from the conference where the Narcissist served me with the divorce summons.
I realized: the book was for me.
I read it. It was for me, indeed.
Greg Laurie’s book stirred up a passion for sharing the Gospel on the inside. Download my FREE book of Biblical Affirmations called #52Devotionals that help you focus on who you are in Christ.
I leaned on God’s Word every second of my suicidal depression. I prayed on my knees every day. I trusted God. That’s my testimony.
By why would He not fix my marriage?
In February I read Laura’s book “When God Doesn’t Fix It.”
Everything made sense. The Gospel was what I desired. An understanding was what I was seeking.
I went to Perimeter Church where Laura Story led worship, where the Narcissist and I did premarital counseling, and where the good people, our premarital counseling mentors, were members.
I watched the membership videos by Randy Pope mesmerized.
I learned from him that God never promised us an easy life. He made us for His purpose, His plan is to use us, and for that, He must equip and prepare us through tests to develop us.
The trials are meant for us to experience God’s special grace and get equipped for the good works He prepared in advance for us to do.
The truthful, unsugarcoated Gospel shared by Randy Pope – vulnerably and personably – that was the reason why I joined Perimeter Church.
In March of 2017, I passed the membership interview at Perimeter Church and began attending Bible Studies. I joined a discipleship group, and the good people, my premarital counseling mentors, went through the entire process of the divorce jury trial by my side.
Perimeter Church supported me spiritually, emotionally, and financially as I was trying to put the pieces of my life back together, moving into a new home, settling, and restoring my destroyed by the Narcissist mental health.
I leaned on Jesus every day. Every minute, actually. I’m March of 2017, God blessed me with the rivers of living water.
Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within themJohn 7:38
God gave me poetry, and my #PoemsFromGod collection was born.
He began calling me to write a book of Biblical Affirmations, and that was the birth of #52Devotionals.
During my divorce jury trial, the pain was so much. I felt crucified.
The pain of that worldly experience was overwhelming, yet the good people and I stayed in prayer and drew only closer to Christ through the experience. That’s my testimony.
Jesus gave me peace and revealed to me that the Narcissist deceived me and took advantage of me, but God Himself decreed everything, and the divorce was not the end but the beginning.
I had peace, and the Narcissist was welcome to have the house and sell it for profit.
On Thursday, the fourth day of our divorce jury trial, when I was asked by the court what I wanted, I said: “I have peace.”
The Narcissist got the house and sold it for profit, then he sued me to pay the cost of his own attorney fees, which Judge Dickinson denied.
In the meantime, I wrote the book of devotionals focusing on identity in Christ. I decided to give it to you for free so that you know what God says about you.
God reminded me of 2009, the shelter for battered women, and the banner with the names of 300 victims of abuse who were killed or committed suicide.
The Holy Spirit gave me my own suicidal poem, which I typed as it was coming through me.
There was a line there:
I understood what the purpose of my life was and how God planned everything to equip and prepare me for His special ministry.
Online Discipleship For Women was born in 2017.
Also, The Anna Szabo Show Christian Podcast was launched and spread quickly around the globe with listeners in America, Russia, UK, Ireland, Ireland, Japan, China, Germany, and so many other countries.
Online Discipleship For Women
This Christian ministry was founded in 2017 when I was struggling with severely suicidal depression from Narcissistic Abuse.
God grew my faith and hope and asked me to share the Gospel with you.
My mission is to alleviate suicide among women by encouraging YOU to grow in faith and hope.
My vision is to help YOU create a joyful life by embracing God’s word.
My goal is to make the Gospel practical and applicable to YOUR daily experiences.
My ministry is based on the six pillars of joyful living:
I wrote an autobiographical fairytale about the journey.
"The Sacred Book of Ancient Wisdom" #PrincessLanaFairyTales
Once upon a time, there lived a beautiful and capable Princess whose name was Lana.
She was born in the kingdom of Russnia to a loving Mother Queen who later on became possessed by the evil spirit of The Wicked Witch.
The Princess experienced much abuse and had to flee her home.
She fell in love with Prince Charming from a far far away kingdom of Amerun.
They got married and hoped to live together happily ever after.
However, the tragedy came upon them, and Prince Charming became possessed by the evil spirit of The Prince Of Darkness.
Princess Lana spent some time in captivity, trapped and enslaved by The Evil Prince.
The Princess experienced much abuse and had to flee her home.
God sent His Angels Of Hope to her rescue, and Princess Lana was liberated from bondage and slavery.
Only now she was very ill.
From her many years of battling The Evil Spirit, Princess Lana felt exhausted and drained.
She was wounded and afflicted.
She felt bedraggled, distraught, perplexed, inconsequential, and contemptible.
Princess Lana had such a heavy heart, she couldn’t carry it anymore.
She was thinking about jumping off the cliff and ending her life of suffering.
But she genuinely wanted to grow in faith and fortitude.
So, she knew she’d need supernatural powers to continue her tough journey.
Princess Lana asked God for help.
She was praying on her knees one night and wept.
God sent His son Jesus to help Princess Lana with her struggles.
Jesus was The Lord Of All.
When Jesus showed up, He rid The Princess of her illnesses and afflictions.
The Son Of God paid a high price and redeemed Princess Lana from feeling bedraggled, distraught, perplexed, inconsequential, and contemptible.
He did it out of deep love for The Princess.
Jesus loved Princess Lana unconditionally.
The Lord gave The Princess a new heart.
Most importantly, Jesus blessed her with a delightful gift of a sacred book.
The book was ancient, magical, and mysterious. It was called The Bible.
The mystery of it was this: any time Princess Lana needed guidance on her journey and had questions, The Sacred Book Of Ancient Wisdom gave her the answers.
The Son Of God entrusted The Princess with another supernatural gift.
He gave her The Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit had the infinite intelligence of God Himself and was ought to help Princess Lana to fight The Evil Spirit.
She was no longer alone.
Princess Lana had a new heart, new strength, and new tools to persevere on her journey of life.
She also had Jesus and The Holy Spirit by her side.
She moved toward her future with renewed faith and fortitude.
She was free from afflictions and felt overjoyed.
The Princess felt blessed, grateful, and purposeful.
She sought peace and stillness and desired to understand God and His plan for her life.
She often talked to Jesus about it and received a vision from The Holy Spirit revealing to her that she would help other princesses in adversity by encouraging and empowering them.
As Princess Lana was growing closer in her relationship with God, He surrounded her with Good People.
The Good People were friendly, accepting, wise, and helpful. They spent quality time with Princess Lana talking about the meaning of life, the purpose of adversity, and the reasons for faith and fortitude.
The Good People also taught Princess Lana about Spiritual Warfare and The Armor Of God.
The Princess learned why she was followed by The Evil Spirit who ought to force her to jump off the cliff so many times.
She realized that because her life’s purpose was to glorify God, The Evil Spirit tried hard to get rid of her so she wouldn’t be able to fulfill her life’s purpose.
The Evil Spirit wanted to disappoint and discourage Princess Lana in order to make her feel hopeless and helpless.
The Princess understood what a special calling she had on her life.
She knew that God set her apart and appointed her to help others.
She realized that she was anointed by God for His greater purpose.
Princess Lana was ready to help God, but she was young and needed much wisdom.
The questions Princess Lana was wondering about were these:
1. Who Am I in The Eyes of God?
2. What Is The Purpose of My Life?
3. What Are God’s Promises to Me?
4. What Is Spiritual Warfare?
5. What Is An Armor of God?
6. How Do I Renew My Mind?
7. How Can I Have Peace That Passess All Understanding?
8. How Can I Have The Joy of The Lord?
She found the answers in The Sacred Book Of Ancient Wisdom.
She discovered from The Book that she was a true Princess not by birth but by faith. Because she believed in God and His Son Jesus, her identity was royal for eternity.
She learned from The Ancient Book that the purpose of her life was to demonstrate faith and fortitude in order to glorify God.
She received the good news from The Ancient Book that everything bad she ever did was forgiven and forgotten because of the high price Jesus paid to redeem her.
She gained knowledge of God’s promises, among which were purpose, peace, protection, provision, and purification.
That’s why she had a new and light heart instead of her old and heavy heart.
She herself was new after her supernatural encounter with Jesus.
Princess Lana had a breakthrough that to fight The Good Fight with The Evil Spirit she had to be armed with The Armor Of God, which was hidden in The Sacred Book Of Ancient Wisdom.
The Good Fight was called Spiritual Warfare. It was the everyday battle, which was used by The Evil Spirit to conquer Princess Lana.
She realized that Spiritual Warfare was a part of her journey because God’s calling was on her life.
She knew that God had His hand on her destiny and, because she was special, she was pursued by The Evil Spirit to tempt her and force her to give up by jumping off the cliff.
She discovered that to fight Spiritual Warfare successfully, she had to wear The Armor Of God every day.
The Princess also discovered from The Good People and The Bible that God had already won victory on her behalf.
Her destiny was already known and it was good. However, she still had to continue dealing with The Evil Spirit and participate in Spiritual Warfare. God wanted Princess Lana to sharpen her skills of using The Armor Of God and to strengthen her faith and fortitude.
She had to practice faith and fortitude in order to get equipped and prepared to fulfill God’s purpose for her life, which was to help other princesses in adversity.
Princess Lana learned from The Good People and The Bible that to avoid feeling exhausted and to prevent her heart from getting too heavy, she needed to renew her mind daily.
The way to do it was to become aware of her thoughts, take every thought captive, and submit each thought to the truth of The Lord.
The truth was that God loved her, He had a good plan for her life, He was always by her side, and He protected her.
Also, the truth was that all the adversity Princess Lana endured was ordained by God in order to equip her with faith and fortitude so she could help others in adversity. God always gave her what He knew she could handle.
Princess Lana discovered that to have the peace that passes all understanding she needed to read The Sacred Book Of Ancient Wisdom every day.
Since The Book had all the answers, Princess Lana never had to fear ever again. She had peace from God.
Princess Lana was very curious about the joy of The Lord. She wanted to know how to be joyful when her life was so hard.
She learned from The Good People and The Bible that the joy of The Lord was hers to have.
She just needed to remember every day that Jesus loved her, He redeemed her, He saved her, He purified her, and He revealed her destiny to her.
Knowing her life’s purpose and destiny gave her joy, no matter the circumstances.
Princess Lana, armed with renewed faith and fortitude, went on to share her life’s story and give God all the glory.
3-10-19 © Anna Szabo, JD, MBA. All Rights Reserved.
Suffering, despair, confusion, emptiness, search for meaning, addictions, divorces, abuse – all led me to the cross where I discovered genuine intimacy with Jesus. That’s my testimony.
God revealed my life’s purpose to me, which is this ministry, through my journey of pain, suffering, being comforted by God, and encountering Jesus who asked me to share my faith and hope with YOU.
How I came to Christ has to do with how my faith developed.
What is faith? Faith is a strong conviction I have about God.
How do strong convictions come about? My conviction is based on my testimony.
Why do I have such a miraculous testimony? My testimony has developed through many, many, many tests. Without those tests, there would be no testimony, no conviction, and no faith.
To have faith in Jesus, I had to experience Jesus throughout my journey of tests so that I’d have a testimony and a strong conviction.
Here’s my Christian Guided Meditation collection for you.
If this content is encouraging YOU today, it’s because God planned this very moment. His plan is always perfect.
"Your plan is always perfect" #PoemsFromGod
You said your plan is perfect.
Can I believe it, God?
Sometimes I feel in conflict,
With scope of trials so broad.
But then I look around,
I pay attention close,
And see your grace abound
In sorrow and in loss.
I trust your every vow,
Your Holy Word I trust.
Sometimes I wonder how
Your beauty comes from dust.
Your plan for me to prosper,
Have future & the hope
Wholeheartedly I trust in
And never will I stop.
8/16/17 © Anna Szabo, JD, MBA
I remember a sunny hot Russian summer day in the city of Kursk, the ghetto of “Murynovka.”
A little Russian girl was about to embark on a journey of tests that would result in a strong testimony and an unshakable conviction, which would fuel her faith in Jesus and lead her to a ministry called “Online Discipleship For Women,” which would exist to alleviate suicide among women globally.
But that day, she tried to commit suicide…
Anna Szabo is the founder of Online Discipleship For Women, a Christian ministry committed to alleviating suicide among women globally by sharing hope in Christ. Anna teaches how to create a joyful life by embracing God’s word based on her own journey of faith and fortitude.
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