Sam Almond has had a bumpy road to travel since the day that her parents decided to get divorced. She has been beaten, abused, tortured and nearly killed, but Sam still has the faith and the energy to keep moving forward.
"When I was young, a lot of traumatic situations happened which made me rebel," Sam shares openly in a Youtube video. "As a teenager, I started smoking and drinking and running away from school and from home. I thought I knew best and refused to listen to anyone."
At the age of sixteen, Sam met a 24-year-old man and started a relationship with him. At first everything seemed fine but then things soured.
"He got very paranoid and very controlling," Sam shares sadly. "He started to beat me up a lot. I felt trapped."
She tells of a scary experience in which she thought she was going to die.
"I was looking after a friend's flat," she says, "and he locked me in and started beating me. He split my head open and punched me so hard I couldn't breathe. He grabbed the scarf that was around my neck and began choking me."
Fortunately, her boyfriend then left. Sam had to crawl down three flights of stairs to the police station, where she pressed charges.
"Every time I left him, he would torture me," Sam relates tearfully. "I felt that I couldn't get away. I always felt scared for my life. I would have panic attacks."
However, after the last incident, Sam knew she had to stay away or she would be killed. She stayed with various friends and ended up crashing with someone who had a cousin called Shane.
"One day, Shane walked in," Sam remembers with a smile. "I had an instant attraction to him. I later found out that he had an instant attraction to me. Shane's mom gave me his phone number, telling me to text him. So I did."
During their conversations, Shane went on and on about Jesus and even asked Sam to come to church.
"Shane would keep on about Jesus, but I would think, 'If Jesus is real, what has He done for me?'" Sam admits. "I just thought of church as a religious cult."
Sam was very reluctant to go to church, but she finally decided to give it a go. While there, a woman stood up and said, "God woke me up last night to tell me that someone here today has suffered with a lot of things in their life. God just wants you to know that He loves you and wants to be your Father." Sam knew those words were for her.
On the way out of church, a man approached Sam and Shane and asked them if he could pray. At first, he didn't know what to say so he asked the Lord to tell him. A few minutes later he said to Sam, "God has told me that you have suicidal thoughts and that He wants to be your Father." Sam was shocked as no one knew this. How could he have known about it? It had to be more than coincidence.
After a few weeks, Sam once again went to church with Shane. An ex-terrorist from Ireland had come to speak and share his story.
"After he had given his testimony," Sam states, "he asked people to come to the front if they wanted to know more about God, so I did. I got up and gave my life to Jesus. I went back to my seat and said to Shane, 'I've given my life'. He wouldn't believe me at first."
Sam's conversion, however, did not mean that life became a smooth ride afterwards.
"After being together for a little bit, Shane and I struggled sexually," Sam confesses, "we had sex before marriage. Our old pastor, Rob, pulled us aside and rebuked us, saying that we needed to confess our sin to God. We went home, read the Scriptures, and got really upset. We decided we needed to listen and deal with our sin."
Not long after this, Shane and Sam wanted to get married and couldn't believe the things God did for them. In one instance, they were praying for the Lord to provide them with wedding rings, as they were financially struggling at the time. Then Shane's mom came over and said, "Me and your Dad have been talking about it and we've decided to get you the rings."
Another time they needed $495, which they didn't have, to finish off paying for the wedding. They prayed, "Lord, You've seen our hearts; how we want to honor marriage. Please help us with this last bit of money." A few days later, a check arrived for the exact amount.
"I will just say one thing," Sam shares excitedly, "at the end of God blessing us, we never paid a penny for our wedding."
Sam is so grateful to God for restoring everything that she has lost and blessing her bountifully.
"Shane and I now have 5 children, Angel, Grace, Isaac, Jacob, and Elijah," Sam says in conclusion; "Life has its ups and downs and struggles do come along but knowing Jesus makes life so much easier. I know that because of God I have a great loving husband and a wonderful family.
"I used to think of church in a religious way, but it's not true. God comes for the imperfect. Thank you Jesus for Your mercy and grace and for dying on the cross for me!"•