I am Lena Cebula. I am a wife and mom of 3 beautiful children. I run Love&BLoved. It’s an organization that grew from my personal journey and my autobiography. I am a blogger, speaker, and activist for children in crisis and victims of human trafficking. I am so grateful to God that He didn’t allowed me to die, but to live to tell my story, for His glory.
I would never have imagined that after 20 years of silence this is what I would be doing PUBLICLY. I didn’t volunteer to write my book called “Miraculous”, because I was afraid that if people knew who I really was, they would judge and reject me. But God said: TRUST ME and I listened.
THE COVER. Four years ago, I came home from a woman’s retreat where the God had directed me to write book about the miracles of God in my life. Thinking of it I saw myself signing books and having a banner with my face on it. It was mustard colour and had a picture of jewelry on it. (The colour is significant because mustard seed is a smallest of the seed, but Jesus said in Matthew 17:20 that faith can grow from that tiny seed that could move the mountains.) And the jewelry is a beautiful metaphor that I am a treasure of God and I am precious and priceless to Him. You see I believed that my life had no worth or value, and I knew that my body had a price tag.
I knew what God was asking of me and I panicked. I kept giving Him excuses and asking WHY, why now. I have this carefully crafted persona that people perceive me with, and I like it. I was hoping He would change His mind. It didn’t happen. Finally, I surrendered, knowing that God is faithful, and He won’t put His children to shame.
I took my jewellery box and made this picture. With this diamond rings my husband asked me to marry him. Pearl necklace and earrings Tom gave it to me as wedding gift. So, I could have a family heirloom. This is real maple leaf dipped in gold I bought in one of the kind shows. And garnet I bought because it reminded to me of my mother’s locket watch. This neckless my husband gave me when I was pregnant with twins. I took so many pictures, but publisher got only one. This one. When publisher asked me how long I had a dream to write this book. My answer was: “I don’t want to write this book.” After awkward pause I said “But God does. “This is the best kind of stories! She exclaimed. And the idea became real. I started to write my manuscript.)
I had so many miracles since I became a Christian that I WAS happy to share. And I wrote these stories some days for 3 hours while my kids were in school. And I loved it! Three months later my book was done! While I was proud that I knew English and was able to type, copy and paste everything all by myself God confronted me that I wasn’t being honest. My First miracle and answered prayer happened long before I was a Christian, when I was less than 10 years old. You will read this story of me asking God if He is real.
It took me 3 more years of wrestling and dealing with the pain of my past to allow God to love me and lead me. Many times, I had to walk away from my manuscript. But God brought me people who spoke truth into my life; people I can be honest with about my fears. He gave me chance to speak at Redefine Women’s Conference, through a few minutes video. And the response was completely different from what I was expected. It was very positive. God made us different and unique but still the same. We all struggle. We have the same pain and heart and love and loss. We can relate and have compassion.
Looking back now as a wife and a mother I realized I don’t hate my parents anymore. I don’t feel anger that they totally failed me. I know now marriage and parenting is not easy. I asked myself a question: “What kind of woman I would be without God, my husband, my purpose, my community and convenience of my lifestyle, like hot water, and car and washer and dryer, etc.? “ I feel sad that my parents didn’t succeed in their lives. But there is nothing I can do to change it. So, I just let go. I forgive them and I forgive myself.
My parents were helpless alcoholics. I was raped and tortured in my own home. At 15 I buried my first child. I suffered with depression, anxiety and panic attacks. I used alcohol and drugs to medicate my pain and turn off my humanity. And I don’t know what’s drugs means to you… But over 10 years I smocked cigarettes, weed, opium and crack, I used ecstasy, cocaine and heroin. It was better than to feel unloved, unwanted, worthless, hopeless, abandoned and broken. It gave me illusion of peace which I desperately was seeking and stopped my brain from asking hard questions. Why me? Is there more to this life?
Desperate and in despair I sought out change. 20 years ago, in the middle the desert I was marveling at what was going on around me. It might as well have been a movie thriller. It was surreal. Panic, fear, and adrenalin pumping… I was sold in human trafficking into foreign country.
I lived big chunk of my life selfish, rude, obnoxious, and very angry. One day I met a Christian boy, who fell madly in love with me. I gave him countless reasons not to love me, but none of them changed his mind. It mended my broken heart. And I loved him back. Our beautiful baby girl was born. I wanted to be a good wife and a good mother. I tried so hard to live this new role. But my past tormented me making me feel like there was no hope for me.
In 2011 At an ALPHA course I gave my life to Christ. After praying the prayer of salvation, I felt like grace and forgiveness filled my body. I felt like a heavy burden was taken away. I felt so light I thought if I stood up, I would float.
I was so fired up for Jesus! Shortly after I got baptized and led 4 of my family members to Christ. I prayed to God to change me. I am still in the process, because faith is a journey. I know my God will never leave me, never forsake me and never give up on me. No matter how good or bad I am He loves me unconditionally. And His mercy for me renews every morning. Romans 8:38-39 NLT And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow -not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below- indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is reveled in Christ Jesus our Lord.
I know some of you reading my story will be angry at injustice. Some of you will have pity on me. Some of you will think I was plain stupid. And I agree with all of that… But I want to show you how amazing is God’s Grace, Love and Mercy. I want to show that God does not make exceptions. He loves sinners.
Recently I met a lady from Food4Kids organization. I fought back my tears remembering what hunger really is. I realized how far I’ve come from those days of my childhood. And I want to partner up with her to feed children in crisis. And if your heart is moved with compassion for the hungry, oppressed, and broken, please act! Make a difference in someone’s life. And if you want to know more about Jesus; don’t wait – seek answers and you will find. Reach out to me or your local church. And if you feel like God is calling you to do something. Be bold and courageous. Do not be afraid for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. And He is Faithfull.
You have an opportunity to buy my book through Amazon.ca Miraculous by Lena Cebula. Read my blog. Take pictures, post on social media, leave comments and reviews and invite others who need to hear stories of forgiveness and second chances.
I would like to close with one of my favourite passage in the bible because God is Love and this kind of Love saved me. 1Corinthians 13:4-8 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always perseveres. Love never fails.