Testimony Week: Day 3

Born At The Dead End
by Heather Palacios

In Robert Schuller’s biography, he began with this: “I was born at the dead end of a dirt road…”  I’ll finish his sentence later.

In 1997, I was at the dead end of several dirt roads.  Even God had become a dead-end to me.  So, in May of '97, desperate for some kind of 23-year old’s revival, I moved 1600 miles from home--from Chicago to Fort Lauderdale. There, a church hired me to do their bookkeeping. Now moving meant facing the quandary of needing to meet people. The holes of leaving family and friends needed to be filled.  Which presented another quandary...How?  Should I hit the clubs and bars? Or, should I check out the singles group at this church I was at? I chose both.

Although I felt like the "singles group" wasn't quite my bag, they were nice and accepting with wild-n-crazy me.  I’d invite them to a bar, they’d invite me to the movies.  I’d cuss, they’d pray.  I’d lose my temper, they’d bite their tongues. I'd order a beer, they'd order a Coke. The leader of this single's group was this Cuban guy (a Cuban...I remember thinking…what’s a Cuban?).  Anyway, we started hanging out. I don’t know what I was looking for in a guy, but he had integrity, something I had never looked for in my other failed relationships. Two years later, Raul Palacios stood at the end of an aisle to marry me.

Within just a year, in a 3-target assault by the enemy, my mental well-being, Raul’s resilience, and our marriage came under attack.  Consequently, somewhere on this path of “til death do us part” I decided to stop walking. As I fell into a pit of manic depression, binge-drinking and spiritual dryness, I rationalized a divorce. To get Raul to leave, I made our life very difficult.  I said mean things, did mean things, withdrew, criticized, disrespected and avoided.  Our home had a door that let all this evil in while all hope escaped through the window.

Meanwhile, Raul needed something mightier than him.  He needed a somebody to tell him he was still a good person. Raul needed some place to take refuge from his own home. That something, was of course, God.  That somebody was our small group who God could speak through.  That someplace was our church which became Raul's safe haven away from our wreckless home.

This year, Raul and I will celebrate our 14th year of marriage!  God healed me. God saved us.  And to do both, God used Himself.  His hands and feet were the people in His church. People who would use their hands to hold ours.  People who would use their feet to walk beside us.

Dr. Robert Schuller wrote, “I was born at the dead end of a dirt road...", but the rest of his sentence was:  “you can go anywhere from nowhere.”  I’d have to agree.  I’ve come a long way since my dead end in 1997.

Thank you, God.

Thank you, Raul.

And thank God for churches who accept the messed up and heal the broken.


Heather is married to Raul Palacios and together, they are raising two little world-changers, DJ and Andy. Raul is the executive pastor at Church by the Glades in Coral Springs, Florida. Heather is the founder of "WondHerful" an online ministry dedicated to encouraging women all over the world to lead from wherever they are for whatever God wants. She has a blog where she posts 1-minute posts, Monday through Friday. She also has an online presence on Twitter (@WondHerful) and Facebook ("Heather Funk Palacios" // "WondHerful"). Heather is a prodigal daughter, who still can't believe the Father took her back, after the wayward life she led. Every day since her return has been a day to give thanks for that.

For His glory,