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It’s Easy to Love Sin With Sam Kelly

The thing about sin is it is a lot of fun. It always seemed like there was a certain adventure attached to it and excitement and energy and power. Everything changed for Sam when she found that same adventure, and more, in her walk with God.

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Sam Kelly: The thing about sin is I loved it so much when I was younger. It always seemed like there was a certain adventure attached to it and excitement and energy and power. The coolest part is that I’ve found that and more in the walk with God. So, I just want to encourage you that if it’s been a mess, or maybe if on the outside, it’s not a mess, but on your inside, it is a mess, and you know it, that he is patient and he’s got exactly the way to reach you and help you.

Narrator: We’ve all experienced it. You run into a friend from the past, but there’s something different that you’re changed. Maybe there is a calm. There once was a storm. Maybe there is gentleness instead of harshness. There’s a new passion, a new life. What changed? Welcome to Brought Back To Life, a podcast where we explore stories of ordinary transformation.

Sam Kelly: My name is Sam. I am a special needs mom. One of the greatest discoveries of my life, and it’s only been just lately that I fully realized God is a special needs parent too. He patiently helps us untangle it. Gives us wisdom when we ask and, and we keep on going because he loves us. Greatest discovery of my life.

I wasn’t raised in a Christian family. I was pretty lonely because it was really, really shy. I couldn’t talk to my teachers. I couldn’t talk to visitors that came to our house. I would just blush and cry if people spoke to me. My dad was in the military, and we traveled everywhere a lot. Like we moved every two years.

I never felt on solid ground. I never saw the same faces. There was never the same school routine, and I couldn’t follow what I was supposed to do. So, by the time I got into fifth grade, we were in Germany, the teacher came up to me and she was asking about doing addition, subtraction, multiplication, single digit stuff, and I just burst into tears, and she goes, oh, you don’t know how to do math. And I felt like there was this club that everyone else understood how everything works, and I did not understand it. I spent a lot of time walking by myself, and when I walked, I would talk to someone. I don’t know who it was. And I felt like I could hear him answering back, but I didn’t know his name.

I knew I wasn’t alone, but I didn’t know his name. As I got older, I talked with friends. I was a teenager pre-teen and some of them went to church, and I asked if I could go with them. The kids all knew what they were doing, and they would go, okay, turn in the Bible to the book of Matthew. And I’m standing there holding this book that I’ve never owned in, it’s one of the loner copies of the. Looking for the table of contents and the pages are so thin; I can’t make it navigate like a regular book. And I’m just feeling like, what do I do? God is so patient with us. And I love him because he speaks whatever language it takes to reach us. And sadly, that comes for people like me, after you do some sinning. So, because I was so shy, because I didn’t fit in, when I turned 13, I looked fully like, I look now. I just grew into a human woman, and it was the weirdest thing because suddenly, I’d been invisible for all these years, and boys were crazy about me. Girls wanted to be my friend or hated me.

I had this power and this body, this face, and, and I had no idea what it meant. Like, what do I do with this? All I know is I want to keep it; I want to increase it. So, I dressed a certain way. I had so many boyfriends and the interest that young men had around me felt like fuel for me, it felt energizing. I started in radio in the weirdest way. I had graduated from college; I wasn’t painfully shy. Like I was when I was little. I was working in a job that just wasn’t for me. One day I was out on a sales call, and I drove by this really beautiful national park looking place, and for some reason I parked my car, I got out of the car, I walked over to this giant pit. It was like a bottomless, well filled with blue water.

As I remember it, I don’t even know where this is. And I stood beside this thing, and I prayed to a God that I didn’t believe in, will you send me a job that I would love? That night, a friend of mine who worked at a radio station called up, and he said, would you like to do an hour of my show? It was a classic rock radio station.

And he had an overnight show. So really not a bunch of people were listening. Certainly, the boss wasn’t listening, no idea what I was doing, but I’m telling you the minute I turned on that microphone and could speak, I knew this was what I always meant to do. And from then on, that was the passion of my life radio.

I love radio. It was a place where I realized there are so many people who are lonely and all they need is a friend. I wanted to offer people friendship and encouragement. I got my first full-time radio job at an oldies station. I was so much younger than everyone who was listening, and it felt weird cause who am I to tell people about music that they grew up with?

So, I made my name, little sister, Sam Kelly, and I just tried to love them as best. Like if I were their real little sister, how would I love them? And that’s what I did. Part of the power of this whole time was that the fact that I could stand in front of a microphone and say exactly what needed to be said, to me, Was just confirmation that whoever this voice is, whoever this person is, he’s real.

I still couldn’t read the Bible. My grandma had passed away and had left a Bible that I kept, and I’d always tried to read it. It was a King James Bible, and it never made any sense to me. So, it was during this time that I was walking the dog on a trail and this woman with three boxers came, they were all off leash and they attacked my dog and started biting him. And I jumped into the middle of the fight because I wasn’t thinking and put my hands between them and pulled them apart. And one of the dogs bit through my right hand. Just the last two fingers on the hand, pushed all the way through. You could see a hole right through the hand, it hurt like anything.

And I couldn’t move those fingers for a while. It was around Easter time, I remember sitting on my bed, looking at my hand. It felt like I should open the Bible and try, just try again. And I have to tell you at the time I was not a very clean-living person. I had married a guy that I knew out of college. And because I had this thing where I always wanted male affirmation, I also had about three men who were pursuing me, and I hadn’t officially done adultery, but I had sure walked up to the edge of it, and had all of these men just interested in me, which caused like so much feelings of power. And it was so messed up.

I grabbed this Bible and I opened it up and it was the story of Jesus’ crucifixion in Luke. And it was talking about where they took him, and they crucified him in the place called the skull. And there were two criminals, one on his right, one at his left. And Jesus said, forgive them for, they know not what they’re doing. And they divide up his clothes and I was reading it and I realized I’m reading it. I understand this. And I started crying. I understand. Okay. He died for us. He gave his life for us, and I’m looking at my right hand, that hurts so bad. And I’m thinking about the pain that he had. That was multiplied from what I had. And I fell in love.

I just couldn’t believe it. I could read this Bible that had been a mystery to me for so long. And so, I read it and read it and read it. And then I went to church, and church was the first place where I didn’t care what I looked like. Like I would be singing like a ridiculous fool with my full-on face, happy tears coming out of my eyes. I would get down on my knees and put my face on the ground sometimes. And I just, I loved him. I fell in love with him. I was like the woman who had done so many stupid things, and who didn’t have any gifts and who he had said, who was going to cast the first stone, and nobody could do it. I felt like he was the one who grabbed my hand and he lifted me up. That was me.

It wasn’t very long before I got a job at a Christian radio station and started working at SPIRIT 105.3 in Seattle, and it became my home. The music, I fell in love with, and I never knew that there would be music that could make you move in your heart and bring you in closer to God. And you can encourage people, and you can love them, and you can be their friends… the perfect job.

It still is. I was still married at that time. I’d been married for 12 years, and he ended up probably not liking the Christian version of me. Maybe the wild version of me was a little more logical. And plus, I had been not the best wife to him. And so, I can’t blame him, but I wish he had chosen different. He ended up having an affair with a girl at his work, and I believe they are married now. He and I divorced after two years. It almost killed me. I cried every day. It was like a death. I remember bargaining with God and making out a calendar, and I would mark each day off the calendar, and then anytime I would hear the noise of a car outside, I would think maybe it’s him coming back and asking me to forgive him and we could start again.

And he didn’t. He didn’t really want to be married to me by then. He had fallen in love with this girl, and he wanted to marry her. You know the part that makes me happy, because for so many years that destroyed me, I felt like not enough. I felt like why would he have gone with someone else? And God became my boyfriend, husband, best friend. He became my blood. He became the way I was able to breathe. I kind of went into shock for a while and I would just shake. I couldn’t stop shaking, and I would come running home from work and just grab the Bible and start reading it because I wanted to get closer to him.

It seemed like the only safe place that I could go. So, I filed for divorce on my birthday, because he wouldn’t take my phone calls and it had been two years, and it felt final and lonely. And I was mad. I was mad that I hadn’t come to know how to be a good wife sooner. I was mad that he had wrecked the whole thing. Was mad that I didn’t have any money.

But God was faithful, and he provided so much money. He provided so much help. I never had to worry for anything. And there was a certain joy in that, that even though I was walking through something, I wouldn’t want anyone to walk through it, the richness of him providing, made it worth it. I remember reading an Isaiah 54, where it says seeing barren woman who has never had a baby, fill the air with song you who’ve never experienced childbirth. You are ending up with far more children than all those childbearing women. God says so. Clear lots of ground for your tents. Make your tents. Spread out. Think big use plenty of rope. Drive the tent pegs in deep. You’re going to need a lot of elbow room for your growing family. You’re going to take over whole nations. You’re going to resettle, abandoned cities. It’s in the message.

I couldn’t believe it for myself, but I kept reading it over and over again because I wasn’t sure I would want to have children. I certainly had never wanted to have children with the man I was married to, but I knew that I was here for something big, something family. And I watched God build it. And bit by bit. Family became not someone in my house, because it was just me and a dog, but became this amazing group of friends, this powerful group of believers, this awesome church. I met my husband at work. I remember walking in when he was doing a devotion one day and hearing him talk about God and thinking, what would it be like to be married to a man who loves God?

And God put it together. He was an unlikely one because he had a bunch of kids from other moms, and he was finally going to do it God’s way. And he took me out for our first date, and he told me everything he had messed up. He goes, here’s what I did financially. Here’s my personal life. Here’s what I did wrong here. And at the end of it, I was looking at him and he goes, so would you consider going out with me? I would do it with an intention of marriage. I was like, this guy is crazy. That was my first thought. And then my second thought was, well, I’m not doing anything else. So yes. So, we began to date, I think we dated for three years, and I wasn’t sure. And it took some time to actually be ready, that I could be a good wife. But when God confirmed that Carlos was the one for me, I never have doubted it. He’s my husband. It’s that always.

One of the hardest things that happened in our marriage was when we got pregnant, I didn’t do any prenatal testing. I was an older mom, and I knew there were some risks associated with that, but because God has shown me so much favor in my life, I just didn’t worry about it. I thought this is going to go great. Whatever it is, it’ll go great. I wish now that I had done the testing, just so that my husband especially could have gotten his brain around what was in front of us. She came early. I looked at her and I knew that she had down syndrome and my husband didn’t know yet. And so, he’s texting everybody. My mom and dad are there and they’re all celebrating that this little baby has been born. And I looked at her and she looked so foreign. I mean, babies look foreign any way, but she looked really different, and I knew she had down syndrome and I really didn’t want anyone else to know.

I just wanted to go back to before she was born. And then they came in and they officially told us that she had down syndrome. It was the first baby with down syndrome that they’d ever had born in that hospital. And they really didn’t quite know what to do with it. They sent a social worker in to come and talk to us, and she basically said, are you guys okay? And we’re like, yeah. And we, so we’re not okay. She left and we cried. We fell on the floor and cried because the idea of raising a little girl with special needs seemed so foreign. We didn’t feel connected to this child. We felt like now we’ve got to deal with this. I’m embarrassed. Yeah. That’s one of the things I’m most embarrassed about in my life is that I didn’t understand the beauty of who she was faster.

There were a lot of health things that first year. She had seizures. I had to quit my work. I was lonely. I was tied up with a lot of medical appointments. Carlos and I pulled apart from each other. He felt so sad and depressed in his heart that he didn’t have any love to give me. And I was super needy for love.

And so we didn’t separate in our bodies, but we separated in our hearts, and it was a really sad time. It was just me and this little girl and a bunch of injections and pills and doctors. I stopped listening to the radio station. I stopped reading the Bible. I don’t know why. I should’ve been doing all those things, but I, I felt almost, um, hurt and I just took a break.

I thought this is what I’m going to do now. And so, I did it. I was drinking because I hurt so bad. Having a glass of wine, having a let’s face it, having a bottle of wine felt like I could feel okay for a second. When we’d be at the hospital doing the tests, I would try to pray while she was doing the brainwave tests, and I never could change anything with my prayers, but God was with me in the weirdest way. Someone at a Christian radio station offered me a part-time job. And in order to do a good job for them, I needed to listen so I could understand what exactly do they sound like? How can I be a part of that? I started listening and cried.

This is the music that I missed. How could I have stopped? And I started listening again a lot. I was still drinking. I’d had an email probably almost a year earlier from a local church when I was working at SPIRIT, and they wanted me to come and speak at their women’s Christmas celebration. I had said yes. At the time, I probably would have been a really good speaker. At this time where I was drinking, not sleeping; this little girl would only sleep two hours at a time. She never smiled. I was ragged and sad. So I reached out to the organizer and I said, do you want me to give you someone else from our radio station, who would be a great speaker right now? I’m not working there anymore. I know I could find someone for you.

And she said, no, I think we would like you, which is really too bad for them, but great for me. So, I go there and probably I’d been drinking earlier in the day. I’m like 10 or 20 pounds heavier than I should be. I’m under slept. I don’t know enough to do a great job speaking for them. I’m shaking as I’m speaking, I’m sweating. And I just told them the truth. I told him, I am a mess. God is with me in this mess, but I 100% do not know how this is going to turn out. And I just told him the whole story basically. And it was a group of 300 women. And all I know was at the end, I was so relieved for the speaking to be done. And I was about to get off the stage as fast as possible, and the organizer comes up and she puts her arm around me and I felt guilty because she’s such a delicate, beautiful woman, and I was sweaty. And then she put her arm around me, and she goes, we are going to pray for you. And that group of women prayed. They prayed for Zoe. They prayed for me, and I felt different.

And when I got home, it was the first night that Zoe slept at least six hours. Something had changed and the seizures started going away, and God healed her. And I knew that he had done it. I knew that he had used the prayers of these beautiful, durable women, to do something that I had been unable to do for six months.

Oh, thank you, Lord. She is the most amazing creature. She’s so funny and she’s so smart and so strong. She is a minister who loves people. She’ll pray for someone right away. She gives out hugs. She’s radiant. I had no idea being a special needs parent would be so awesome. He also put our marriage back together, and it was a process of me changing, of giving up drinking his spirit of alcohol in our house caused me probably to have an edge that was so unlovely to my husband.

I didn’t know about depression. I couldn’t understand why he couldn’t work or earn money or get out of bed or whatever. And I would just be telling him, come on, you have to. Please, I need you to do this. And all that did was add pressure. And now, if you’re someone you’re dealing with someone you love, who’s depressed, I mean, the way to deal with it is with complete unconditional love, understanding and compassion. That it’s an injury. It’s like they’re bleeding, and you got to go and be like, Hey, let’s get you some help. What do you need? Let’s get you some help. I didn’t know how to do that at the time. So, that’s why the whole thing took a lot longer, but he is such a strong man. He raised himself up and he pulled himself out. And a lot of really crazy things probably happened in that five years, but it’s almost like we were both different people. And so, now I look at it like we have a very fresh, very beautiful marriage that has the sweetness of a long-term marriage, but also the freshness of brand new.

We’re still discovering ourselves. We’re still discovering each other, and we’re still discovering her, which is a great joy. Being a special needs parent has been a lot of work. We work really hard and the things that come a little easier to other people, but it is super rewarding. I’m so happy that the old version of myself that used to have to have this crazy approval from men, is gone.

Like, God walked with me through my special need of insecurity of shyness, of alcohol, of unloveliness. And he’s patient. If I could go back and talk to myself as I used to be, all the things I would say, don’t get married until, you know God, until you know that the man you’re marrying knows God, don’t feed yourself with things that won’t satisfy.

The thing about sin is I loved it so much when I was younger. It always seemed like there was a certain adventure attached to it, and excitement and energy. And. The coolest part is that I’ve found that in more in the walk with God. So, I just want to encourage you that if it’s been a mess or maybe if on the outside it’s not a mess, but on your inside, it is a mess, and you know, it, that he is patient, and he’s got exactly the way to reach you and help you. I am encouraged in first Peter five, where it says humble yourselves, therefore under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time and the God of all grace who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you, and make you strong firm and steadfast. That’s his promise to you. We might have special needs, but he’s a good Dad.

We are telling these stories of transformation so you can know and understand the power of Jesus in your own life. If you’d like to learn more about Jesus and how he can bring you back to life, visit us at And if you like Brought Back To Life, please give us a five-star rating and a review.

You can follow Brought Back To Life on apple podcasts, I heart radio, or wherever you’re listening right now. You can also just tell your smart speaker play Brought Back To Life podcast. I’m Sam Kelly, Rebecca Beckett produced this episode. Our audio editor is Scott Karow. Special thanks to Sarah Taylor for interviewing our guests.

And thanks for listening to Brought Back To Life from Purposely.

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