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Love Redeemed - Roberta's Story
By Cheryl Stone

Roberta's morning starts at about 4am. She sets out for the gym every morning because that is where she meets God for quiet time. Meanwhile, her husband Robert is getting breakfast ready for their 4 adopted children. Joseph, the oldest, leads a bible study to his three younger sisters before they head out to school. Their clothes have been picked out and pressed for the week. They pick out 5 pairs of pants, 5 shirts, and 5 pairs of socks. On the weekends, 13 year old Joseph goes to a military program for Naval Sea Cadets and Alexys and Aaliyah attend weekly meetings with the San Diego Young Marines. Roberta and Robert both work fulltime. In the evenings, the television is seldom on. The children do their homework while Roberta studies for school. She is on track for receiving her BSN soon.

If anyone had told Roberta that this would be her life 30 years ago, she would've had her doubts. Roberta grew up in a single parent home in Kansas City and her mother often struggled to make ends meet. At a very young age, Roberta was diagnosed with severe asthma. She grew so ill that one of her lungs nearly collapsed and she was near death at the hospital. She remembers her family and church surrounding her in prayers. The physicians placed her on steroid medication and she survives this incurable disease to this day.

From a young age, she realized that her life was fragile. Her mother always made sure that they attended church and they all loved the Lord. Lying on the hospital bed, she would pray and ask the Lord to be with her. During this time, her father who was retired from the military, was often absent in her life. He had another family and it was obvious that they came first. When he was around, he was verbally and physically abusive, negligent, and distant.

By the time Roberta reached an age when she could date. She fell into a relationship with a man who resembled many of the same qualities of her father. He was also verbally and physically abusive. At 17, she gave birth to her first son, Kevin. Although she loved him dearly, she knew that he would not have a father figure or the male role model that he needed. She examined her life and knew that if she did not initiate a change, that history would repeat itself. She needed to do something to break the cycle of generational sin.

Things needed to change. She underwent a tubal ligation because she did not want to have any more children. She became obedient to the Lord by remaining celibate so that God could heal her from her past. Although there was an ongoing battle of suicidal thoughts and feelings of insecurity, she held onto the Lord and got involved in interpretive dance, filling her spirit with prayer and gospel music.

So, when God brought her the husband that she was praying for, the first thing she said to him was, "First you have to love God and yourself and then you can love me." God brought her Robert Hardy, a man of God. He was raised in the church with a strong Christian foundation and he wanted to be a good male role model to Roberta's single parent family. To maintain sexual purity, Robert proposed to Roberta and they were married. This marked the beginning of a great redemption story.

On June 24, 2000, Robert and Roberta married. Immediately, Robert wanted to work on his new family. It was important that he established a healthy relationship with his stepson, Kevin. Since Kevin was abandoned as a child by his natural father, Robert assured him that he would always be there for him and never leave him. Today, Kevin is a young man at 24 years old. Robert's motto is, "anyone can be a father, but it takes a man to be Dad." Seeing Robert take on the role of a husband and father to her child has truly been a blessing and gift from God.

Soon after, Robert and Roberta began fostering children. They have housed a total of 25-30 children in all. God put it on their hearts to adopt their son Joseph. Joseph and his two siblings were abandoned next to a trash can behind a Jack-in- the- Box by his birth mother. When they were finalizing his adoption, Joseph's birth mother made it apparent that she did not want him. In fact, she had no intention of showing up for the court date. Roberta's heart ached for these foster children and used the hurt and pain from her own past to make good.

Since young Joseph was separated from his birth sister, he always had a void in his heart for a sister. So when 3 young foster girls came through their house, Roberta knew that this was a divine sign, especially when Aaliyah was the same age as Joseph's birth sister. Being obedient to God's calling, she processed the adoption for the three young sisters. Alexys is now 11, Aaliyah is 8, and Alany is 6.

Looking back, Roberta is proud of her life filled with Christ's loving redemption. Most marriages in her family only lasted 2-5 years while she and Robert have been married for 11 strong years. Roberta knows that through her faithfulness with God, she has broken the cycle of generational curses. Her mother and her aunt praise her all the time for her strength, for overcoming her childhood obstacles and for going back to school.

As Roberta puts it, she "was always a runner." She was a teenage mother, who did not want any more children as to avoid further pain and abandonment in her life. Today, she and Robert have opened up their house to provide a loving home for 4 adopted children. As Roberta puts it, "My life is not my life [it belongs to God.]" The second part of her life that she had in mind for retirement, traveling and self indulgence is now a life full of serving the Lord. She serves as the Outreach Leader at the Rock Church's Never Knew a Father's Ministry and also spends her time feeding the homeless in Downtown San Diego every Sunday.

Roberta remembers a specific homeless woman that she helped as they were ministering Downtown. This woman, who had been living on the streets for some time, wanted nothing more but her hair washed. Knowing that Jesus washed his disciples' feet, Roberta knew that she had to help her. Though she did not have time to put on gloves, she heeded to God's calling and obeyed. She felt the joy of the Lord while helping this woman with such a simple and loving task. "When it's my time to go with the Lord, I know I will be ready," she said.

"When we have God's love, it is an unspeakable love," Roberta adds. "And when God is in the planning business, He gives me much more that I can ever imagine." Roberta's testimony reflects a life surrendered to the Lord. Through that, God is able to take a broken past and redeem it.

Some parting advice that Roberta shares is that, "it doesn't matter what hand God's dealt you. It matters what you do with it. Accept what God has given you to make a mark in this world."

To read more go to: Love Redeemed Part II- Joseph's Story

For more information about the Never Knew a Father's Love Ministry, click here »