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Dionne Arceneaux: Learning How to Breathe Again

By Gorman Woodfin
The 700 Club

CBN.comDionne Arceneaux accepted the Lord when she was only eight years old, but her childhood was far from perfect. One night, her mom suffered a vicious attack from Dionne’s stepfather.

“The image I remember more than any image in my life is the image of my mother standing in my grandmother’s bathroom naked picking glass out of her hair,” Dionne recalls, “and picking [up] her teeth ‘cause her teeth had been knocked out. I saw my mom, and I decided at that moment nobody will ever control me.  Ever. Whether that was a friend or whether that would be a spouse or whomever, I had to retain control, because it could cost me my life. So even though I got saved at a young age, I don’t think I trusted God because my life was telling me not to.”

Dionne fell in love and took a big step. She put her trust in this man and married him.  They had a baby. But when she was eight months pregnant with their second child, her husband left her and moved in with another woman. They lived just a few feet away from her own front door.

“Every morning I would have to watch them walk back and forth in front of my apartment to get to the car,” she says. “He had already decided that he didn’t want to be married anymore.”

Dionne withdrew from all those who wanted to help her.

“Now I am at home with a toddler and a newborn, and there’s nobody taking care of me.  My mom wanted to be there, but I wouldn’t let her.  There were friends that wanted to be there.  I had shut them all out. The one person that I did want to be there didn’t want to be with me.”

Dionne on her wedding dayDionne’s thoughts turned to suicide. She says, “I decided that I was done.  This person represented the person that my whole life revolved around, and his love meant more to me than anything else.  It meant more to me at the time than the love of God. So to remove that love from my life, in my mind, my life had no meaning.  So I had actually contemplated taking my own life.”

She cried out to God in anger….

“I wanted to know why was God so mad at me?  Or why did He not like me -- out of all the other children He created?  Why was He out to get me?  I felt like God spoke to me in that moment that He wasn’t out to get me. God asked me, ‘When did somebody else’s opinion of you matter more than mine?’ Then I think I spent a long period of time just thinking about the answer to that question.” 

Dionne remembered the Bible verses she’d learned as a child -- verses that told of God’s indescribable love for His children.

“God started to soften my heart and share with me what His plan was and how much He loved me.”

The first major change in Dionne’s life — she changed jobs.  She started working at a church where she met new friends who showered her with love. 

“Over a period of time, friends of mine were able to start to chisel away at all of that concrete that I felt had been put over my heart.  From all these experiences and all this tragedy, my heart had gotten very, very hard, but people became very persistent at chiseling away the concrete.”

The Bible became explosively alive in Dionne’s heart.

Dionne and her family“I’m fearfully and wonderfully made,” she declares. “The first time God showed that to me, I got it.  I finally believed it.  Never before in my life did I ever think that I was fearfully or wonderfully made.  I thought I was an accident or I thought maybe I had come out under the radar. God didn’t even know that I got here.  He’d have to look me up or something.  So for Him to tell me that I was fearfully and wonderfully made was amazing.”

While Dionne’s healing has been a step-by-step process, she’s amazed at where God has taken her.

“Where my life is right now, sometimes it is hard to breathe, because it is so good,” she shares. “It’s like, ‘God, give me a minute to just catch my breath.’  I have an amazing job.  I have great kids.  I have a great life.  I love going to school. I love every element of my life.  Sometimes it just takes my breath away.”

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