Cheryl wrote this for me when I asked her to share what Jesus had done for her.
Growing up surrounded by drugs and alcohol can really put a damper on the way you perceive the world and those around you. Both my biological father and my stepfather were addicts/alcoholics. It feels like your whole life is covering up the truth. Watching people you love hurt and hurting yourself, knowing you can’t do anything about it. It was very hard on me. I didn’t want to trust anyone, but at the same time I just wanted to feel like someone loved me, even though when someone did I didn’t feel worthy. It’s hard to think you’re good enough for anyone.
My mother is Baptist and my father is Catholic, and we never went to church, except on Easter. I never really felt like I belonged at the church either. I was always so insecure and it felt like they were staring at me and judging me, so I didn’t really like going when I was young. So I lived this life looking for love and feeling completely empty, even in my first marriage. I had vowed not to live a life like my mother, which was marrying an alcoholic/addict who was also adulterous, yet there I was in the same boat. And the thing is I knew on that day I didn’t want to marry this man, I knew I didn’t love him, but he threatened to kill himself and riddled me with guilt until I gave in. I didn’t think I deserved any better. The marriage was terrible. He is a drug addict and very selfish, so the relationship was full of emotional abuse. It wasn’t until I realized I had gotten pregnant that I knew I had to get out.
The Lord had given me a gift, but I didn’t realize it until I had my daughter. I had about 4 or 5 hours alone with her and I realized I couldn’t have done this without the help of something supernatural. It made me believe in God. I felt like he gave me this gift and it was my choice to decide to give her the life she deserved, or the life I grew up with. I knew that I wasn’t going to let her down. It took me a while to muster up the courage to move forward, but I did and I got a divorce. Now it took me a little while before I decided to give myself completely to the Lord. I knew I had done some things that weren’t right, I knew I had done and acted in some terrible ways. Why would I be worthy of forgiveness? It wasn’t until after my second marriage to the most wonderful man I’ve ever known that I realized I could be forgiven. I had already started to turn my life around, but I knew I couldn’t do it all alone. I knew I needed Jesus to forgive me. Then on April 20, 2005 I decided to make that commitment. I wanted what Jesus had to give. I want to live a better life, not only for myself, but for this wonderful family that the Lord blessed me with. I feel like a different person, just knowing that Jesus loves me, and he died for me. He knew I was going to make mistakes and he sacrificed himself so that I could live forever, so anyone who wants to commit themselves to him can know that he loves us. That feeling is so powerful and gets me through such hard times. My whole life all I ever wanted was to feel loved and the only person I ever needed was Jesus. He turned my life around. And I don’t ever want to go back.