On Father’s Day, Pastor Laura had the privilege of baptizing Terri, who has found her way home in Jesus. We loved celebrating new life with her! Here is her story:

I Was Broken

Before Christ, I was lost, broken, and I did not feel that I was worthy of love. From a very young age, I was abused by a cruel and mentally ill mother. This set me up for patterns of guilt, shame, and anger. I did not love myself. I continued on the path of abuse and feeling that I did not deserve love. I was raped at fourteen years old by my older boyfriend. My first lesson of love was of power, control, and that it had to hurt. He told me that no nice guy would ever want me. That message played in my head along with all the other pre-programmed, negative messages from my mother. I believe this set me up to seek out partners who would validate the messages, and mirror cruelty and pain. I got pregnant at 18 yrs. old with my son and was kicked out the house. “Abandoned” and “unlovable” were labels that I wore for many years. I married the first guy that showed kindness to my son but I did not know how to love him, and I felt unworthy. He abused me physically and emotionally for years until he left me. I was single mom of two children at the age of 26.

My Heart was Broken

My sister, who was my best friend, mentor, and rock went missing in 2001 and was found dead lying in ditch seven days after her disappearance. I was devastated. I felt like I was not supposed to have good things happen to me and that people that I love would not stay. In 2006 my father who I adored, was my protector, my best friend and hero went missing on June 10th, and was found dead 3 doors down on Sept 27th, 2006. He had committed suicide. I had thought he was strongest man on earth, so this took me down a very dark path. My husband at the time was psychologically and verbally abusive to me and led me to believe that I not deserve love. I wanted to take my own life because I felt so alone. This pattern led to my last relationship, which ended up in divorce yet again. He was controlling but not as abusive, so I stayed too long until I heard God’s voice tell me to let go. I left him with a few trash bags of clothes and few household items. I held onto my faith but really did not create a true and intimate relationship with God until last year. God had never left me and even when I shut everyone out He stayed by my side. I began to heal and became stronger on my own with God’s help.

This is My Story

After finding Christ, I now know my worth. I feel beautiful and loved, and I have peace. I have dedicated my life to telling my story and helping people know what it is to be loved by Jesus. Now I am therapist for the homeless and the broken. And I work as a contracted therapist for DCS. I help heal the children in the foster care system and fight to reunite families while providing support and guidance. And I also work with low-income families providing therapy and life-coaching on a sliding scale so no one falls between the cracks. I have the opportunity to encourage, show love, and replace negative messages with positive ones so the kids don’t repeat the same patterns I did. I look at my pain with purpose. Because I went through all of it, I can now help others. This has made me a more empathetic and loving person who does not ignore the cries of the people in this world.

I Have Found My Way Home

After finding Christ, I am free and I know who I am. I am a better version of myself. I have found my way home and now I am the hands and feet of Jesus. Now God uses me every day and leads me to people who need love and hope. Because Jesus restored me and gave me hope so I can pay it forward. I love deeply and forgive easily. I forgave my mother and now have a relationship with her again. God saved me in every way a person can be saved. So I now commit my life to saving others. I am working with three beautiful children who have only known abandonment and sadness. The little boy I see told me he believed in Jesus and that he prayed for someone to help him. I held this little boy and told him that his prayer was answered. God sent me. I have dedicated my life now to help spread love. I go into the dark places that the world pretends doesn’t exist.

Forever Changed

Today is Father’s Day and I know that my father is looking down on me smiling as I get baptized today. He told me that I should use my strong will and stubborn nature for good. I listened and obeyed both of my Fathers and I am forever changed for the better.

Terri's Baptism