Rescued for a Reason September 12, 2017
Rescued for a Reason
As a high school student, Sue knew enough about God to know that He was good, and that her life—as she was living it—was not.
She’d been taken to church many times as a child, learning right from wrong, but that didn’t stop her from making a series of bad choices in her teen years.
Finding it hard to fit in at a new school after her family relocated, Sue ached for the security of the childhood friendships she’d left behind. Missing the moral compass those longtime relationships had encouraged, she escaped into alcohol, drugs, and other self-destructive behaviors that only compounded her problems.
“Looking back,” Sue says, “I was searching for the wrong things to fill up what was missing in my life.”
Feeling guilty, unloved, and alone, Sue tumbled into a dark and painful place, so distraught that she decided to end her own life.*
A Cry for Help
She gathered what she believed to be a lethal quantity of pills, but before she took them, she cried out to the God she’d heard about in long-ago church services.
God, she prayed, let me come and be with you. Take away my pain. But if for some reason I can’t be with you, don’t let me die. Then she swallowed the pills and lay down to sleep.
Her prayer was answered just a half hour later when she woke up violently ill.
“I proceeded to vomit all night long,” she says, “and even though my body felt horrible, I sensed God’s peace and His love. I knew He was with me and would help me face my life going forward.”
Things didn’t change overnight, and there were detours along the way, but over the months and years that followed, Sue’s partying lifestyle grew less and less attractive. And knowing that there was a God who had answered her cry for help, she began a decades-long journey toward the One who loved her and brought peace and rescue in her hour of need.
Looking back, Sue says that she can see how God put people into her life to plant seeds along the way—starting with some new friends she met in college, who invited her to Bible studies where she learned a little more about God and about Jesus, His Son.
But it wasn’t until years later—when she had teenage daughters of her own—that Sue came to know God in a personal way.
Today she is so very thankful for her children’s godly grandparents who faithfully brought her three girls to church week after week. As a mom, Sue was glad her children were going to church and Sunday school, where they were learning about God as she had in her own growing-up years. But for herself, as a busy working mom, she found it easier to enjoy Sunday mornings at home, catching up on sleep and chores.
“I wanted them to go, but I guess I was too tired or too lazy to get up early on Sunday to take them,” she said.
But Sue had a decision to make when the grandparents retired and moved away.
“I wanted my daughters to keep going to church even though their grandparents weren’t there to take them anymore,” she says, “and I knew it
was time for me to step up.
“By then, the girls were in junior high and high school, and a couple of them had come to youth activities at Wheaton Bible Church,” she said. “They really liked it. So about five years ago, I started coming here and bringing them for Sunday services.
“We did that for several years,” she remembers, “all sitting in the services together.”
Meanwhile, Sue’s oldest daughter, Sydney, was making a lot of good connections with other kids in the high school group and was enjoying all that she was learning in her core group.
“She and some of her friends had even started a Bible study at their high school,” Sue said.
“She was a big inspiration to me and encouraged me to find a Bible-study group for myself,” she said. “She kind of pushed me when I wasn’t really comfortable yet and didn’t feel ready to step into something like that. I knew a little about some of the Bible stories from going to church when I was young, but I’d never really read or studied the Bible before.”
That’s when Sue began to think about Alpha. She’d heard announcements over the years as new sessions were beginning, never considering going herself. But after she did a little research online, she eventually decided “it sounded like a good place to get my questions answered.”
So when the next Alpha class began, Sue signed up.
“I really enjoyed it,” she said. “A favorite day for me was when Pastor Lon Allison came into our class to answer questions—and I had lots and lots of questions! My biggest one was, How do I know I’ll go to heaven?
“I grew up thinking I had to do certain things to be good enough for God, but over the weeks of Alpha, I just kept hearing that I could never be good enough. Eventually it got through to me that it wasn’t anything I could do—it was just accepting that God was forgiving me because of what Christ had done for me, dying on the cross to pay the price for my sins.”
That realization was a turning point for Sue. “That was when I gave my life to God and told Him I wanted to follow His path,” she said.
Not long after, in November of 2014, Sue and Sydney were baptized together at the All Church Baptism Celebration, publicly identifying with Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.
And just as Sydney encouraged her mom to take the step of joining the Alpha group, she has also helped her mom take another step into the life of the church as they volunteered to serve together in the Shine Special Needs Ministry.
“After years of hearing about the ways to volunteer here, I thought, I’m going to try that. Now we’re coming early on Sunday mornings, helping with the Shine kids, and it’s been awesome!
“My life is not perfect, but I know I can turn to God for help and He will guide me through it. I thank Him every day or what He has done for me.”
*If you ever find yourself in such a place, please reach out to someone at the church, or to a trusted friend, family member, or counselor. There are also caring people available to talk with you 24 hours a day at 1.800.273.8255.