Ablaze With God's Love

Cheryl planned to kill herself by getting drunk and then setting her house on fire. 

Brought up in a Christian home, she wandered further and further away from her upbringing, and eventually embraced witchcraft. But nothing brought her the love and peace she sought. Her hopelessness grew.  She wrote her goodbye letter on March 6, 2012.

“If there’s no hope,” she thought, “why go on?” So she planned her death. But that, of course, was not God’s plan. He used the prayers and encouragement of her friend Janna, who for five years had been inviting her to church and other activities, to intersect with Cheryl’s growing despair. In the depth of dark hopelessness, Cheryl cried out to God. 

Janna and Cheryl
“Suddenly, it all became real,” she says now. “I finally ‘got it’: God loves me. ME!” 

I have the delight of watching Cheryl jump headfirst into that love. Trust me, hers is not the only life that has been changed. I am greatly impacted by Cheryl’s new life, which she fondly calls “the resurrected me.” Today, May 8, is Cheryl’s birthday. I am celebrating and thanking God for the privilege of sharing some of the wonderful ways I see her faith flourishing: 

She devours God’s Word. I love it when she calls me to say, “Listen to this verse! Isn’t that utterly amazing?” 

She shares her faith. Just ask the tellers at her bank, her hairdresser, the cable company customer service rep, and her neighbors. Cheryl can’t keep quiet about the God who rescued her.

She prays. A lot. When it comes to prayer, she is proactive. She made it a point to ask our youth minister how she could pray for him. Last week she visited the youth service so she could experience “his world” and better understand how to pray. 

She’s grateful. I don’t know if this is original to her or not, but she’s says it frequently: “It’s not OK to forget to remember what God has done.” 

She gives. I’ve been blessed by her generosity, as have many others. Her cheerful giving must make God grin.  

She worships. Songs and sermons touch her heart, and she
reaches for tissues often. But sunsets and spring flowers cause her to break into praise, too. 

How grateful I am that God intervened, Satan didn't win, and Cheryl did not carry out her wish to end her life in flames.

But I believe God wanted to redeem even that plan. Last Thanksgiving, at Cheryl’s request, we had a bonfire. She brought bags and boxes of books from her house: books about spells,
sorcery, magic and witchcraft. It was a scene straight out of Acts. Cheryl tossed the books one by one into the flames. Then Janna, Julia, Cheryl and I prayed and worshiped God… around a roaring fire. 

“Many who had practiced sorcery brought their books and threw them on the fire to burn them publically….in this way the word of the Lord spread widely and grew in power” (Acts 19:19a, 20).

Click HERE to enjoy more uplifting blogs via the T.G.I.F. Link-Up Party at Bible Love Notes!


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  2. Thanks Kim. That is awesome! Happy Birthday Cheryl!! Praise God!!

    1. Yes, Jeanne, it IS awesome! We celebrated her birthday last night because it was when her new friends (sisters in Christ) could gather. I just kept shaking my head in wonder....yes, praise God that HE wrote a different story than she could have ever imagined....and He's still writing it, now as the Author of her faith!

  3. Bonfires like that are truly celebrations of souls set free!

    1. Well said! Love that! Thanks for reading and responding.

  4. I love reading some of the details I didn't know about Cheryl. And I know how much she has impacted your life. I also have been blessed at times to have new believers reignite the flame in my own heart. Thanks for sharing another great wow dee wow.

    1. Thanks for your encouragement, Gail. Isn't it amazing how God uses people in our lives? He never wastes anything, and He seems to be all about "boomerang blessings"! I am so grateful that Cheryl is my sister in Christ!

  5. Dear Kim
    Isn't this too wonderful! I am grateful that her friend never stopped praying for her. Neither should we for those we love and that doesn't know our Lord!
    Blessings from Jen's.

    1. Yes, Mia, it does remind us that we should never give up, always pray and believe! I am so grateful to God that He never gave up on Cheryl....or me! Thank you for reading her testimony of God's faithfulness and Janna's perseverance in prayer and deed!

  6. This is a beautiful redemptive story that shows that we shouldn't give up when a child from a Christian home chooses not to follow the Lord.

    Thanks for linking up over at Wholehearted Home this past week.


Each week I write a BOG (Brag On God) post. My prayer is that my words will invite you to brag on God, too. And together we'll make God smile.