But as the years went on, hurt and pain entered my life in ways I never expected. Bitterness and anger began to fester and my desire to serve God was replaced with questions.
As I tried to cope with the things that had happened to me, I discovered that alcohol numbed the pain. Soon those around me realized I had a problem and encouraged me to get help. I entered a residential treatment program, where I experienced the grace of God and the love of Jesus in a personal way.
At a particularly low point, feeling alone, desperate and angry, I called out to the God that I'd pushed aside for so long. I wanted that feeling I had as a child again, that certainty of his love. As I prayed, I felt God's presence wash over me in such a real and tangible way. I felt loved and whole.
As I prayed, I felt God's presence wash over me in such a real and tangible way. I felt loved and whole
From that moment on, my recovery was a success. I graduated from the program and began a new journey. The anger, bitterness and questioning were gone, replaced by the knowledge that I was God's beloved—that he wanted good things for me and had a plan for my life.
I started a new relationship soon after treatment. I believed God had brought him into my life and we married quickly. Too late, I saw the warning signs...
Once again, my life began to unravel. Questions returned. Hurt returned. I felt like I couldn't leave because we had a child together. I felt trapped, guilty, ashamed and scared. But it wasn't safe; there was no other option. I took my son and left the marriage.
I felt alone and couldn't understand why God would abandon me. The truth is, he didn't—I had turned away. He was there, waiting for me to accept his love and grace. But I was too broken to pray.
During that time, those who loved me and my son, Luke, prayed for us constantly. They didn't let up until the truth broke through—that I am a beloved child of God. God's grace poured into my life. I am so grateful that Jesus loved and embraced me in my brokenness.
Since then, my life has been full of blessings. I met my husband, Curtis. He adopted Luke and we have added two more children to our family. For the past 10 years, we have worked with some of the poorest and most broken people in downtown Toronto and seen lives transformed.
We both felt the call to full-time ministry as individuals and answered the call as a family. We are now cadets in the Messengers of Light Session at the College for Officer Training in Winnipeg. As I look back, I can see God's hand in my life working to bring me to this point, although it wasn't always clear at the time.
I believe that God wants to use me as an instrument for him, to take what I've learned and show others that there is hope, that he does have a plan for our lives.
God can and will use you to further his kingdom if you lay your life at his feet. This is a broken and hurting world and it needs the love that only Jesus can offer.
Is God calling you to officership?
Jesus said, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.” Perhaps your heart was stirred as you read Erin's article—could Jesus be calling me? The answer may be yes! The path will be uniquely personal, but Jesus is faithful to lead.
To discover more of this life-giving vocation, please speak with your corps officer or divisional youth secretary. We are waiting to train, develop and inspire you on this exciting journey.
—Major David Allen, principal, College for Officer Training, Winnipeg