One of the great things about baptisms is that we see that no one comes to the water alone –we learn that those getting baptized have all had people walk side by side with them in their journeys.
Paula Doyle has walked side by side with her friend Sherry Carter. She describes Sherry as a kind and gentle woman, a mother, a wife, a sister, a niece, a friend and much more. Paula says that Sherry glows with love and energy and is a compassionate, giving child of God.
Paula has shared with us the incredible story of how Sherry came to put her faith in Jesus Christ, and we are so happy to share it with you today.
Growing up, Sherry’s life was filled with abusive treatment by those who should have protected her, her parents. She is the oldest of three girls, and the two oldest daughters were treated as if they were nothing – they had no value, they were not worthy of their mother’s love, only the baby was loved. Sherry’s parents were addicts, and the sisters were used and abused by them as well as given to others to be abused.
Because of this, Sherry felt she was worthless. I mean, that’s what she was taught. But she wondered why others had value. She believed that there was a God, but it didn’t seem like He was taking care of her, so that confirmed her belief that she was unworthy of love. That belief allowed her to accept poor, disrespectful treatment from others and to treat herself and others the same. She saw others behaving differently but did not know how to have respect and love for herself. She had no one to teach her, to direct her, to guide her. Sherry’s life was out of control, she married, had a child, divorced and all the while ran wild, behaving in ways that were far from what even she considered acceptable.
She eventually met a man who loved her, married her and they had a child together. Sherry continued to run wild while her husband patiently and lovingly waited for her, seeing in her what she could not, hoping that she would come to love herself as much as he loved her.
On August 25, 2012, while Sherry was out running the streets, leaving her son and husband at home, she felt an overwhelming tiredness. A tiredness of living like she was, a tiredness of being someone even she didn’t like, a person unworthy of love. She just wanted to go home to her husband and son and live life differently. She turned her car around and while driving down the road, crying, she cried out to God, “Please, please help me! I can’t do this alone and I don’t want to live like this, I want to live!” At that moment she felt something like a cocoon wrap itself around her, she felt warm, she felt safe, and she felt free for the first time in her life. Then she looked in the rear view mirror and saw the flashing lights pulling her over for driving while intoxicated – God interceded.
Fast-forward to life now… it is what Sherry dreamed it could be when she was being abused as a child. She is full of joy. She is the mother she always wanted to be, the mother she never had. She is the wife she always wanted to be and is adored by and adores her husband. She is a friend that can be trusted to be there always to lend a hand, to give a hug, to bake cookies (by the way, she thinks she’s the modern Betty Crocker).
Sherry has come to know God and to see His hand working in her life. Each and every morning she wakes up and is thankful for all that she has. She goes through her days with gratitude that she no longer lives like she used to and that she has this ability by grace, not of her own doing.
Sherry wants to be baptized because she wants to finally bury the old self and rise as a new person in Christ. She realizes that she has been made new by the Cross and wants to symbolically die to self and put on the new garments provided by the blood of Christ.
Join us Mission Weekend (1/28 & 29) to celebrate Sherry’s baptism along with others as we ultimately celebrate God’s business of saving men and women and giving them new life.
Baptism at Grace
During all worship gatherings on Baptism Weekends, we celebrate the very reason we exist as a church: Christ’s mission to make disciples, baptizing and teaching in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Matthew 28: 19-20). We share testimonies of how Jesus changes lives now and for eternity. And the best part… we baptize with a joy that’s out of this world!