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God Was There

I was raised in an alcoholic home where it made perfect sense to follow the same path as my parents—a path of denial and abuse. At thirteen, I’d already learned too much about life the hard way. It seemed much more bearable to be under the influence of drugs and alcohol than to be straight. So I smoked a lot of dope and drank a lot of beer. With the help of my “friends,” it wasn’t long before I moved on to heavier drugs and harder liquor. My disease was growing fast and soon would take over my life. I experimented with pot, acid, mescaline, crank, cocaine, heroin and every alcoholic drink I could get my hands on.

I finally found my drug of choice to be a combination of alcohol and speed. Eventually though, just snorting it didn’t give me the rush I was after, so I started shooting speed. As my life became more and more unmanageable, I lied, stole, and used people to get my dope. I didn’t realize just how low I could go until the day I stole my best friend’s food stamps and traded them for dope.

I was alone with two young children by the time I was nineteen. I had a drinking problem, a drug habit, and no place to live. I felt like the whole world was against me. I knew I didn’t really have any friends who trusted me. I was too ashamed to go around my family. I was mad at God for letting all of this happen to me. Where was He anyway? As a child, I was devoted to Him and had believed that someday He could “fix” my life. As I grew older, I had a hard time believing He actually would. It seemed like God was being unfair and cruel. He had abandoned me! Everything in my life that could go wrong, did go wrong.

Just Looking for Love

I got hooked on drugs as a young kid. My parents got a divorce. All of my brothers and sisters were wrecks—on drugs and drinking. I ended up pregnant twice, once at 17 and again at 19. I was broke, homeless, friendless and hopeless. For too many years I struggled with the overwhelming feeling of not belonging. I was terrified and most of the time lived in confusion and fear. I had tried to commit suicide when I was 15 and then at 23 the idea crossed my mind again. I was so hopeless, so helpless….like a little kid. I just wanted someone to care about me and love me. Was that too much to ask?

As my life continued to get worse, my younger sister’s life was on the mend. She had married a guy whose family was Christian. She started going to church with them. Then the strangest thing happened. She and her husband moved right next door to me. She started telling me that God loved me just as I was and that He had a better life for me than the one I was living. She said that if I let Him, He would help me. I listened, but I didn’t believe it.

For a long time my sister begged me to go to church with her. Finally, she talked me into going with her to a series of meetings. I really didn’t want to go, but said I would. The night came, and true to my noncommittal nature, I made other plans. My sister caught me though just as I was leaving to go out. She looked up at me with her big brown eyes and said, “But Kathy, you promised to go with me.” I was stuck! I couldn’t say no. So, I went down to the liquor store, bought a quart of beer, drank it, and went to church. We were a little bit late and the preacher was already speaking when we got there. As I walked in, I heard him say,”…and God loves you, just the way you are!”

I was stunned. I sank down into the pew and just listened. I don’t really remember too much of what he said that night but at the end of it all there was an altar call. My ‘pot-smoking’ brother-in-law who was sitting right next to me, poked me in the ribs and said, “Want to go up there?” I didn’t even have to think about it. “Yeah” I said. He looked at me and said, “I’ll go with ya.”

From that moment on, I knew my life would never be the same again. Through God’s grace and healing power, I’ve found a hope beyond words. Everything hasn’t been perfect. I still have a long way to go. But since I accepted Jesus as my Savior, life has never been as bad as it used to be. And even better, I know it’s not as good as it going to get! I’m not as bad as I used to be, and I’m not as good as He intends to make me! (See Jeremiah 29:11 and Philippians 1:6)

The difference is I don’t have to carry any burdens by myself. I don’t have to rely on myself to make things better. Jesus said He would be with me always. I believe Him. I have hope that things really are going to be okay. I am loved. I do have a purpose here on this earth!

Finding my place

Music has always played a big part in my life. I like to play guitar and write songs. Now, as a Christian, I want every song I write, every note I sing and every testimony I give to lift up Jesus. I enjoy writing songs that dig into real life issues—struggles and victories! As God continues the gentle healing of my damaged emotions, restoring life to my soul, I can’t help but sing about it!

In August of 1996, God called me to full-time ministry. I struggled with Him about it for over a year. Who would pay the bills if I were to quit my job as a manicurist? I was afraid to even consider it, until one day, with unbelievable pain in my hands, it became impossible for me to work. I was on the edge and knew I had to take a step of faith that would change everything.

Finally, after hearing a story of how someone else’s faith had been challeneged, I made the decision to follow God’s leading. The very next day a woman came to me and said God had put it on her heart to give me $4,000 for my music ministry! The day after that someone else told me they were giving another $1,000! What an absolute miracle! Since then, God has continued to provide for this ministry. He is faithful. And He’s given me plenty to do. Six years ago I had the opportunity to minister to a specific need in my own area and founded the annual Beyond The Storm Relief Program. This program not only provides aid for families affected by storms and flooding, but also helps the community by providing food and clothing for the homeless. In the first year, with support from the local Christian community, funds were raised and donated to the Salvation Army to provide over 40,000 meals to flood victims and the homeless. Praise God!

I have been working full-time in music ministry for seven years now. I perform with my band, Loud Cry,wherever people want us to play (churches, schools, coffee houses, rest homes, parks, homeless shelters or street corners). Everywhere we go there are people who need and want to be ministered to. Music has a way of touching hearts and changing lives.

Nothing in this world is more important to me than to serve Jesus in the ministry He has called me to. I desire to follow Him in simplicity and truth until He comes to take us home.

Click here for more information about Kathy’s Music Ministry

Kathy Schallert writes from Northern California.

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About Kathy Schallert

Kathy Schallert

Kathy Schallert

writes from Northern California

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