At first, I thought the stories of the Bible were ridiculous
When Mary Wood came to WCC, she was far from God. Years later, she came to a place of desperation and found a way to live a sober life. That was just one step on her journey of faith.
“The first time that I came to Wilson Community Church, I was not a believer. I was not a Christ follower. In fact, I was far from God. I had talked myself into believing that there was no God. Gary Combs was preaching about creation. He was telling the creation story about how God had made the universe and this world and I thought it was ridiculous, and I laughed at him. Six or eight years later, I came to a point of desperation in my life. I had spent 17 years of my life drinking and staying as drunk as I could to escape the pain that I felt. I don’t even know when I started hating myself. I guess, pretty much the whole time growing up as a teenager, a young woman.
I placed two kids for adoption to be able to drink. That’s hard to admit to myself. And I knew that God didn’t have any room for me, so I left God before he could leave me. I tried to make it in this world without him, but it turned out that I needed his help. A woman taught me to pray for sobriety, and I began living a sober life when I was 32. Sobriety, just being free from alcoholism, it wasn’t enough. I needed more, and I made a decision to follow Jesus. And through a series of events I came back to Wilson Community Church as a believer. But I don’t think I was yet a disciple. And I came into this church that taught Scripture. The preacher taught Scripture on Sunday mornings and on Wednesday evenings, and we had community groups where in the middle of the week we would meet and we would go over Scripture with each other. And I was challenged to read every day and not just try to live off of a few verses from Sunday morning.
So I made a decision, an act of the will, my faith decision to trust that no matter how I felt about myself that I was going to trust his blood to be sufficient to atone for me. I was going to trust in his love for me. I made a turning point where I went from living off of my own feelings, my own concept, idea, feelings, and I made a decision that I’m going to trust what God says about me. I’m going to trust that these promises in his word are for me. I’m going to read this book. I’m going to be a student of his word and I’m going to make it my own.
One day at a time, reading his word first thing when I get up, I’m praying and reading his scripture and taking it into my heart – it’s changed my life. And I don’t live a life of guilt and shame anymore. I live a victorious life, and what’s wonderful is, it’s a life of enthusiastic, passionate love for this warrior savior who warred for me when I wouldn’t even war for myself, who loved me when I couldn’t love myself, who rescued me when I was helpless. I’m just so grateful for what God has done in my life and the men and women who have partnered with him, and that I get to be that partner now to help disciple others. After spending so much of my life on the outside, after spending so much of my life sure that there is no place for me in God’s house, I found my seat in here. A daughter of the king, a member of the family of God. Especially at this place at Wilson Community Church that when I came in, just as I was, that I was welcomed. I was loved and I was provided for and being able to pass that on to the next woman.
So this past Sunday, being at our Eastgate campus, serving at our Eastgate campus, I got to bring a new woman into that campus. A woman who had been a believer but not a disciple, who was struggling with crippling guilt and shame, who was teetering on that that fragile beam of being a victim. And you know which way is she going to land? And I know that line. Being able to just bring her into the into the holy of holies with me and inviting her into that glorious space of warmth and acceptance and love. There is a seat for her in God’s house.”