Welcome to The Tearoom! Sharing your personal story isn’t always an easy thing to do; it takes a lot of vulnerability and courage to open up your heart to those around you, not knowing what the end result will be. This week we have the honour of hearing Michele Cook’s story of how the Lord saved her, how He lavished His love upon her and gifted her with salvation. I hope that her story encourages you and reminds you that no one is out of the reach of His loving arms. Thanks so much for sharing with us Michele!
I was 27 when I attempted to commit suicide. I drove to the grocery store and bought two bottles of quick dissolving sleeping pills and a large pack of diapers for the baby I was planning on leaving behind. I walked out to the parking lot, moved my truck to a dark section on the side of the building, and swallowed both bottles of pills. I then called my husband and my boyfriend to tell them goodbye. My husband was with his girlfriend and my boyfriend was with his girlfriend. My boyfriend answered, my husband didn’t. I passed out after telling him that I had swallowed the pills and saying good bye. The last thing I remember saying is “I am feeling really sleepy now”.
My boyfriend dropped everything and drove out and found me fast enough to get the EMT’s there and save my life. But was it really him, or did he have a little help? He lived on the other side of town, a good 15 minute drive if he wasn’t breaking the speed limit. He told me it took him 7 minutes to find me, five more minutes and I wouldn’t be here to tell this story. They had to shock me back to life three times and I was in a coma for four days.
When I woke up in the hospital I was frustrated and confused. Both my husband and my boyfriend were at my bedside. I looked at my boyfriend and asked how did you know where to find me? I hadn’t gone to some special place, I wasn’t at home, I wasn’t even in my own vehicle as I had borrowed my Dad’s truck. He said, “I don’t know, I just knew.” Later when we were alone, I asked him again how he knew where to find me. Did I say something that I didn’t remember? He said “No, I got in my car and drove, I knew where to find you, but I don’t know how.”
My life was filled with sin. I had worked as a stripper, a bartender, and a horse trainer. My husband had a girlfriend and my boyfriend had a girlfriend and he was still technically married to another woman. I was miserable all of the time, and I was just looking for a way out. I couldn’t see any happiness in my future, just this horrible web of sin with hell waiting on the other side. With the exception of my parents, most of my family had disowned me at 15 when I had my first child. I felt so worthless and so alone.
My (now ex) husband was an Atheist and hated it if I talked about religion at all, so I didn’t. I turned my back on God. I still believed in God, but I thought I was to far gone to be saved. Why would he want anything to do with me? I had turned my back on him, I hadn’t prayed in a long time and I didn’t go to church. I was even afraid to mention His name in my house. Why would God help me?
After my suicide attempt I had a lot of time to do some serious soul searching and I kept coming back to the question of how my boyfriend found me. It was almost physically impossible. Was it God that wanted to keep me here? What the heck for? That thought brought me a little more optimism. If God kept me here, maybe I am worth something. Then I started praying. For the first few days, it was a soft questioning. “Are you there God? It’s me, Michele.” I started feeling better and in a few weeks I was really praying, talking to God like he was sitting next to me in the room, pouring my heart into each prayer. “Lord please show me a way out of this, please help me find my happiness again”.
Two months later I got a job offer as a horse trainer for a private farm. It was my dream job, but it was 500 miles from home and my children would have to stay behind. It was the hardest decision of my life, but after all of the praying, to have a job I didn’t even apply for offered to me, I felt like this was God giving me a new beginning. So I took the job and moved 500 miles away from everything and everyone I knew. My boyfriend, who was not happy in the situation he was in, quit a job he had held for 14 years with the local electric company and moved with me.
The first year was hard. We were broke. And when I say broke, I mean we were using grocery store points to buy bread and eating baked potatoes for dinner kind of broke. My job provided me with housing and a small stipend, but I had to train and sell horses for additional money or get a part time job. The job market in the rural area of Virginia we had moved to was tough, and although my boyfriend was well qualified it still took him 6 months to find a job, and that job paid just above minimum wage. But I kept praying, and things kept improving.
As time moved on, I got closer and closer to God. I started to read the Bible, I took Bible-based courses and learned so much about our wonderful, loving God. I desired to do good, I learned to forgive, I learned to love, and I learned to be kind.
My boyfriend and I are now happily married and attend church regularly. God held my hand and led me to a very happy place. There were so many nights that I prayed “Please Lord, wrap me in your love and help me to sleep. Drive away the doubts and fears.” And that’s just what He did. I learned to give God control of my life.
My life is not perfect and neither am I, but God has granted me stewardship of so much. Besides being happily married, we have a home on a little bit of an acreage, a few horses and a place to fish on the property. We are both gainfully employed and our lives are full of blessings in so many ways. Our relationships are better, both with each other and others, and our outlook on life is better. God has completely turned our lives around.
I am still a sinner, I still do things I shouldn’t. But I desire to do them less often. The most important thing I learned was that I am important to God and so is everyone else. Matthew 10:29-31 says “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.”
I will be 40 this summer and I still struggle with that same question I had laying in my hospital bed, why did He save me? The difference is that now I trust in Him and know that He will show me the way I should go. Maybe I am here to share my story, to show people that God loves us all. To say if He saved a sinner like me, He will save anyone. He heals us, He keeps us. He has left us the Bible as a guide and has given us an open channel to speak with him every day, as many times as we want or need to. Turn to Him and He will give you salvation. I know this, for I am living proof.
Michele Cook is a professional signalman for a class one railroad by day and an aspiring writer by night. She runs Michele’s Finding Happiness to share the happiness that God has given her and help other people find happiness in their own lives. Michele lives in the Alleghany mountains of Virginia and is happily married. A mother to 2 sons, a step-mother to two daughters and steward of several 4 legged friends including three horses, two dogs and two cats. She loves to cook for her family, fish and trail ride her horses.