Sherrie Wiles

I grew up in a Catholic home. My mom came from a Baptist background and converted to Catholicism for my Dad. My mom loved to sing and read the Bible. My Dad was faithful to go to church every Sunday and made all his children go to confession on Saturday. When my parents divorced when I was 12, my Dad was excommunicated from the Catholic Church. He had custody of us, and told us that we did not have to go to church anymore. I gladly stopped because it was boring and repetitious.

I decided to go my own way and do my own thing. I had some sense of right and wrong, but I was influenced by my brother and sisters to do the wrong things. I was only 13 the first time I got drunk.

I graduated from high school at 17 and went to college. At last I had freedom to do whatever I wanted. I had to pay for my own education and work full-time to pay room and board too, I did not have as much time to party like my friends had, but still found a little time to go to clubs, dance and drink. I had many boyfriends in college and thought I was in love with some of them and others I just used for a free meal.

After I graduated from college I was hired at Electronic Data Systems (EDS) as a graphic designer. I was thrilled to work at a job where I could use my God-given talent. The job was easy for me. I taught myself how to use a Mac. I loved drawing on the computer because I could make everything perfect!

I dated a guy I met at a bar and thought I was in love with him. We dated for three years and I was sure I was going to marry him. He grew up Catholic also. He is 10 years older than I am. After the first year, the fun wore off. I knew there was something wrong with our relationship and with me. I was not happy, even though I had everything I wanted-a great job, a new car, and a boyfriend, but I was empty inside.

I felt that my boyfriend was not treating me right and I called my sister crying. She recommended that I see a counselor. I told her that I could not afford it anyway. She told me that I could see a Christian counselor and that it would be free. I went to see Alan Topee and cried about my boyfriend. He told me that he had seen so many girls sitting on that couch, crying over their boyfriends. He told me that sin had separated me from God and the only way back was through Jesus. He asked me to read the book of John in the Bible. I read the Bible for the first time in my life when I was 26-years-old. I also stopped drinking.

Alan told me that I would have to make a confession to become a Christian. I called him one night and told him I was ready, but I was concerned about the confession. As a Catholic, confession means telling all your sins to a Priest. I was worried that I would have to tell all my sins to the entire church. He explained that I would have to confess that Jesus Christ was my Lord and Savior. “Oh,” I can do that I said with a sigh of relief.

I was a member of the Church of Christ for 20 years. I was involved in teaching children, going on mission trips and read the Bible cover-to-cover seven times. I thought I could work out my salvation. I have always been a hard worker and the people at the Church of Christ loved me. After 30 years of working, my health declined and I could no longer “work” out my salvation. Once your health goes then other things go as well. My life became like a bad country song. I lost my job, my house, I had a big medical debt, and my cat died. I felt like a failure.

That is when James Adams invited me to Wedgwood. I would come to church and sit in the back and cry when I heard the pastor speak. I was broken. I also went back to counseling. I learned at Wedgwood that I am saved by grace and not works. I needed forgiveness too, because I had drifted away from God. I found that forgiveness at Wedgwood. I learned, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.” — Ephesians 2:8

My life is so much better because I am saved by grace!