Carla Cebula

I had a wonderful childhood with a large, loving family. My parents were divorced when I was very young as my father was an alcoholic. It wasn’t until I was older that I understood that where God takes away, he replaces with something better. I did not have my father growing up, but I had my grandfather and three older, protective brothers to fill the void.  We lived with my grandparents, and they were great Christian examples. We went to Sunday school and church, and I participated in our church youth group. I don’t ever remember not knowing about God. I can say, however, that I did not have a relationship with Jesus.

When I was in the eighth grade, our minister took our youth group to a local black church for a Sunday evening service. It was there that I felt the Holy Spirit for the first time. However, I didn’t realize what it was until I was older and learned about the Holy Spirit. I just knew that I felt an overwhelming sense of love and peace that was so amazing I became tearful. It was so powerful that I remember never wanting to lose that feeling.

I don’t recall really learning about Jesus until I was taught Scripture by a boyfriend who I attended church with as a young adult. He led me closer to God and in 1986 I accepted Jesus and was baptized. I guess you could say I had a lot of blind faith. But I did not read God’s Word.

Along the way, I fell away from the church. My life was good, but I recall always having a feeling of emptiness. It was at this time that I became pregnant out of wedlock and experienced a lot of judgement.

But, I knew in my heart that God would not have given me a child unintentionally. I was very excited to be a mom, but after some time the relationship with my son’s father fell apart and we broke up.

As life went on, I felt it was important and necessary to return to church and expose my son to God. It was at this time that I started to develop a relationship with Jesus. I prayed from time-to-time, but reading the Bible and prayer were not habits or priorities.

Eventually, I met a man who I truly believe was sent by God. He was a fabulous husband and a loving father to my son. We attended church for some time, but I suppose it was more of a social event, and I felt like we were not truly invested the way God intended.  We fell away from the church, but raised two sons and life was happy.

When my older son was in his late teens, he began to drink alcohol and it soon turned our world upside down. It was a long, harrowing ten years of severe alcohol abuse, car accidents, constant worry and sleepless nights. He nearly died twice. Out of desperation, I poured myself into the Word looking for answers. I prayed, begged and pleaded for God to help my son.

One afternoon, I took a walk down our back lane while crying and begging Jesus to make things better. I screamed out loud to Him, “But I love him so much.” At this point I heard God so clearly in my head say, “I love him, too.”

I immediately dove into the Word and prayed. The more I was still, the more I focused on Jesus. I soon understood that I was getting in God’s way and that He was in control. The more I thanked Him, the more trusting I became.

My son endured three months of living alone – no car, no job and no money. God told me to stay away. I did not see my son and very rarely did we talk. As tough as most people would think this situation would be, I was totally at peace. My son began a relationship with the woman next door whose husband had died from a fentanyl overdose, leaving her with two small children. The two fell in love, giving my son his purpose. God sent him a loving girlfriend and he was “Papa” to two very special children. Things turned around quickly and beautifully. My son got sober, returned to work, and began to make a life for himself and his new family.

This experience has made us a much closer family. Things aren’t perfect, but they aren’t supposed to be. When Satan attacks, God comes to the rescue, but all in His time and in His way. My family has had many more trials since this time and because of it, have built a lot more endurance through Him. Knowing the outcome, I would go through it all over again, as I learned to put my full and total trust in God. We have learned to endure and to find that there is joy even during the hardest of trials. And the in between – the good times – are all the more appreciated. 

I truly believe God broke me so that He could fix me through the struggles of my son. I have learned to live one day at a time with my dear Jesus, always putting Him first and foremost. Life is so much more exciting, and I will take God’s plan over my plan any day. I will love Him FOREVER!

More Faith Stories

Andy Reed

Andy Reed

The next thing I said was, “What do you want from me, Lord?” And he said, “I need you to straighten out this mess with your sisters.” When my father was sick with Alzheimer’s it tore our whole family apart. I wasn’t speaking to any of my sisters. I didn’t care if I ever saw them again.

Brandon Robinson

Brandon Robinson

I remember being in church and going up to the altar and crying. I was so tired of the life I was living. I needed help. I felt a sense of peace at that time and knew that if this Jesus thing can work for some of these other guys, then it can definitely work for me.