Sherrie Martin has been a regular attender at Citylights for about 10 years now. But some of that time was spent away from here.
Sherrie has been in and out of church her whole life. As a young adult she had the first of her three daughters and then slipped into drug addiction. At that time she was mad at God for a bunch of reasons and walked away from church for a time. The kicker was when the pastor at the church she was attending at the time professed to be such a Godly man — and yet was carrying on multiple affairs in the church, at the same time being married.
After 10 years of struggling with addiction, Sherrie finally hit a kind of rock-bottom at that point and begged God to help her out of it. And He did, delivering her into recovery and she’s now been sober for 29 years. But her ups and downs were just getting started.
At 50 she was struggling with finances, especially rent, due to complicated living arrangements with family and near-family. It was a stressful situation with rent not getting covered and so Sherrie turned to trying to make some quick money by transporting drugs. So as she said, she got strapped up and was headed to Texas. During the trip, though, she knew this wasn’t what she should be doing and she prayed for God’s guidance. And He gave it, but not in the way she first thought. The first indication that something supernatural was going on was in New Mexico, the bus was acting all kinds of strange, with the door just flying open for no reason and such. When they got to El Paso, one girl in their group was detained and Sherrie thought something might be up. But the bus continued on to Fort Worth, then. There they got pulled off the bus and the police were working through the riders looking for contraband. Sherrie knew how the police were working. They were watching for signs. Suddenly on that cold November night, Sherrie felt enveloped in warmth and a bright light wrapped her up. She knew no one else saw it but she knew it was there. As she said, “I knew it was God.” She knew God was with her even as she was about to be arrested. And she did get arrested. And convicted. To two and a half years.
“It pulled me not only from myself, but from my family too. They needed to grow up,” Sherrie said.
She did 2.5yrs in federal prison. Before being incarcerated for her term, she came home briefly on bail. She was invited to Citylights by one of Citylights’ founding congregants Miss Dorothy. Sherrie could feel she needed to be baptized and so she did. She was baptized here before going back to Texas to serve out her term.
After finishing, she came back and as she says, “Life is good now.” She had an opportunity to receive some very meaningful seminary training through a group she discovered at Citylights. She has a new healthy pastor boyfriend and she’s walking a new journey.
And even more so, Sherrie has witnessed God using her time incarcerated, but as a blessing now to others. She formed an online support group for women in prison and that group is now over a thousand strong.
She finished her testimony tearfully, saying, “Every morning I talk to God and ask Him to guide my feet because I know I can’t do it.Out of the darkness, into the light.”
We can hardly imagine a better witness.