It happened suddenly when after years of a destructive lifestyle Meredith Garrett says, “God gave me the ability to stop how I was ruining my life…cold turkey. And I have never looked back.” God’s grace on her life has been literally all-encompassing. As she puts it, “God freed me from my anger of the past. His love just overwhelms me day after day.”
Her past is one that is sadly all too familiar. An abusive father and a mother not emotionally or mentally stable due to drugs and alcohol. Her mother lost custody of Meredith when she was 7, and she was sent to live with her father. By age 15, Meredith was living on the streets of Santa Ana, California. She survived by panhandling for food and spent many nights on the beach. “I remember being so lonely. My family had basically disowned me. It was a painful time,” reflects Meredith. The next years of her adult life resulted in marriage, children, divorce, and a growing dependency on alcohol and especially drugs, which escalated to a $100/day addiction.
And then God intervened.
The last few years have been a complete reversal of Meredith’s previous life. Remarried recently with a blended family of five children (ages 15-23), she has worked for three years as a crewmember at Trader Joe’s. Invited to RiverLakes Community Church (RCC), she accepted and began to be a regular attender. As a result, her personal faith in Jesus Christ has blossomed.
“Since coming to RCC I now understand what a real relationship with Jesus means,” says Meredith.
“I love to hear the Word on Sunday. I now really hear it. I understand it. It makes sense. It guides my life.” She faithfully attends the Sunday night service because “It’s a more intimate service and I like to talk with others and the pastors.” Her 15-year-old son also attends with her. Meredith has completed all four All In Classes (Membership, Maturity, Ministry, Mission) and connected in the Tuesday evening Women’s Bible Study. “The ladies are amazing. My first night there, a leader gave me a study bible. I cried. It was such a beautiful gift and I use it!”
Two Bible verses have impacted Meredith and are so appropriate in her life. The first is Joshua 1:9 which says, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” The second verse is Romans 5:9 which says, “Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.”
In March Meredith had the exciting opportunity to be baptized. “My future with God is unlimited. My past is how I had to get to where I am now because through God all things are possible. I’m learning from God, especially patience. I’ve replaced drugs and alcohol with prayer and God’s people.” Meredith’s story is a classic example of God’s grace in action.