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April 20, 2022

“After having my gall bladder removed in 2017, I endured a lot of physical pain for four years. But truthfully, I started battling emotional pain even before that. In 2016, I lost my father who was my best friend. I was a daddy’s girl, and the loss was more difficult than I could have imagined. I began drinking to numb the pain that was searing my heart. I dove deep into that addiction drinking every day. I never sought counseling for my grief, my marital issues, or my mental health, which was rapidly declining.

“After surgery, I started getting severe abdominal pains, facial swelling, and high levels of anxiety. The pain and stress made me cry all the time, and I went to the hospital every three or four months. The doctors couldn’t tell me why I was still having all these problems after surgery.

“I’ve always believed in God; I just never tried to get closer to Him. I allowed the constant presence of grief and pain to take over, pressing me deeper into my addiction. The first time I heard about Gateway Church was in September of 2020. I started receiving text messages from someone named Joshua; I never opened the links in those messages, but they made me think about church.

“A couple months later, right before Thanksgiving, I remember sitting in the bathtub crying out to God, Please heal me once and for all from my pain! That day, I promised Him I would leave alcohol behind.

“Less than two months later, severe abdominal pains woke me in the middle of the night. I was sweating and nauseous and felt like my stomach was going to explode. My mother rushed me to the hospital and once again explained everything I’d been experiencing for the last four years. She insisted we would not leave until we got some answers. During that visit, God answered my prayers and healed me.

“On January 8, 2021, I returned home to my husband and four children healed and completely free from pain. I’m so very happy and grateful that God blessed me with another chance at life. I visited Gateway Church for the first time that same month.

“January was a special month this year: I celebrated one year of attending Gateway online and one year of complete healing. I’m so excited for the season ahead and growing closer to God—I changed my work schedule to attend services in person with my Gateway family, and I got baptized in February of 2022!

“I want to share my story with others, and I want people to believe there is a God. I want everyone to know that when you feel like you’ve lost everything or your pain is overwhelming, God heals you and restores all you’ve lost. Because of Him, I have no more pain or swelling and my addiction has been overcome! I am so thankful for God who never left my side. Even when I wasn’t trying to be close to Him, He was always right there.”

Valerie’s story is one many can relate to. Jesus said, “Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world” (John 16:33, NLT). We will experience loss, pain, and sorrow in this world, but we serve a God who has overcome the world! And He is always present, right by our sides. Call on Him today and ask for His help and strength for whatever you’re going through. And you are not alone; your Gateway family wants to stand with you and encourage you as you navigate difficult seasons. Text PRAYER to 71010 with any requests, and we will personally pray for you.