My name is Elaine Vinsonhaler, and I’m part of Crossroads Community, a Foursquare church in Rocklin, Calif., pastored by Harlyn and Jeri Matson. This is my story of God’s grace and mercy.
I come from an alcoholic family—my mother and father both drank. My mom left my family when I was 13. I started drinking and using drugs shortly thereafter. High school was one big party, and I barely graduated. Soon after graduation began the first of many abusive, destructive, alcohol-soaked relationships.
I started tending bar at 21—my dream job! I had unlimited alcohol at my fingertips and an endless stream of clientele for the drugs I sold to support my habit. This was the beginning of the end of a long, horrible journey of alcohol, drugs and sex.
Finally, I hit bottom. On my 40th birthday, I fell to my knees and cried out to God. Although I still continued my downward spiral, my prayer was heard and answered in a way I could never have predicted. Four months after my birthday, I found myself in a hospital bed with massive thrombosis (a blood clot on my heart) and congestive heart failure. The doctors were clear: I had to get clean or die.
But Jesus meets us right where we are. He answered my cry for salvation in that hospital bed. Little did I know that my brother and sister-in-law had been praying with their church, Crossroads Community, for our family’s salvation.
Through the years, I had seen Billy Graham on TV. In that hospital bed, the Holy Spirit reminded me of Billy Graham’s salvation message. As I lay there, I prayed the only prayer I knew, to ask Jesus into my life and heart. Immediately I felt the peace of God surround me, and my life has never been the same. I praise God that my dad was saved shortly thereafter.
As soon as I was physically able, my dad and I visited Crossroads. I started out sitting in the back row, but that didn’t last long. The Holy Spirit drew me to the front of the church. One visit turned into two visits … my dad and I never left! Not only did all of my family get saved—we all attend Crossroads, and my dad and I were even baptized together.
I now head up the greeters team, usher, work with children and co-lead the women’s chemical dependency group. My relationship with my immediate family has been completely restored, and I have gained a beautiful, loving, extended church family. Most of all, I have the perfect relationship: a personal relationship with my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. I have found that the Bible is true: Jesus will never leave or forsake me.
In August 2007, Jesus miraculously healed me, and I no longer have thrombosis or congestive heart failure! As soon as my doctor gives the go-ahead, I want to go on a missions trip to Burundi, where Crossroads has opened a medical clinic.
God is good—all the time! All we need to do is accept the promise of John 3:16.