My name is Shenandoah Stipe i am 44 and the owner of a pet grooming shop. Married to Gary Stipe for 15 years. We have a blended family of 4 kids and 2 grand children. We have a pretty awesome life today.
What was your life like before knowing Jesus?
I have used drugs and alcohol since the age of 13. I was doing what i felt i needed to in order to not feel the emotions i had. At the age of 13 i found out my father had killed himself when i was an infant after he had physically and sexually molested by my brother. This was the beginning of my effort to fill a hole in my heart. Drugs continued to be a source of comfort thru my first and second marriage. 2 failed marriages due to adultry did not help my life or the drug and alcohol abuse. After meeting Gary the drug and alcohol abuse became deeper than ever. Our relationship although rocky mostly because of our addictions was the best i had ever experienced, i felt alive and real with him. Gary had become my saviour all the while i was sinking into my addictions and mental illness. At 29 i was diagnosed with bi polar disorder put on medication and sent to counseling. There i began to see my patterns but they continued on for another 4 years even after relocating from Oregon to Indiana with Gary and the kids. I always knew gary was an alcoholic but never truly could see my addictions as a problem then the summer my oldest was 12 she left Indiana to visit her grandma and told me she would not return until i got clean off drugs. I quit using and drinking, Gary went to rehab for drinking and we began attending NA meetings. We stayed clean for a year together and first Gary then i relapsed. Mine was short lived, gary's was a battle just beginning. I worked, he worked, sometimes he did not but he was always there for the kids. We fought and the police were called often.
Tell us how you came to have a relationship with Jesus...
While our life continued with the ups and downs of on again off again addiction our kids had found a church to go to with a neighbor. Our oldest daughter asked often if we would like to go to church. One Sunday Gary even had us go to the church across from our house. We only went once and never again. Although the kids went to church with the neighbors and they also attended VBS across the street Gary and I still did not talk about God or consider attending a church I had attended church as a child and i was using the church the same way i had veen taught a way to have a break from the kids. Tgen one day near Christmas Onalee came in and announced that she would be singing at the Christmas program at her church. With a great big smile she looked at Gary and I and said "you will be there right." I returned that with a promt "i will let you know." That church service was December 24, 2006. I came to know God that very day and 3 weeks later i gave my life to Jesus! Right here in this very church!
How has Jesus had an impact on your life after saying yes to Him?
What's life like now with Him?
My life has changed dramtically over the past 9+ years. I no longer depend on drugs or alcohol to keep me happy. My children have grown into young adults and are productive members of society. My marriage nearly came to an end multiple times but after i fully surrendered my need to try to fix and control that area of my life, God stepped in and completely restored my marriage and my husband is now following Jesus with me. 5 years ago i was able to leave my job and open my own business as a dog groomer. With the help of my husband, family and God as our guide we have a successful growing business that has turned into a ministry to help people thru open prayer daily!