My name is Dawn Thornton, and I am called to the ministry to serve. I live in the United States. I grew up in the suburbs of South Texas with my parents and siblings. We were a typical middle-class southern family that attended an Episcopal and Lutheran Church every Sunday and every potluck. Life was going well until the age of five when the priest with whom I was doing a private Bible study violated me. I lost complete trust in any clergy or church leaders.
Challenges and Saved by Grace
This event was the beginning of a downward spiral for the next 28 years. I had no respect for myself and suffered from severe depression, bulimia, and anorexia. I even attempted suicide. Furthermore, I became promiscuous and began drinking and smoking at a young age. I grew up, married, and had three children, of whom two are autistic.
Fast forward to being a single mom for 20 years and discovering that autism became the hardest battle I’d ever encountered. However, ultimately it’s what led me to surrender my life to Christ at the age of 33. I was at the end of my rope and contemplating suicide when I heard God call my name. At that moment, I realized that my life was beyond out of control. So I asked Jesus to come into my heart and take over my life. In an instant, in the twinkling of an eye, I felt His Spirit enter me. I was convicted of my sin and set free with a brand new heart and new spiritual eyes! I’ve not been the same since, and I thank God in his mercy for saving me.
Called to the Ministry and Finding CLI
Over the years, I’ve felt called to the ministry and have even had dreams about it. However, I didn’t have enough confidence and faith to leap. God has been igniting a new fire in me recently, and I came across the Christian Leaders Institute. It just felt like the place I needed to be. It’s taken a while to enroll in my first class due to fear of the unknown and fear of failure. But, I trust that God will get me through!