Michele Went from Abuse to Redemption and Ordination

My name is Michele Cheresnick and am an ordained pastor in a small town in Georgia, just outside of Chattanooga, TN, in the USA. I have been serving in ministry for over 10 years. I am married and my husband also is an ordained pastor and we have three children and three grandchildren. My goal is to complete a bachelor’s degree. I have never had the opportunity to seek traditional seminary courses so I am excited to do so at Christian Leaders Institute.

I came to know the Lord in my early 40s and it was most definitely by divine appointment. I grew up in Northern Minnesota- in a two-parent family. We had never been a family really committed to attending church but popped in now and again. When I started junior high school, our neighbors invited us all to church, it was an evangelical Christian church with an active youth group and I, with my parents and siblings, began attending and participating in church activities.

When I Met Jesus

My first introduction to Jesus’ saving grace was when I was 13. I had the privilege of attending a Christian bible camp. It was there He first revealed himself to me. And I know that He saved my life during that week. What no one else knew is that I needed a very real Savior. I was being sexually abused by my father and was in deep despair. Meeting Him at this camp gave me the strength to stand up to my father and say “no more.” Sadly, spiritual warfare would enter into the picture and as we continued to attend church, it was there my world would tragically collapse.

At a Wednesday night youth group, someone came up to me and said “I didn’t know you were adopted.” I didn’t know either. My mother had been struggling with how to tell me and my older brother that he and I had a different biological father. She had gone to the pastor of our church for help and it leaked out to the church. Devastated by my new knowledge, my parents yanked us out of the only church I knew and the place I found Jesus.

He Never Left Me

My world once again spiraled out of control. I had lost my church. I had lost my identity and God was no longer real to me. I praise Him because although I stopped believing in Him, He remained faithful in my life, showing up after two abortions, a failed marriage, and a load of lies and disappointments. He still wanted me and still had plans for me. I have seen since my coming to the full knowledge of Christ, that I am who He says I am not who I want to be and not who I was in sin. My life went from one of abuse to ordination and redemption through Christ.

My ministry goals and dreams are coming to full fruition now and I found Christian Leaders Institute.  I have started a nonprofit ministry called The Use Me Project which is about mobilizing sinners to share the good news with other sinners and to mobilize the church! I have a podcast and speak at events around the area.

My life verse is Psalms 32:5.