A TEXAS GIRL...
I am a Texas girl born in the '60s and bred in the '70s! My teenage years were spent growing up in a small central Texas town that loved high school football and football season was like a "Friday Night Lights" episode. We had the greatest music of all time, wore our Farrah Fawcett hairstyles, hip-huggers & bell-bottoms, danced to disco & country music on vinyl records, and spent weekends at the drive-in movie theater. Oh, and my favorite was Donnie Osmond! My first car was a sporty 5-speed yellow Pinto which daily lived up to her lemon color and always kept me in fear of a rear-end explosion (google it). But she was fast and loud... and I loved her!
I love the Texas sun and being outdoors running, biking, walking, hiking, skiing, and watching sunsets on my porch. Being in God's creation breathes life into my soul. I live in t-shirts and flip-flops and my favorite foods are Tex-Mex, Chips & Salsa, and Diet Coke... of course!
I am a "creative" that loves exploring new ideas, experiencing new places, meeting people, and hearing their stories. Hospitality runs through my blood thanks to my Grandmother who was the greatest servant I know.
A GLIMPSE INTO HER STORY
Terri Kelley grew up a youth minister’s daughter in Texas during the 60s & 70s and has loved God since her first memory. While growing up, she dreamed of someday marrying a minister, having a big family, and serving people. She loved the church but as she grew older, the teachings seemed more focused on God’s wrath and condemnation while offering little on a relationship with Jesus grounded in love, grace, and forgiveness. “The foundations of my faith were being rooted in a fear of God... always questioning whether I was good enough, loved, and going to heaven,” she remembers.
Fear would play a significant role in her life starting at a young age as she dealt with the confusion and trauma of sexual assault. Being threatened and silenced by her offenders, she felt alone in her secrets and often wondered if God saw her and if he did, was he angry or disappointed in her. At 17 years old she became pregnant which left her terrified and believing she had nowhere safe to go. “Church, school, or home did not feel like a safe place to turn to. I felt as if all roads only led to more judgment, rejection, and pain... so to survive I went looking for a way out,” she says. Her way out would be a doctor, a lie, and an abortion decision that would shatter her heart and send her spiraling down a path of destruction for many years.
As the shame and regret of all her secrets took root in her soul, they became what she filtered every thought, every decision, and relationship through. This filter would lead her into other abusive relationships which added additional layers of trauma and left her heart even more wounded and living a life of survival. She felt alone and convinced God had left her and would never love her again.
“To survive, I had to bury the secrets, forget, and move on. I learned to paste on the smiles and appear to have it all together, but inside my heart was broken and grieving as I searched for love and approval. Many days felt as if I was walking along the edge of a cliff trying to keep my feet on solid ground, and the nights were plagued with nightmares of falling off the edge. I felt very alone and invisible to everyone around me... especially to God", Terri says.
After the end of her 25-year marriage, her heart lay shattered at the bottom of that cliff. It was then that God showed up in a vision and revealed He had never left her but had been with her in every painful moment of her past and was now inviting her on a journey that would lead her out of the darkness and into freedom. With nothing left, she curled up in His arms and let Him take her into the dark and broken places of her soul.
Today Terri uses her story to speak life back into the broken hearts of women and brings a message that Jesus still works miracles today. Her story tells of the difficult journey of coming face-to-face with the demons of her past and the miracles Jesus did along the way to break the chains that had her heart tethered and bound for so many years. Terri tells us, "My biggest regret is spending most of my life believing the lie that God could never love a girl like me... the truth is I was seen, pursued, and healed by the Creator himself. That changes you! I do not want any woman to believe the lie that I did. The truth is God wants us free and living a life fully connected to Him, even (especially) in our biggest messes. I am not who I was... I am completely different... and the thing that happened in between was Him... Jesus!
TELLING MY STORY
Beauty For Ashes
I have heard many stories and seen the heartbreak and grief women carry around every day leaving them numb and often standing at the edge of a cliff. I too walked along that same cliff feeling unseen and unknown by those around me. My heart lived in exile believing God could not see me or ever love a girl like me.
His name is "El Roi" -- the God who sees me -- and my story is about what God can do to a human heart shattered and tethered to the many hidden secrets of a painful past. It's about miracles... and redemption... and freedom.
I am not the same as I was. I have been changed by the One who sees, pursues, heals, and loves me more than my human heart could ever understand or know. God brought me out of exile, healed me, and set me free to go out and tell my story with a message that He is a God who loves us, not condemns us. He is a God who still works miracles... who heals and redeems hearts and calls us worthy. He is our Creator who wants us out of exile and living life free and fully connected to Him.
Certified Christian Counselor, (AACC)
~Specializing in Trauma, Grief & Loss
Certified Health & Wellness Life Coach & Nutritionist