November 21, 2019
“He left everything to come after me.” When Michelle Alvarado first heard this message, it may have been just in time to save her life. It was definitely in time to change it. Michelle struggled with anxiety as long as she can remember. In her teens, she chose to numb social situations with alcohol. Drinking was the only way she thought she could feel comfortable in her skin. At sixteen, Michelle was assaulted at a high school party. Because everyone had been drinking, she was discouraged from telling anyone to avoid getting in trouble. This guilt and shame further complicated Michelle’s disorders, and she began to drink more regularly. This lifestyle was causing pain in her relationships and destroying her family. By the age of twenty-one, she was an alcoholic. Soon, Michelle discovered that she was pregnant. She didn’t drink during pregnancy, but her drinking got worse once her daughter was born. At the realization that she blacked out much of the first year of her daughter’s life, Michelle contemplated suicide as a way to ease the guilt. It was then that God stepped into her life. Michelle read these words from a book given to her. “God will leave everything just to come after you.” She was astonished that God can know everything about her and still choose to come after her just as she was. She learned through counseling that she could throw off her shame and guilt and allow herself to accept Christ’s perfect healing and forgiveness. Michelle turned to God and prayed He would remove her urge to drink.
“The man upstairs must want to keep you around because I have seen people die in lesser accidents.” These words were spoken to Edward while he was recovering in a hospital from a serious car accident. Edward had grown up Catholic. He has always known about God, but somehow, he still felt something was missing. At the age of 13, Edward started to try to fill the deep void he was experiencing. He turned to alcohol and, eventually, drugs. In the tenth grade, Edward dropped out of school. His lifestyle led to one broken relationship after another. Edward fathered two daughters during this time, two daughters whose lives in which he was not involved. In 1990, Edward was driving under the influence when he lost control and crashed. It was while he was recovering in the hospital, the doctor told him there must be a reason that he survived. The comment stuck with Edward but wasn’t enough to shake him from his addictions. Over the next two years, Edward got arrested for three DWIs. In jail awaiting his transfer to mandatory treatment, Edward got on the ground and begged God to take his addiction. Soon after he finished treatment, Edward noticed that his urge too party was gone.
Both Edward and Michelle went back to school and then went to work in counseling where they met. Edward and Michelle each prayed for a sober spouse. God not only brought them someone sober but someone who understands the other’s struggles and can support and sharpen each other. After Michelle and Edward married, Edward committed to raising Michelle’s daughter as his own. It wasn’t long after they married that the couple realized they had received a second chance. They were going to have a baby of their own. Edward has reconciled with his adult daughters, and he and Michelle are committed to showing all of their girls to know the grace and mercy of their Heavenly Father.