My Story // Nichelle

Listen to Nichelle's story

“To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven.” // Ecclesiastes 3:1 (NKJV)

I’ve always loved the verses found in Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, even before I could understand what they really meant. Now that I’m older, these words still hold a profound place in my heart as a reminder that God has a plan and purpose for my life. Through all the bad and good times in my life, God was working in the background, molding me to be the person I am. Even today, He’s still working in me. Each season of my life is another stepping stone closer to God and His purpose for me.

I grew up in a broken home. I’ve never met my father – he was a married man with two daughters, and wanting a son. When I was born a girl, he wanted nothing to do with me – he abandoned me. Growing up, that sense of abandonment and rejection greatly influenced my personality and behavior. As a result, it’s very hard for me to become close to other people – in order to lessen the hurt for when they eventually leave. It’s also made me a people pleaser. I’m always working hard to please the people around me, mostly in part because I don’t want them to leave me.

I wasn’t born into a practicing Christian family and the best thing my mother ever did for our family was to step foot into church. It was at this church I first learned about God and was baptized in May of 1999 – I was in 5th grade. While I was an avid learner of the bible and had made the decision to make Jesus Christ Lord and Savior of my life – I had yet to build a strong foundation in my relationship with God. We sadly left this church when I was in middle school and started attending another church that I never connected with. Because my relationship with God was weak, I started to drift from God and church. By the time I was in high school, I was no longer attending church or growing spiritually.

When I started college, I got a taste of “worldly freedom” and went a little wild. I started drinking, going out 3-5 times a week, experimenting with drugs and having sex. Looking back on my college years, I know God must have been in the shadows having my back, because it would have been so easy for me to become an addict, pregnant out of wedlock or even dead.

My life started to change in February 2011. I had just graduated college in December – I was jobless and had no place to live. My miracle and greatest blessing came in the form of the Saldana family, who I will forever be thankful to. One weekend, my best friend Jasmine was in town visiting from college and she was going to be helping me move temporarily into one of those pay-by-the week motels. She offered to ask her parents to let me stay with them, but my pride told her no. However, like always, she didn’t listen to me. When her and her dad came to help me that weekend, instead of taking me to my intended destination, they took me to their house. Dan and Veronica quickly accepted me into their home and hearts and I’ve become their spiritually adopted daughter.

With the Saldana family, I started attending Fortress Church and rededicating my life to Christ. I not only was re-learning the ideals I learned as a child, but also learning about the importance of having a relationship with God. God quickly became the father figure I was unknowingly searching for and filled the void my biological father left behind. I also learned that I don’t have to work so hard to please God, that no matter what he’ll always be there me.

“And I will be a father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.” // 2 Corinthians 6:18 (NKJV)

Sometimes it’s funny, but always amazing, how God works. I later found out, Veronica originally wanted four children – all boys – but God blessed her with one son and two daughters. We now know, God had a plan. She did get the four children she wanted after all, and as Women’s Ministries Director she has told me how blessed she is to have daughters to help her with her work for God and the women of Fortress Church.

“To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven.” // Ecclesiastes 3:1 (NKJV)

I understand now. God has a purpose for my life, and as I continue to grow my relationship with Him, I am constantly reminded how he is in control and how he always has my back.

nichelle cunningham