by Sara Chaco
My salvation story is closely tied to my childhood. My mother left when I was 10 months old. My dad was/is not a believer. In my home, there were various forms of substance abuse and other addiction issues. By the time I was 3, my dad and Julie, the woman he lived with after my mom left, had broken up and she had moved out. She kept in contact with me, and when she got married again, she and her husband became believers. They took me to church and made a point to have me in their lives.
My dad remarried when I was 4 and there was a distinct change in our relationship. I remember one day walking in a parking lot of Home Depot after they had gotten back from their honeymoon. I reached out to hold my dad’s hand and he said, “No, I hold Debi’s hand now.” Until then, it was always me and my dad. I was young enough that I was not aware of the drug use and other addictions he had. He was just my world. I remember my heart broke, and the first foundation of the lie Satan would whisper to me was formed that day: “You can always be replaced.”
I also remember when I felt God put a strong calling on my life that same year. I was crying in my bedroom and praying and asking God why my parents had rejected me, and His answer was that He was calling me to break the generational “curses” of my family…to be an example of a wife and a mother so that my children would NEVER feel the way I did. I would show them how much they were loved by showing them how much God loved them.
As you can imagine, growing up in that atmosphere, there were a lot of things that happened to me that should never happen to any child, and innocence was taken in multiple ways. However, I can testify to the power of the LORD: he never left me alone. He was always there for me. I felt His peace and love and safety no matter the challenges I faced.
When I was 7 or 8, Julie found bruising on my body when I was at her home for the weekend and was concerned. She took some photos and reached out to my grandmother for advice and help. She was ignored as if nothing happened. One day not too long after that Ken, her husband, said to me that instead of taking a nap that day, we were going to read a story. He sat me down and read the book of Job to me. He looked me in the eye and said, “Sara, I cannot tell you why God has allowed these things to happen in your life. I do not have any answers I can give to make sense of it, but you must know that He sees you and he will bring good out of this .” Oh how that resonated in my heart! I clung to that truth and still do.
When I was 11, I was at a Calvary Chapel in Downey, CA when I officially accepted Jesus in my heart. It is strange to put it that way, because He was ALWAYS with me. I cannot remember not knowing Him, but when I was 11, I started to understand MY sin and not just see Him as my protector from others but also from myself. I needed a Savior from my sin, and that became clear to me that day.
The word “bloom” is special to me (not just because it is one of Audio Adrenaline’s best albums in my humble opinion) because that is what God’s love does to our withered lives. When a flower does not have water and sunshine, it withers and fades. Our sin builds a wall around our heart, blocking out the beautiful rays of God’s healing light and the Spirit’s ability to quench our parched hearts. Christ has torn down that wall, and when we receive Him and His salvation, we BLOOM.
I have been able to share God’s love with others in a way that I would not be able to if I did not get planted in the spot I was. Our family today does not resemble anything close to what I was raised in. God has done that! His love, presence and peace are what has brought that beauty out in my life now.
When John and I met, we both had a very strong commitment to marriage. Before we even dated, when we were just two people hanging out, we both talked about how we would be different than our fathers were. God brought two broken people together to make a beautiful garden, where we can share His love not just with our physical offspring, but to many others who come to our home. Some pass through, and others have found their home with us, and they are family, and nothing will ever change that.
Sara Chaco is the wife of almost 20 years to Pastor John, mother to her kids and whoever is in their home, leasing agent , and lover of Masterpiece Theater, Monet Chocolate, puppies and coffee!