God redeems life from drug culture
By Shea Vailes
PERRYVILLE—It may have taken Bonnie Cebulak three years to write a book, but she has a lifetime of lessons to fill it.
“[Writing the book] was like birthing a baby—painful!” Cebulak joked. “I am court advocate, and there were times I would just sit on the back pew and jot down some thoughts, and sometimes that turned into whole chapters!”
Cebulak learned to carry a notepad wherever she went as she wrote down her experiences as words came to mind. In the midst of this scrupulous process in October, From a Pothead to a Preacher’s Wife was born.
The timing of the publication seems to be very fitting, considering it has been almost exactly 33 years to the month that Cebulak’s life started falling apart and the very moment that God stepped in.
“It has come full circle,” she explained.
When Cebulak was 21, she was a wife, mother and drug addict. Because of her and her husband Dennis’ heavy involvement in the drug culture, her life and marriage were quickly falling apart. In a desperate attempt to resolve her problems, Cebulak decided to end her life. She resolved to watch a movie late one night until her husband, who was also an unbeliever at the time, fell asleep and she could carry out her plan. But through God’s grace, Cebulak came across a preacher sharing about God’s love.
“I suddenly heard the voice of a man say, ‘You might be out there strung out on drugs, thinking your life is hopeless and useless. What you need is Jesus Christ,’” Cebulak writes in her book. “For the first time in my life—that cold winter night in my living room—I understood that I was a sinner and needed a savior … I asked Jesus to forgive me and to come into my life and make me the person He wanted me to be.”
A few days later, Dennis Cebulak also felt the prompting of the Holy Spirit and gave his life to Christ soon after.
As new creations in Christ, the couple set out to follow God’s plan for their lives. Through the next 30 years, God led the Cebulaks through the joys and pains of marriage, parenthood and full-time ministry. Cebulak recounts these experiences with honesty and the conviction that God is faithful and in control.
“We’ve never given up on God—no matter what He has put on our plates,” Cebulak said.
Through these trials, Cebulak has had the opportunity to share her testimony with many different people.
“I want to reach people from all walks of life, and that is why I was gut-honest about everything,” Cebulak explained. “I want to get this book in the hands of people who are lost and think that God can’t forgive them. I [also] would hope that God would use it to encourage the Christian. Everything that comes into their lives comes for a reason … I want to be an encouragement to keep on running the race.”
Dennis and Bonnie Cebulak are currently serving at First Baptist Church, Perryville, where Dennis has been the pastor for eight years. Cebulak also shares her testimony through speaking engagements. She has been speaking at churches and ministry events off and on for 20 years, and she feels that God is allowing her to pursue her passion for sharing her story even more to broader audiences.
Missouri Baptists can order From a Pothead to a Preacher’s Wife and reserve Cebulak for a speaking engagement by visiting her website, www.bonniecebulak.com.