Cheryl Irish

I was created as God’s child, on purpose and for purpose. I once heard a father of a child with a disability say, “I prayed that God would fix my child.” Over time he realized, “that it was not my son who was broken, it was me”. My story is about brokenness. As a child, I felt broken. At the age of six, I was sexually abused. In my childhood misunderstanding, I felt these the abuse was somehow my fault; I felt dirty, shamed, guilty and broken. With age came the understanding that the sexual abuse was not my fault. I learned that abuse did not make me dirty or guilty. But in my child’s heart, God used the feelings of dirtiness to make me aware of my need for a clean heart – for a Savior. I knew I was a sinner – even though I may have confused my abuse with sin, I knew there were plenty of things I did that were sinful. It was that early awareness of brokenness that brought me readily ask Jesus to come into my life, forgive my sin and heal my heart. He replaced the guilt and shame with His peace and joy. Even at 6 years old, I had been freed from guilt in a way that could not come from any human source. I learned that Jesus paid the penalty for my sin. I have come to understand that God cherishes me as His own child, that he will never hurt me and that he sees me as completely whole. God knows my heart. The Holy Spirit convicts me when I am not walking with the Lord. During those rebellious years, most people probably would not have considered me rebellious. But I disobeyed and lied to my parents. I treated my brother hatefully, I hung out with friends and pretended not to be a Christian. Inside, my heart was broken; I was very unhappy. I was so miserable I finally broke down confessed to my mom that I wanted to get right with Him again. Through the Bible, my mom’s prayers and my pastor’s faithful teaching, God assured me I was forgiven! All of my sins - even the sins that I didn’t even know or recognize I had committed were forgiven and my heart was clean. Just as God assured me that the sexual abuse in my past did not define me, he used this turning point in my life to teach me that he alone can fix broken hearts. Who is really broken? I found, through what God tells us in the Bible, that we are all broken. It is not just the ones who society labels as broken. It is not the ones who look like they have it together or look good on the outside. All of us have sinned (Romans 3:23). We are all in need of forgiveness; all of us need heart repair! God has used my own understanding of brokenness and forgiveness by giving me a heart of compassion for those with disabilities. He has shaped me to be thankful for the simple things I often take for granted, like being able to brush my own teeth or comb my own hair. He has shown me that people with disabilities are whole. They are created in His image and are beloved in His eyes. My passion is serving those with disabilities.

My Life

Favorite Quote

I John 1:9. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” Phil 4:6-7 “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything; tell God your needs, and don’t forget to thank him for his answers. 7 If you do this, you will experience God’s peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will keep your thoughts and your hearts quiet and at rest as you trust in Christ Jesus”

My hobbies

Reading, jewelry making, card making

My undergrad alma mater

Corban College (Previously Western Baptist Bible College)

In college I drove

Ford Maverick

If I weren't a professor, I would

be a nurse or social worker

Favorite movies

Shining Through with Michael Douglas and Melanie Griffith

Favorite city

Budapest

Favorite coffee

I'd rather drink tea!

Current Research

My research interests related to "Third Culture Kids" (TCKs), children of expatriates who are not part of their home culture or the culture of the country in which they are living, thus they belong to a "third culture." I find I have a lot in common with TCKs as I was one myself, being the daughter of a Navy Sailor and completing 1st through 3rd grades in Japan.