PERRYVILLE -- A former Morley resident shares her stories of life's challenges and overcoming them through faith in her debut book.
Bonnie Cebulak, who now lives in Perryville, said her book, "From a Pothead to a Preacher's Wife," is meant to serve as inspiration for people and give them hope.
"It's about the things we go through in life and how God brings us through it. No matter how deep in the pit you are, God will pull you out. He has a plan and purpose for your life," Cebulak said. "It's going to be a great tool for loved ones who have problems with addictions. I think it would be a great book to put in their hands -- if I can do this in my life they can do it in theirs, too."
Cebulak said she has been sharing her life experiences as a speaker for women's conferences at at churches for over 20 years. "It's what I've always wanted to do with my life: to go out and share my story," she said. "I go anywhere the Lord opens a door for me to go."
This is first time, however, that Cebulak has committed those experiences to the written page.
"I've just had people through the years encourage me to write my life story," Cebulak said. "It took me three years to write it. I'd have to put it down for a while and then I'd pick it back up. I just got it completed a couple of months ago."
Published by Xulon, a Christian book publisher, "From a Pothead to a Preacher's Wife" is now available at BarnesNobles.com, Amazon.com "and Christian bookstores all over," Cebulak said.
The book's title refers to the early days of her marriage in St. Clair.
"That's where we grew up and where much of the story takes place," Cebulak said. "The first two years of my marriage were OK and then my husband introduced me to marijuana. I had doping friends and he had drinking friends. My husband and I were so strung out we were growing and selling marijuana. We had marriage problems because of drug abuse and his drinking and everything started falling apart."
It was also in St. Clair that Cebulak and her husband had a life-changing experience and her husband heard the call to enter the ministry. "He knew that's what God wanted him to do," Cebulak said.
They left a life of drugs and drinking behind them but it wasn't the end of all their problems.
Cebulak said she also ran into difficulties in trying to fit into the popular image of a preacher's wife.
"As a new pastor's wife I was caught up in people-pleasing," Cebulak said. "I got caught up in appearances and performing. I've always had a weight problem so I got caught up in bulimia."
In 75 pages divided into nine chapters, Cebulak relates struggles and triumphs over obstacles ranging from her dysfunctional childhood to the death of her sister and father from cancer.
"It's very emotional, it will touch a lot of hearts," she said.
While the Cebulaks have put down roots over the last eight years in Perryville where they moved to pastor the First Baptist Church after leaving Morley, they still have fond memories of southeast Missouri.
Cebulak said she remembers well the block parties in Sikeston they helped organize with Dr. David and Jane Pfefferkorn. "Thousands of people gathered to set aside the walls of denominations and race and just praise the Lord," she said.
For more information about the book or to schedule Cebulak as a speaker, visit her Web Site at www.bonniecebulak.com.