Nearly 10 years ago, in July of 2010, Cheryl Goss, her husband Ryan, and their four children, made the move from Alabama to Owensboro in support of her husband’s work. What was initially expected to be a two-and-a-half-year project to manage and assist with the construction of the new Owensboro Health Regional Hospital, became a 10-year journey of faith.
“It’s been a beautiful journey for our family, and Owensboro is home for us,” Cheryl said. “The week we were moving, we said our move to Owensboro wasn’t anything to do with construction or building a hospital, it was about building our relationship with God, and to work with the women in that community.”
Cheryl, the president and founder of Connecting Ministries, has found her life’s passion in supporting and empowering women in and beyond Owensboro through the word of God. Connecting Ministries offers women opportunities to connect with other women, with counselors, and offers training sessions and leadership summits to women’s ministries at local churches. The ministry also hosts annual women’s conferences in Alabama and Kentucky. Connecting Women Conferences provide an opportunity for hundreds of women to come together and sit under the teaching of world-renowned Christian authors and speakers like Lysa TerKeurst, Liz Curtis Higgs and Sheila Walsh.
“One of the most beautiful things has been seeing women come together from different backgrounds,” Cheryl said. “[I want] to help them overcome life’s trials and become successful as a wife, as a mom, as a sister, as a woman in our community.”
Most recently, Cheryl has found a new avenue to reach women beyond the ministry’s annual conferences. Her first book, Crossroads: A Story of Abuse, Addiction & Redemption, is an introspective look into her own struggles through her youth and young adulthood.
“I was in the darkest depression I had ever been in and had no clue how to pull myself out of it, but that’s where God met me and put people in my path to share their trials,” Cheryl said. “If we could all come together to use our trials to help someone else get over a trial — that’s beautiful.”
In the book, Cheryl refers to trials such as addiction, depression, infertility and eating disorders, as “thorns.” Her belief is that these thorns are the difficulties in life that should be shared with others, and can be overcome with the help of God.
“The purpose of this book is to help readers understand that the trials in this life — there’s a purpose for them,” Cheryl said. “And it may be years down the road before we see the purpose for that trial.”
On May 15, the day Crossroads launched, it was ranked No. 1 in Christian Inspirational books on Amazon. According to Cheryl, over 400 copies were sold during the book’s first 19 days on the market.
“For little old me, I’m excited to know that 400 people have it in their hands and are reading God’s word,” Cheryl said. “It’s a short book, because I’m not a huge reader. I wanted to make sure it was a book we could have in someone’s hands and they could finish it.”
Crossroads not only reveals Cheryl’s personal testimony, it also includes accompanying scripture and exercises designed for both individual reflection and group study. Cheryl said the questions were designed to assist the reader in claiming their own story in an effort to overcome the trials they experienced along the way.
“I walked through that abuse and this addiction,” Cheryl said. “Now I can be hands-on with these individuals in the city of Owensboro, because I know where they’ve been, and tell them they can overcome through Christ.”
According to a forward written by longtime friend and best-selling author Liz Curtis Higgs, “Cheryl Goss writes from the heart, from the Word and from the many times she faced a crossroad in her life. Her journey has been difficult, and yet, what she learned along those rocky roads paved the way for her vital ministry to women. Cheryl’s message of grace is clear, and her encouragement to share our own stories is empowering.”
Cheryl admits that her goal has never been to bring the attention to herself or to sell a certain number of books. She is more concerned about how sharing her story can have a positive, lasting impact on others.
“I’m not a polished writer or speaker — that’s just not what I am — those aren’t goals that I have,” Cheryl said. “Even though it’s my story, I don’t want people to see me, I want them to see Jesus. I have complete faith that God gave me a story — I want it to be this beautiful story of, ‘Look how God transformed my heart.’”
A Peek Inside Crossroads
At just under 100 pages, Crossroads: A Story of Addictions, Abuse, & Redemption is a self-published memoir intertwined with scripture with the intent of bringing a message of hope and inspiration to others. Throughout the book, author Cheryl Goss transparently shares her own trials in life as an avenue to come alongside and connect with others.
In an excerpt from Chapter 1: Thorns, Goss writes, “I’ve prayed that someone will be encouraged by what I’m about to share. Perhaps someone who is walking through a trial who needs to hear that God is good. Throughout life, we all come to crossroads, and some of those roads lead us through thorny territory. In the book of 2 Corinthians, Paul describes the painful prick of a ‘thorn’ in his flesh.”
Goss goes on to explain this passage of scripture before making personal connections with the verses.
“We are sinful people in a sinful world,” she writes. “We can easily allow the enemy to use thorns instead of God. In the past, when facing a crossroad, I often made poor decisions. Consequently, I have been wounded by deep, painful thorns. Looking back, I know God was present at those places…”
Goss continues to speak to the reader throughout the book, including chapters that offer an opportunity for reflection and self-examination. Multiple Amazon reviews praise Goss for her transparency.
“Cheryl is honest and vulnerable in a way that shines the transforming work of Jesus in her life,” one review read. “Not only is her story inspirational, but she equips the reader to own their story and use it for God’s glory!”
“Cheryl openly shares her complex past, yet claims God’s goodness through it all,” the reader said. “Saturated with scripture, Cheryl challenges the reader to place their trust in God, contemplate their own story, and boldly share it for God’s glory. Soul-stirring, insightful, inspiring, convicting.”
“From someone who just went through a season of life that was so dark, this empowered me to keep pushing into Christ,” another reader wrote. “I’m in a place now of looking at the other side and this book affirmed that seasons happen to tell your testimony. Thank you for being vulnerable and touching my heart far beyond comprehension.”