By His Grace I am Alive
Sheraton McCarter, 26
Waco, Texas

Little Sheri began learning to deal with disappointment at the tender age of four, when her brother, 11 months younger and very close to her, died in her mother's arms. Life for little Sheri became a maze of loneliness, a search for meaning-even though she was constantly in church and nurtured by a godly, caring mother.

She learned to be hard yet full of laughter, protective and never cry, smart, to do well, to survive. All through school, she fought to be an achiever, and did extremely well... carrying that modus operandi into Baylor University.

One hot summer day in July, 1988, following her New Testament religion class, Sheraton left the Baylor campus to drive to her boyfriend Darren's house - but never made it. A block short of her goal, she had an accident, going through the windshield.

In the hospital, she lay on the examination table. Her mother was there, crying... her dad was vomiting... some friends also there, some of them fainting at the sight of her. After her dad pulled himself together, she told him: "Well, I guess I really messed up this time, Daddy." Smiling, he looked at her and said, "No, you didn't mess up. You're going to be OK."

The first doctor to see her told her parents (in her presence) "There's nothing we can do for her face - she's going to be severely disfigured." Her face was literally destroyed - forehead split, cheek ripped open, eyelid torn half off, lips shredded, her nose a mass of bloody tissue.

She said nothing in response to the doctor, just lay there quietly. Her father told the doctor to get out until he found someone who could fix Sheri's face. Her mother looked down at her and said, "Don't worry, babygirl, God is more than a doctor, He is everything!"

A friend of her mother who was a lab technician there called Dr. Valerie Wright, a plastic surgeon. Minutes later, this small lady came bouncing in. "Hello, Sheraton, so you're our smile girl?!" Thus the healing process began.

Within a month, incredible transformation had begun throughout her facial structure, despite the medical prognosis, God's plans for her involving the weekly television appearances she has to this very day.

However, her life changed dramatically on the day of her accident. Demoralized, she no longer cared about being the achiever as she once had - and everything went downhill for her. Soon her life-style reflected her despair, she lost her scholarship at Baylor, became pregnant, and finally had a heart-to-heart talk with her mother. "You must give God your life and He will give it back to you," her mother urged. "Get right, girl. You're a mother now!"

And so the road back home began, as tears flowed - of sorrow, guilt, joy and love. The inside transformation truly had begun, and soon her studies resumed at MCC. After a series of astounding comebacks in speech-oriented projects and public awards, she returned to Baylor to finish her undergraduate studies.

January 1992 witnessed her marriage to Kedrick, father of her son Kedrick McCarter, Jr. ("Mookie"). For awhile things seemed heavenly in their marriage. But that relationship, born in the wrong atmosphere, was not to survive, and they divorced 2 years later.

Ever since her premature birth at 3 pounds, Sheri had suffered from kidney problems, finally escalating to pyelonephritis - an infection transferred from the bladder to the kidneys. This condition causes tremendous pain in the lower abdominal and pelvic area. Sometimes Sheri would be reduced to lying in bed, not moving.

On May 8, 1996, she began coughing up blood in the checkout line at a grocery store. At the hospital, they discovered she had kidney stones, with one kidney full of blood and infection. She was scheduled for surgery May 15th and sent home.

Sheraton continues in her own words: "May 12th was Mother's Day and I woke up feeling extremely ill. My mother wanted to go to a church called Victorious Life where a dear friend, Nero Foster, is Minister of Music. I had never been there before and didn't feel up to going, but something inside me kept telling me that I should go."

"When we arrived at the church, we were greeted with smiles from everyone, and I felt comfortable. There was just this feeling of 'home' within the church. The pastor, Rev. Peak, didn't preach that Sunday morning. He had invited a man by the name of Phil Freeman to preach. While preaching, he stopped and said, 'God is talking to me. There is someone here suffering from a kidney problem.' My mother answered, 'It's my daughter!' Rev. Freeman asked me to come to the front and I did. He looked at me and asked me about my problem.

"After I explained the situation to him, he asked me if I believed in Jesus and if I accepted Him as my Lord and Savior and I said 'Yes.' At that moment Rev. Freeman touched my ear, asked the church to reach out their hands to the heavens, and he began to pray. When he finished praying he looked at me and said, 'God told me to tell you that you are healed!'"

"Just 3 days later, on Wednesday, May 15th, I went to the hospital for surgery. When I awoke in the recovery room, the nurse was standing over me, smiling. She asked if I was OK and I said yes. By that time, my parents and grandparents were in the room, and Dr. Corwin came in and said, 'I don't know what happened, but there is absolutely nothing there!' He looked at me and said my kidneys were fine! I lay there for what seemed like a lifetime, thanking God, I've been healed!"

"Since then I've told my story to everyone I've met! I know that I serve a living God! A God of Grace and Mercy, a God who loves me unconditionally! And because of His love, His Grace and His Mercy, I am alive today! Therefore I will forever give God all the glory, and His praise shall forever be in my mouth!"

Sheraton is Educational Coordinator and Co-Host of a weekly television production The Forum, airing Saturdays throughout central Texas. She also is case manager and site manager for a county Youth Collaboration program... She continues to seek the Lord for His future regarding the two of them, Sheri and Mookie, now aged 5. She looks forward to God's miracle future for her!
Sheraton McCarter