When Michelle Hughes’ brother and father passed away within a year of each other, a continual sensation washed over her pain — peace.
“At that point I realized that I had been praying,” she said. “I just didn’t know who I was talking to or if anybody was listening.”
Michelle, who was 29 when her brother was struck and killed by a car in late 2013, endured years of strife with his addiction to alcohol. After he died, she was overcome with a foreign tug of hope and relief. God was with her, she knew. When her father died unexpectedly in January 2015, she felt the need to find her first church.
“I didn’t know what to expect,” she said. “I didn’t even know if I was going to be let in.”
Without a Bible or an idea of what she was supposed to do, Michelle popped into several places at random, still feeling God’s presence. After 10 months of searching, Dominic Spencer, Michelle’s friend and coworker, invited her to try Red Rocks Church. She attended a Saturday service in Littleton.
“I remember where I sat,” said Michelle. “At one point I stepped back and looked at everything and I got so overwhelmed. Everyone was happy to be there and it was just safe and warm.”
Michelle, who grew up playing the cello and dancing, was particularly drawn to the music.
“Every time after that, [the sermon] was about Jesus making sacrifices and teaching people who He was with,” she said. “It was followed up with ‘You are loved.’”
Her new relationship with Jesus brought her strong encouragement.
“I have never felt unconditionally loved,” said Michelle, who struggled with feeling adequate in her family. “To be told that I am is really powerful. That was one of the turning, very impactful moments for me.”
Michelle’s life has changed completely. She will be baptized this week, a public declaration of her new relationship with Jesus.
“I have a lot to learn and that’s ok,” she said. “This is for me. It just feels right.”