"Do you remember a point in your life when you accepted Jesus as your Savior?" I asked.

"I was five," Amanda said.

Marlene was vague, "Yes, about eight or nine years ago."

That would have been the last time she'd hit a really low point in her life. She had come to Jesus, but hadn't totally submitted to him. Now she was at another low point. Jim had been right. It was their choice to come to Jesus. Our job was to love them and pray for them. We couldn't do it for them.

This was a new start for both of them. A new beginning. Then Marlene showed us her new purse. Again. She'd been quite proud of the fact that Amanda wanted to buy matching purses at Wal-mart. This time she pointed out the key chain she had attached to it weeks before when they'd bought the purses. The key chain read, "'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.'  Jeremiah 29:11-13"

We sat stunned as we remembered the morning's sermon about living a Christian life. The pastor had opened with Jeremiah 29:11! Across the front of the church was a banner that read, "The Year of the Open Door." Marlene and Amanda were starting the New Year by choosing to walk through the open door that Jesus always leaves open to us. I began the New Year with a renewed faith in God's provision for my sister and niece.

Marlene didn't go back to that church, or another church. Her drinking continued throughout the year. The devastation of social services putting Amanda in foster care hastened Marlene's spiraling descent until she hit bottom. Amanda is now in a Christian foster home and attends church every week. Marlene has stopped drinking and is working regularly. She isn't going to church, but she's leaning more on Christ.

I continue to pray and watch as God unfolds the results of that special year. I remind my sister, my niece, and myself of the promise in Jeremiah. God does have a plan for them. God's plan doesn't look at all like Cherry's plan, however. I can still feel my husband squeezing my hand and feel his familiar assurance and warning: Trust God, Cherry. You're always trying to do His work for Him.

Cherry Pedrick is the coauthor of The OCD Workbook Second Edtition, The Habit Change Workbook (also in Polish), The BDD Workbook (also in Polish), Helping Your Child with OCD (also in Chinese), and Loving Someone with OCD: New Harbinger Publications; Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and Anxiety Disorders: Lerner Publications. Visit her at www.cherrypedrick.com.