It was the deepest valley of my life… everything of value was taken from me (Florica Chereches, former MP in Romania, on her life in 1991)
At the recent trainers’ gathering in Riga, former Member of Parliament in Romania, Florica Chereches, shared her own incredible story of how God lifted her up from the deepest of depths, to positions of great influence and power in her country. She also explained why she shares Innovista’s vision for raising up a new generation of Christian leaders to serve in challenging contexts.
Florica’s rise to prominence in her hometown of Oradea could hardly have seemed less likely thirty years ago, after a family tragedy completely turned her life around. In the space of only six months (in 1991), she lost her job as a mechanical engineer in the recession, became pregnant with her third child, and then found herself a widow, after her 35-year-old husband (a well-known musician and professor) died in a car accident.
Help through hardship
It was in this time of great shock and sorrow that she entered what she called the ‘deepest valley’ of her life. She clung to God’s comfort and direction, as not only was her family heart-broken, but she had no idea how she was going to make ends meet. She sensed God drawing her to read Psalm 34, which she read out aloud each day. This regular reminder of God’s guiding hand was hugely important to her, even though she initially struggled with the verses about praise.
Road to recovery
To support her family she took a job teaching the recorder, and went on to work as a translator, which required her son to teach her how to use a computer. She eventually remarried (two years after the accident) and had a fourth child, only to find herself unemployed once again, at the age of 39. Fortunately, an opportunity arose to become a director of a new micro-financing organisation that supported women at risk. She spent eight years in the role, during which she encouraged and helped many women to start or expand small businesses.
The job opened up a new chapter in her life, as she was unexpectedly put forward by her church for a city counsellor position. She had no previous desire to be a politician, but the incoming Mayor wanted to recruit some new members with Christian principles and integrity. She went on to become Deputy Mayor, before entering full-time politics as a Member of Parliament for eight years, and eventually Secretary of State / President of the National Authority for the disabled, children and adoption (serving for a year).
Forged for service
As a shy girl who had had difficult experiences as both a child and adult, she hoped her story would encourage those going through testing times. God had not only helped her in a difficult chapter of her life, but the trials ended up preparing her for a life of service. By focusing on connecting with God, the source of all power, she discovered her deepest valley turned out to be a ‘launching pad for everything that came after.’
She wanted Christians to realise that, as her life showed, God can do extraordinary things with ordinary people, as he did with Esther and Joseph in the Bible. Time and time again she felt unqualified or unable for the responsibility she was given, but she saw the opportunities as being from God, as well as ways of doing good and helping her community. That is why she believes it is so important to remain open to where God is calling you, and also to be ready to work hard when you get there.
Faith for the future
With so many events around the world driven by hate and greed, there is an urgent need for more Christian leaders who are willing to stand up and make a positive difference in the lives of those around them – for people who get their values and vision from the Bible, and who are committed to serving with justice, love and humility. The impact of this could be absolutely vast because God can achieve a huge amount through anyone, if they are open to it. That is why following God’s call is so important because, as she summed up, ‘Only transformed people can transform their communities – and we desperately need transformation.’
Supporting leaders where they're needed most. Innovista identifies, equips and develops Christian leaders working in challenging locations.
Together with our partners, every year we mentor and train over 1500 leaders in the UK, Ireland, Ukraine, Central Asia, Moldova and beyond.
Our leaders are transforming their communities, leading churches, ministries, businesses and social action groups, and sharing their faith. Inspired by Jesus, we're helping to grow and build a better world.