Terri Cadiente is a wife, mom, life coach, stuntwoman and jet-ski world record holder—who once ended up in a gutter.
Terri grew up in a broken home and felt unloved. It “tinted” her perception of life, she says, and she didn’t have the internal structure to know which way to go. The external structure of high school guided her, but after she graduated, when that structure was gone, her life turned upside down. She says, “I just imploded in a big way.”
She became a drug addict and fought that battle for more than seven years. But one night, Terri had a life-changing epiphany: “I found myself bloodied and laying in a greasy gutter of the street and that’s when I said to God, ‘If You’re who You say You are, will You help me?’ … I realized for the first time in my life that I had a choice in the matter.”
Terri explains that God showed her how great she is, that she has value. She knew life was worth living. “I pushed up from the ground that night, and I walked away from that gutter. And I wasn’t sure exactly where I was going, but I knew with every step I would never return back,” she says.
“I was walking away into a new direction. … My identity was not going to be wrapped up in being a drug addict. I was choosing a different way.”
She did not go through a program but was clean after a short time in recovery. She says God gave her the grace to make the choice. “I chose to walk it with Him.”
She has come a long way since that night in the gutter 21 years ago. As a stuntwoman, she worked on the TV show 24 for the last three years and has been a stunt double for Jessica Simpson and Lindsay Lohan. She is also a 15-year Kawasaki world-record holder and has been a life coach for the last six years. Now she is moving out of stunt work to fully concentrate on coaching. Her life message and passion is to “champion the authentic identity of every individual.” She says her heart beats for the freedom of each person.
Terri hasn’t always lived in the freedom she wants to help others attain. She says that because of what she experienced as a young person, fear was her master. She says the enemy uses fear to confound and imprison people. She believes she is to be an advocate for the restoration of people’s honor and dignity.
One group she is passionately seeking to restore is those exploited by the sexual slave trade. On a visit to Taipei, Taiwan, she saw firsthand the reality of this horrible business. She was certainly burdened for those victimized in that country. But when she returned home, she became even more indignant. She says Americans, and even more so Christians, should be concerned and outraged about this type of bondage. “Slavery of any kind is not OK,” she adds.
To help people understand the horror of sex trade reality, Terri created the seven-minute documentary Stuck in Traffic. When people watch it she wants them to be still for a minute and receive what they see, but also to be uncomfortable enough to react.
Terri is reaching out to a larger audience with her new book, Live Courageously. She wants to help readers “choose to be the real you,”to accept themselves and the way God has made them, and not try to be somebody else. She explains, “Living courageously … has to do with experiencing the freedom to be who we really are. And that’s not outwardly, but it’s inside where it counts. … Oftentimes we see our identities as like being tied to what we do. … Identity has much more to do with our being than our doing.”
Terri has overcome many obstacles to live a courageous life. She shares her heart to help others confront their fear and shame so they too can live in victory and freedom.