Before trusting Christ with my life, at age 17 I was in a physically abusive and controlling relationship. On any given day, I’d show up to my job hung over or still drunk or high on pills. Often times, my “friends” would give me pills at work, and I’d take them without even knowing what they were, because frankly, I didn’t care most days. I spent my lunch break crying in my car and trying to talk myself into going back inside. It was at this job that God placed a wonderful, Godly role model in my life. She invited me to church. I attended many times, and I considered myself a believer in Christ, but I still felt so empty and lost. One Sunday morning I remember sitting there feeling so exposed, like everyone knew about the drugs I had been doing even that morning. I felt embarrassed and shameful. I questioned how Jesus could possibly care about me. I told myself that I could never be forgiven for all the things I had done. Then the band sang a song, and I felt as if I was the only one in the auditorium, and every word was meant just for me. “Come home running, his arms are open wide. His name is Jesus, and he understands. He is the answer you are looking for, so come home running, just as you are.” For the first time, I felt like I could be saved from the path I was going down. That morning I committed to living my life for Christ.
After trusting Christ, I was able to overcome my addiction. I feel at peace and full of life and love. I am blessed to be married to my middle school sweetheart and best friend. I have a family with Journey Church where I feel as though I really belong. I get to serve with the kids’ ministry and tell them how much Jesus loves them. Though I still make mistakes, my life is meaningful. I have purpose. I am blessed. I know I am loved.
Before I trusted Christ, I tried to control my own life. I worried about the future. I let my past regrets haunt my thoughts. I was unsure of who I was and what life was all about. I used alcohol to try and cope with the stresses of life. I let alcohol control my life gradually over time.
I found out through the Bible that Christ doesn’t want me to worry about the future or live in regret of the past. I decided all I had to do was to trust that everything would work out in his way, which the Bible says is good, because God is good. I decided that I could live a more peaceful, fulfilling life through Christ. Any wrongs done in my life were forgiven by Christ. I am one of God’s children, and he loves me. I will be with him in heaven when I die.
Since I decided to follow Christ, my life is new because I have let old habits and addictions go. I’ve realized that the only way to recover from alcoholism is through Christ. God is forever by my side, in my corner, rooting for me, guiding my direction, loving me. I now have the grace of God even though I do not deserve it. Now my life is peaceful, absent of anxiety and worry and full of hope because God is ultimately in control. I know that even on the hard, rough, difficult days, I can be grateful for the small things God has given me. God will give me just what I need to be happy. I can now share this new found love with others. I know that we are children of God who are always loved and graced by him.
Before I trusted Christ, I felt punished by God. My parents were alcoholics, and I was never good enough for their attention—and I felt I wasn’t good enough for God’s attention either because I thought he wouldn’t help me. I was neglected and abused and thought God ignored my cries for help, my demands to make my mommy and daddy stop drinking, stop yelling, stop being violent, stop ignoring me. When my brother died, I was 14, and he was 16. I thought I had reached my end point with God. I was ANGRY. Why would God put me through such a horrific childhood and then rip my brother from my life?
As I got into my late teens, I moved away from my parents with an older man, and I developed a toxic, co-dependent relationship. Every time he failed to show me love or make me happy, I thought it was God again, punishing me. Every time I would lose a job, a friend, a pet, a family member—I thought I was being punished, and I would ask WHY? Why are you doing this to me?
No matter how much I prayed, cried, begged, I thought God just wouldn’t answer me. I was in toxic relationship after toxic relationship. I would attach myself to people with addictive personalities, people hooked on drugs, alcohol, you name it. I wasn’t comfortable around “normal” people. It wasn’t until my mom went into recovery that I heard her version of my childhood and I received the most genuine apology that I forgave her—and I forgave God. I realized my elaborate expectations of God to erase every negative situation in my life were unreasonable.
We attended Journey’s Christmas Eve service in 2012, and I had an epiphany. God didn’t PUT me through my childhood, God GOT me through my childhood. Without the love and grace of Christ, I could very well be in the same shoes my parents were. I suffered; I cried; I experienced abuse—but God did not cause it. He was there with me as I was going through it. At that very first Journey Church service, my realizations led me to trust Christ fully. With each passing year, my trust and love for Christ have grown ever stronger.
Since I decided to follow Christ, I am no longer a victim. In Christ, I am strong. I am a survivor. I am God’s child. I now see that my life is made whole in Christ. I think back on some of the worst times, and I realize he was there the whole time! I was blinded by anger, disappointment, resentment. I couldn’t see him. I want to help others see him in each and every moment when they thought they were alone. I want to be the love of Christ to others.
Before I trusted Christ, my life wasn’t rich or fulfilling. I was spiritually empty, drained, lost. When I was younger, my family and I never went to church. I didn’t know much about Christ at all, except that his birthday was Christmas. I easily sinned and fell victim to temptation, but I realized that was not right.
I decided to trust in Christ by opening my heart and listening in depth about the
teachings of Jesus. Since I decided to trust Christ, I am happier. I engage in
conversation with people more. I feel more stable with God in all my relationships.