I was a drug addict facing years in jail, hopeless and on a path to death. The only reason I stand here today to share this story with you is by the grace of God and His love that never stopped pursuing me. It is through Jesus that I received healing from drug addiction. It is because of Jesus that I was healed of mental illness. Because of Jesus, I am alive.
This is my story of freedom.
Despite being raised by Christian family that showed me the love of Jesus my whole life, I never accepted it. Instead, I ran from it. By the time I was 16, I was addicted to drugs and was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. I was losing my ability to speak and reason, and I was confused all of the time. Often I would remember people talking around me, and I would have no idea what they were talking about and I would take offense. When I would try to speak, I could only speak half a sentence. The last year before I got arrested, I struggled with multiple personalities along with anger. I was too destructive. I was far from God.
One day, I had an encounter with the Lord for the first time in my life. I went to my parents house, despite the rarity of going there. I was there alone, and although I had never had the desire before, something prompted me to turn on worship music. The power of God hit me like a ton of bricks, and i broke down crying. I had believed God was out there, but it wasn’t until this moment that I realized that he loved me and cared about me. I told my parents I would go to rehab.
Then I bailed. I didn’t go.
Two weeks later I was arrested.
This was my turning point. I turned to the Lord.
I was facing years in prison and realized that if nothing changed, I would either end up in prison for the rest of my life or end up dead. Sitting in my jail cell, I gave my life to the Lord. Immediately I was delivered from mental illness and drug addiction.
Soon, I realized I was able to reason. I could process the difference between right and wrong. I was able to hold conversations with people in a matter of weeks. Within a month, I was able to read about a book a day, and I was able to begin the process of finding out more of who Jesus is and read the Bible. All of which I could not do prior to surrendering my life to God. Jesus had healed me, and for the four months I was in jail, I studied His Word, and discovered so much more of who He is.
Jesus healed me.
When I got out of jail, I joined Teen Challenge, which is a faith based drug and alcohol rehabilitation center. For a season of life, I was able to tune out distractions of the world and find my identity in Christ. It was a season of fasting. Fasting from old friends, “worldly” things, and a secular worldview. I only focused on what Jesus is saying.The vocal point of my journey was not so much the addiction, but fixating my heart on Jesus.
I do not believe that once you are an addict, you are always an addict. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says that in Him we are a “new creation.” The old has passed away, and the new has come.
When you fix your heart on Jesus, things can’t stay the same. He leads you into entirely new restoration. Allow Jesus to be your fixation. Some things happen immediately. Others take time and renewing your mind. Just focusing on what Jesus is saying. Let Jesus be the only thing that matters. Perk your attention on Jesus.
I went from staying up for weeks on Meth to pursuing the heart of Jesus. As I gave up my drugs to God, I found healing from drug addiction. I was able to work at Teen Challenge and mentor other people who had been through similar things, and encourage them with the freedom I had found in Christ. I realized it was one thing for God to deliver me, but it was another to watch him deliver others through me. My greatest pain had become a great joy, and what the enemy intended for evil, God turned around to bring glory to His name.
Because of my experiences, I limited myself. I didn’t realize i could live in the regular world. I thought my ministry was limited to helping people find healing from drug addiction. But here I am, doing a Discipleship Training School at YWAM, and I am realizing that there is so much for me. God has been showing me that having gone through addiction doesn’t limit my capacity for ministry. I am realizing through DTS that there is a whole world of possibilities. I am realizing that He sees me and wants to use me, even greater than I ever imagined.
There is more in store for you, too.
The whole world is in front of you. I have seen some of the most beautiful and creative minds wasted because they have limited themselves. I am realizing through DTS that there is a whole world of possibilities. God sees me and wants to use me. He sees you and wants to use you, too.
It was Jesus. No rehab, no 12 step program, nothing could bring the freedom but Jesus.
Like I was, you might be seeking to take a season to focus on Jesus. Come dive into a community of people who are like minded and seeking Jesus with their whole heart.
Be a part of our Discipleship Training School. Your life will never be the same!