Can you imagine?

I have always struggled with a deep emptiness that was inside of me. I
started drinking, smoking, and doing drugs when I was about thirteen
years old. I chose a life of rebellion and self destructive behavior. I
thought I had nothing to live for and I just did not care what happened
to me. I was going to enjoy my life and go through it feeling as little
as possible. I never knew that I was created to love and to be loved. I
never knew that what I was truly searching for was something to fill
the big, empty void inside of me. I didnít know that I would end up
being a drug addict, an alcoholic, and an anorexic just to name a few. On
top of all my addictions, I was diagnosed as a manic depressive. The
only way to describe this horrible mental illness is to compare it to a
roller coaster ride. One day you are on top of the world and the next,
you are in a totally debilitating depression. I have been hospitalized
in various psychiatric facilities, for attempting to end my life
, six times since age fourteen. Twice I have succeeded. My heart has
stopped beating on several occasions and I have been resuscitated many
times. My last attempt was fatal. I took a lethal dose of alcohol and
pills and ended up on life support. My family was called in to say
goodbye to me because the doctors felt I would not live through this. They
had about a three hour ride down and by the time they arrived, I had
been taken off life support and was miraculously breathing on my own!
Iím not sure why God chose to breathe air back into my broken body, but
He did. I started to wonder if there was a God and why on earth would He
bring someone like me back to life. Most people would think that after
a few wake up calls like that, Iíd be grateful. But I wasnít.

It didnít take me long to sink right back down to where I was
before this happened. I had been drug free for about eight years by then but
was drinking very heavily. I would constantly forget to take my
medication for my mental illness and I really didnít care either. To make a
very long story short, I finally hit rock bottom and I knew deep in my
soul that if I didnít surrender to God, I would end up dead. That was
July 14, 2001 and I havenít had a drink since. As a matter of fact, I
have been off all medication for my manic depression since February
2002. That in itself is another miracle because many doctors told me that
I, like my sister and father, would have to be on medication for the
rest of my life. The Lord spoke very clearly to me and told me He wanted
me to have total freedom and He wanted me to be totally dependant on

On that night back in July 2001, I cried out to God. I asked Him if
He cared about me at all, He needed to come save me quick because I
couldnít live like this anymore. I was so full of despair and
hopelessness that I cried and cried for what seemed like hours. Then a funny thing
happened. I felt so calm and peaceful. I had never felt peace in my
entire life. Then it hit me what I had done. I had no idea what to do now
but I knew that I had to find a church and quickly. At that instant, it
was like God spoke to me and told me to go to The Church of the
Redeemer. I was living in Frederick at the time and had no clue where this
place was. Again, God told me to go surf the internet and find it! I went
online and was glad when I found it and knew I wasnít hearing voices
and going crazy! I immediately saw that they had a recovery program and
knew without a doubt this is where I belonged.

I will never forget the first time I walked into the church. I sat in my car
in the parkinglot for a long time and thought that when I walked through the doors,
they would see what an awful person I was. I felt like I was marked
with a giant ďSĒ on me that stood for sinner. I didnít give in to
that feeling. I walked in and actually sat up close to the front. As the
music began to play, I looked around and saw many people with their
eyes closed and their hands lifted in the air and I thought to myself,
wow, do they really love God that much? I met many people that night from
the single adult ministry who took me in and prayed with me. It was the
first time in my entire life that I felt like someone cared about me.
One of the guys in the group asked me for my testimony and I had no idea
what he was talking about so I asked him what he meant. He then shared
his past with me. I was blown away! This complete stranger told me he
used to drink and do drugs and became a Christian in jail. I had been
sober 3 days and I couldnít ever imagine then that I would one day
want to share my testimony with everyone I met too! I entered the church
that night feeling dirty and full of shame, and by the time I came home
that night, I knew without a doubt that my life would never be the same.

I was always so ashamed of my past. I believed that no one could or
ever would love me. I was carrying around so much guilt, shame, and self
hatred. I didnít know that there was a God who knew my every thought.
Who knew all my pains, my hurts, and all my sins. I didnít know that
He knew how many hairs were on my head and that He saw my body being
formed in my mothers womb. I have learned that I am forgiven and loved.
I have also learned that I no longer have to be trapped in my old way
of thinking. My recovery group, Celebrate Recovery, has taught me how to
deal with the pains of my past so I can begin to live a life worthy of
Christ. I donít want to just be sober or have periods of abstinence,
I want to have the freedom, the joy, and the peace that God wants me to have

I never thought He could love me, after all I had broken all of
his commandments. I had two abortions, how could HE forgive that? How
could He cherish me when I didnít cherish life itself? I donít
deserve His love, which is exactly my point. It is a gift called grace. A gift
I have finally been able to receive. God loves you and me so much that
He sent His only son to die for us. Can you imagine? Someone who would
take your place and die so you could be forgiven from your sins?
Someone who could take away all your pain, your shame, your heartache, if
only you would ask Him to? I can promise you that if you trust Him with
your life, it will never be the same either. I have learned that with
Jesus Christ in my heart, there is no room for drugs, alcohol, guilt, or
shame. I left all those at the foot of the cross. My favorite and first
scripture I memorized is

Romans 5:8, ď This is how God demonstrates His love for us; While we
were STILL sinners, Christ died for usĒ.

He wasnít crucified on a cross after I surrendered my life to Him! It
was while I was a drug addict! While I was an alcoholic! While I was
taking the life of an unborn child! While I was starving myself and trying
to kill the very life He gave me. I could go on and on, but whatís
the sense?

Ultimately, you have to make a decision. Will you choose to live your
life for yourself? Will you choose to live your life for the present and
without ever knowing true love and forgiveness? He wants to love you
and heal you of your hurts, encourage you, and forgive you. All you have
to is ask. Itís that simple. All I did was cry out to God to come
help me. And He did.

Testimony submitted to the Breadsite. To submit yours click here.