My heart is to help those who are suffering with any type of addiction. I am completely in love with Jesus, who has saved me from this world and the devil many, many times. I know my calling from the Lord is to help his children who are lost in this world who are suffering with addiction, mental disorders–anything that keeps them from knowing the never-ending love and peace of God! So I am sending you my testimony. I pray you read and share it if that’s what God tells you to do. Thank you for taking the time in reading a servant’s story of love to the King who saved me from this world!
When I was a little girl I would always imagine that this handsome prince would ride up and rescue me on his white stallion and take me away to live in his beautiful kingdom forever and ever and happily ever after. I was a very imaginative child. Well, my prince never came; men came who thought they were princes but they were the devil in disguise with a pretty smile. Here is my story of a little girl lost and always searching like a lost puppy for love!
From childbirth the enemy has tried to take me out . . . I was born at six months with complications; I had some lung disease and one of my lungs was not fully developed. In 1980 they did not have all the sophisticated medical machines and stuff like they do today. My mom always tells me the story of how they wheeled her into this room and showed her the x-rays of my lungs. The right lung did not look good but the left lung was fully drawled up like a fist (undeveloped). The doctors told my momma they had to take me to Indianapolis Children’s Hospital immediately to remove the lung. The doctors gave my mom the weekend and come Monday they were going to remove my lung. Well, over the weekend they took me to this church in Indiana and had me prayed for. Monday morning when I arrived at the Indianapolis Children’s Hospital they retook the x-rays of my lungs and showed it to my mom. My mom said that the doctor had the strangest look on his face because the lung that was once drawled up like a fist had miraculously developed into a full lung. The doctor told my mom there was no scientific explanation as to why this had happened and my mom smiled back and said, “No, but there is a God explanation.”
This was the first of many times the enemy tried to take my life either by overdosing, cutting myself, or being on the streets. And each and every time God said, “No, this one is mine!”
I remember my childhood being full of love and heartache. My father was not in the picture until I was eight years old. I remember before he came into the picture I would always look at other men with their children and long for a father and I could always tell if they were good fathers or not. Well, when my father came back into the picture my mom started to leave. She met a friend and started doing drugs. I did not know that then; I just knew that my mom and dad would always leave separately for days. My grandparents were the stable rock in my life. I have two brothers, Shawn and Gary, and they are older than me. My brothers and I always went to church on Sunday and Wednesday nights. Being that my grandfather was a preacher we always attended his church. I really enjoyed church, but my favorite part was singing with my grandparents on the way to church and on the way home. We would sing old gospel songs like In the Garden, Lily of the Valley, and How Great Thou Art. I think that is why, to this day, when I am down or scared I will catch myself singing these old songs. I find comfort in them!
I gave my heart to God and got saved and baptized when I was eight years old. I remember one time in church my grandfather was preaching one of his sermons and I just started crying hysterically. I don’t know why, but I did. My grandmother was sitting behind me and my grandfather looked at me from the pulpit and stopped his sermon and asked me, “Are you OK?” I loved him so dearly. He was such a godly and loving man! I was lucky to have him in my life for the short time I did. He died when I was 12 and that is when my life began the downward spiral. When he died my mother left. My dad was there, but just physically. And my grandmother was numb. I got put in DHR custody at that time by my own hands. I cut my wrists superficially; I desperately wanted attention and I called 911. The cops came and took me to–I guess it was–the DHR office? They asked if I wanted to go home and I said no. There was other stuff going on but I am not mentioning.
So began my life in the custody of the Department of Human Resources of Tennessee. I was in twenty-something different foster homes, group homes, psych hospitals, and shelters. In the beginning I liked all the attention and then I discovered how to play the system and say what they wanted to hear. For example, if I wanted to be rewarded and move up in levels (the higher the level the more privileges) I would say and do what I knew they wanted to hear and see me do. If I just wanted to be defiant I would act out in various ways. These years are a blur to me. I learned how to protect myself by hiding out at times and by reinventing my identity on many occasions to fit in with my surroundings. I discovered at twelve how cutting myself would relieve all the different emotions I was feeling at once but still it left me numb. I did this numerous times and some of the times were almost fatal. I was put on so many medications that one time my grandmother came and saw me and said I was just staring and drooling. I remember one day they took me to the state hospital to perform an EEG on my brain and the lady conducting this test told me that I would be institutionalized the rest of my life. So I believed that and continued to act out even more. I just wanted my life to go back to before when I was with all my family and everyone was together. I was longing for love–real love–but that longing would be unfulfilled for many more years. Finally, at 16, I ran away to Nashville and I lost my virginity when some guy raped me. The girl I ran away with and I were caught and sent to juvi (juvenile detention). Then I returned to the group home that I was in and stayed a little bit longer until I ran away again. This time my grandmother and oldest brother Shawn came and picked me up and I went to Huntsville, Alabama to live with them. My brother Shawn was always my protector and faced his own demons of addiction, but he had a heart of gold!
When I was 16 my brother Shawn got killed in a car wreck, and once again my world got tossed upside down. He was such an amazing brother, but like many of my family members including my other brother, was struggling with addictions. Shawn’s car wreck involved him drinking and a telephone pole. Shortly after this I began drinking with my friends to numb everything! With drinking my boundaries were tossed out the window and I learned that people always want something from you and it is usually your body. So I used it to my advantage at times. When I was 18 I was introduced to an even darker world of drugs and sex. I met this individual who knew all the right words to say. He engaged me in so many horrible things and one of these was drugs. My drug use started innocently enough with GHB and ecstasy. I was at the time fascinated and excited because I had this new group of older individuals who accepted me like we were a small family. This guy used me and became almost like a father figure/pimp. But no matter all the bad stuff he did the one thing that I had never experienced before was we would talk for hours. I mean we would stay up all night on the front porch and talk. He would give me his version of advice and I would just melt in his grips even more. He gave me the type of attention I had been searching for my whole life. But he knew what he was doing and he used my naivete to his advantage. To say the least it ended with DEA videotapes and me working at a spa.
After this misadventure I became hooked on cocaine, crack, and any other type of stimulant. Like I mentioned I was working in spas at this time and I also began to escort. I made sure I was blasted on one type of drug or another before I engaged in anything. I was so numb and when I wasn’t numb I was searching for a way to become numb again. I didn’t care if I lived or died and I didn’t care that every time I slept with a stranger I lost another piece of my soul. So what! Nothing mattered but the drugs.
God tried to open my eyes and I became pregnant at the age of 19 and seven short months later he blessed me with a beautiful child. I stayed sober while I was pregnant but one year later I went to the next level . . . using needles.
First I started shooting up cocaine and then I met my favorite of all drugs–crystal meth. This drug was the scariest of them all. With this drug you never knew how high you were until the next day. When I was on crystal I ended up all over Alabama chasing that high; well, chasing the people who could get me high. Every person I ended up with treated me so harshly but I didn’t care. I sure didn’t love myself and so I expected others to feel the same and they did. Crystal lasted a little while but then the next stage of my drug life began; I started doing crack. I was hanging in the most run-down, nasty-looking places. The people I was with were so far gone in this drug world they did not care about anything or anybody. One thing I noticed though–whenever these people were sober they wished they had never started doing drugs and some even cried. So I started thinking that in every addict there is a seed of hope; if you can nourish that seed and spread light on it then you can through Jesus save their soul.
I began to prostitute–I mean really prostituting–this time walking down the streets. Some nights I would catch myself singing some of my grandmother’s old gospel hymns she use to sing, as I was walking. I would think back on my childhood at times, remembering my grandfather up at the pulpit, preaching and smiling at me. I remembered the day I got baptized when I was eight years old. Where did I go wrong? How did I go from being a preacher’s granddaughter to a prostitute addicted to crack? All I wanted in the beginning was to find a friend. I wanted to find someone to love me and accept me for me. Yeah sure, I have my family at home who loves me and is worried about me, so why isn’t that enough? Why do I always come back to this lifestyle? Why do I want to cause myself and my family so much pain?
At this time I took an overdose of some pills and was found face down on the floor of the apartment of this guy I was living with. I wasn’t breathing. No one knows how long I was not breathing because the guy I lived with had left for work about six that morning and did not return until four or five that afternoon and I had taken all the pills the night before. So no one really knows how long I was, well, for lack of a better word, “dead.” The last thing I remember before taking all those pills was it’s never going to end and it’s always going to be this way. I was put in ICU for three days with a breathing tube and the only thing I remember was hallucinating–seeing this beautiful garden and trying to get to it but could not. And I was not talking right. I would talk and in my brain it made sense but the words that came out my mom said were gibberish. The doctors told my grandmother they were worried about brain damage because of lack of oxygen to my brain. My brain is fine now (I think). Well, this time the state committed me to a state hospital in Decatur. I was put back on meds again. I stayed a month and went home.
My family often asked me why I didn’t just quit. How could I put them through all this? I never intended to purposely hurt the ones that loved me. But they just did not understand I wanted to quit but couldn’t. Every time I tried this image of doing drugs and the feeling I got when I did them popped up in my head and then I had to have the drug. It was almost like I became another person and my family’s existence became obsolete.
Finally, after so many horrific things I experienced–after being in jail, after knowing several girls being killed, after being in the devil’s palm for so long–for the first time in years I truly cried out to God. I was lying on the floor in some apartment surrounded by people and in my mind I cried out, God, if you will give me a way out I will take it; I am so tired God. So tired of living like this, not knowing where I am going to sleep, not knowing if I will wake up tomorrow, not wanting to wake up tomorrow. Please God–please help me. And he did.
After that experience I went home to my mother whom I have hurt so badly so many times. I would love to say that I lived happily ever after, but that is not true. The years that followed were even harder than the previous years when I was on drugs. The battle in my mind was so strong, so constant; at times I questioned my sanity. The enemy was trying to win, but the Holy Spirit that now resided in me was pulling me closer. I will admit I did give in to temptation a few times. One of those times landed me back in jail again. But as the years passed and my spiritman became stronger I did not want drugs. I had to be healed from the inside out by God and my brain had to be rewired. But I was getting better by the grace of God and God alone. I rededicated my life to my loving savior Jesus. I have been off the streets completely for nearly six years (the longest since this drug war began). I completed my schooling for Medical Assistant (first thing in my life that I have ever completed).
When I look back now over the past years I am baffled at what I did and how sneaky the devil and his army can be, but most importantly I am amazed at how wonderful, loving, and forgiving God is.
I still battle with the same mind-games the devil plays with my mind. But now the difference is I know that’s what it is–just another tactic the enemy uses to try to steal your peace and sidetrack you from your walk with God.
I will forever live with the scars on my body that the life I used to live has left. But that is OK because for the first time in my life I have eternal happiness and I have finally found a true friend after searching in all the wrong places. He was always there just waiting for me to cry out to him. My real true friend is Jesus. I have been off drugs and off all medications for nearly six years. My God has healed me and truly loves me! At times the fear tries to overcome me but then I just remember where God brought me from and this little stumbling block is nothing!
I am literally learning to live again. For so many years I allowed others to control me and shape me into who they wanted me to be and I lost who I really was. God has taught me it is OK to not be perfect and to not understand everything, but just to trust in him and he will lead the way. I am learning to love again and accept love from others.
If I could just say one thing to those who have loved ones who are battling with any type of addiction: just keep in mind that the Jesus you taught them when they were children is still in them today. Your loved one still remembers the Jesus of their childhood, and that same Jesus will save them from their demons that they are facing today. I know; that is what saved me. You may think that taking your children to church did not mean a thing. But actually, taking your children to church and bringing them up in the Lord will save them and it will come back to them in God’s time–not in your time. God knows and hears all your prayers and your tears; he is just waiting until the right time to go to your loved one’s soul and knock on the door and say, “Come home my child, come home. All is forgiven.”
Since this was written I have discovered God is really real and his love is enduring and neverending. I am beginning to love myself and my self-esteem is slowly recovering! I have learned that I do not need a man to define who I am or to be happy because Jesus is everything that I need! I am beginning to learn to see myself through the eyes of my father and what I see is no longer a little lost girl searching in every corner for love and acceptance from anybody and in any way. No, what I am beginning to see is a young woman who has conquered all that the enemy has thrown at me to try to destroy me (thus far). I am a beautiful princess who is adored by her father and I AM FORGIVEN! My prince on the white stallion was always there to rescue me; I was just blinded by sin so much that I could not see him!
This year has been full of heartache, trial, and change. But through it all God has been developing his character in me so that his love can flow freely through me. I hear his voice more clearly than ever before and I know that greatness is ahead. I know that life will always have surprises, some of which will devastate, but I know in whom I trust and he will strengthen me in those times and love me with the fatherly love that only he can.