Shared with permission . . . .
Before coming to Vision of Hope, I was just another lost soul trying to understand the world around me. My whole life I have always desired and searched for love and a purpose. I remember searching and longing for answers but never knowing where to turn or who to believe. I was making my way believing the lies of the world that freedom comes from doing whatever you want, and that my purpose in life was to be independent and do whatever made me happy. I was very selfish and pleasure driven. I lived for the moment and self and because of that I opened myself up and accepted the drug culture.
I began using when I was in college at the age of 20. My drug use began small, thinking that I was in control of my life and usage. I maintained a job, relationships, school, etc. Before too long though, instead of me controlling the drugs…they began to control me, and I became enslaved. It was a ten year downward spiral. I dropped out of school, cut off relationships with my parents and family, and used friends to meet my needs. I lived in my car for a period of time, because I didn’t have anywhere to live. I ended up not only using but also manufacturing and distributing. Following this was a repetitious cycle of realizing I was in trouble, trying to clean up on my own, and then ending right back where I started.
During this whole time period my purpose in life was to be with my boyfriend and be loved by him and to live the hippie lifestyle. In Aug 2003, I found out I was pregnant with our first baby, so I decided to clean up right away. I knew I wanted to keep the baby and my boyfriend decided we would get married. We stayed clean for about a year and a half and slowly, because I tried doing it on my own, the drugs came back into our life. In Sept 2006, our second baby was born, and I stopped using drugs again. But shortly after having her the pressures of life, being a mother of two, working, maintaining a household, and paying bills became overwhelming I went back to what I knew would numb me from having to deal with the problems.
The downward spiral began again. We started using, used our money to buy drugs instead of paying bills, and eventually began selling again, because we didn’t have any money. This time the downward spiral was quick, and I realized I couldn’t do it anymore, was tired of living a lie, being a million different people to everyone, putting up facades, and I felt guilty about raising children in that environment. I was constantly afraid that my children were going to get taken away from us.
So at Christmas time 2008, I acknowledged that we had a problem, and I knew something needed to happen. I allowed the kids to be cared for by my in-laws while I tried once again to quit my habit on my own. This time it didn’t work. I couldn’t kick the habit. I continued to use even though I had lost everything.
The last month before seeking help I realized I didn’t want to use anymore, but I kept using and using. My drug of choice was no longer working for me, and I was completely enslaved. I was so overcome by my guilt and shame that I knew I needed to ask for help to go to rehab.
Thank God for bringing me to the end of myself, so I could see that Jesus is the only way and that I alone cannot defeat this sin, but in Christ Jesus and His sacrifice for me on the cross I can overcome it.
After humbling myself and coming clean to my family, I searched out help and God in His Sovereignty brought me to Vision of Hope. After being here, and being taught from God’s word, I have accepted Christ as not only my savior, but the Lord of my life. God’s word is absolute truth. God’s word has given me all the answers to my questions and how to live a godly life. His word has taught me what my purpose in life is. God has called me to do three things…
1. To bring honor and glory to his name. I am to be the visible representation of the invisible God.
2. To be a good steward of the gifts that he has given me in my life. Stewardship means that God owns everything and I own nothing. God has entrusted me with what I have. I can increase or decrease these gifts but God expects me to increase them, and finally God can call me into account at anytime.
3. My final purpose is to fulfill my God given role as a woman, which for me includes being a wife and mother.
His word really is a double edge sword and has to power to transform lives. It really came down to trust and obey for me. I knew the ways I was trying before did not deliver the desires I was after, but God’s way does and God is faithful. I am a sinner saved by grace, and I walk daily in the power of the Holy Spirit. Because I’ve been given this chance to work through drug abuse I’ve not only been able to deal with that problem completely so I am not a slave to that anymore, I’ve also been able to see the relationships with others in my life improve. Even though my husband and I are both dealing with our own sets of consequences for past choices, I’ve been able to focus attention and energy on rebuilding my marriage so that it honors God. I’m learning how to understand Biblical roles in marriage and how to implement them into our unique situation right now. Now that I have learned that marriage is a picture of Christ and the church I am committed to fulfilling the role of being a wife to my husband even when it’s hard. At the present moment, because of the consequences of your choices, we are not living together but I am very excited for the day that God reconciles us as husband and wife.
Because of my choices, my children have suffered tremendously. They have been living for the past 9 months without their mommy and daddy, but I’m so thankful that I have learned how to be the kind of mother that God commands me to be. I’ve been learning how to raise them in the fear and admonition of the Lord, and I’m very thankful for the growth that I’ve experienced ,because now I am reuniting with my kids on the weekends and being able to put into practice the truth that I’ve learned as I parent them. I’m also very excited for the reunification of the kids back to our family.
My relationships with my parents and my husband’s parents have also benefitted greatly from learning how to love and follow God. Instead of building my relationships on lies and deception I’m able to have even more meaningful relationships, because it’s based on truth and transparency.
God really has made me a new creation. I give Him the praise and glory.
I am so thankful for this ministry and the people that are willing to live for God and let His light shine for all to see. I am thankful that God has chosen me as one of his children and that I can be his visible representation. I am no longer a slave to sin. My chains are gone and I have been set free thanks to God’s amazing love and grace. I know have been taught my purpose in life and that is to glorify God and do His will.