My Testimony

I used to struggle 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 behaviors. 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 didn’t 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 suffered with 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. My family lived about three hours away and by the time they arrived, I had been taken off life support and was miraculously breathing on my own! I’m 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 if so, 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, I’d be grateful. But I wasn’t. It didn’t take me long to sink right back down to where I was before this happened. I started drinking very heavily. To make a very long story short, I finally hit rock bottom and I knew deep down that if I didn’t surrender to God, I would end up dead.

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 help me quick because I couldn’t 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, I felt like God was telling me to go to The Church of the Redeemer. I was living in Frederick at the time and had no clue where this church was. Again, I felt a prompting by God to go look on the internet and find it. I went online and was glad when I found it and knew I wasn’t 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 parking lot and thought that if I walked through the doors of the church, they would see what an awful person I was. I felt that I was marked with a scarlet “S” on me that stood for sinner. I didn’t give in to my feelings though. I walked in and actually sat only a few rows back from 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 who took me in and prayed with me and for me. It was the first time in my life I actually felt like someone really cared about me. One of the guys in the group asked me to share my testimony and I had no idea what he was talking about so I asked him. He asked me for my story. I said I am an alcoholic and I want to change my life. He then shared his testimony with me and told me all about how he used to drink and do drugs and actually became a Christian in jail. I was kind of shocked because of how open he was with his past. I had been sober 3 days and I couldn’t ever imagine then that I would one day want to share my testimony with everyone I meet 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 didn’t know that there was a God who knew my every thought. Who knew all my pains, my hurts, and all my sins. I have learned that I am forgiven and loved. I have also learned that I no longer have to be trapped by my old way of thinking. My recovery group, Celebrate Recovery taught me how to deal with the pains of my past so I can begin to live a life worthy of Christ. I don’t 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 that I could have all these things. I never thought He could love me, after all I broke all of his commandments. I had two abortions, how could He forgive that? How could He cherish me when I didn’t cherish life myself? I didn’t deserve His love.

Which is exactly my point. I don’t deserve any on it. 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 would take away all your pain, your shame, your heartache if only you would ask Him to? All you have to ask Him. I know it can seem scary. Trust me, I have been there. I can promise you that if you trust Him, your life 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, “ This is how Christ shows His love for us, That while we were STILL sinners, He died for us”! He wasn’t crucified on a cross after I surrendered my life to Him! It was while I was a drug addict and an alcoholic! He wants to love you, heal you of your hurts, encourage you, and forgive you. All you have to ask. It’s that simple. All I did was cry out to God to come and help me. And He did.
So many people I share with can’t believe how much my life has been transformed in since I gave my heart to Jesus. It’s so hard for me to even remember feeling so hopeless that the only way I thought I could handle the pain was to end my life. If I wasn’t the one living through all this, I am not sure that I would believe it!

If someone would have told me that today I would be sober, drug free, healed from depression, married to a godly man, have a Bachelor of Theology degree and living a life in abundance I would have told them they were crazy! God has blessed me and shown me mercy that is indescribable.
2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come.”

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8 Comments

  1. bellissimanh said,

    Isn’t God good!! I’m so thankful that He brought you to a point of being able to share your past so that others might know of His mercy and love. His power is displayed so beautifully in your weakness… thank You for letting Him be glorified by what He has done in your life. Amazing testimony!

    Heather

  2. forgiven & set free said,

    May the Lord continue to bless you. As I read your testimony – it was as if I was reading my own. God is so gracious and faithful!!! Thank you for sharing your story and allowing others to see the love and grace of Jesus Christ through your life.

  3. Shayna said,

    That is an amazing story. God’s love for us even when we are unlovely is so powerful and so beautiful it brings me to my knees, just wanting to worship Him.
    Thank you for taking the time to write it out and share it. ❤

  4. David Newell said,

    Rachel,
    Debbie and I so enjoyed meeting you a few weeks ago. We are so thankful that the Lord brought you into Ken’s life. I have spent some time reading through your Blog. It is very inspiring! You have a very powerful Testimony. We look forward to getting to know you better and spending more time with you and Ken. May the Lord continue to richly Bless you as you seek to love and follow Him.
    With deep appreciation,
    Dave Newell

  5. Real Freedom « Living My Faith Out Loud said,

    […] I have never felt before. That began my new life in Christ and my new freedom in Christ. Click here if you want to read my entire testimony. My 10 year Christian anniversary will be in just 10 days. I […]

  6. Real Freedom « Faith and Fibromyalgia said,

    […] I have never felt before. That began my new life in Christ and my new freedom in Christ. Click here if you want to read my entire testimony. My 10 year Christian anniversary will be in just 10 days. I […]

  7. Greer Llewellyn said,

    Rachel, thanks for so energetically proclaiming the wondrous love & redemptive power of our God… He is truly amazing & shines brilliantly through the prism of your testimony.

  8. Laura Beth said,

    May God continue to bless you as you open your heart to others, that they may hear your testimony and understand that they too can be transformed by His word and His grace.

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