I am alive and I am in the process.
My addictions began in high school. At 14 after being verbally, emotionally, spiritually, and sexually abused, I was introduced to drugs and quickly became addicted. I followed whatever crowd would give me the best fix, and I did whatever I could to get what I needed. One night after a date became violent I walked away with burns. I had so much pain bottled up from things I had done and things that had been done to me that I began picking at the burns, which turned into to continuously burning and cutting myself. I hated myself. I used razors, lighters, and whatever I could get my hands on to punish myself. I was filled with so much shame. I would use drugs and alcohol to numb and cutting to punish. Cutting calmed my constant anxiety, I carried a pocket knife or lighter with me wherever I went. At 18, I was being forced to go to a Christian youth conference for a week. At the end of the week the pastor and his wife pulled me aside to kick me out of youth group because I was a bad influence on the other students. As the pastor’s wife shared her testimony with me, I noticed she had peace, and I did not. The difference was Jesus. So, I accepted Christ, yet the next morning I woke up going through withdrawal and needing to cut. I thought that Jesus didn’t love me because he didn’t make it all go away. I thought there was something wrong with me because I was still tempted, and I hated myself. I struggled and stumbled through the next several years, going to a Christian college because I knew if I went to a state school I would have overdosed either on purpose or on accident. I used cutting to get sober my sophomore year of college from drugs and alcohol, and I was still so ashamed about cutting that I told no one.
It wasn’t until six years ago when I came to Glad Tidings that God began to show me that healing was for this side of heaven. I finally opened up to Carissa, and I was expecting wrath and more shame, and I was met with love and grace. Pastor Jason and Carissa spoke Truth over me. They loved me when I hated myself. I had the opportunity to go through deliverance and forgive myself and all those who had hurt me. I no longer had to punish myself. Jesus made it clear that he took stripes on his back, so I did not have to make more on my skin. He took the punishment, so I did not have to. By his wounds we are healed, the wounds I created only kept me in bondage. After deliverance, I took God’s Truth that I did not believe about myself and I spoke that Truth over myself day after day. I replaced lies of damaged, worthless, not good enough, too far gone with God’s truth of pure, whole, free, and forgiven. I realized that I was a temple of the Holy Spirit, and I must take care of that temple by not only quit self-injury, but how I talked about the temple He created. God does not make junk. Even when my feelings do not line up with the Truth, I chose to believe what the Bible said about me. I am forgiven, washed clean, a pure temple of God, and he has a plan and a purpose for my life that the enemy cannot steal. I honestly didn’t think I would be alive at this point in my life, but I am alive and I am in the process. I am learning how to walk in a joy and freedom that I never thought was possible.