When I was seven years old, my parents took me to see a child psychologist. My behaviour at the time could be described as a little odd. They found nothing wrong and blamed my parents for my behaviour. Throughout my teenage years, I was a wild child dabbling in drugs, sex and alcohol. I never felt satisfied or loved and a constant sense of restlessness ran through everything I did.
I became a teenage mom at 18 and had two children by the age of 21. My relationships were disastrous, violent and controlling and by the age of 22, I was on a path of destruction as a crack cocaine addict. Crack cocaine consumed my every thought and action for several years. Anyone who has ever been an addict will know that you do things you never thought you would do. The shame cuts deeper than you could ever imagine, and this is it, you can see no way out.
Light in the darkness
Eventually, I saw a way out and I stopped smoking crack but my life was still restless. Some things had changed, and situations were different, but I still had unsettling feelings and thoughts that would creep in. I felt like I was always teetering on the edge, waiting for something to go wrong for me. It was in this restless, unsettled space that I first heard about Jesus. The message of forgiveness and a fresh start was one that I not only needed to hear but believe, and so I did.
The person who gave me that message turned out to not be all they seemed but that’s okay, because I’ve learnt that people are not God, they are not Jesus either, they come nowhere near. If you get that clear from the start, then you will save yourself from a lot of heartache. People and relationships are important, but they are messy, confusing and hurtful even when the people are Christians. Christian does not translate to perfect!
The journey continues
When I was asked to write my story I started to think about the most important things I wanted to say about God and one of them was that believing in God is not easy. It is hard, heartbreaking and sometimes harrowing but it is healing, cleansing and freeing too.
When your life changes and when you are free from whatever addiction grips you, life does not suddenly become a walk in the park. You must embrace the fact that life is a struggle, you will have a different set of problems that will feel just as hard as the last set, albeit different. Jesus Himself said it would not be an easy ride if you are walking in the footsteps of a man who was brutally crucified for His love of the world – why would anyone ever think it would be? I hope this does not seem pessimistic – because when we believe and live like we are worthy, forgiven and loved, then we have the strength to face those problems and not buckle as we did before.
Keep moving forward
If you are seeking, searching and wondering, then be yourself on that journey; you don’t have to change who you truly are. When we live in light and truth we change at a pace that is unique to us. You have wounds and pain that need healing, we all do. It’s not an easy process but you need to forgive, and to be forgiven. In a world of instant everything, we need to be patient. Wholeness is a process and what you need from God as a parent is unique to you. I have children, each one is different and needs something different from me. God knows what you need from Him, try to just rest in that from time to time and don’t strive for the next thing or pressure yourself too much.
When I got baptised everyone tried to tell me what I should do with my life, and I allowed those voices to crowd out my dreams. I felt guilty for having a dream of my own and I couldn’t even hear my own heart over the noise of all the voices. Listen to your heart.
Your dreams are your dreams for a reason and just because bad stuff has happened, does not mean that God changed his mind about His plan and purpose for your life. You chose the wrong path, He didn’t. His intention has always been what was right for you and the restoration you will receive will reflect that.
Take the first step
How do you start? Start with you – God made you and equipped you with everything you need to succeed. Don’t try to be another person, that was the worst thing I did, I stopped being me and tried to be like the people I saw in church. I am unique, special and bring so much to the table as myself. My life and experiences have shaped me and I’m often a mess, sometimes the shame gets me again, sometimes I feel unforgiveness creep in. I get angry, I make bad choices that do not reflect who I truly am but I have come so far and I am going forward. I’m seeking, searching, wondering. Life throws stuff at me, I mess up, I fall, I get up and light overcomes the darkness in my life every single day.
My story is my story and yours may read differently but regardless of your journey, the one truth that is consistent is that Jesus can meet you where you are. Whatever your struggles are, the answer to the questions you are asking is a relationship with Jesus. If you would like to know more, please click on the link. We would love to introduce you to Him.