Tragedy into Treasure

On this great day of remembrance of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., I want to introduce you to another change maker. A person who has taken all that has happened in her life and surrendered it to the Lord. A strong women who knows that God can truly work all things for good and for His glory for those who love HIm. This courageous woman has taken her struggle and turned it into the fuel for her passion for the Lord and for life.  She has taken her darkest moments and bravely found her ministry in sharing what God has brought her through. Today, I am honored to share my cousin Sarah's story of overcoming. Her story of dry bones to life. Her story of bravery, courage and finding Christ in the midst of the mess. May God bless you through Sarah's testimony. 

"My name is Sarah.  I've been asked to write my  testimony-  I'm not a great writer -  I'm a better speaker so please bear with me because the message, my journey, my healing and how the Lord came into my life along the way is a story worth sharing. It's a journey that saved me and  led me to a new healthier way to live .  I'm now 43 and about 20 years ago the disease of addiction took over my life and I lived a slave to it during all those years not able to come to terms with it or surrender it to begin to heal.  Addiction is a very difficult road.  I believe with all my heart that drug addicts and alcoholics are born with this disease. It's only a matter of what they put in their body to trigger it later in life. In fact there are many addictions and diseases, 30 "isms "  that I know of. 

People are addicted to eating, gambling, TV, video games, shopping... it goes on and on. My disease almost killed me. I was shooting up meth,  opiates , and drinking alcohol for so long. Thank you to God for giving me the  strength to find Him. I began to  put God in center of my recovery. Through Him I have grown into the mother, daughter, and sister I was meant to be. I was raised in an amazing home with great parents. I was popular . I played sports and kept very active. However it was not a  Christian household . I don't  blame my parents whatsoever , but I always felt "different ". I had this hole in me that I was trying to fill.  I didn't know that my void was meant to be filled was God . My mom suggested to me in 1997 that I try  going to church. I'm not 100% sure her belief but I know at that point was so shaken by my disease that she was reaching for anything to help me. No psychiatry,  no doctor, no rehab worked.  I went to about 15 of these over the years, and detoxed six times . Talk about feeling helpless and hopeless. 

I  ruined my parents best years of their lives with constant worry and waiting for a phone call that I was dead. So  I took my mom's suggestion and I went to a very small church down the road from my house .That church is where I accepted Christ into my life and was baptized by an older pastor named Reverend McKay.  I will never forget him. He would just show up at my house and speak the word to me.  I didn't understand anything of what he was saying.  My head was in such a fog but God's word is living and active.  I heard that  I had a loving God who was not mad at me and that I had Jesus  who would forgive me if I asked him to -  no matter how bad, how sinful or how hopeless I felt. 

 I wish I could say that I  stayed clean and sober after that but, I did not. Not until 2011 did I finally get it during my last trip to jail. I spent many years inside and outside of jail, suicidal , and just plain crazy .  But I kept praying  and praying for God to help me.  I never understood that he would help me but I had to do some of the footwork.  II

 I know a lot of addicts who are very mad at God for not being able to get over the habit and move on because they have not realized there's footwork needed in their  recovery. The prayer just does not work like that .  Every time I asked for God's help during my drug use I ended up in jail. God had to physically pluck me from society to give me time to clear my head to figure out what I needed to do.  It took so long but I kept praying and kept my faith . During my last trip to jail, I finally prayed to God that I was willing to go to any length to stay clean and sober . I told God that  if that meant putting me in jail or prison for 10 years , I was willing to do it .  The freedom of that prayer, in jail, was the best relief I ever had in my life. I knew I was done with my old ways. 

I  was supposed to do two years in prison, but God saw fit to put me in a Department of Corrections  and Drug Rehabilitation program for women. I was willing to do everything they told me to do and I stuck with the girls in there who believed in God .I have fellowships and 12 step programs that I go to on a regular basis. I sponsor other women. I always keep God at the center my life now.

 I have an amazing husband who is seven years recovered.  He also did 12 years of his adult life in prison. Being married to a Godly man is amazing. Our story  of how we were brought together is remarkable. We have our children and our life built on a foundation of Christ. We are able to pray together.  I now have devoted much of my extra time to helping teach a Bible study in the county jail where I once was held. I help teach a faith based parenting program to women in the jail .  The people God has put in my path along this journey is unbelievable. Many of them are parents of still sick and suffering addict's looking for my counsel at times . 

God had better plans for me. I am so grateful for that every day . I am able  to repay my apologies with living amends to my family and myself by staying clean and sober one day at a time .  My sponsor tells me God turns are tragedies into treasures and I believe that.  I like to share that with other people .  If there's anybody who really needs to know this, it is a family member, friend or loved one who is  enslaved to the disease of addiction or if you yourself are the addict or alcoholic.  Please know there is a better way of life through Christ and  if this old junky can do it ,anybody can . 

I've  enclosed in this testimony my last mug shot five years ago. The other picture is last April on my Wedding Day.  God not only restored my heart and soul but, he helped restore a once strung out ,lost woman. My eyes say it all.  

I feel honored that my beautiful cousin asked me to write this for her blog. I was not very close to Jenny growing up but I always, always remember her and her family's faith in the Lord. I'm so grateful to be able to share that same faith. "