Wednesday, August 31, 2011

My Testimony - Part 7 - My Darkest Days ... And God's Forgiveness!

My Testimony is very long so I'm dividing it into parts. Don't forget to read:
Part 1 - God Calls A Child!
Part 2 - A Path Of Sin!
Part 3 - Redemption - God's Amazing Grace!
Part 4 - Angel's Among Us!
Part 5 - 300 Days And Counting!
Part 6 - Sometimes You Just Have To Laugh!

This part is probably one of the hardest parts of my life to share. Mostly pride and shame are the reasons. But I believe it may help someone else and so I am willing to share it.

I did not always serve Jesus. I grew up believing in Him, and thought that was enough. I was a servant to myself. I did whatever I wanted, and made many bad decisions. The guilt of these decisions drove me to make even worse decisions until I was filled with so much self loathing and hate. I needed deliverance from myself. I needed a savior. Once I finally decided to serve God I knew I couldn't do it half hearted. God was helping me make better choices. He was helping me clean up my life, but it was many many years before I would learn to forgive myself.

I've always loved this picture!
When I fail he is right there ready to

The guilt and self hatred I felt, mixed with all the pain from my surgeries led me to become a drug addict. Prescription medication is the proper term, but they were drugs, and I couldn't stop. I've asked myself over and over how a person trying to serve God to the best of their ability can become a drug addict. The answer is pretty simple actually. I started looking at the circumstances around me and not trusting God. I made excuses that I was in pain and needed them. And I WAS in pain. ALOT of pain. Both emotionally and physically. I started to have a fear that if I was in this much pain with the pills, what would I feel like without the pills? And I started taking more, just to be safe. After all more pills means less pain right?

I became cranky, mean, unapproachable. I knew what I was doing and nobody was going to tell me what was best for me. I was in pain and needed them, and that was that! I learned many tricks to get more drugs. (which I will not share! LOL) I had them stashed everywhere. In drawers, in closets, in clothes, under the bed. No matter where I was in the house I had a stash of pills close by, just in case. I even went so far as to carry them around the house and sleep with them. YES I WAS AN ADDICT! I'm sure Dustin threw away many bottles and hid them from me as best as he could. But every time he tried to talk to me about it I got angry and yelled, how dare he tell me I wasn't in pain. I had been through so much, didn't I deserve a break?

Our marriage became rocky. Not because he didn't love me, but because I convinced myself that he didn't love me. I became friends with people that were not good for me, and who didn't like Dustin. They convinced me he didn't trust me, and I believed them. I began to aim all my hatred and guilt at him. I made him the bad guy.

But even when we falter and stumble, God is close by. He brought a convicted drug dealer to our church fresh out of prison. This person got saved and began to witness to me. I had been going to church for years. I knew God! But God used this man to soften my heart. He began to tell me I had all the behaviors of being a drug addict. I was appalled! How could a Christian woman become an addict while serving God? But I knew in my heart it was true! I fell down on the floor and repented and asked God to help me. Then I did the only thing I could. I dumped all the pills in the toilet. I knew if I kept them around they would be a temptation. And the amazing thing was, I NEVER felt worse when I stopped taking them. Day by day I began to feel better. I had allowed the pills to hold me in bondage. And God used a drug dealer to witness to me. Although you may feel like you have nothing to offer, you never know who needs YOU!

Now that I was not snowed under I had to face reality. And that was I needed forgiveness. Not only from God but from myself. I wish I could tell you that this happened over night. But this was a long, slow, painful process. In order to forgive myself, I had to first accept that God forgave me. And when God forgives, he forgets, it's just like it never happened. I didn't have to repent over and over for my sins. I didn't have to beat myself up for the mistakes I made. I didn't have to see them for stumbling blocks, but use them as stepping stones to help me grow and change and be a better person. Forgiving myself is a daily step in my walk with Christ. I don't have to relive all my mistakes everyday. But everyday I do wake up and thank God for saving me from myself.

I also began working on my marriage. Love is a choice. And I could choose to love this man, or get a divorce. I chose to give love a try. I made myself tell Dustin everyday that I loved him and he was the best thing that ever happened to me. I didn't believe a word of it, but I thought if I said it enough it might become true. I called him at work just to tell him I was thinking about him. I wrote him notes in his lunch to have a good day. Slowly I began to let the walls come down and I began to see him through new eyes. He wasn't the bad guy, and neither was I. We had just been through 6 horrible years and it takes a toll, both physically and emotionally. But we were determined to make it work, and God renewed our love for each other and began to remove the sadness. And today we are so close and love each other more then anyone else in the world.

God's forgiveness is beautiful, and he is right there waiting for you to come to him. We all struggle with things in our lives. We all have followed the wrong path and have strayed. We all have had days where we didn't treat people like we should. Let today be the day you begin to change. Whether you serve God everyday, have walked away from him, or never knew him. It doesn't matter. He's waiting for you to come to him. Don't hesitate or wonder what people around you might think. Just do what you know in your heart is right. Put down that thing that has held you in bondage. Make a conscious effort to tell someone you haven't told in a while, that you love them. Don't let another day go by. Let today be YOUR day.

"Lord, I thank you that I have gone through these trials. They have shown me that no matter what, you love me. In my darkest days, you are there for me. Forgive me Lord for the things I stumble on and help me grow and learn that I can put my trust and confidence in you. I have many weaknesses Lord, and I need your help to over come them. Thank you for showing me the way. Thank you for your daily guidance and instruction. And most of all your forgiveness, which I am so undeserving of. And you offer so freely. In Jesus' name AMEN!"

~Have you ever found yourself in a situation you never dreamed you would fall into? Did you listen to advice from your friends and family? Did you pray about it and seek God's help?
~Have you ever struggled with addiction? God can help you get the deliverance you need!
~Have you struggled with forgiveness? Sadly it took me many years to realize that God wants to forgive me, but he only can do it if I let him!
~Have you ever struggled with loving your spouse? Did you know that love is a choice? Fireproof and The Love Dare are great resources to help you with your struggles of love! God gave me the very same principles during my own battle!

***DISCLOSURE*** I am in no way telling anybody to throw away their pills. I am only sharing what happened in my life.
Thank you for following along with my testimony. If you are enjoying this series please share with your friends. Please continue to Part 8 - An Adoption Story ... Well Sort Of!

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I'm so excited to have you visit Treasures of Faith! I hope you are encouraged and inspired by what you read! Thank you for taking the time to comment! I love reading what you have to say! We are here to encourage each other so please keep your comments kind! Have a blessed day! ~Sarah