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Sunday, October 24, 2010

My Story - Part 4 ... my darkest days, and God's forgiveness ...

My story is so long I've broken it up into parts! You can read:
Part 1 HERE
Part 2 HERE
Part 3 HERE

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
forgive.

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 I 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!"


***DISCLOSURE*** I am in no way telling anybody to throw away their pills. I am only sharing what happened in my life.
Continue to Part 5 HERE!

6 comments:

Nicole Renee said...

You and my husband parallel in many ways with your surgeries and even addiction. He stopped after one night he acted so rude and ignorant toward me I grabbed our newborn and started to leave. He didn't remember the argument and had no idea why I was so upset and was leaving. He was already out of pills and detoxing, worse than an part of him being on pills.

I drove him to the ER after he told me he didn't know what to do. He had seizures in the car on the way, I cried and I was so scared. Once we got to the hospital and talked to a Doctor I felt better...until they offered him more of the same pills he was addicted to. Percocet. (sp?) How could they give someone something right after they admit they are addicted to it and ask for help? What was going through the Doctor's mind?

He told the doctor to give him something less intense, and they gave him tylenol 3 and he managed to wean himself down. Now we are looking at his reversal surgery sometime next year and I am scared of what they will do to him to control his pain. I never want to see him go through that again. We must be strong and beat this. Together.

Sarah W. said...

Yes you can beat this! If you want to email at Sarahsewta@yahoo.com and I can give you some tips that I use! It is easy to fall back in the same battle if we are not careful. He is so blessed to have you to help him! I will be praying for you both!

marston said...

wow, reading that makes you cry.. things i never knew before..

margie said...

Thanks Sarah your testamony has really opened my eyes I also suffer with self guilt,and after reading your testamony I feel I am not alone with these thoughts. I have tried to forgive myself,but the past keeps coming back,sometimes I feel like God dosen't forgive me,thats its useless to, keep searching.I love God,but I also feel love hurts.

Jan said...

What a courageous testimony Sarah.[Isn't it amazing (because we are one with them)how when we allow Him to make us whole, it affects our spouses as well?] So thankful you decided to trust in and lean on Jesus and He has given you healing. You have made a great and powerful choice offered to you by a great and powerful God. I am so thankful that the knowledge of the one true God overthrows any gods we have let rule over our lives.
Ac 17:16-30
Now while Paul was waiting for them at Athens, his spirit was troubled, for he saw all the town full of images of the gods.
So he had discussions in the Synagogue with the Jews and God-fearing Gentiles, and every day in the market-place with those who were there.
And some of those who were supporters of the theories of the Epicureans and the Stoics, had a meeting with him. And some said, What is this talker of foolish words saying? And others, He seems to be a preacher of strange gods: because he was preaching of Jesus and his coming back from the dead.
And they took him to Mars' Hill, saying, Will you make clear to us what is this new teaching of yours?
For you seem to us to say strange things, and we have a desire to get the sense of them.
(Now all the Athenians and the men from other lands who come there were giving all their time to talking or hearing of anything new.)
And Paul got to his feet on Mars' Hill and said, O men of Athens, I see that you are overmuch given to fear of the gods.
For when I came by, I was looking at the things to which you give worship, and I saw an altar with this writing on it, TO THE GOD OF WHOM THERE IS NO KNOWLEDGE. Now, what you, without knowledge, give worship to, I make clear to you.
The God who made the earth and everything in it, he, being Lord of heaven and earth, is not housed in buildings made with hands;
And he is not dependent on the work of men's hands, as if he had need of anything, for he himself gives to all life and breath and all things;
And he has made of one blood all the nations of men living on all the face of the earth, ordering their times and the limits of their lands,
So that they might make search for God, in order, if possible, to get knowledge of him and make discovery of him, though he is not far from every one of us:
For in him we have life and motion and existence; as certain of your verse writers have said, For we are his offspring.
If then we are the offspring of God, it is not right for us to have the idea that God is like gold or silver or stone, formed by the art or design of man.
Those times when men had no knowledge were overlooked by God; but now he gives orders to all men in every place to undergo a change of heart:

Anonymous said...

great job god bless

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