Welcome back to the All Things in Christ blog! And welcome all new readers. I hope you’ll be blessed by the following words and the words I’ve written in time’s past.
I’ve been away from this blog for some years now and that is because I have been away from the Lord for some years now, too. Well, I’ve at least tried to get away from Him, but He has been with me this entire time. I am currently in process of repentance and return to the Father—exactly like the well-known Prodigal’s Son parable.
We can sometimes strive so hard to either please God, or especially please our own ego’s under the guise of “becoming more godly.” We can get lost in the process; lose not only our faith, but ourselves as well. However, there is a most beautiful and amazing “BUT” that follows these words!
That amazing “BUT” is Amazing Grace! BUT for the grace of God…I was kept safe and alive, and still He kindled that inner-fire to know—truly know—God. Let me tell a brief story of the past couple years of my life.
I met Jesus in 2008 at the age of 19. I was a drug addict and overall rebellious and angry soul. I went to a drug and alcohol treatment facility where I first heard of a 12-step, spiritual program of recovery. I moved to Dallas, TX to a sober-living, half-way house. There, the rules and requirements to remain in that home were regular attendance to 12-step meetings and/or church services or programs. I got a sponsor in AA and worked the 12 steps and had what AA calls a “spiritual awakening.” For the first time in my young adult life, I was regularly praying and conversing with a God I then finally realized was personal to me and was reachable.
In that home I met a man a few years my elder that was the home manager. He spoke a lot about Jesus which peaked my curiosity. Something was missing in my spiritual life still, and Jesus Christ turned out to be that fulfilling piece.
I stayed sober 4 years and 9 months. During that time, I moved to Gainesville, FL to be a part of a wonderful group of Christians in what some refer to as ‘Organic Church’ or ‘House Church.’ They taught me that Christ lives in me and I in Him. And about His sufficient Grace. I also lived in Nashville, TN for a time and Casper, WY. I wrote on this blog about all that I learned and experienced there.
Then on January 1st, 2013 I drank a beer, then another, and then many more. It wasn’t but a few months later I was sticking needles in my arms and smoking crack. You see, I got very angry at God and at the world in general after a falling out I had with a brother. I won’t go into details for lack of space and not disgracing this brother who has since repented. Also, this situation was not associated with any of the people in Gainesville, FL or Nashville, TN.
Since then, I have been to rehab 3 more times, lived under bridges and in cars, been to jail, lived life on the streets, robbed, stolen, cheated, and lied for my addiction to heroin and other illicit narcotics. The whole time, asking, begging, dying to see and know the real God. I looked into other faiths such as Buddhism, Spiritualism, and even Islam. I even hit the reset button at one point and ventured into Atheism and Agnosticism. And all paths always led me back to Jesus Christ and His sacrifice on the Cross, and His promise to live inside of us. Many miracles took place during this time with which I could an entire book on.
Two months ago, me and my girlfriend, Heather, were living in an empty apartment that wasn’t ours, with some other people. I was either doing drugs and staying up for days, or sleeping in a state of bitter depression, ready to kill myself, for sometimes a week at a time.
Our diet consisted, at the end, of powdered coffee creamer and instant mashed potatoes. No joke. It was beyond tough, beyond miserable.
BUT…God still had yet another chance of redemption for me and for her.
I went back to rehab on August 4th. Since that time, we now have a vehicle, a little money, food, and we live with my ever-so-graceful mother, Katrina Ball and her husband James. We don’t worry about if or when we’re going to eat; how we’re going to make some money today for a drug habit (since I have been sober since); my depression has almost completely lifted; I don’t stay up for days, or sleep for a week at a time. In fact, today Heather works in the nursery at our church (Cedar Cross Country Church), and I was a greeter today, as well. I will be helping with the graphic and video design soon. I hope to do some writing for the website as well!
In less than 2 months since I sobered up, and 1 month since I got out of rehab, God has restored me back to health, physically and spiritually. Of course it’s a process. There are major ups and less major downs now than before. I had a stent of 6 months of sobriety, trying on my own will and strength and made little progress in these areas. But when I let go, amazing things happen!
God’s grace is sufficient. His Amazing Grace. The Amazing ‘BUT’ in my story is a living proof of that truth.