[guestpost]Today’s Testimony Tuesday guest is my friend, Susan Gilbert. Like a lot of people Susan grew up in church, but church in itself isn’t enough. [/guestpost]
I have been in church regularly since before I was born.
My dad is a preacher, and that’s the only work my parents did for a long time. I started singing in church when I was three. Church is all my life consisted of for most of my childhood. Church choir, GA’s Bible drill, school and more church. I knew everything there was to know about Jesus, but head knowledge and religion won’t fill you up.
When I was 12 or 13, I experienced what looked like salvation. I walked to the front of the church, said a prayer, and shook everyone’s hand. But something was missing.
I started seeking approval and acceptance in other places. Soon, I met a guy I thought was the answer. He wasn’t a Christian, but I thought I could fix him. We carried on a serious relationship for several years -too serious for any teenager.
By now, I was leading our youth praise team, and loving serving God in that way. But I wasn’t giving him my whole heart. I struggled with the relationship that had become too intimate. When it was no longer a secret to my youth group, my youth minister asked me to step down from the praise team.
I was heartbroken and angry. I quit going to church altogether. The relationship lasted a few more years, but ended in a web of lies and unfaithfulness.
By this time, I felt unworthy to serve God, and turned to other things.
After that mess was finally over, I spent the weekend with a girlfriend to get my mind off the pain. At 18 years old, her mom introduced me to crystal meth. I liked it, and before the end of that summer my whole life was dedicated to Meth, its people, and its lifestyle.
When I met the man that would become my husband, we moved away and I didn’t do Meth, but only because it wasn’t around.
I had my 2 boys, but still felt empty.
When we got divorced, I picked Meth back up. Now, I was learning how to get it free by allowing men to cook it in my home.
I went through one abusive relationship after another, some friendships, others were dangerously deeper. All were toxic, and led me further down this path of destruction.
Nothing would satisfy my cravings to be complete. I started using needles and learned to make the drug myself which was an even bigger trap. During my drug usage, I was deceived, used, abused, beaten, robbed, molested, and raped.
The enemy almost destroyed me, but I cried out to God to save me from myself one night all alone in the back of my house.
God heard my prayer.
Not long after that, I was arrested for manufacturing. Time in the county jail convinced me that I needed help. Thankfully, my mom found the Haven Of Hope. It was there that I began a relationship with Jesus Christ.
Everything I learned about Him when I was young came flooding back to me.
I completed the program, but went right back to the place I was before. I took on too much too fast, and didn’t look first to God. I failed. I ended up in another abusive relationship with the needle back in my arm. I sold out to the drug.
I called and asked to come back to the Haven Of Hope a second time. Thank God there was a place for me.
This time, I left everything behind and committed my whole heart, mind, body, and soul to following Jesus – no matter what it cost me or where it took me.
That relapse almost killed me, but God works all things for good. Genesis 50 says “you intended to harm me but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done the saving of many lives. So then don’t be afraid I will provide for you and your children.”
God is repaying me for the years the locusts have eaten. He is restoring my family in His time. And His timing is perfect. He has restored my voice, and given me more opportunities to sing than I could have ever dreamed of.
Proverbs says train a child up in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it. That’s a promise my parents claimed, and I am living proof that God keeps his promises. Now, God is giving me a chance to claim that for my children.
Today, I have a relationship with Him. He completes me. He fills me up and I’m satisfied. Nothing else ever came close to what I have in Christ in the center of God’s will. I am the woman and mother he created me to be.
I lost a lot in my addiction, but I would lose it all again to be where I am today with Jesus. I am so glad he never gave up on me.