[guestpost]Michelle Cowart met Jesus at the Mission of Hope. Surrounded by His love, mercy, and grace, she found her self-worth in Christ’s kingdom.[/guestpost][featured-image single_newwindow=”false” alt=”Testimony Tuesday with Michelle Cowart”]
I came from darkness. A lot of it. As far back as I can remember in fact. I was born into a family of addicts that had a lot of friends that were addicts. A lot of darkness was poured into me throughout my life. There were a few people who took part in my upbringing that were not addicts, but they were negative, skeptical, and full of anger. Growing up, I suffered a great deal. I was abused in every way possible.
I learned very quickly to trust no one, and to do whatever it took to get what I wanted and needed from the addict’s example. I was taught to dislike everything about everyone I knew from the non-addicts. So very quickly in life, I decided I didn’t like any of them. I could cut them out of my life, and I would be okay. I was 15.
I saw my parents physically abuse each numerous times. I have lived in a metal storage shed. Bathed in and used an outhouse without walls for several months. Lived in a house with no walls; no power. Washed clothes, dishes, and ourselves all in the same bath tub for months. I was abused. I was smoking cigarettes. Taking care of my siblings like a mother. I was drinking and having sex. I did all the things that I knew grownups were supposed to do. In my 15-year-old mind, I was grown so I did the grownup thing and married a man in his 20’s. I didn’t particularly care for him, but I saw him as an opportunity for escape. Both of my parents signed for me to marry for whatever reason. I was really rebellious at that point, and it’s possible that they just didn’t want to deal with me. They had plenty of problems of their own.
It was fun. At first, I liked the fact that I didn’t have anyone to answer to—anyone besides my husband. And I could pretty much talk him into anything. Not long after I was married, I got pregnant. Shortly after that, we moved 10 hours away from everyone and everything that I had ever known. When we moved, everything changed. It was no longer fun. It became very lonely. We lived there for 5 years. My being able to deal with him turned into a hate for him. I also didn’t want to hear “I told you so!”. So, I waited it out. After 5 years, we moved back here and I was ready for payback for all the misery he caused me. So, I started having affairs…
6 months after being back home, my dad was killed in an accident. I left my husband and son the day my dad died. I didn’t have to worry about hearing “I told you so!” since he was gone. By this time, my mom and dad was divorced. I, being the oldest, was left with the final business and funeral arrangements. I was 22. I was having to bury a man that I hated throughout my life. I never had a problem letting him know that. Except for the past 6 months, when I had learned his story. Everyone has a story. And his was sad. I realized a lot of the hate I had for him was because I didn’t understand him. I began to love my dad, although I never had a chance to tell him. It was the onset of my addiction.
I didn’t want to think about anything. I just wanted to be happy. So, I surrounded myself with friends and I began partying and clubbing. Ecstasy was a big thing around that time. My friends were using it, so I did too. I liked the way it felt. Everyone was friendly and loving. Life was seemingly good.
While I was partying, I met another guy who was a great deal older than me. He introduced me to meth. When you start using drugs, especially in a partying atmosphere, it’s fun. Everything seems better, but it quickly fades because sin is only good for a season. Before you even realize it, you’re using because it’s life. You’re using because you have made yourself believe you have to. Things that you tell yourself you would never do—you do them. And sometimes without hesitation.
I was 23 when I met meth. I have done whatever it takes to get what I wanted or needed. In the process of doing whatever it takes, I broke every single commandment more than once. Let that sink in… Every single law from God more than once.
- Don’t lie.
- Don’t steal.
- Don’t take the Lord’s name in vain.
- No other gods before me. (Drugs were my god.)
- No idols. (I loved money. I would do anything to get it, including sell my body.)
- Thou shalt not covet your neighbor’s wife or their house or anything they have. (That means to want someone else’s stuff knowing it’s not obtainable. It kills you from the inside that’s where my love for money came from. I wanted to have stuff that people on music videos had. It was just unrealistic and insane.)
- No adultery. (If any man had something that I wanted, I didn’t care if he was married or not. I tried every way possible to get it.)
- Honor your parents. (I had no respect for them and my actions certainly were not honorable.)
- Keep the Sabbath holy. (My hustle didn’t stop for any day of the week.)
- Don’t kill. (I had an abortion early in my addiction. Later on, in my addiction, I purposefully took extreme amounts of drugs to terminate another pregnancy.)
In my search for happiness I never once sought God, I found a lot of things but never once did I find happiness. I bounced from one abusive relationship to another always high. I never prayed because I thought God was a big man in the sky who wanted to punish me. I thought surely, He didn’t like me because what did I do to deserve His approval. I was scared to acknowledge Him because I was scared He would just flick me out of the picture.
I was a disgrace. I had 3 other children none of which were in my care. I was homeless. Everything I had acquired over the years was lost or stolen. I was an IV user. I cooked meth, and I was a prostitute. I was miserable and completely tired of living. So, I called out to God. I was angry.
God, where are you?
Are you real?
Do you care?
Why won’t you help me?
What did I do to deserve this life?
But I continued living the same sinful lifestyle. Crying every day because I wanted to stop but I couldn’t. I wanted to die, but I wouldn’t.
God has a plan. I was arrested in March 2015 for some drug charges in Mississippi. I spent 40 days in the county jail. I was clean and intended to stay that way.
But just as God has a plan, Satan has a plan too. I was dating the guy that I had been arrested with. He bonded out, then bonded me out, and brought some meth. Just as soon as my feet hit the ground, I was at it again.
But God is bigger! I was only out for 30 days before I got arrested again this time in Alabama with a whole new set of the same charges. Manufacturing, trafficking, possession…I spent 30 more days in county jail before the judge released me to the Haven of Hope while I waited to be accepted for drug court.
12 days after I came to the Haven of Hope, I asked God to forgive me for all the things I had done. I accepted Him as my Lord and Savior. I built a solid relationship foundation there with God. I love the Lord. Where I was once scared to even acknowledge Him, I now talk to Him about everything. He has blessed me abundantly. I remember praying there for all the things I have now.
My relationships with my kids are being restored more and more every day. He has blessed me with a job I love. He has given me an awesome church family. They lift me up, and keep me accountable. We have fun. We play, laugh, work, and worship together. I’m sober. No longer bound by drugs and the struggles of daily life that come with addiction. I’m happy and I have my freedom.
What Satan meant to harm me, God used it for good. For those charges that I got, I did 1 year in drug court in Alabama. And I got 5 years’ probation in Mississippi. None of which will be on my record as felonies. But because of those charges, I was able to meet God and begin a relationship with Him.
I am thankful He heard my cries. He was there. He is real. He does care. When I didn’t love myself, He loved me. When I wasn’t even sure if He liked me, He loved me. He loves me so much He sent His son to die for the sins I committed. He loves me so much He saved me.
So never think you are too far gone. Because God is no respecter of persons. He loves us all and if He will do it for me, He will do it for you.
God loves you right where you’re at. He will save you. He will heal you, and restore you. No matter how bad off or hurt you are, how horrible of a person you think you have become, God loves you. And He wants you to love Him, worship Him, and fulfill the purpose He has for your life. None of us are worthless, none of us are accidents.
But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; I Corinthians 15:10