A Letter to Myself

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In my darkest hour, when there seemed to be no hope, I felt broken and lost. I woke up in a place which knew only pain and suffering as if the life had been sucked out of it. I couldn’t comprehend how my life had come to this or how I would escape the void of despair which surrounded me. Did I make one huge mistake to get here or was it a series of bad decisions that led me to this place?

Battling addiction was the hardest thing I have had to overcome in my life and it literally destroyed me, my marriage and my future ministry. As Dianne Guthmuller says, “I thank God that test has turned into a testimony,” but I can promise you the devil set out to destroy me.
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I had to literally hit rock bottom to discover that God was my rock and only through him would I find wholeness and restoration. I have an addictive personality to begin with so when it came to recreational drugs, the deck was stacked against me. It started as such a subtle addiction, one in which I thought I could manage, but ultimately it became one which literally took over my life and drove every decision I made.

If someone could have spoken into my life, this is what I wish they would have said:
Despite your anger, discouragement, denial, or helplessness trust that God causes all things to work together for your good and despite your fear know that God has you in the palm of His hand and He wants the very best for your life. Be strong and courageous. Do not fear the unknown, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you! He will strengthen you and He will help you. Know that you are not alone and no temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. Your God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation He will also provide the way of escape and He will equip you to endure it. Never give up and do not lose heart. Though it may feel like your outer self is wasting away, your inner self is being renewed day by day. This affliction is preparing you for an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison. take_heartIn all things have peace because I have overcome the world and when you put your trust in Me, all things are possible and what the enemy meant for your harm, I will use for your good. What the devil meant to destroy you, I will use to bless you, so look to Me through Whom all blessings flow and I will give you rest. Cast your cares and burdens upon Me and I will give you peace. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything give thanks as you receive My peace, which surpasses all understanding. Lastly, know “You are valuable because you exist. Not because of what you do or what you have done, but simply because you are.”–Max Lucado

Who or What Could Save Me?

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There have been times in my life where it has felt like my relationship with God was like two ships passing in the dark with a sea of void between us. These times were very discouraging and very painful to walk through because my sinful life condemned me, my shame overshadowed me, my past haunted me, my circumstances frustrated me and my mistakes made me feel worthless. I found myself asking who or what could possibly save me?

In order to make it through life and everything which happens along the way, we must know the answer to this question! The moment we become a follower of Christ, our debt is paid in full; nothing can separate us from His great love and our worth and our value is found in Him alone. On our own, we will never make it, but with God as our ultimate source of strength, we will never grow faint or weary. I know this firsthand because when I would try to do things my own way, I opened the door wide open for attack. The enemy would whisper any number of malicious and contemptuous lies in my ear to which I had no defense, but when God was the center of my life I could honestly say because the Spirit of the Lord lived inside of me, I felt freedom. Instead of having to answer who or what could save me I could declare who or what could possibly separate me from His great love?Romans 8_38

Despite our past or what we are currently walking through, God can use anything and He never wastes any painful experience as long as we give it all to Him. With God as the focal point in our life we can walk through fiery trials and emerge without even smelling like smoke. We will not only survive oppression, but we will thrive in the midst of it. It sounds crazy, but the more messed up our life is and the more junk God has saved us from, the more God can use us and the more we can begin to understand what it truly means to be redeemed by grace because of His mercy.

Lion of JudahHowever, when God isn’t our number one priority in life, we are vulnerable to attack and one of the most important things I’ve learned is the devil is a very patient predator who is waiting for the exact moment in which we will experience the greatest harm so he can completely destroy and devour us. He is waiting for the kill shot, but what he fails to realize is the greater our fall, the greater our potential testimony will be when we humble ourselves enough to receive God’s unending grace. With this information, we should look for areas in our life in which we are vulnerable to attack and surrender them to God because it is much easier to avert a disaster than to clean one up.the-devil-as-a-roaring-lion The instant we think we are above any pitfall, we open ourselves open up to it, so we must continually look to God in all things and trust that His ways are higher than our own, especially when we can’t see a way. Don’t get discouraged when life happens; just trust that God will work all things for your good when you love Him and are called according to His purpose.

“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28 (NASB)