“Please, just leave me alone. This is my choice to make.” I pleaded to the people standing in my bedroom. They pleaded back but their words were unintelligible at this point. A few minutes later, everything went black. The medication cocktail I consumed about 20 minutes prior had started to take effect.
When I came to, I was on a stretcher with no recollection of how I got there. I was becoming increasingly concerned about the irritable, almost painful, crawling sensation in my head and limbs.
“What’s happening!? Why do I feel like this?”
Sensing my anxiety growing at a rapid pace, the female paramedic tried to calm me down by making me aware of the situation, “You took a lot of medication. We gave you a dose of Narcan. It’s a drug that counteracts any opioids you ingested. That feeling is most likely from the Narcan.”
I was becoming aware of the gravity of the situation. They were pushing the stretcher towards the ambulance, and fear started sinking in.
“Am I going to die?” I asked through tears.
“That’s why were taking you to the hospital, to try to make sure you don’t”, she said.
Narcan – the antidote responsible saving my life.
I see this story as a good depiction of the overall theme of life. Life is riddled with trials. We deal with self inflicted pain, pain caused by others, hopelessness, defeat, disappointment, etc… It’s the poison in our lives. We find ourselves wondering if there is hope, if things will get better, if there is a fix… an antidote. We know there is, there has to be, but what is it?
My Testimony: Finding the Antidote
I was born to a 19 year old girl who found herself scared, confused, and… addicted to meth. The things my mom endured and witnessed in her young life drove her to addiction. She suffered every type of abuse from multiple people, lived in extreme poverty, and was introduced and encouraged to use drugs at a very, very early age. At 19, with no real guidance or encouragement from anyone, she continued to use meth throughout her pregnancy.
I did suffer from withdrawals for a couple of days after birth. As I got older, I learned there were a few other issues that could have been caused due to the prenatal drug use. Those include: ADHD, adverse reactions to certain medications – especially anything with antihistamine, weakened immune system, predisposition to depression, and being more susceptible to drug addiction. While there are some effects, thanks to God’s grace, the meth exposure did not cause me any serious harm.
My mom and my biological dad split up while she was still pregnant with me. Shortly after I was born she began seeing someone new, he stuck around and I began to think he was my dad. A little over a year later they welcomed my little brother into the world. They wanted a new life for our family so they packed up and moved hundreds of miles away. They were now clean and sober and had a fresh start.
A few years later, they split up. A few years after that, my dad moved out of state. My mom did the single mom thing for awhile until she met a great guy and they got married. A few years later they were divorced. Even through all of this, my mom showed strength and perseverance. She was always very open and honest with my brother and me about the kind of childhood she had. Hearing her story of triumph and the unconditional love she showed us really helped instill the values and morals we have today. Shortly after the divorce, my brother decided to move out of state to live with my dad. Around the time I was 13 or 14, my mom broke some shocking news to me. You see, my biological dad had still made an effort to reach out over the years. He would send birthday and holiday cards but in order not to ruffle any feathers he signed the cards “uncle” instead of “dad”.
“Remember the cards with money you would get from your uncle?”, she asked
“yeah… I think so”
“Well…” she said, “That’s actually your biological dad. We split up while I was pregnant with you. I met your dad after I’d already had you and he took you in like you were his own daughter.”
She went on to explain they’d had a paternity test done, why there was a need for it, and why I was just finding out now. She also told me I had a sister a few years younger than me, a step-mom and a step-brother.
As the years went on I started to see changes in her. She worked a lot to support the two of us which put a little bit of a strain on the relationship. I learned she’d also developed a gambling addiction which eventually faded out due to her new found, serious, addiction to opioids.
The Messy Middle
I was 16, sitting in science class, inconspicuously (or so I thought) checking out the new guy in class… until he caught me. Two years later, I was having our first daughter.
Our relationship was a roller coaster with wonderful highs and dreadful lows. We shared a lot of love and supported each other through some incredibly difficult times. We were married and had two beautiful daughters together. Unfortunately, the bad times started to overshadow the good. He also developed a harrowing addiction to opioids and found his self worth at the time in parties, drugs and women. Our marriage eventually ended because of the infidelity and the devastation his addiction was causing.
I spent the next few years trying to fill this void and find my worth with men. I never thought I had a “type” but looking back now I can see that I did, I went for the unfaithful kind. Subconsciously I thought if I could get these notorious womanizers to commit only to me, and love me, then it meant I was enough. I put my self-worth in the hands of another person. I’m sure you can imagine how well that worked out for me.
My relationship with my mom worsened as I’d gotten older. The farther down her addiction drug her, the further I would pull away. I felt helpless and angry. I felt betrayed by both her and my ex-husband. Our relationships were so toxic & volatile by this point I knew something had to change.
Over the years, I’d grown close to my biological dad and his side of the family. They had always been kind to me and offered help if I ever needed it.
I was trying to make it as a single mom. I was living in a pretty small town and without a college education it didn’t offer a lot of opportunity for career or financial success. I was S T R U G G L I N G big time!! I didn’t qualify for assistance but barely made enough to meet our basic needs. Past due notices continued to come, medical collections garnished my wages, and then the eviction notice came. What was I going to do? I was desolate.
It was time to swallow my pride and ask for help. I made the call and without hesitation my grandma, step-mom and dad gifted my two little girls and I the opportunity to go back to the place I was originally from, hundreds of miles away, for a fresh start.
Life felt like it was finally moving in a positive direction. A new environment was just what we needed. I began a job where I eventually was able to make ends meet without repetitive past due notices or fear of eviction. I was building healthy relationships. My daughters were flourishing. It seemed like us leaving was even the change my mom and ex-husband needed. They both, at different times and for different reasons, sought help and got sober.
My sister introduced me to a church that I ultimately fell in love with. Growing up, I believed in God but I didn’t know much about him. I heard a few stories of Jesus and was told he died for our sins but didn’t really ask or care to know more. The day I walked into this church that all changed. I was learning so much and I felt like a real relationship with God was beginning to blossom. I was ready to give my life over to Christ, so I decided to get baptized.
for a moment…
I had a lot of emotional scarring from events that had happened through out my life and I never worked through my emotions in a healthy way. All of those feelings, they were still there, buried somewhere deep down. Fear of abandonment and lack of self-worth were my biggest emotional issues and they were beginning to surface.
Even though I had been baptized, I didn’t change anything about my life. I hadn’t changed my dating pattern at all. I was still seeking validation in all the wrong places. If I prayed, I prayed selfishly. I didn’t tithe or trust God with my finances. I didn’t surround myself with other Christians. I didn’t have the desire to get involved in serving. I called myself a Christian but I wasn’t really living like a Christian.
My life began to unravel. I was in another unhealthy relationship, which resulted in an unplanned pregnancy. I was distraught over it because I didn’t believe in abortion but I wasn’t prepared to have another baby. Then, I miscarried. When I got home from seeing the Dr. about the miscarriage,I found out that my boyfriend had also been dating another girl at the same time as me. The betrayal hurt and the miscarriage was greatly effecting my emotions. Around the same time, I stopped receiving child support payments from my ex-husband because he had relapsed and went to jail. I was struggling so bad financially that I didn’t even have the money to buy the makings for a PB&J.
I hit a low. I took full responsibility for my situation and blamed myself for the predicament I was putting my daughters in.
Hopeless. Alone. Defeated.
364 days after I was baptized, just 1 day shy of the 1 year anniversary, I intentionally overdosed on a mixture of medications. I can tell you with 100% certainty the only reason I am still here is because of God’s divine intervention.
This is where I found the antidote to life: Jesus
A New Beginning
I spent a week in a mental health facility after that breakdown. You wouldn’t think a mental health facility is where I would have a life changing encounter with the Lord ( actually maybe you would… ha) but that’s exactly where it happened.
He found me broken, ashamed and alone. He took me into his arms and reassured me things were going to be okay.
A few weeks later my aunt and cousin arranged for me to join them on a women’s retreat with their church. I had a more intimate experience with God during this retreat than I ever have in my life.
In those two experiences I learned how to tune into God’s voice. He told me he loved me, I had a bigger purpose, and more important than anything else to just trust in him.
I had just been through the lowest point in my life. What did I have to lose? I guess it was time to finally give in and give it over. I guess it was time to trust him.
and that was it… completely surrendering changed my life in ways I would have never imagined.
- My view of Christians
My sister was in a group at church when she got the news about my suicide attempt. I was so ashamed and embarrassed of what had happened I didn’t want anyone who followed Jesus to know what i’d done. I thought they would look down on me and shame me for because of the carelessness for life I displayed. I was SO wrong. The group she was in got together and started a meal train for my family so they could enjoy a hot meal every night while I was away. In addition, they delivered grocery’s to my house every day for that week. I was completely stocked with grocery’s when I got out. They also got the girls a princess book that was “autographed by all of the princesses”. This display of generosity and grace from people I’ve never even met changed my whole perception of the Christian community and what Grace truly looks like.
- My relationships
Once my view of Christians changed, I felt more comfortable getting involved in small group and serving with the church. The relationships I’ve formed from these two areas are truly life changing. I’ve found myself immersed in a community of people who encourage me to live my best life by helping me grow spiritually. I’ve learned Christ centered relationships are the key to success because when I seek advice I can trust (for the most part) that the advice I’m given will follow God’s word, if i’m not making wise decisions they hold me accountable, they show me Grace and Mercy when I need it most, encourage me to do better, and most importantly are always pointing me back to Jesus when i’m losing my way.
- My Finances
I’ve heard incredible testimonies about Christians who begin tithing and God miraculously transforms their life and thrusts them into wealth (i.e. Dave Ramsey, Robert Morris). That certainly isn’t my testimony, I didn’t get rich, nor do I have an airplane to give away; I am however, receiving an abundance of blessings. Shortly after I began tithing, I was offered somewhat of a promotion which came with higher pay. A few months later, my budget was getting pretty tight so I decided to quit tithing to try to create some breathing room again. My budget stayed tight and nothing changed. After some time had passed, I heard a message on tithing at church and I felt really convicted so, I decided to begin tithing again. Right around this time, I was preparing for the possibility of a layoff because our company had announced it was closing, but my job was extended even though the company was closing and in that same time period upper management decided to award employees merit increases (unusual for a business closing it’s doors). Even when my paycheck doesn’t seem like it’s going to stretch far enough, our needs are always met in one way or another. God has opened my eyes to see that the people in my life that offer help and support are also a part of his blessings.
- My Emotional Health
Battling depression is an exhausting struggle I’ve had to deal with my entire life. As I’ve grown in my faith and continued to try to discern God’s will for my life; I’ve been able to manage the depression and life’s obstacles a lot better. To look back and see the trials I have overcome and how God is using those experiences for a greater purpose, fills me with an overwhelming amount of peace. Unfortunately, life is still handing me some big obstacles and I can’t imagine trying to get through them without Jesus now. He invites us to come to him in sorrow and promises he will be near us through the hard times. We are to only trust that his plans are greater than anything that we are facing. Those promises have radically transformed my emotional well-being.
- My Self-Worth
I’ve learned that the opinions of others and their love or the absence of love has no effect on who I am, as a person. The only validation that matters at the end of the day is from God. If I believe God, the creator of galaxies, puppies, oceans, pine trees & mountains… created me, chose me, & seeks me; then I must also believe I am here for a bigger purpose than I am even able to imagine.
- My Fulfillment & Life Purpose
I’ve always had a servants heart but before I had Jesus in my life, I would “serve” the wrong people in the wrong manner. I was subconsciously drawn to broken people and made it my mission to heal them. Over the past few years God has slowly been revealing his purpose in my life and showing me why trying to heal other people hurt me instead. It has never been my job to heal people, only God can do that. I am called to love, listen, advise, and minister to other people with the sole purpose of pointing them to the only one who can redeem them… Jesus. As I’m becoming more aware of my calling and my purpose, I have a sense of fulfillment like I’ve never had before.
- I learned God Wasn’t a Buzzkill
One of the hardest things about becoming a Christian is overcoming the temptation of sin. It took me quite some time to realize this… did you know God tells us not to do certain things because they are inevitable going to hurt us? Ok… so- killing, stealing, lying… those ones make sense. What about honoring the sabbath? Or… an even touchier one… not committing adultery? By honoring the sabbath day (taking a day of rest) you are doing exactly that. Resting… giving your body exactly what it needs to keep going. Do you know what happens when you don’t give yourself rest? Your health and mental health deteriorate. What about sex outside the context of marriage? I wish it wouldn’t have taken me 28 years to figure out that God wants us to wait for someone willing to commit to being with us for the rest of our lives only to avoid the hurt and destruction sex outside of marriage causes. If society understood this concept as well, there would be a lot less cheating, unplanned pregnancies, abortions, STD’s, and violent crimes that result as a consequence to the aforementioned issues. God loves us so much that he wants to protect us from the things that he knows will hurt us. Wow…
I could honestly go on and on and on about the hundreds of ways Jesus has transformed my life and my heart. It’s hard not to when you find the cure for your ailments, you know? You just want to yell it from the mountain tops!
Now, I want to challenge you, my friends, to think about your story.
What is your antidote? If it’s not Jesus, what is it?
When you feel that void, when life get’s hard, when things are unraveling… how do you fix it? Do you buy things? Do party, drink or get high? Do you burst out in anger and blame others or do you cower inward and blame yourself? Do you vent to your friends or see a counselor? Do you bury yourself in work? Do you ignore the problems hoping they will go away?
If you’re antidote is anything other than Jesus, how well is it working for you?