Peace, Be Still — Forgiveness Through Christ
Over the course of two weeks we will be focusing on addiction recovery by awakening Christ in our lives: through articles, the LDS Addiction Recovery Program (ARP), and stories shared by our Small Seed community. We are so grateful to the women who have reached out courageously, with love and hope, to share their experiences. As you read, we invite you to prayerfully ask how you can apply this to your life, and think of who you know who you could share it with too.
— The Small Seed team
As a young child I had things happen to me that should never happen to anyone. I was hurt by a loved one and was denied the love and protection that a child needs. The incidents were swept under a rug and never dealt with while I was young. I felt alone and hopeless, but how do you deal with those feelings when you are ten years old? I pulled away from life and started making poor choices. Whether it was defying my parents rules or talking back, I wanted my parents to know they had hurt me. They looked at it in a different way and punished me. That made me feel even more unloved and unaccepted. My schooling and social life suffered. I had once been a star student and athlete, but now I was timid and scared. Really, looking back now, I see that fear became my way of life. I had good opportunities come my way because I was talented, but I sabotaged those quickly and lost many opportunities for growth and success. It was hard to hide my pain and feelings of unworthiness.
At the age of thirteen, I started smoking pot and drinking. I felt that I must be a bad person so I was going to act like one. I'd smoke cigarettes behind the church building by my junior high school and thought I was so funny. I felt like it was God's fault that all of this had happened to me and I was angry and upset at Him and at my church community. How could people that claimed to love me and Jesus Christ ignore how I was feeling and what had happened? I felt betrayed by people that I thought were good and strong and it made me question everything I thought I once believed.
I continued on a dark path for many years. Drug and alcohol addiction were how I coped. I had failed marriages, numerous suicide attempts, rehab, trouble with the law, and couldn’t even take care of my daughter. Through all of this I felt that I was a victim and everything was someone else’s fault.
In March of 2006 I was put on a bus from Arizona to Utah. My family was fed up with me and couldn’t handle taking care of me. Why would they? I lied, stole from them, put them in danger, and was over all out of control. They had had enough.
When I made it to Provo, Utah, I had nowhere to go. I called my sister-in-law and she said she would give me a ride to a friend's house. When I got in the car the song “The Station” by Jesse Clarke-Funk was on. The line “I’m ready to live, not only survive, ready to dance like no ones watching. Climb a mountain kiss the sky and do it all again” stuck out to me. I realized it was up to me to change my life and I wanted to live and experience joy and peace. I knew at that moment that God was looking out for me because that had always been my song. I love the words, I love to sing it, I love the message. This was a sign to me that he was with me and I could do this.
As I stayed at this friend's house, I knew I needed to leave as soon as possible. It was not the place to be to get sober. After speaking to one of my sisters she said to give my struggle to Christ and make a promise to him. A promise that I would keep. I got down on my knees and prayed harder than I had ever prayed. I cried, I pleaded, I begged to be taken out of the dark hopeless place I was in. I held my hands out envisioning my burdens in them and gave them to him to bear. I promised that I would devote my life to him and to helping others find him.
My life changed after that. I got a job that I held for nine years until I had finished my Behavioral Science degree. I was able to get my own apartment and take care of my daughter. My relationship with my family healed. Most of all, I healed. I was protected from the worry of judgment from those around me and held my head up high. I have owned my sins and share my experience as often as I can. I am not ashamed of where I have been because I know where I am going.
As I am writing this, I am watching my two year old daughter in the bath. The tears in my eyes as I watch her are because I know that I am blessed. The power of Jesus Christ is so real. He is our Savior. I know that I have healed and have been forgiven for my sins and I have been able to forgive those who have hurt me. Most of all I have been able to forgive myself and understand my worth as a daughter of God and a Sister of Christ! There is no going back to that dark place ever again because I understand and I know that the truth of Christ is in me. My mind is free from so much worry and pain and I know I’m not alone. I am whole because of him.