Trophy of God’s Grace
I would like to share with you my testimony about how giving my life to Jesus Christ has transformed my life from one of drug addiction and alienation and emptiness to one of spiritual fulfillment, purpose and love for life. I have been coming to this church since October of last year. It has been the most life changing and spiritual times of my entire life. During that time I have met and become friends with so many people here in the body. During that time you have all injected so much life into me and I would like to say thank you for that.
What a lot of you probably do not know is that up until a year ago I was living a drastically different life from the one I am living now. I would like to share with you a little bit about how far God has brought me in less than a year, a deliverance that is nothing short of a miracle. About a year ago I was at one of the lowest points in my life. I found myself serving time in the Baltimore County Detention Center for various offenses that were all the result of a five year heroine addiction.
My addiction to heroine and other hard drugs had its beginnings when I started to smoke pot when I was 12 years old. I experimented with all kinds of drugs in high school. That experimentation escalated to cocaine and heroine in my later years of high school, when pot and drinking just weren’t enough to satisfy me. I started doing drugs to have fun and party but soon I began to do them to fill the emptiness I felt in my life
Through all this time I experienced a string of very serious car accidents that should have taken my life. One of those included being flown home from Senior Week to shock trauma. You would think that practically losing my life over and over would have woken me up but it did nothing to stop my drug use, if anything I just dove into drugs even more. My family kept saying that God must have a major plan for me, because those accidents should have taken my life.
I was very good at hiding my drug use but just after my eighteenth birthday my parents discovered I was using heroine. They sent me to a really exclusive rehab for a month but that didn’t work and I relapsed. I tried to hide my failure from my family but they discovered again that I could not kick my habit. From that time on, I was in and out of rehabs. But none of those rehabs could help me end my addiction to heroine. My family eventually had to cut me off because I was taking advantage of them and they could not trust me. This led me to living on the streets of Baltimore City for almost two years, where I had almost no contact with them.
One of the turning points of my life was on Christmas of 2000. My Uncle Marty, who is a Christian, asked me to go for a walk with him that night. On that walk he asked me if I wanted to receive Jesus Christ into my heart, and told me that this would transform my life. I said no thanks. When I look back now, I realize he planted a seed that eventually led me to my salvation and being here today with a brand new life.
March 30, 2001, I was arrested and sentenced to six months in jail. This was a turning point in my life even though I didn’t know it at the time. My family was obviously devastated by my life and where it was taking me. I know they felt totally helpless after so many attempts to help me. They had tried everything and nothing could help me. I felt just as frustrated but had no hope for my future. I did not want to live that life but my own will was not strong enough. Little did I know that all of these events in my life were all leading up to my family’s salvation and my salvation. God truly did have a plan, not only for me but for my whole family.
My father’s doctor, Dr. Larry Boas, knew of my struggle with beating my drug addiction. He mentioned to my father that his neighbor, Pastor Teddy Awad, had had success with healing drug addictions. My father was willing to try anything and so he arranged with the Detention Center, so that Teddy was able to meet with me and Dr. Larry Boas in private. I met Teddy in May – when they both came to visit me in jail. That is where Teddy, shared the gospel of Grace with me. It was there that I asked Jesus into my heart and was saved.
Up until that point I had never had hope for my future. I was basically living day to day, trying to survive. I knew that as much as I wanted to get better, none of my own efforts could turn my life around. It was not until I surrendered my life to Jesus Christ that I experienced hope for my life and for the first time things were falling into place for me. I clung to 2 Corinthians 5:17 for months until I finally started to love myself. I read this verse at least once a day.
Pastor Teddy was so faithful to visit me – bringing me a Bible and different booklets to read each week. During the time I was in jail, my dad, my sister Jen, and my stepmother Patty all accepted Christ, and began to visit me in jail and share with me their brand new life. They encouraged me and gave me hope for my future and told me how wonderful church was, what a wonderful new life they were all experiencing. God was showing me through all this that I truly could have a new life and that I did not have to see my self as an addict anymore. My life was new and fresh and the past was gone because of Jesus dying on the cross for me.
Teddy and his family and all the new people I met in church loved me and accepted me for who I am in Christ and did not judge me or make me feel like I was less of a person, because they did not judge me on my past. I learned immediately that I could have fun and become fulfilled and have a new life. I learned that Christ is the only one who could fill the emptiness of my soul, an emptiness that I had been trying to fill all those years with drugs and alcohol. The amazing thing is that God used my situation to give my whole family their salvation, and knit our whole family into the body of Christ. He has given us all brand new lives and hope for our life though getting to know Him. I also know God wants to use me to help others in my situation, because I have experienced that God only, can heal them like He healed me.
I would like to thank this church for having the vision and assurance to see that Christ could heal me. I would like to thank Pastor Teddy and his family who eventually made room for me at their home and continued to teach me Christ on a daily basis through Grace. My best friend through this all has been my father and he still is today. I would like to thank my mother, my stepmother Patty, and my sisters Jen and Beth for never giving up on me and for giving me support and encouragement. I would most of all like to thank God for a brand new life that is full of possibilities. Thank you for showing me that only by surrendering to Christ, can I truly experience life.