I experienced a transformation the spring after I turned 21. I was riding shotgun with a 12-pack of beer in my lap. With my window rolled down, I proceeded to hold the bottles out of the window and drop them onto the highway as we sped along. I decided in that moment that I was done being a drunk. I was done being a druggie. I was done living only for pleasure. From that moment on, I have lived for Jesus and only incredible, absolutely amazing things have come from this decision.
This transformation came about after the chaos of my life came in contact with the efficacious and life-giving force of God’s grace. Like in the first moments of time, when in the beginning God created the heavens and Earth and spoke “let there be light,” and made life and everything in creation, so too did He speak into my soul a new existence, a garden of plenty, an ocean of peace and joy that would forever pound my heart with its waves of goodness. The same grace that rose Jesus from the dead entered the dark tomb that had become my life and raised me.
Do you remember waking up on Christmas morning as a kid? How joyful that was feeling was? The excitement is so great that my kids talk about Christmas all year long. They also talk a lot about their birthdays, and what they plan to be for Halloween. There is never a wrong time to talk about these three things for them. Well, these three things all wrapped up together is what my life has become. Even during my moments of pain and suffering.
I owe it all to God and His grace. It has never not been incredible. It’s always beautiful and always new. It’s not like if you eat grilled cheese every day and then you get sick of grilled cheese. It’s a journey. It’s a journey that doesn’t wear you out or give you the need to rest; only provides tremendous healing.
The emotional wounds that I have received over the years before my time of addiction, during, and after have all been filled with something better than I had before the wounds were created.
I am now at the point where I am thankful for it all. I thank God for the misunderstandings, the struggles, the rejections, insecurities, consequences, and other pains. Now I see that in my weakness, He is made known. He is glorified all the more.
I love what St. Paul says in 2 Corinthians 12:
“I shall be very happy to make my weaknesses my special boast so that the power of Christ may stay over me, and that is why I am quite content with my weaknesses, and with insults, hardships, persecutions, and the agonies I go through for Christ’s sake. For it is when I am weak that I am strong.”
When we reach the limits of our humanity, strength and tolerance, that is when God begins. What I mean is that once we let God take over, and stop trying to handle everything on our own, He takes over and handles everything. Our struggles remind us that we need God and He can handle our struggles.
He first needs us to give Him permission to work in our lives. He does not want to force us. He wants us to choose Him, and to do this we need to let go of our pride and accept that we are weak and need Him. He is tremendous, majestic, and all powerful! God is great and He shows this greatness through us. If we try to show how strong we are or how perfect we are, it gets in the way of us showing how great He is.
By knowing how great God is, we are perfectly in touch with reality and disconnected from our egos. This simply allows us to know the truth and not get in the way.
God’s greatest desire is to help us. Therefore, it’s in those moments and experiences when we are weakest, or feel the most lost, or most hopeless we can look to God. Even when it seems like there is no way out of our struggle or pain. Even during the darkest moments, God makes a way.
It may seem like nothing is happening, but He is doing something new in your life, just like He did in mine. It may not always be comfortable, but it will always be good in the end.
Just as a seed buried underground, crushed beneath the dirt, seems as if nothing is happening, God is also creating something new. Something that did not exist before emerges from the ground and is utterly beautiful.
While God is all powerful, and works however He wants to work, the best way to receive His solutions, healing, and help is through grace, which comes through the sacraments, through prayer, through reading the Bible, and through showing love to those around us.
This is how I overcame my struggles with addiction, this is how God led me to healing. This can be how God brings hope to what you see as hopeless. My life is a testimony to that. I was far. I was a hopeless case. Yet God made a way for me. God lead me out to freedom. And He has been healing me ever since. Every day I feel better. Every day my life is fuller. And I am happy.
Since giving up my addictions and going to God with everything, He has been working on me over the years. And I still need a lot of work. He has continued to fill me up through His grace and I am not even close to the person I was when I started this new journey.
It’s been totally unreal. A true adventure. I am absolutely blown away everyday by it. God truly makes things new. He truly transforms. I see this so clearly now and my prayer is that you can too.