I made God a deal. “Okay, God,” I said, “I’m going to try this one more time. I am going to walk down to that church tonight but if you don’t change my life tonight I am going to come back home, drink that entire bottle of vodka and shoot myself in the head.”
It was December 14, 2004. I was a junior in high school and, to all of my teachers and many of my friends at school I was just your average teenager. I had straight A’s, a small group of close friends and a larger group of just-hang-out-at-school friends. I was in the process of choosing a college and I worked a part time job. My life was as average looking as you could imagine. But nobody knew of how I lived when I was at home.
I grew up with a physically, emotionally and spiritually abusive father until I was 11. My oldest brother committed suicide when I was 15. My mother was single and tried the best she could, but I had the freedoms to do whatever I wanted whenever I wanted. She felt that I had been too sheltered as a kid and wanted me to have the chance to live it up.
I started drinking at 11. By the age of 12 I was spending days in pool halls, at 13 going to nightclubs and by 15 going to bars with my older siblings and cousins. It wasn’t that I actually wanted to do these things–I did them because many people in my life said that drinking was fun and would make me happy. I rarely found it fun and never found happiness from it so I assumed each time that I just hadn’t drunk enough. If only I drank a little more maybe next time I would get happy.
I poured myself into being that star student, the one with straight A’s and involved in everything, but at night I was drinking whatever I could get my hands on (which varied–sometimes I would have full bottles left by my older siblings, sometimes nothing). By 14 I drank not really to get drunk but just to numb myself of the loneliness I had found myself in. I couldn’t figure out why I felt so alone. I had a lot of friends and was involved in a lot at school and I had what every teen wanted (or so I thought)–freedom. But there was more missing.
I knew that I missed church, the people in church, and I missed God. It was such an important part of my life as a kid–it was where I always felt safe and protected–but now I was away from it. I was taken away from it at 11 and never found a way to get back. So what did I do? I started sitting in my room alone at night, reading the Bible, watching tv preachers and listening to Christian music on the radio. All while I drank my vodka.
So back to December 14, 2004. I had had enough of living the way I did. I was getting burned out from school and more and more depressed as time went on. I had been emailing a church on and off for two years and decided that on this night I was going to go visit. They weren’t having a service this night but they were doing their regular Tuesday night prayer meeting. I figured it would be a great way to visit. I could walk in with few people noticing, pray by myself, and if I hated it never go back. If I loved it I’d go to the service the next night.
So I psyched myself up and walked to the church down the road from my house. When I got there, though, all of the lights were off and no one was there. I was so mad at myself. I couldn’t believe I didn’t get the day right. Apparently if I went through all this to get to the church and it wasn’t even open then God must not want me there. So I turned around and left. Hot tears felt down my face but quickly froze on that icy winter night. (Turns out the night was right–people were just late because of the snow on the roads)
The next day I had a meltdown at school and called my mother to come pick me up. I just told her I had a bad day and really needed to come home. She came and got me and dropped me off at the house. A few hours later she left for work and I was alone.
I got back on my computer and re-read that church’s website regarding their service times. I so badly wanted to go back–I was so sick of life as I had known it. I also re-read the emails they had sent me.
I made God a deal. “Okay, God,’ I said, “I’m going to try this one more time. I am going to walk down to that church tonight but if you don’t change my life tonight I am going to come back home, drink that entire bottle of vodka, and shoot myself in the head.”
I was so fed up with life and struggling so deeply with depression that if church didn’t work out this night–and I fully expected it not to–that i was going to kill myself. But I felt it only fair to give God one more chance (and deep down I really wanted Him to come through)–at least a chance to prove Himself. He got me through so much as a kid–why couldn’t He do it now?
I didn’t expect Him to do it, though.
I walked down to that church again. I put my door on the handle–felt like an eternity before I opened it. And when I stepped through that door I walked through to the next chapter of my life.
This night my life changed.
For the first time in more years than I could remember I walked home that night, not with tears but with a smile on my face. I sang all the way home… “Jehovah-Jireh, my Provider, His grace is sufficient for me…’
Sometimes people ask how can one service change me, It changed me because I realized that the emptiness inside of me was that I was missing what I grew up knowing–I was very lonely growing up but always had God to turn to. When I left church I felt like I lost Him.
The following Sunday, December 19, I was filled with the Holy Ghost with the evidence of speaking in tongues. I wasn’t seeking the Holy Ghost. I merely walked up to the altar and started crying and telling God I needed Him to fix my life. One month later I was re-baptized in Jesus Name.
My life has never been the same since. God proved Himself faithful. When I wanted to die He stepped in and gave me reason to live. It was during that darkest moment of desperation that God stepped in, heard my prayer, and He saved me.