I have been saved by God, given absolute clarity, hope and strength through the word of the Bible. I was at the point of ten or more years of addictions when I was the age of 22, which included gaming, overeating, substance abuse and many other unhealthy disorders. I reached the point where I had enough with turning my back on myself, others and God. I missed court and ignored responsibilities that were tied to drug charges and saw the $5000 warrant amount on my name; it truly made me realize I had a serious issue. The two months that followed that were solely given to the efforts of getting me into treatment. By the grace of God, I was placed in Aberdeen, SD at Avera St. Lukes Hospital via Worthmore Addiction Services for an arrival date of 11/27/2017. On my second day in treatment, I stayed back as I was withdrawing from the substances I was using and my unhealthy lifestyle of overeating. This decision ended up changing my life as I sat in my room in the hospital and read a book titled “The Bible Promise Book”. I read this book from cover to cover in about four hours and by noon that day, I was saved. My heart flooded with endless joy; all the shame and misery I was feeling about the past lifted and I was reborn. I prayed many times that day and cried tears of joy, knowing that I am forgiven and that there is a God that loves me. Before this day, I had no idea that God was right by my side this whole time. I graduated treatment on December 23rd, 2017 and came back to Sioux Falls. I continued to abscond from court up until August 15th, 2018. I lost my faith within a few weeks of returning from treatment and did not feel I could handle these responsibilities/issues that have built up over the course of five or more years. I spent my time at home doing nothing but ignoring God again and going to the gym. I lost a considerable amount of weight, going from 310 when I checked into treatment to 250 pounds. Nonetheless, my time was spent in fear, shame and guilt over the past and over what could happen if I faced my problems. On the 15th of August, I was served my warrants and spent a week in the Minnehaha County Jail. After getting checked into my cell block, the first instinct I had was to go to the book cart and find the Bible. The reward God gave me for doing this was incomprehensible for me at the time. I opened the cover and started reading from the beginning. Over the course of the week I spent in jail, I managed to read about half of the Old Testament; the stories that I read renewed my faith and gave me the strength, courage, wisdom, patience to have no fear. I ended up devising a plan for myself in all areas of my life for when I get released and also while doing so, how I would get released using the covers of books that were caked in smoke residue from when they use to allow inmates to smoke inside the jail. Upon getting released, I had about twenty yellow stained covers that were filled with plans on how I would live my life according to what God has written/said about me. I have now been out of jail for over two months and have stayed faithful to him and my plans; the rewards again have been truly unfathomable. I am now working two jobs; one as a delivery driver for a pizza chain and one as a custodian for Peace Lutheran ECLA while I take care of my legal responsibilities. I am attending Faith Temple Church on Wednesday night with Leotis Crawford(who leads the meeting which is the pastor I met in jail for Sunday Service who led the worship service and referred me to the group) and have not missed a Wednesday since I was released. I am going to Face It Together Counseling once a week and have not missed a week since being released. I go to Celebrate Church every week on Sundays and have not missed a week since release. I am a volunteer at Feeding SD and am working towards other volunteer opportunities in the Minnehaha County Area at the Glory House and The Alpha Center. By the grace of God, I was given a third highway through the Adopt A Highway program which is a program that allows anyone to “adopt” a highway in which that person/organization keeps it clean; I now have a highway under my name through that program in Minnehaha, Lincoln and Moody County. I am now also going to be going to counseling for overeating as I am still battling this addiction; I know that through faith, God will heal me and lead me to a healthy lifestyle. All of my relationships have been healed. I now am reborn as I am the righteousness of God; a man of God, a saint. I have been able to block out all negative influences, people and old habits that kept me in the darkness for so long. Through these last two months, I have had the sincere opportunity to meet many other followers and it is truly a blessing to be able to have fellowship, seeing others grow in Christ and myself. I cannot wait to find out what God has in store for me, so long as I continue to follow him and give his one and only son, Jesus, a place in my heart. (2 Th. 3:3)The Lord is faithful and He will strengthen and protect you from the evil one. (Galatians 1:10)Obviously, I’m not trying to win the approval of people, but of God. If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ’s servant. (2 Corinthians 5:17)Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! (Romans 12:2)Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is. (1 Peter 2:2)Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation… (Luke 9:62)Jesus replied, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.” (Proverbs 4:20-22)My son, pay attention to what I say; turn your ear to my words. Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart; for they are life to those who find them and health to one’s whole bod. (2 Cor 5:21)God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (Ephesians 2:8-9)For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith; and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God; not by works, so that no one can boast. (Proverbs 22:17-19)Pay attention and turn your ear to the sayings of the wise; apply your heart to what I teach, for it is pleasing when you keep them in your heart and have all of them ready on your lips. So that your trust may be in the Lord, I teach you today, even you.
By stepping out in faith and taking the next right step, we can go places with God than we could ever ask or imagine.