I have great memories from my childhood. Nevertheless, I became rebellious toward my family and wouldn’t listen to any of their advice. In failing to do so, I lost many years of my life to serving myself. My rebellion continued to get worse. I began to do drugs and try to fit in with the older crowd and be cool, or so I thought.
Adding to the chaos, my Aunt was the victim of a horribly violent crime—she was shot and set on fire. I was very close to her and looked up to her. She was someone I wanted to emulate. I was so angry at God and couldn’t understand why such a terrible thing happened.
In just a few short years, my addiction spiraled out of control and I found myself in a hospital bed from a drug overdose. My first brush with death didn’t slow me down, it actually exacerbated my behavior. I began to skip school and lie even more to my family. My life’s interest changed very quickly. I went from being very popular in school and active in sports to being a full blow heroin addict at the age of 16. I believed Satan’s lie that I would never be anything, that I was just a drug addict, and there was nothing I could do to change that. I was expelled from school due to my drug use and encountered serious legal consequences for my poor choices.
Christ never stopped pursuing me and neither did my family. They held on to hope and never gave up, even when I already had. I did everything possible to make their lives miserably difficult by my actions. I thought I was a disgrace to my family. After my relapse, I was living in the streets not knowing if I would live or die. I cried out to God and asked him to please help me because I couldn’t do it anymore. I knew that my family was going to be planning a funeral for me very soon and so did they. God answered my prayers! I was arrested again. I was very scared that I would be going to prison for a long, long time. On February 14, Valentine’s Day, the opportunity opened to attend Alabama Teen Challenge’s twelve-month residential discipleship program.
Since entering the program, I have truly found someone that I have been searching for my entire life. God has totally c hanged my outlook on life. I know I have a wonderful life ahead of me serving others. My goal in life is to serve Him and do His will. My relationship with my family has been restored, my mind, and everything about me has been transformed. I know I have been saved by grace to live out His will and purpose for my life. I now know that I serve a God who is greater than any addiction or trouble in this world. Troubles will come—and that’s why I have chosen to serve Him. Even when I am pressed on every side by troubles, Christ is still my Valentine.
Ashley's story is from Alabama Teen Challenge. Visit their profile to learn more.