I always felt like I was different from my friends. I questioned everything they believed, especially when it came to religion. My parents took me and my two siblings to church every Sunday, and they did their best to raise me in a Christian way. At the age of 13, I started the question the whole “God” thing, and began to drift away from church and my Christian friends. I very quickly started to fill the gap in my life, created when I removed Christ, with everything the world had to offer. After a few years of a very aimless and meaningless life, I started to feel very depressed and worthless. I couldn’t seem to find a way to break out of the cycle of using drugs and alcohol. I would get arrested, get out of jail, and go right back to the same old junk. At the age of 18, I had to stand in front of the judge for the first time as an adult. Looking back, the grace of God was very evident in the whole situation. Within the span of just a few days, my mother found Alabama Teen Challenge and a lawyer who, despite knowing I could not pay him, showed up for my court date, and represented me free of charge! Anyone viewing my situation would have been justified in betting against me, but God had another plan.
When I arrived at Teen Challenge, I honestly didn’t believe there was a God. To me, religion was just a crutch for weak-minded people. I felt as though experiencing God was just turning off one’s mind, and blindly believing what you are told. Shortly after arriving at Teen Challenge, I began to realize that they weren’t trying to shove religion down my throat. Every day I heard about the importance of reading the Word, and spending one on one time with the Lord. My first few months of personal devotion time were spent doing crosswords puzzles and sleeping, but that got boring.
After a while, I started to actually read my Bible and pray a little bit, although I wasn’t sure anyone was listening. It is absolutely amazing how patient and loving God is, even when you are fighting Him so strongly. As time went by, I found myself beginning to be truly happy for the first time in a very long time. I was no longer reading the Word and praying only to pass the time; I was doing it because I wanted to. I had never known anyone who would just stand by while you trashed their name for years, and then when you hit the bottom, would greet you with open arms. There were never any feelings of condemnation or guilt, only forgiveness and love. I thought going to Teen Challenge would be like going to a traditional drug rehab center, but what I found was that drugs were never really the problem. It wouldn’t have mattered if I was perfect by the world’s standards; without the Lord, my life would have still been an aimless mess. But, nothing will ever come close to the joy and purpose you receive through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ! There is no greater ministry than living your life the way Christ lived His, and that is exactly what I received at Alabama Teen Challenge.
After graduating and being home for about a year, I had the opportunity to move to Tulsa, Oklahoma for an internship at a church there. Five years later I am still in Tulsa. I have been married to the most wonderful woman for 4 years, and we have a beautiful two-year-old little boy. We are involved in a small church with people who love the Lord with all their hearts. We don’t know all of what the Lord has in store for us, but we know that we are where He wants us right now, and are continuing to grow in His Word. I am still so far from having all the answers and understanding all the questions that life brings, but the difference between now and when I first walked into Teen Challenge all those years ago, is that I am okay with that. I don’t need to have all the answers, because the God who created the universe, lives in me. He guides my steps and comforts me when I am down. I am never alone, and I now know that my life has a purpose and a plan.
Timothy's story is from Alabama Teen Challenge. Visit their profile to learn more.