Not Too Far from God's Reach

(Posted January 2nd 2018 @ 11:40 AM by: Melody Reever)

Not Too Far from God's Reach

I was raised in an Apostolic Pentecostal home. I was baptized in Jesus’ name at age twelve, but I did not receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. When I was sixteen, I wanted to fit in with my friends so I began to use alcohol, marijuana, cocaine, and LSD. By age eighteen, I had settled on cocaine as my drug of choice, using it off and on when someone offered it to me. I was not addicted, and rarely bought it.

By the time I was twenty, I had given birth to two boys. When I was twenty-six, my daughter was born. My husband and I occasionally used cocaine together. It seemed like a shiny golden chain I could pick up, wrap around my neck, and feel beautiful then take off and lay aside. I had no idea that I was playing around with an iron chain that would one day wrap around me like shackles and keep me its bound prisoner. Sin is that way: beautiful to pick up, impossible to put down.

At my mom’s invitation, I attended a revival service and was convicted about my need to get my life right with God. A few weeks later, I received the wonderful gift of the Holy Ghost in a prayer meeting. One evening, about a month later, I came home to find a party happening on my porch. My neighbor followed me into my kitchen and laid a line of cocaine on my kitchen table. I stared at it, wanting it so badly, but my conscience told me that it didn’t have a place in my new Spirit-filled life. I wish I had run out of my home. I wish I had swept it into the trash. But instead, I paced back and forth, and then I leaned over and inhaled the poison into my nostrils. I chose the momentary high over the peace God had given me. I had no idea in that moment that I had laid down my freedom and made myself a slave to sin.

Where once I could walk away from drugs, now I could not control my desire for it. I was no longer the master of my usage; it was the master of me. My usage became an addiction, and I began to sell our things to buy more cocaine. When I ran out of things to sell, I took out loans, eventually breaking the law with illegal check-writing schemes. Then I was introduced to crack cocaine by a friend at work. I tried it once, and was immediately hooked. I lost my job, and my husband took the children and left. My professional life was over. My marriage was over. My relationship with my kids was in tatters.

I loved my husband and children, but I was no longer in control of myself. I had chosen drugs, and they controlled me. I was in and out of drug rehabs, none of which worked, and eventually ended up living on the streets of Tucson, Arizona, supporting my habit in the saddest and most tragic of ways. I was in and out of jail, and I saw things too terrible to put into words. I suffered abuses that wreck the body, brutalize the mind, and shatter the soul.

For several years I lived in a small hole dug out of a ditch, just fifty feet from a graveyard. I missed my kids so much, and I felt horrible about what I had done to them, to my family and friends. I was a shame and embarrassment to anyone who knew me. I remember lying in that little cave many nights, crying for my parents: “Daddy, please come and get me,” longing to be a child again, safe in our home.

I would cry out to God, “Why won’t you heal me? Why is this happening to me? I wasn’t raised like this!” I did not understand that this was the results of my choices, that I had invited this slave master into my life. After crying, I would smoke another rock to numb the pain for a few more hours.

Thankfully, there was a lady named Michelle Cardwell who refused to give up on me. I went to church because she was so persistent, and I sat beside Rosie Biggs and Debbie Lobello. God spoke to me through Pastor Paul Conner, and I knew God was still reaching for me.

Sister Cardwell kept picking me up for church. Sister Cheryl Murray invested time in having one-on-one Bible studies with me. Sisters Lobello and Biggs prayed for me along with so many others. Sister Linda McNeely showed love to me. I watched my pastor’s wife Sister Conner. She encouraged me, and through her actions I learned about being a lady again (and I’m still learning). Every member at Faith Tabernacle played a part in winning me back to the Lord. Because of their faithful love towards me and refusing to let go of me, I finally fell in love with Jesus. The Lord stripped me of my addiction, and I was completely set free!

I’ve been clean for nine years now. There have been many Bible studies in my home. Eight people have been baptized in Jesus’ name and four filled with the Holy Ghost, including my new husband!

The Lord restored my relationship with my children. We taught all of them Bible studies: two were baptized, one filled with the Holy Ghost, and God is still not finished. We were also able to teach my kids’ stepmom a Bible study, and she was baptized, filled with the Holy Ghost, and is now living for God. We have become the best of friends. Other family members have been baptized and filled with the Holy Ghost.

The Lord has blessed my husband and me with a new home this year, and I have started my own personal care and cleaning business. The Lord took everything the enemy destroyed in my life and used it for His glory. I now have a solid foundation, a close relationship with Jesus, a church family who loves and encourages me, and a great pastor. He and his wife are beautiful examples to me.

I am a living testimony that no one is too far from God’s reach!

 

Christine Cross and husband, Robert, attend Faith Tabernacle in Tucson, Arizona, pastored by Paul Conner. It gives her much joy to teach Bible studies and win souls to the Lord. She loves spending time with her grandchildren.

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