“If Jesus can save me, he can save anyone.” I heard this growing up over and over again. I never could understand what people meant when they said it. I’d often think, “how bad could your life really be?”
I was raised in a church family, although most of my father’s side does not believe; my mother’s side is full of faith. Church was something I could remember doing on a regular basis but when we would move from place to place (coming from a military family especially). There was always a seemingly significant amount of time to “find” the right church and it always felt like as soon as we found the right church we would be relocated. This is how I felt with most things growing up. I’d make friends, move. Find hobbies I’d enjoy, move. It felt like every time I moved I would have to become a new person, new friends, new teachers. Looking back at it, all relationships I had up until 2008 were temporary. 2008 was the year my parents moved me from Tahlequah, OK to Fort Mill, SC. This move was especially tough for me and I really resented my parents for it. In the two years I had been in Oklahoma, I made deeper bonds with people than ever before. I had what felt like everything life could offer…best friends, bands I was making music in, a school I loved, and even a girlfriend. This move rooted a seed of bitterness that would plague & harden in my heart for years to come.
When I moved to Fort Mill in 2008, I decided to make my life consist of only whatever relationship I was in. I would date someone and make them my all, as romantic as it may sound it was very unhealthy. There was no room for God and no room for my family. As I look back at it, this was a combination of not wanting to spend any time around my family and intentionally turning from God to fulfill my own sinful desires. During each school year after moving to the Carolinas, I would save every dollar I could to buy a roundtrip plane ticket to go back and visit all of my friends in Oklahoma for the summer. Mike’s mom had breast cancer, so she would always allow me stay for the summer as long as I helped out around the farm. I did this for 3 years in a row. On the 3rd year, I went back and Mike’s mom had beat breast cancer. One day when no one was at the house I found a giant black trash bag filled with prescription medications from all of the treatments and doctors she went to. Morphine, xanax, codeine, you name it…entirely unused. I took bags full of different types of pills to try for the entirety of my stay that 3rd summer. So this was the beginning of a dark turn in my life where I began to Google what pills would do, how much you could take, and what you could mix. It is strange how quickly I fell into this. I felt like I was almost good at it. It was like a game to try to act sober when I was actually high on pills. In one summer I went from taking 1 pill to feel high, to 5 of that same pill to feel the same effect. My problem escalated as quickly as my tolerance did. On the last day of that summer break in Oklahoma, I made the very conscious effort to not bring any pills back to the Carolinas with me. I told myself, “this was a vacation, you don’t do this back home.” Little did I know even leaving the pills back in Oklahoma, I was taking my new demon of addiction back home with me..
Between 2010-2014 I will save you the vicious details but…I stole thousands of dollars from multiple jobs, friends, and family. I was kicked out of school which left me to basically living out of my car for months. I cheated, lied, and stole my way through life in any way I could. My health was on a quick decline due to my substance abuse. I continued to burn bridges and hold grudges with anyone I felt was against me. I was at my absolute rock bottom. No one wanted anything to do with me. No one except for this one persistent little lady named Dana Weightman. This lady was going to the school that I was just kicked out of and was 1. On fire for God & 2. PERSISTENT that I go with her to Elevation Church’s new live recording. I had gone to Elevation on and off up until this point, but my guilt and shame had distanced me far from the church.
On August 1, 2014, after a LOT of convincing, Dana got me to go to the live recording. That night I sung the words, “Thank you Jesus, just as I am I come. Hallelujah, Oh what amazing love.” This was not the first time I had heard these words; it wasn’t even the first time I had sung these words…it was just the first time that I meant it. My heart was finally in a posture that the Lord could use. In that moment, I truly allowed Him in. He met me in my darkest hour on my worst day. Jesus has changed my life. From the inside out I am a new creation. It’s taken time & its still a process but I am here to say, “If Jesus can save me, he can save anyone.”