Friday, October 23, 2009

Beauty for Ashes

Last night, we attended the Contact Church's appreciation dinner for the urban ministry's supporters and volunteers.

After dinner, one of our members gave her testimony.

D.J. came to the Contact Church as a broken woman.

A short time before knocking on the church's door to ask for help, D.J. knew that she needed to make major changes in her life. As an addict to crack cocaine, her life was falling apart. She realized how low she had sunk when she was on her hands and knees desperately searching her house for a crumb of crack to smoke. Her 3-year old daughter joined her in the search, but she poured out her heart to her mother as she crawled alongside her. "Mommy, I'm tired of you and Daddy drinking, smoking, cussing, and fighting. And I'm tired of looking for little white rocks on the floor, too...Is this one, Mommy?"

Soon, D.J. and her then-husband were homeless. They could not keep up financially with a $700 a day drug addiction. As they were walking the streets, wondering what they were going to do, they spotted the Contact Church building and decided to ask for help.

Of course, they found help in the church. D.J.'s husband stayed at our recovery house for a while. However, he kept failing the urine analysis tests and had to leave the program.

D.J. was able to move in with our recovery minister's family until the church helped her to find and furnish an efficiency apartment.

She learned about Christ, confessed faith in him, and was baptized in his name. At one point in the past, she had been baptized; but according to D.J., "This time, it was different. I had changed."

She was making progress in her new life of following Jesus Christ when a major setback occurred. She found out that her daughter had been sexually abused by her then-husband in much the same way that D.J. herself had been abused as a child.

D.J. could not handle it. She left her husband and abandoned her children. The state took the children.

With the help of members of the Contact Church, D.J. slowly got back on track. She returned to the church and started the recovery process again. Eventually, she was able to get her children back.

Last night, D.J. testified to the grace of God in her life. She reported that she had been sober for more than a year, and had abstained from sexual immorality for 5 months. Because of some of the Contact Church's men, her attitude toward men in general had changed. She had seen that some men would not use and abuse her; some would treat her with respect and understanding; some could be trusted.

D.J.'s life has changed in dramatic ways because Christ has made a difference. Just imagine what her life may look like in 5 or 10 more years.

"The Spirit of the sovereign LORD is on me,
because the LORD has anointed me
to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted...
to comfort all who mourn,
and provide for those who grieve...
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the LORD
for the display of his splendor" (Isaiah 61:1-3).


TWHallman said...

Thanks Terry for sharing that moving testimony. Loved the football story, go coach! God Bless, t

Terry said...

Thanks, Tim. I appreciate the kind words!