It was two days after my world came crashing down. It was the day I decided to piece it back together. It was February 25, 2010, the day my whole life changed. My world fell apart the day my parents got a phone call from the dean of my school saying I was "both using and selling drugs at school". The next two weeks became so stressful they can only accurately be described as a nightmare. I lived those two weeks in intense fear of being expelled from school. My parents used to be federal agents, so they treated me like a criminal. They asked me every question they could think of and took away all my things. I spent the first two days desperately crafting elaborate lies, carefully hiding every object that could prove my guilt, and frantically history from my phone. I was hoping to evade the truth, so the nightmare could finally be over.
Those two days, I was so stressed that I lost 8 pounds. My soul was in constant torment. All day long my mind raced with questions. Everything in my life seemed like a joke. Everything felt like it was coming to a terrifying halt. My problems seemed un-fixable and I had no idea what to do. I just wanted everyone to leave me alone so things could go back to normal.
Things went on like this until February 25. I went through the entire day at school struggling through my fears. When I got home, I finally broke down. I reminisced about what had been going on in my life up until two days ago. About a month before this, my trumpet teacher invited me to be in a high school orchestra that he directs at his church. Sitting in church for the first time in years, my heart became convicted. Every single time I sat in church, I became overtaken by the realization that no matter how many ways I tried to justify my actions, they were still wrong in God's eyes. I remember sitting in the pew praying with all my heart, telling God that I wanted to change my ways and live for him. I knew He had a great love for me, and I remember telling Him I wanted to give everything up for him, but I knew I couldn't. I felt a pain in my heart every time I went, because I knew I couldn't change anything on my own.
I longed for God. I wanted to experience God's love so badly. I thought about Him all the time. I remember the very last time I ever got high, I lied face down in the corner of my closet for hours completely depressed, crying my eyes out, screaming at God; "If this doesn't make me happy anymore, then what will? What will?". I fell asleep after that, thinking He would never answer, thinking I was past saving. I couldn't have been farther from the truth.
It was 5 days after I fell asleep, high, yelling at God. It was the afternoon of February 25, 2010. My arms were shaking as I paced the floor, racking my brain for clever lies that could somehow put a mask on the hideous person I had become. I couldn't think of any more lies. I just wanted to calm down. I opened up the bottom drawer of the dresser in my closet. Stretching my hand all the way to the back corner of the drawer, I pulled my cigarettes and lighter out from underneath my red middle school uniform sweater. They were what I depended on when I needed to relax in those days.
I rushed into my bathroom, and slammed the door shut. I sat down on my toilet lid, held the cigarette in front of me, and put my lighter to it. My thumb was about to strike the lighter, when I noticed just how badly my hands were shaking. In that single moment of time, I had the epiphany of my life. "Smoking isn't going to make me less nervous, it is what's making me nervous to begin with." That thought shot like a bullet straight down the top of my skull, I felt it sink down into my brain, into my heart, and into my soul. I just sat there and started sobbing. I realized how addicted I was to all these horrible things, and I realized that God was answering my prayer and giving me a way out. I realized what He was doing. He was letting me hit rock bottom, so I could finally let Him take me by the hand, up and out of the hole I dug myself into.
I decided to take His hand. I lifted the toilet lid and flushed my cigarette. Then I went into my room. I took all my weed and everything else and flushed it all down the toilet. The whole time I felt Him within my soul leading me, telling me "It's okay Carla. You don't need these things anymore. I am here, and I am all you need." I finally felt a peace, it seemed I had been searching for my entire life. I was afraid that feeling would go away, so I sat down and read my Bible and prayed for hours. I made Jesus my Savior, and that feeling of peace has never since left me.
That was February 25, 2010, and ever since that day nothing has been the same. Everything became brighter, everything became newer, and I made the most amazing friends ever. Particularly my two very best friends Christine and Mary Katherine. I realize now, that They were the first real friends I ever had. They knew my struggles and they were there for me every time I felt like giving in. They gave me hope for the future, when I saw none. They showed me what it means to be a Christian. They taught me that it is possible to have fun without doing drugs or doing anything wrong. They taught me how to do all sorts of girly things and gave me confidence. They genuinely cared for me in every way, and I never would have been freed from drugs if God had not used them in my life.
Christine and Mary Katherine along with a few others brought me to February 25, 2011. That was the greatest day of my life. It was the day I was one year clean. I feel like I can remember every second of that day. I planned that day, I dreamed about that day for a year. One year clean is a huge deal. The 'experts' say that if a person makes it that long clean, they are extremely likely to stay clean. One year clean means the game is over and you won it.
I remember going to bed the night before thanking God for changing my life and bringing me everything that He brings: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, and self-control. I woke up that morning with nothing but pure joy. I was so happy I drove to school laughing hysterically at nothing. I remember admiring everything about the day, even the way the trees swayed in the wind and the way the sun light poured through the branches. It was such a beautiful day, perfect in every way. It was like God's beauty was being reflected through His creation.
The day turned to night and only got better. I invited all my closest friends to the cheesecake factory for dinner. They all thought the dinner was about me, to celebrate what God had done in my life, but instead I surprised them. I made it all about them and how God had used each one of them to change my life. I gave each one a speech, and I gave them each a Bible verse, a note, and a small gift that symbolized the most special thing about their character. I'm proud to say I made every one of them cry, and oddly enough, their tears were the most rewarding accomplishment I have ever achieved. After that we played a huge game of outdoor hide and seek with about thirty people. The night was incredibly fun.
That night showed me just how real God is. He took me, a person who in no way deserved forgiveness, and He gave me not only that, but so much more. He made me a brand new person, and He gave me a reason to live. Sure, my life isn't perfect. I still have struggles, just like everyone else. But, I just want everyone to know it doesn't matter who they are, what they are, where they are, how close they are, or how far they've fallen. They don't have to go through their struggles on their own, or rely on anyone or anything else to get them through. There is a God that loves them so much He sent His son to die for them. He's there for them whenever they need Him. He doesn't promise you a care free life, but He does promise He will always be there to carry you through, bless you and give you exactly what you need. So come on people, just take His hand and trust Him. I've done it, and I promise you , He never disappoints.
Mathew 10:39 Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for My sake will find it.