Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Reading (01/25/07)
TITLE: I Had Only Been Reading Him
By Jeanne Sparks-Carreker
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As a child, I was expected to memorize Bible verses every week in school. Since excellent grades were demanded of me, “Bible Class” became what I determined an “Easy A,” meaning that I could sail through the course without the hard work found in Algebra Class. Memorization was merely remembering a sequence of words by concentration from previous recitative exercises. I could do that with great ease. So many verses were read during my childhood, but benefit from all that reading did not come until I was a drug trafficker.
I drifted so far away from the Lord in my mid-to-late twenties, trying everything to ease the shouting void that could not be stifled. I exchanged one addiction for another and sometimes for two or three at a time, killing brain cells and stunting neuron endings and emotional growth for years. There was no spiritual growth within me at that time. Since I had strayed so far away from God, there was no limit to what I would smoke, swallow or snort in order to feel a temporary, though false, peace within my saddened heart. Had God not intervened, I would have surely died. The lifestyle and constant use of meth, oxycontin, and anything else I could abuse, had taken its toll on me, and it showed in my soon-to-be mugshot “debut,” weighing in at only 97 pounds when my “ideal” weight was 147, and sporting a junior girl’s size 12 jeans when I would normally wear between a 7 and 9 in a woman’s size in jeans.
Finally, my eldest daughter went to a Christian summer camp in 2002, and prayed with a counselor there that God do whatever it takes to get her parents off drugs. She was thirteen then. In her earlier formative years, she had met the Lord and had grown quite a strong faith in the unyielding loyalty He has for His children. Two weeks after praying that prayer, her father and I were arrested and charged with trafficking methamphetamine. Our bonds were set very high because we had ran from the narcotics officers for so long, qualifying us for a lengthy stay in jail instead of being able to post bond. Withdrawing severely and angry at the world, deputies saw fit to place me in “the hole” for a month. And there He was.
For my whole life, up until that time, I knew Who God was. I had no excuse.. But I had only been reading Him. It was not until I was utterly alone, having nothing with which to escape the guilt, memories, or tragedy I had caused my family and children, that I really knew Who He was, and Who He is to me. I was delusional, sharing the same symptoms as a schizophrenic during that first week due to a meth psychosis which had begun months before. I suffered panic attacks which were horrible when facing 23-1/2, sometimes 24 hours a day in an empty cell alone, with nothing to do at all. I didn’t even have a Bible the first week. But I had already read His Word so many times before, memorization paying off in so many more ways than an “Easy A,” and the Holy Spirit there to bring back to my shaky memory the very Words which had never dawned on my soul until I spoke them aloud with Him in that hole. There were times that had an officer opened the cell door and told me I could go out into the block for a couple of hours, I would have preferred to stay on that hard, iron bunk with God. For I finally read His Word, as He had wrote it down in my mind in childhood, and as He wrote it then, on my soul in that jail cell, forever.
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