Cara: A life restored

Cara, USA

I asked Jesus Christ to be Lord of my life in early 1995 and was baptized on May 28th. Prior to that time I had gotten into all kinds of wrong things — things that were tearing my life apart: I began reading and watching pornography at age 11, stole things regularly before and after that time, started smoking pot when I was 15, started drinking a year or so later, and by the time I went to college I was doing serious drugs (acid, mescaline, mushrooms, downers, you name it…).

By God’s grace, I never tried cocaine or heroin. I say it was by God’s grace because I knew I would get addicted to those drugs if I ever once tried them. And since God was protecting me, I never tried them, even though I was offered both drugs on a regular basis and was ridiculed and even kicked out of certain places because I wouldn’t do them. An illustration of God’s protection on my life was a drug bust that occurred just a matter of minutes after I had been kicked out of a party because I wouldn’t snort cocaine. If I had done cocaine that night, and stayed at that party, I’d have gone to jail. As it happened, I didn’t go to jail that night, or ever. Praise God!!

From 1984 to 1994 I lived with an alcoholic and was verbally abused as well as ignored in favor of the bottle of scotch. It was a really bad life. I got high when I got up, got high at lunch, was addicted to cigarettes (regularly smoking as much as 3 or 4 packs a day), and got high, or started drinking, or both, the minute I got home — sometimes on the way home. I grew to “need” pot so much that I once drove over 8 hours with a friend of mine to go to the house of some guy that we thought might have some pot we could buy. We didn’t even really know the guy. Now that’s desperation! And addiction!

Finally, after growing sicker and sicker of how gross everything was, how bad I felt, how awful it was living with an alcoholic, and how it looked like nothing was ever going to change or get better, I asked my mom (who had been praying for me for over 17 years – praise the Lord!!) what she thought about me going to church, and where she thought I should go. God really gave her wisdom to not preach at me. She offered some very gentle suggestions, listened… and prayed, prayed, prayed, I’m sure.

I thought about it for a week or two and then went to the church she suggested. Don’t laugh, but I honestly thought the roof would fall in on me. To my surprise (and relief) it didn’t. I went there for about 6 months, getting to know people, hearing the Bible taught, learning that God loves me, and learning to obey Him and what the Bible says. I don’t remember an exact moment where I prayed the sinners prayer or anything like that. For me, it was a gradual growing more aware of Jesus, how He died for me and for my sins, and how much God loves me that He would do that for me — even with all the awful things I had done and been a part of. It was shortly after that I decided to be baptized.

Since that time, I have learned to walk closely with my Lord Jesus and to respond to His leading in my life. After just a few months I had stopped drinking, smoking pot, and dating (more about the dating later). About 6 months after I was baptized God set me free from smoking cigarettes! I have been a non-smoker for over 10 years now. That is one of the most amazing things to me about how God has worked in my life. I had pleurisy twice, and pericarditis, and had been told by several different doctors that I had to stop smoking or it would kill me. I was so addicted to cigarettes I knew I was going to die and that smoking was going to be the reason for it. Yet I was powerless to do anything about it. I thank the Lord that HE is able to do things we can’t do ourselves!!!

The Lord Jesus has had me do all kinds of things in His service since I gave Him my life: lead a Bible study for several years, do personal discipleship, lead worship, work at a teen ministry, visit nursing home residents, minister to my elderly mom and bring her to live with me, and, in 2001 the Lord Jesus called me into full-time ministry. I currently serve at Gospel for Asia (www.gfa.org) a ministry that is — by God’s grace — doing incredible evangelistic work in Asian nations that are totally closed to Westerners coming in to preach the Gospel.

I also got married for the first time about 6 months ago. I mentioned earlier that God put it on my heart very early on to stop dating. In love and obedience to the Lord Jesus, I chose not to date for 10 years while I grew in my relationship with God. During that time the Lord brought my husband into my life and gave me over 7 years to get to know him and know that his relationship with the Lord is real. God brought us together in the spring of 2005 and we were married in July.

For those of you who may have lived with someone, or been divorced, or just slept around because it seemed fun, or cool, or because you are lonely or bored, let me tell you straightforwardly that there is no more wonderful thing in this world than being a Christian wife and being married to a man who loves the Lord. Whatever you go through, and however long it takes, it is worth waiting for. We waited until after we were married before we even touched each other. There was no hugging, hand-holding, kissing, or sex until our wedding night. Waiting for sex and sexual intimacy until marriage was another thing the Lord had put on my heart when I first became a Christian and I am SO GLAD I listened to Him and waited for all the blessings that come in a Christian marriage. When we honor God, and what He says in His Word (the Bible), He REALLY blesses it!!

The last thing I want to share with you is that my mother prayed this verse for me the whole time she was praying that I would come to know the Lord. This is from the book of Joel, chapter 2, verse 25: “Then I will make up to you for the years that the swarming locust has eaten, the creeping locust, the stripping locust and the gnawing locust, my great army which I sent among you.”

This passage is talking about how a certain group of people had sinned and God brought trials and problems and attacks against them to cause them to repent (to stop doing the sinful things they were doing and ask God to forgive them) and that once they repented He would heal them and restore the things in their lives that had been eaten up as a result of their choice to sin.

I praise God for my mom, for her prayers, for God’s kindness to me, and for Him putting this verse on mom’s heart to pray for me.

God has absolutely restored to me every single moment, year, and blessing the locusts had eaten as a result of my choice to sin. I pray that you will ask the Lord Jesus Christ to take your life into His loving care and to forgive your sins. He wants to. He died for you. He loves you. God bless you.

If you’re a parent praying for a kid who’s doing stuff like I described, PLEASE DON’T EVER STOP PRAYING FOR THEM!!

I am absolutely convinced that if my mom hadn’t prayed for me that I would be in jail or dead. God is faithful and He hears your prayers. I am here — and serving the Lord — and that is proof of His faithfulness to answer prayer. May God give you faith to trust Him and faith to keep on praying even when it looks and feels impossible. With God ALL things are possible !!! God bless you!!