REAL LIFE STORIES INMATE TO INMATE BOOK

Jesus Did It!

By: Laura


My Search For Love . . .


I was born and raised in Illinois. Iím from a middle class family. My upbringing was less than perfect. There was a lot of fighting and strife in my home. I love my family, and my parents did the best they could, so thatís all Iím going to say about that.

As a young girl and into womanhood, I was always looking for love. I wanted that fairy tale white knight that would come rescue me from all that was wrong with the world and save me from myself. This mind-set directly led to the addictions I developed: alcohol, pot, cocaine/crack, prescription drugs, and eventually heroin.

My search for love and my need to fill a void led to very unhealthy relationships. When I was 15, I lost my virginity to a 25 year old married man. I was this familyís babysitter from the time I was 13. I guess by the time I turned 15, this man thought I was woman enough to do as he pleased. I thought I was mature. I was for my age, but not mature enough for that, emotionally or any in other way. I thought I was in love with him, and he told me he was in love with me. To make a long story short, his wife found out.

My whole world was turned upside down. I lost him, her (who was at one time my best friend), and their kids that I had grown to love like they were my own. I was more than just the babysitter. I was their friend. I hung out there every weekend, they were kind ofÖ my life. So it was a pretty devastating time.

That whole situation pretty much set the tone for my future relationships with men. From here on, it was a life of bad relationships, drugs, and alcohol. It seemed that with every new man came a new drug and a new demon for me to inherit.

Later that year when I was still 15, I met my first real boyfriend. He was 20 years old. He turned out to be physically abusive and very controlling. During that relationship, I dropped out of high school and had my first child at the age of 18. I ended up leaving him when my son was 5 months old. I got a fake I.D. and starting hitting the bars. It wasnít long before I had a serious drinking problem and started using cocaine due to meeting abuser #2. He was 10 years older than me and was going through a divorce. He supplied me with plenty of cocaine. He was nice and sympathetic to my situation, but he soon turned abusive too. The beatings were far worse than the first boyfriend. The drugs were out of control, and so was the abuse. With him I suffered physical, mental, and emotional abuse and even rape.

I had two more children with him. In my mind, there was no way out. So I stayed and suffered for 10 years. During those years he and I both picked up a bad habit with hydrocodone. This was on top of the daily cocaine use. I was arrested for my first felony, picking up a fraudulent prescription in Illinois. While out on bond for that charge, I was arrested in Indiana
for the same thing. I was 28.

I was so dependent on the drug that the physical withdrawals made me want to die. When you are in bondage to a drug that you are physically sick without, youíll do whatever you can to ease the pain. At the time I was taking forty 10mg pills a day. That is about 8 times the maximum amount prescribed to take in a day. I lost 50 pounds because it made me so sick I usually threw up about 5 times a day. I am very fortunate to be alive.

I finally got away from him because he went to prison. However, I was lost without him. I know that sounds crazy, but when you are controlled by an abuser for so long you end up losing any existence of your own. I was with him from age 19 to age 29, so it was like he practically raised me. Itís pretty sick thinking, I know.

I was left with three kids. I was evicted, had lost my job, and had no car. I was on probation for my two felonies. After about two weeks of a horrible detox, I had finally kicked the pills. However, as any addict does, I just traded one addiction for another. I was living from place to place, drinking heavily, and just continued to be lost. I had to eventually give my kids to their fatherís family. I wasnít fit to take care of them, and I didnít have a stable home for them to live in. I still saw my kids here and there, but eventually my selfishness led me far from them. I was too focused on my path to self-destruction to care about anything else. There were brief spaces of time where I really tried to get my act together and had a game plan to make things better. I even put myself in rehab several times. It never took. I always fell again and always worse than the time before.

Then entered Brad, who is now my husband. I know what you're thinking, ďOh, he must be that knight in shining armor she was looking for all her life.Ē Thatís not even close! Brad and I met in a bar and started seeing each other. Very soon, we fell madly in love. He was different from the others.  He never hit me or called me names. He was peaceful and mellow. We had big dreams. We talked about getting married and having a home and babies. The devil had other plans for us first.

Bars were our thing for the most part. He had told me about his addiction to heroin, but he was clean from it at that point, as far as I knew. Before long, his demon became my demon, and we starting using heroin together. Our lives very quickly fell to pieces, not that they were ever really together. We were drenched in sin.

We stole from family and friends. We burned every bridge we had. My family completely let me go and would have nothing to do with me. I was shooting $200 worth of heroin a day. My daily life was a vicious circle of stealing, pawn shops, and getting to the west side of Chicago to get my drug. Every day was a race against the withdrawals, a panic to get my drug before I got sick. Nothing else mattered. We were homeless, hopeless, and soulless.

It was a sick existence. We slept in hallways of roach infested slums on the west side. We begged for money on the street and stole from anyone we could. Heroin is pure concentrated evil. You become a slave to it. Nothing else matters, and it is the closest I will ever come to being demon possessed. I think back to the end of these days and remember how I just wanted to die. I was utterly hopeless and without purpose. I remember shooting up and praying it would be the shot that killed me. I desperately wanted to end my suffering. I wanted to end the monster I was and end the pain I was inflicting on others. I was empty and broken down so deep I couldnít see any glimpse of light.

I ended up violating my probation in both states and went to jail. After another horrible detox and 6 months in county jails, I was sentenced to a work release program. This was the turning point in my life. I have to express the sheer genius of Godís perfect plan. The program had just opened up for women. Had it worked out any other way, I would have gone to prison and would not have met the people I did. God worked through every one of them. They were perfectly placed in my life to help me grow into the person I am today.

Now let me tell you about the people God used the most, to show me a way out of the darkness and into His glorious light. While in the program, I met Pastor Michael. He worked there teaching a couple different classes I attended. He is my shepherd and has been there for me through so much. Iím surprised he didnít fire me from the church last year. I was very needy and called him as much as 20 times a day during a time my husband went thru a very hard time. I also met Adele, who was the praise and worship leader at the church. She came into the program and taught bible studies every week.

Almost immediately, I felt a pull toward her. I know now that the pull I felt was actually toward Jesus that lives in her. During one of her bible studies, I accepted Jesus into my life. At another bible study after that, I was telling her some of my concerns and I was being released soon. I had nowhere to go, no money, and no one who cared anymore. I didnít even have anyone to pick me up when I got out. Adele said ďWell, Iíll pick you up. We will find somewhere for you to go, donít worry.Ē

To most people this probably seems trivial, but it was this small act of kindness that won my heart to the Lord. In that moment Jesus revealed to me that I was never again going to be alone. Adele saw me through Godís eyes. Through my eyes, I saw God in her. By the time I was released, I had arranged for another ride. After I was picked up, I was literally left out on the street. The person who picked me up lied about the fact that he arranged somewhere for me to stay.

Once that fell through, he just left me there. I called Adele. She picked me up, and our church put me up at a motel. Adele took me, got me some food, and provided me with the things I needed. To make a long story short, I ended up going to live in a bad situation.

I was reading my bible every day and going to church. I was seeing my kids every day and doing my best to block out the evil around me, but it was starting to slither back into my life. Thatís what the enemy does. But God!!!!

Like God does, He pressed my life once again to repentance. One day after a violent, abusive situation with the person I was living with, God said, ďEnough!Ē I called Adele and cried out to her that I needed help. She and her husband came to pick me up and took me into their home. Keep in mind, I was pretty much a stranger. I was an acquaintance at best. They both knew that I had been a junkie, a thief, and a liar for the greater part of my life. Because God spoke and told them, ďTake her, raise her up in Me, and I will do great and mighty things in her,Ē I am here today. All glory to God, but I also have to thank Paul and Adele for their total obedience and for heeding the voice of the Lord rather than listening to their own fears. Theyíve never expressed any fears to me, but Iím positive they must have had them. During my time with them, I was immersed in the word of God and the things of God. It was because God had given me a thirst for Him. It was never forced upon me.

We became family. They call me daughter, and I call them mom and dad. They taught me, counseled me, scolded me, corrected me, loved me, and never gave up on me through thick and thin. I know I can be stubborn and rebellious, but God has done a mighty work in me and He is not done yet. Now, it is clear to me that Paul and Adele were pre-destined to be my spiritual parents and me their spiritual daughter.

I started writing to Brad as soon as I moved into Adeleís house. He was in prison at the time. I wrote him in one letter ďHey, ya know that thing we have been looking for all our lives? I found it!Ē I starting telling him about a man named Jesus.

He wrote back saying, ďYouíre 'gonna be a Bible thumper now? Seriously?Ē Well, Brad ended up getting saved and baptized by the Holy Spirit.

Over the last 4 years that Iíve been saved, God has done miraculous things in my life. First of all, He saved my life and my soul. He has delivered me from drugs, alcohol, and cigarettes. I mean delivered! There is absolutely nothing inside of me that desires any of that anymore. That part of me is dead and gone. Who the Son sets free, is free indeed!

He gave me a job and then a better job. All my relationships with my family have been restored. My kids are back with me and are being raised up in the Lord. Weíve gone from a one bedroom apartment to a three bedroom house and from one vehicle to two. The Lord also restored and strengthened my marriage, after a brief separation when my husband first got home from prison. The devil tried to tear our marriage apart... but God!!!

My life now is to serve the Lord, Adele passed the torch, and I now teach bible studies at the program, where I got saved. I have earned my G.E.D and am now attending college to earn my bachelorís degree in the science of criminal justice with a concentration in human services. My goal is to become a substance abuse counselor. Who better to understand addiction than a former junkie, right?

Doors are being opened all the time for me to reach the unreachable. I thank God and just pray He uses me for His glory more and more every day. These are by far the best years of my life, and itís only just begun. I have faith, not to mention proof that God can do exceedingly, abundantly, far beyond all I could imagine. He has made me the head and not the tail. He has set me above and not beneath. His plan for me is for good and not for evil, to give me a hope and a future! Itís all for His glory!

And the best part of it is, if He will do it for me, He will do it for anyone who calls on his Holy name! Friend, are you searching for love like I was? Are you looking for love in all the wrong places? Has your search left you addicted to drugs or alcohol? Has your search caused you to do things you never thought you would do? Do you want the white knight that rescued me to rescue you? He will if you ask Him! Call out to Him right now!

 

JESUS DID IT!  - or -  JESUS DID IT!

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Important Staff Note:
  This testimony is one of 30 testimonies taken from a recently published book titled:  REAL LIFE STORIES Inmate-To-Inmate.  In the publisher's own words, he makes this offer (until further notice): 

The Real Life Stories Inmate-To-Inmate Christian Testimony Book features the God Glorifying testimonies of 30 inmates that  have been saved by the grace of God and now are willing to use their stories to bring a message of hope to other inmates .

If you would like to use this book in a prison or jail in your area we will donate 2 cases;  120 books to you to be used in your area! 

All you have to do is send a love offering of $32 to cover the shipping cost to get the books delivered to you.

You can make a donation at this link:   http://www.theshofarman.com/cartdonation.htm

Or if sending a donation by check you can make it out to:  Step by Step Ministries  - and send it to the following address:  

Jim and Carla Barbarossa
Jim Barbarossa 815 S Babcock Rd
Porter, In 46304

You can learn more about our ministry by clicking on:  http://www.step-by-step.org

If you know anyone involved in prison or jail ministry, please forward this resource on to them or print a copy and hand it to them.  Once a book like this one gets inside prison walls, it is usually there to stay ... getting passed from one prisoner to another to another ...

You could even post this offer on your Facebook page; text it to someone or tweet it .

Please help us get the word out to inmates!  (Though the testimonies offer incredible hope and encouragement to inmates, the Gospel message is also included in this book, challenging each reader to reach out and accept God's free gift of eternal salvation through Jesus Christ.  Thus it is an incredible evangelistic tool the Lord will use to bring lost souls back to Himself, but it FIRST has to get inside prison walls, so please diligently pray about God using YOU to help that to happen).

If you would like to read the book at no cost and pray over the Inmate-To-Inmate book, you can request a free electronic copy by sending us an email with " Free Inmate Book "  in the subject line.  Send your request to jim@step-by-step.org


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Let God Use Your Salvation Testimony!


Dear Reader - are you at peace with God?  If not, you can be.  Do you know what awaits you when you die?  You can have the assurance from God that heaven will be your home, if you would like to be certain.  Either Jesus Christ died for your sins, or He didn't (He did!).  Are you prepared to stand before God on the Judgment Day and tell Him that you didn't need the shed blood of Jesus Christ on the Cross to have your sins forgiven and get in right-standing with God?  We plead with you...please don't make such a tragic mistake.

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