Judy Brandon: Religion columnist
My sister Susie sent me this e-mail last Sunday. It is worth reading in the original form and I can add nothing to it. She gave me her permission to share it with you.
Today I heard one of the most inspirational women I have ever encountered. When I saw this woman walk into the room, I was taken back. It was apparent that “Jane” was a fan of tattoos. When it was announced that Jane would be giving her faith story, I knew her past would be colorful. What I did not realize was just how horrific her life had been.
I quickly learned that Jane is a recovering drug addict and alcoholic. Her past is tumultuous. She sampled her first taste of alcohol when she was merely 4 years old. By the time Jane was a teenager, she was hooked on drugs. As a young adult, Jane found herself in the city jail, detox, prison, another stint in rehab, then back to the streets, only to repeat the cycle. She longed for acceptance and love. Jane turned to prostitution to fund her ever increasing drug habit. Jane was on life-support in the hospital on more than one occasion due to an overdose. Jane was looking for something – by befriending troubled men, she felt she could find the love she so desperately wanted. Because of her association with male drug addicts, she became a victim of domestic violence. On one occasion, the beatings were so severe than Jane underwent facial reconstruction to try to regain her normal ability to function. Her children were taken from her. She lost her home. Her parents had given up hope on her, and had basically abandoned her. Jane attempted suicide.
After her last release from the hospital, then jail, Jane found herself roaming the streets of the town where she had met such trouble. She encountered several friend addicts who tried to lure her back into the drug lifestyle, but Jane tried to resist. On one of her lonely walks, Jane ran into a woman whom she had known when they were both making poor life choices. Yet the woman seemed so different. What was it? The woman asked Jane to go to a Bible study with her. “I have been going for months at the transitional house where I am living. Jesus has changed my life!” It was apparent SOMETHING had happened to the woman, but Jane was not convinced it was Jesus. Reluctantly, Jane agreed to go. She went. She listened. She soaked it up. Jane heard the story of Christ, and how He loved her. She met other women who had overcome their drug habits through the power of a changed life in Christ.
The Bible study became a part of Jane’s routine. For once, she found the love and acceptance that she sought for years. Jane has since become a Christian, she is sober, she is regaining a relationship with her now adult children, and she is being reunited this week with her parents whom she has not seen for 26 years. Jane uses her life story to encourage other women and let them know there is hope through Christ. She is active in a church sponsored recovery group where Jane can testify that there is a better way.
I think of one of the many scripture verses that Daddy and Mother taught us: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” 2 Corinthians 5:17.
Jane is truly a new creation! Once again, I left grateful for my eternal relationship with Christ, for my life and family, and for my heritage given to us by our loving parents.
Jane has no idea … she has blessed people even in far away New Mexico.