A Story of God’s Grace: Christina’s Testimony
I grew up in a nominally catholic background outside of Boston in a neighborhood that was very rough around the edges. By the time I was 18, I had several friends who had passed away from alcohol or drug related incidents, and many more would follow. I lived a life of fake IDs and parties on the weekends, frequent running from the police, and standing outside liquor stores with friends until we found crack addicts to buy us alcohol or marijuana, since about the age of 15. During the week I went to private school and got good grades. I had two parents who were actually still married and I was doing great in school and got into a good college. So I thought that I was doing well. “Work hard; play hard” was my life philosophy.
I discovered God after I discovered what true evil and apathy were. Out late at 3am one night, after getting into an argument with my boyfriend, who had a bit of a temper and a lot of alcohol, he began to attack me on the street outside of his house. At one point I broke free and ran into the street, pretty desperate to get away. As I was unsure I was going to survive this, I tried to flag down 2 cars that passed by. No one stopped, and he caught up to me instead. Eventually my screams were heard by a neighbor who ran out and called the police. Besides a concussion and bruising, I was okay physically but my spirit was broken. What followed was a painful time of feeling unsafe all of the time because my restraining order was not valid in Canada where I was in school. Then my college friends got together to tell me that they had all decided they could no longer be my friend because what happened was too much for them. I escaped into a life of drugs and alcohol and my grades plummeted. My parents would not speak to me about what happened because it was too painful for them. All the things I had so depended on all my life – friends, family, relationships, and my brain and successfulness – were all crashing down around me. I began to think if the point of life was happiness and loving others – what about all of the depressed people in the world- were their lives pointless? That didn’t seem right. I had spent hours calculating and planning and visiting colleges for a 4 year commitment and I had never spent a single hour thinking about the next life, which had come very close to me.
At that time I had gotten a new roommate in college from New Zealand. She spent a lot of time caring for me when I was too out of it to care for myself. She told me that being high every night was not the best plan for my life. Sometimes I was mad at her for telling me the truth (I didn’t realize that that was a part of what real love was). She asked me to go to church with her and I refused for a while because I was Catholic (or so I thought), and this church was in some room at the Salvation Army. But she loved me and listened when no one else did. So I went to an Alpha course with her and occasionally attended church. And my first thought was, “What do these crazies want from me?” But the longer I went I realized they didn’t want anything from me, which made me feel very confused.
As my life continued to spiral I took some time off of college and read the four Gospels after Hayley, my roommate, left to go back to New Zealand. And I realized that this person Jesus that I was reading about was the person and the love that I had yearned for my whole life and had looked for in all of the wrong places. My roommate was far from perfect but she had given me the perfect gift – the introduction to my Savior; a life with my Lord who knows me and loves me anyways. And slowly He healed me to the point that I can now feel grateful for that time in my life that was so painful. It doesn’t define me; He defines me. I see that I am a sinner too and the only cure for my condition is Jesus.
Habakkuk 3: 17-19
Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in The Lord,
I will be joyful in God my Savior.
The Sovereign Lord is my strength:
he makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
he enables me to go on the heights.