Tag Archives: testimony

Road to Redemption

Excessive consumption of alcohol can lead to abuse and addiction or even be a gateway to drugs. Alcohol use leads to 88,000 deaths and 2.5 million years of potential life lost. Each year between 2006 and 2010, it claimed the lives of 1 in 10 individuals between ages 20 and 64. The cost of excessive alcohol use in 2010 was $249 billion, which means people spent approximately $2.05 per drink.

Opioid abuse is a growing problem in the United States and has now attracted national attention. In 2016, 116 people died daily from opioid overdoses – 11.5 million individuals misused prescription opioids (Percocet, Norco, Roxicodone, Lortab, MS Contin, etc.) and 948,000 people used heroin. The total cost of opioid–related issues was $504 billion! I’m no economist, but that price could potentially wipe out hunger and poverty in the United States!

Let’s clarify some terminology:

Alcohol/Drug Abuse: Use leads to neglect of work or family responsibilities, legal issues, conflicts with others.

Alcohol/Drug Dependency: One has a strong craving/desire to drink/use, without the ability to control the desire, increased tolerance (needing more to get the same high) and withdrawal symptoms.

Alcohol/Drug Addiction: Alcohol use becomes the main point of a person’s being and he or she will do anything to have another high, no matter the harm it causes to herself, family or friends.

Sherry’s Testimony, God’s Glory

Sherry Todd used alcohol and opioids. She first started with binge drinking on the weekends (having a large number of drinks in one sitting). She believes that it was a tragic moment in her life that pushed her to move from alcohol use to heroin. Sherry had just gotten off work and was waiting at the bus stop. She was taken by a group of men, drugged, and raped. She had no recollection of the events surrounding the tragedy as she woke up in the Emergency Department with people surrounding her to perform a rape kit. Sadly, she later found that she was infected with HIV from that encounter. She remembers that the emotional strife she felt is what lead her to accept her “so-called” friend’s offer to start snorting heroin. She says, “I thought the person was my friend, but friends don’t introduce you to do things that are harmful”.

Sherry continued to use heroin “because [she] was trying to cover the pain from being raped”. Later, her body began to feel and function differently.

“I noticed that I was addicted when my body needed it (heroin) to feel normal”, she explains. It took two years for her to come to this realization. Meanwhile, she calculates that she spent $14,600 on Heroin. Her addiction caused her to miss out on her children’s activities and work and family responsibilities. She also remembers lying, cheating, manipulating others, and having sex to obtain heroin.

Sherry & her daughter

Sherry overcame her heroin addiction 2007 but started using again after her close uncle passed away. In retrospect, she recollects, “Every time something emotionally painful happens in my life, I use heroin to cover my feelings”. This time, she went through the same mishaps and missed out on her grandchildren’s activities.

The Turning Point

Several things contributed to Sherry’s decision to stop snorting heroin permanently. Her physical appearance was an embarrassment. “My face was darker than my hair and I looked like a skeleton”. She weighed 68 pounds, the weight of an eight-year- old child. “I used to wear 3 pair of pants and two coats just to fit in”. The final straw was when her grandmother passed away.

 

She desired to snort heroin to cover her feelings, but none was available. She remembers, “I was praying to God for help and it was by the grace of God that my daughter knocked on my door”. Her daughter called many times and she did not answer. She drove from another state to pick her up and take her to her grandmother’s funeral. “I went to

Rehabilitation

Sherry went to an inpatient rehabilitation program for three months. Withdrawal was “not a good feeling, that’s for sure”. Hot and cold flashes, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting, achy bones and inability to eat…she experienced it all. The guilt was even worse as she felt that “I wasn’t good enough for Him (God)”. Currently, Sherry has gone through three rehab programs and she attends Narcotics Anonymous twice per week. February 2, 2018 was Sherry’s one year sobriety anniversary. She is proud that she now weighs 126.4lbs and her HIV is not-detected because she takes her medications consistently. To help her maintain she writes poetry to express her current or past feelings and
she states, “I do things to make me happy and I stay away from people that make me want to use drugs or alcohol again”.

Sherry today

Words from the Wise Q and A

What advice would give a person who is trying to overcome an addiction? First of all, they have to be honest with themselves. The devil is taking names and spitting them out. Let someone know what’s going on with you so that you can get help.If you don’t have someone, there are several of hotlines that are open 24 hours per day.

What would you tell someone who is addicted, but doesn’t realize it? When your body starts shutting down and your body doesn’t work like it did before starting drugs, you’re addicted. When you start lying, cheating, stealing and manipulating to get the drugs, you’re addicted and you need help. It is well noted that drug and alcohol addiction is a multi-faceted medical condition that requires a multidisciplinary treatment plan for survival. If you or someone you know is faced with alcohol or drug addiction, contact your doctor, attend an Alcoholics or Narcotics Anonymous class or call a treatment specialist 24/7 at 844-558- 4422.

Finally, Sherry was grateful to share to her testimony as she hopes that it will help others in need. Let’s keep her in our prayers for her continued sobriety and bravery.
Until next time, each one, teach one…

Dr. Jay

m: Resources: Center for Disease Control and Prevention, US Department of Health and Human Services and healthline.*

Jessica Chow: Lost & Found

Hollywood has a stigma of being sin city and full of nothing good but there are plenty of individuals in the entertainment industry who have shown the world that no matter their residence Jesus is Lord of their lives. Jessica Chow is one of those people.

~ The Testimony ~

Jessica didn’t grow up in the church. She didn’t experience life as a child and teen in the knowledge of who God is and how much he loved her. It’s because of that she chooses every day to live for him and prays to be used by him. She said, “I think knowing life without the Lord really sets me on fire to remain in him. I know what this world can offer and it’s empty.”

During Jessica’s teen years, she became sexually active and stated that she was always in relationships. She began drinking alcohol while in high school as well. Education was important to her mother who dreamed for her children to accomplish things that she did not have an opportunity to. From high school Jessica went on to attend college. After graduating from college Jessica began using drugs and had two abortions.

Jessica admits that she has success as the world measures it. She was previously employed through one of the top talent agencies in the world, Creative Artist Agency. While there, she was in the limelight. She attended the hottest events along with being around people that many would kill for the chance to meet. Surprisingly, Jessica stated this point in her life was one of the saddest. At that time, her life focus was herself and what she could gain. She remembers feeling broken and alone.

Jessica’s brother, Jeff, drew her to Christ. She began noticing a change in his character. She remembers her brother having a callused heart and being angry but this change caused him to be peaceful. She became curious about a God and church that brought about this change in him.

Jessica & her brother, Jeff

 

While the transformation God was doing with her brother peaked interest for Jessica about God, she recalls an encounter she had that opened her heart.  It was an experience she had at a rave where God began to tug at her heart. Jessica explained how she felt different and felt the presence of God telling her that he loved her and understood the regret and shame that she felt. Her friends were asking her if she was okay or needed to rest or a glass of water and her response was that she felt like everyone at the party were “a bunch of lost souls.” Her friends responded with offense. Jessica tried to brush it off but it felt real. She became repulsed by the people around her and their actions. Jessica stated, “Nothing about my physical state was sober. I laced five different drugs and yet God met my spirit in sobriety in the most gentle and loving way. My dying spirit recognized His almighty powerful presence and I listened because I felt his love for me to chase me down in the darkest place of life. We can’t hide from God.” Jessica believes if it’s God’s time to call you, it doesn’t matter where you are. He will meet you where you are.

Between the changes that Jessica noticed in her brother and her encounter at the rave, Jessica was ready to attend church and learn more about God. It helped that her brother had a cute friend she was interested in as well. Jessica mentioned, “God can use anything if He wants to. Something as sinful as being lustful for man. He redeemed my sin just to get me into church.”

~ The Transformation ~

 When Jessica attended service for the first time the worship experience drew her. She thought it was weird that they turned off the lights while singing but she joined in and began singing the words to the songs. She recalls the lyrics to songs such as “Oceans” by Hillsong. As she began singing the words tears streamed down her face. She was worshiping, but she didn’t know anything about God and wasn’t too sure if she wanted to trust him only to be let down like everyone else had done. She felt like there was a catch. But, God was a gentleman. She never felt God was forced on her. She was drawn in by the love of the church community and the feeling she received from her God experiences. She didn’t know how to go about changing but she was willing to try. In 2012 Jessica was baptized taking a step to accepting God in her life.

Jessica remembers praying for God to help her stop doing the things that she shouldn’t. Jessica’s prayers were answered. Jessica attended a party and as her routine went for partying, she did drugs. Only this time about five minutes later she began to vomit. Her friends were concerned. Jessica tried to ignore it and took more drugs but vomited again. She went to the bathroom and felt God tell her in a gentle way that she could no longer defile her body that she belonged to him. Jessica left the party. She figured there was no point in trying to take drugs over and over only to vomit them back up. God didn’t stop there, the last time Jessica had sex she was with her boyfriend, now ex-boyfriend. They felt as though a wall was between while they were in the act having sex.  They stopped mid-way and apologized to each other for violating one another. They accepted each other as a brother and sister in Christ.  About a month later they ended their relationship.

~ All Things New ~

Everything became NEW! Jessica’s life began to transform from her acquaintances to her employment. When Jessica quit her job, she began acting. She has been acting for five years now appearing on sitcoms Jane the Virgin, Bad Teacher and more. When she goes out to casting calls and auditions she is not shy about sharing the gospel with others. She is confident in the love God has for her and she isn’t afraid to share her testimony with anyone. She developed a desire to see others transformed just as she has been. Her prayer is that God uses her as a tool to draw others to him, she knows that she doesn’t have the power to save anyone. She doesn’t want anyone to feel that God is forced on them.

Jessica Chow doing interview

Jessica went through spiritual and emotional healing from the guilt and hurt she had from having two abortions by going to counseling beginning 2015. Her counselor advised her to write a letter to her best friend explaining how she felt about everything that happened, except her best friend would be herself. Because of the feedback she received for her letter, she began her blog. The blog allowed her to express her thoughts of things she had experienced in life from the abortions and the loss of her mother to dating as a Christian and more. In September of 2016 Jessica began doing her YouTube series 31:30. The title is influenced from Proverbs 31:30. She works with her brother and his friend who have their own cinematography company. She interviews individuals who are involved in the entertainment industry in some way who are also believers. Her desire is for them to see God for the gentleman that he is and receive his forgiveness so they can walk in freedom.

 

Jessica’s message to anyone who is lost and feels like they need to make themselves perfect before God accepts them is “God’s mercy triumphs over judgement. There is nothing that he can’t forgive and that he has not already forgiven. We will never be completely perfect” Isn’t that the best news ever?! God will accept anyone, don’t delay another day of having Jesus as Lord of your life. God sent his son Jesus to die for the sins of the world, John 3:16. Accept his gift and be lost no more.