MY TESTIMONY OF GOD’S GRACE”
My name is Jennifer Faulk, and this is my testimony of God’s grace in my life. Grace is God’s undeserved favor. I started using drugs at 13 years old. I was hooked on heroin and crack by the time I was 15 years old. I realized that drugs had become a major problem in my life and although I tried to stop using, I could not. I went into about fifteen detox programs and rehabs over a 15 year period. While in these places I was told that addiction was a disease and had to be treated medically, but later I found out otherwise. Throughout the years I continued using drugs and going into treatment centers to try to quit. I would live on the street, use men, or do whatever it took to make money to support my habit. It was a big vicious cycle. During this time I considered myself to be a Catholic because it is what my family told me that I was from a little girl. All this time I knew that God existed, but I had no real understanding of Him or faith in Him. I thought that what I had to do was get my life together and start going back to Catholic Church on Sundays to be able to go to heaven. At that time I did not know, that what GOD actually wanted was a relationship with me, not my religious rituals.
In the midst of my drug use, a man that I will call Joe came in to my family’s life. He was a born again Christian. My mom told him all about my drug problem and how she tried for years to help me, but her attempts were unsuccessful. This made him want to try to help me. The first time I met him he had his Bible in his hands and he tried to tell me about Jesus, but I did not want to hear it! I pretty much persecuted him and the church. I told him born-again people are crazy if they think they are going to heaven. I told him I was Catholic and would be Catholic until the day I die and nothing would change my mind, because I knew it was the right way. Now, here I was a drug addict claiming to be a Catholic and not even understanding what it meant, persecuting one of God’s people and thinking I knew everything, when in reality I knew nothing. I had no idea how much God actually loved me, and what He had done for me.
Eventually I began taking Suboxone, which is similar to Methadone (a legal form of heroin). I thought it was great, the answer to a so-called clean and sober life, but I was deceived. I eventually got back on crack and heroin, and now I am 28 years old and hit “rock-bottom”. I lost everything including my family. No one wanted to talk to me and my parents did not even want me coming into the town that they lived in. They told me if they even saw me in town, they would have me arrested, and I honestly could not blame them at all because I had robbed them so many times and put them through so much. I’m surprised they didn’t react this way sooner. I did not know what to do. I did not want to keep getting arrested because I hated going to jail. I was staying with the only person who would still talk to me and they were fed up with me. So in my foolish mind I decided that I was going to become a ”functioning addict”. In my mind I thought that this would actually be possible where in reality there was no chance of this happening. Psalm 107:27 says ”they reel to and fro and stagger like a drunken man, and are at their wit’s end.” This verse describes me at this time; I was at my wit’s end.
The next verse, Psalm 107:28 reads this: “then they cry unto the Lord in their trouble, and He brings them out of their distresses.” This verse describes the next season of my life. It was Thanksgiving of 2007. Joe had offered to take me out to eat, so I went with him. On the way to the restaurant, I told him how I planned on obtaining a job and only doing drugs on the weekends, this to me would be considered a functioning addict. He listened to my plan and then asked me if I would like to say a prayer. Still considering myself a Catholic, I said yes because this is what we do on holidays, and it was Thanksgiving. I thought he was crazy, because I knew God did not want to hear from someone like me. After all I was not a Catholic priest or a holy person. Before we prayed he gave me a Scripture. He told me Jesus said in Revelation 3:20, ”Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hears my voice, and opens the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with ME.” Then he told me to repeat after him. We prayed something like this: “Dear Lord Jesus, I am a sinner, I do need your forgiveness. Thank you for dying on the cross to pay for my sins, I ask you to come into my heart and life and be my Lord and personal Savior, in Jesus’ name, Amen.”
This was not the first time that I said a prayer like this. Joe had asked me to pray something like this before, but I only agreed because I felt pressured. But now something happened, I truly believed that Jesus died on the cross for me to forgive me for all of my sins. I knew something was different, but I did not understand yet. I did not know that Jesus was actually now living inside of my body through His Holy Spirit (just as Jesus promised in John chapter 14). I was now able to pray out loud and knew, without a doubt, that God was hearing every word. I knew something was very different and it was good. My parents forgave me and let me move back home, thanks to God’s divine intervention. I started reading the Bible and it was amazing. It was like the words were jumping off the page talking to me personally. I didn’t want to use drugs anymore. I was able to just stop doing crack but I was still hooked on Suboxone. I decided to start cutting down to wean myself. I also wanted to quit smoking so I switched to nicotine free cigarettes, thinking that this would make it easier to quit. So basically what was going on was, I met Jesus and found out what He did for me on the cross, and now I was going to clean myself up for Him. I was trying very hard to quit everything. It was impossible and I could not understand why. I know now, that God needed to deal with my pride. Jesus is the Deliverer but I was trying to do His job, which of course proved impossible. However, what is impossible with man, is possible with God. John; Chapter 8, states that “he who sins is a slave to sin, but he who the SON sets free is free indeed.” I was a slave to drugs and I was trying to set myself free.
While I was trying to quit, I was reading my Bible a lot. All I could do was talk about the Lord. I tried to tell everyone in my family. I thought all I had to do was tell them this great news and they would believe. That did not happen. They got offended and started accusing me of being back on heavy drugs because they could not understand why all I could talk about was Jesus. This upset me and I eventually was back on crack and heroin. I knew the Lord was not pleased, I was grieving the Holy Spirit who now lived inside of me and even though I wanted to quit badly, I just could not and I felt horrible. I met a man of great faith while traveling from one drug spot to another. He prayed for me and told me that the Lord had delivered me. I thought, “Yeah right!” I did not know what ‘delivered’ meant, but I knew I still wanted to get high. I went to stay with a friend from high school for about five days getting high and surely what was told to me five days before was now happening. Jesus had showed up and delivered me. It was like handcuffs were taken off of me. I had a real encounter with Jesus. I did not see HIM face -to- face, but I did feel HIS presence so powerfully, I was brought to my knees. It was amazing! I confessed to HIM that I was living in complete rebellion against HIM, and I asked HIM to forgive me. I did not want any drugs or cigarettes or alcohol at all. Not only did I not need them, but for the first time I did not want them, because they no longer had control of me. The SON had set me free.
The next thing I knew there were police knocking on the door, so I opened the door and let them in. They asked me if I was okay - I told them I was. I knew the Lord had sent them to get me out of there. But I thought they were going to take me to jail because I had a lot of warrants. They asked me if I had any warrants, and I told them I did. Then I was told to meet them outside and I thought that was strange that they would say that rather than taking me out in cuffs. In the car, I thought we were headed to the jail. I asked the officer who was driving if he knew the Lord, and he replied, “You mean Jesus? Yes, very well.” I said, “Oh, do you work for Him?” He replied, ”Yes, I do”. We arrived at our destination, which to my surprise was not the county jail. The officer pulled up to the emergency room of Palisades Hospital, let me out of the car, and told me to go inside and they would help me. Now, I don’t know if the officer was an angel, or a believer who was so close to Jesus, that he knew that the Lord was telling him to bring me to the hospital and not to arrest me on the warrants. But, if he was a believer and not an angel, I want to be as in touch with Jesus as he was. Early the next morning I called Joe and asked him if he would come and get me. He did. When I got outside of the hospital everything was so bright and beautiful! I never experienced anything like this before. I was delivered and filled with the Holy Spirit. It was Sunday morning so we went to Brooklyn Tabernacle to worship the Lord. Once again the Lord’s unfailing faithfulness came into action, and He made a way for me to go back home and live with my parents. However, on that same day that the Lord delivered me from everything I gave in to temptation. Proverbs 26:11 says “as a dog returns to his vomit, so a fool returns to his folly”. And this is exactly what I did. That night someone I knew offered me a cigarette. I took it, even though for the first time I didn’t actually need a cigarette. Needless to say, before long I was back on everything. It wasn’t long before my parents kicked me out, once again. I thought I had angered the Lord. But I thank God for His mercy, which is Him not giving me what I deserve. Psalm 103:8 says “the Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger abounding in mercy.”
At this point I was using every day, and once again trying to quit because I felt very guilty for using drugs. I kept asking the Lord to forgive me and expressed that I did not want to do drugs anymore. Then one day, in the midst of my mess, I realized I was lying to God. I then confessed to him that I liked using drugs and asked HIM to forgive me and to change my heart. This is where the healing began. He wanted me to be completely honest with Him. What I was doing before was just trying to clear my conscience by telling Him I did not want to use anymore when in reality I did not want to stop. I began crying out to Him and asking Him to deliver me once again. I told Him how weak I was, and how I had no power over the strongholds in my life. I told Him that if HE didn’t do this for me I had no chance. The Scriptures refer to His strength being made perfect in our weakness and when we are weak then we are strong. He showed me what this meant. When I tried to be strong and stop using, I realized how weak I actually was. But when I told Him about how weak I was HE gave me His strength. I kept crying out to Him and then one night I heard Isaiah 1:18 spoken on the television. “Come now, and let us reason together, says the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool”. I knew it was the Lord speaking to me. I knew that the Lord had come to get his lost sheep, just as the good Shepherd is faithful to do (Luke 15:3-7).
He told me in my heart that I was going to have to go to jail and about two hours later I got arrested on a warrant. I knew it was Him. This was His divine intervention and I was at peace with going to jail. I was in there for six months and I used that time wisely. James 4:8 says, “draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded”. As I began to draw near to Him, He proved true to His promise and began drawing near to me. He taught me the meaning of 1 John 1:9 which says “if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” You see, I was so used to trying to make up for all the wrongs I did to my parents that my attitude leaked over into my relationship with my heavenly Father. He lovingly corrected me and showed me that once I confess my sins I am forgiven and Psalm 103:12 says “He removes them as far as the east is from the west”. He does not remember, so why on earth would I, or even try to make up for it? He taught me to just move forward, and continue drawing near to my heavenly Father. He wanted me to stop trying so hard to be perfect and to just come to Him and spend time in His Word, talk to Him and allow Him to change me. Before I came home to live with my parents (yes, once again) He healed that relationship. The Lord sent a woman of God to visit me while I was still in jail. Shortly thereafter I had to go to court and upon being released from jail I knew I would need an accountability partner, so I prayed and the Lord provided. (An accountability partner is someone who is there for us to help us make sure that we are staying on point in our walk with the Lord, and spending our time wisely.) I am grateful to the Lord for her. She stood in court with me and offered to be my accountability partner. It is better to ask for one than to pick our own. He is faithful, if we ask we will receive. When I got out of jail, I knew that temptation would still be there. James 1:12 promises this: “Blessed is the man that endures temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord has promised to them that love Him”. What a wonderful promise! Also, He gives me a conditional promise - James 4:7 says ”submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you”. So I know that, as long as I submit to God and resist the devil, he has no choice but to leave. Thank You Jesus for these amazing promises! Yes, this time I knew not to give into the temptation, like I did in the past, with the cigarette. The Lord has completely changed my life. He set me free from every addiction that I ever had. The more I get to know Him through His Word and prayer the more I fall in love with Him. He has given me a new beginning and is using me to do His will here on earth. Jeremiah 29:13 is amazing -it reads “and ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.”
Maybe today you are reading this and you never heard the gospel, which simply means the good news. Romans 3:23 says “for all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” What this simply means is that God is perfect and holy, and we are not. Romans 6:23 says, ”for the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” What this means is that, because of our sin, we owe an eternal death sentence (Hell), but God sent Jesus, God the Son, to earth to take our place and pay the penalty for our sins by His death on the cross. He paid the ultimate sacrifice for our eternal freedom. “Christ died for our sins…He was buried… He rose again the third day…” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). He did this because He loves us, and did not want us to have to spend eternity in hell. God’s Word says salvation is a free gift. We have the freedom to willingly receive this gift. John 1:12 says ”but as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name.” Have you received Him? If not, you can do so right now. You can pray this prayer to Him:
God, I am a sinner. I believe that Jesus died for me, and that you raised Him from the dead. I welcome you into my heart and life to be my Lord and personal Savior. In Jesus’s name, Amen.
If you believe with all of your heart what the LORD did for you, and trust Him as your Savior, here is more good news: John 17:3 says, ”and this is life eternal, that they might know the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” This means eternal life starts now, the moment you believe. Now you can get to know your Savior through reading his Word. The book of John in the New Testament is a good place to start. He talks to you through His Word and you talk to Him through prayer. Also ask Him to guide you to a good Bible teaching church. I pray that this testimony of mine has touched your heart and opened your eyes to what GOD desires to do with your life also. He loves you more than you can imagine and wants to forgive you and restore your life. I pray that you will let Him!