Are you praying for someone you love to be transformed by Christ? What about someone who’s trapped in bondage to drugs or alcohol? If so, this story of one woman transformed by Christ may be an encouragement to you.
A stronghold of drug and alcohol addiction destroyed her life…until she found freedom in Christ. Now, her old life is completely gone. Not long ago, she gave her testimony at a Christian gathering and invited me to hear her speak. The long drive was worth every minute of the trip.
We see each other fairly often for women who live more than sixty miles apart. We’re in a small group together and an online group, as well. She’s one of the most consistent, godly women I know, generous, loving, forgiving, and serving.
Transformed by Christ
Her life is Christ, but it wasn’t always. I’m so accustomed to the Jesus in her that I rarely consider there was a time before Christ, a time when sin ruled and she spent her days and nights partying, drinking, smoking, promiscuity, doing drugs, and selling drugs. It is easy to forget she was arrested several times for “minor” crimes, and hard to believe she was ever in prison, but she was.
She shared her story of coming to Christ. In 2007, my friend entered prison for selling drugs. All she carried with her was deodorant and a Bible because that’s all they allowed. Everything was stripped away – drugs, sex, alcohol, family. The cell, a bunk bed, the Bible, and the hurt inside her were all that remained. Without the distractions, she opened her Bible and began to read.
Living Scripture did its powerful work.
“ For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12
As she read Scripture, she soon learned the truth of Hebrews 4:12. After six months, she read Jesus’ call to those who are worn down by burdens and the Sword of the Spirit slashed straight into her heart.
“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28
Face down on her bed, she wept into her pillow and surrendered her weariness, hurt, and burdens to the One who promised rest. She relinquished her sin and was transformed by Christ.
Jesus changed everything.
Jesus did exactly what Scripture says He will do. He healed her hurt and changed her desires. The Scripture became her lifeline during the remainder of her prison term, and she grew like a long-neglected plant finally given the water and nutrients it needs.
Transformed by Christ: The old has gone. The new has come.
Her old life is completely over, and she’s transformed. She’s clean and sober and has been for more than a decade. My sweet friend is happily married and the leader of a women’s small group, with adult children and beautiful grandchildren. She’s active in her church, participates in mission trips often, and is a faithful prayer supporter.
Did the people who knew her in the “old” days expect God to transform her so completely? Probably not. Was there someone praying? I imagine so.
As I listened to my friend share her testimony, I sat in awe of the miraculous transformation God has done and prayed for the people I know who desperately need that same transformation. Hope blossomed again.
God is still in the business of redemption. He still changes lives.
Before she entered prison, she lived in the inescapable bondage of sin. She entered that penitentiary and found God waiting for her. Inside those walls, He set her free, and she still is.
Many of us love someone whose choices have taken them from bad to worse, perhaps even to addiction, crime, and prison. My friend is living proof that there’s always hope. As long as there’s life, there’s a chance of surrender, forgiveness, and redemption.
If you’re waiting for someone you love to turn around, let’s remember my friend, and keep on praying.
“So, if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” John 8:36
Want to know more about how to be transformed by Christ?
If you’re looking for an in-depth Bible study that will transform your life, consider the new James study, now available in an e-book format from Amazon.com.
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