“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.” – Isaiah 55:8
Shortly after the release of my book “Living Free” I met a beautiful young woman who had just gotten out of rehab. Shelly said that the stay in rehab had helped with the addiction, but as she read my book she realized what was still missing was a relationship with the Lord. She needed Jesus in her life and she knew it. That was the start of our connection. She has a beautiful young daughter that she loves with all her heart. And I could see Shelly’s heart. It was pure but just so very broken. As she was trying to get grounded in her faith, she was getting fought, hard. She was in a spiritual battle that many of us face as we try to draw closer to the Lord. Eventually? She looked to a man to love her and fill the void in her heart left by years of brokenness. And subsequently she slowly regressed back into depression, anxiety, fear and self-doubt which prompted more drug use as that relationship became toxic and fell apart.
When Shelly had reached rock bottom, she reached out to me and said “I need to go back to rehab. I can’t do this on my own anymore. I have to fight this for my little girl.” I made some calls and got her into a faith based rehab. She and her little girl spent the weekend with me prior to her leaving and we had the most amazing time. We watched a good family Christian based movie. We laughed. We talked about the Lord and how good he’s been to us and I watched the depression slowly start to leave. I saw hope start to return. We went to church Sunday morning and Sunday evening. On Sunday night she rededicated her life and she turned to me and said “I’m so happy right now! I have a peace in my heart I’ve never experienced before. Oh wow! I can’t explain it!!” I just held her and loved her and prayed over her with power and authority. I was sure this was it! This was going to be her break through! I felt God speak that to my heart.
Work was crazy busy and I couldn’t really afford to take a day off, but I felt led to. You know how it goes? Sometimes the timing is not the best as you are being pulled from all sides and feel like the Stretch Armstrong doll from the 80’s. But I had learned to seek God (and his will) first, and know he’ll take care of the rest. I stood on that as I offered to help Shelly get back on track. Nothing is worth more than a soul saved and life changed. As I drove Shelly to rehab she told of a childhood where a mother started taking pills with her young daughters at a young age. Of how she started smoking pot at 12. She told of times she would be in the backseat with her parents who were so drunk they should not have been driving and would pull over to puke. Of surviving a divorce, and watching her mother turn into an addict. But she always knew she was made for more. She knew she was created to be a good mother and strong young lady. I have met a lot of people and I know when I see someone with a calling on their life. The devil sees it too, and the war begins.
I dropped her off at the rehab facility, the intake worker, Director and I prayed over her as a team, and I left. I went to Florida the next day for business. I did not have access to my phone all day. By the time I checked it, I had multiple missed calls and messages from the facility. Shelly had left. I’m not going to lie, I was frustrated, angry and hurt. The devil immediately whispered “See?!? Why do you even try?!? Addiction is too strong. You might as well just give up.” If I’m being totally transparent? I gave in to that thought pattern for a few moments. And then I realized?? I can’t do anything anyway. I’m just an instrument, just a willing divine appointment or vessel to be used by the Lord. So I gave her back to Him, admittedly, with a little bit of an attitude. “I was so sure you told me to pour into her! I was so sure I saw a pure heart that was just broken to pieces! She’s not too far gone! Your spirt rested on me when I was praying for her! I don’t understand at all God – but I won’t stop serving you and I give it back to you. It’s not my battle any longer. It’s yours. Send angels to protect her, don’t stop speaking to her heart and give her strength.” When I was done, I felt release. Eventually Shelly reached out and she apologized, gave me a list of reasons why she didn’t stay. I told her I loved her, always would, and would always be praying for her, but I couldn’t continue to pour in if she wasn’t going to do her part.
We still sent random texts periodically, and then? A couple months later I got the text… “I’m headed to rehab again tomorrow. Please pray for me.” Transparency? I was skeptical. It wasn’t faith based and I know you have to find a relationship with Jesus for total healing and broken chains. She asked if she could text me when she got privileges and was allowed to have her phone? “Of course you can” I told her. About a week later I got the text “It’s been a week and I am allowed to have my phone for an hour.” Shelly went on to tell me this: “I’m feeling so much better Kris! And I’m forcing these ladies to talk about Jesus and listen to my gospel music!” I was so proud of her! That next morning as I was putting on my makeup and getting ready for work, God spoke to my heart. (He often speaks to me then, maybe because it’s one of the few times I’m actually being still)… “I have Shelly right where I want her. YOU thought that faith based facility was best for her. But look? I have her right where I want her. Being a light to others in a non-faith based facility where she is the only glimpse of Me they will see.” And immediately the verse in Isaiah came to mind… “My thoughts are not your thoughts, my ways are not your ways..” Ouch! Another reminder that it’s the Holy Spirt who draws all men (and women) to him. We’re just here to be obedient to His voice and trust His ways.
Personal Editorial: I see so much negativity and hate posted on social media today about heroin addicts. The media feeds this with stories of death and loss. We are in an epidemic of mass proportion and the devil would like us to think all hope is lost and we might as well just give up. But I’m here to shine a light in the darkness. You see? I know personally, many success stories. One cold February night I paid for a hotel room for a man and woman who were living under a bridge due to their addiction. We stood in the lobby of that hotel and prayed while we held hands. Today? 3 years later? They are clean, sober, attending church every time the doors are open and he has his own business that is taking off. I have a good friend I worked with who told me how a group of Pentecostal ladies prayed over her when they found her knocking on deaths door from an overdose where she tried to end her life. Today? years later? She is living a full life and out ministering to others. She’s helping break the chains of addiction that once held her bound. I attend church with many ex-heroin addicts that are living free because they went to a Christ-Centered “Hope Over Heroin” event. There is hope my friend and his name is Jesus. The world is scratching their heads, living in fear, when He already provided the answer long ago that has held true throughout the ages from the Old testament until now: “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” And their alcoholism, their lust, their anxiety, their addiction….. Once we rise up, united, and start praying. Really praying. Really seeking the Lord for help – we will start to heal.