I was eighteen years old, tan, newly graduated, and had anything I wanted in my hands. I lived in a condo on the beach. I had a brand new vw bug. I was attractive and I knew it. Life was good from the outside, but I was a vein empty person. I lived alone and kept busy working and partying, so I didn’t have to look in the mirror at who I was inside. I was a narcissistic person who was filled with hate and rebellion. I could tell a lie better than anyone I knew. I would intentionally say such hate filled comments just to get a reaction from people. I was a shiny shell that was empty inside. I had such hurt and pain dwelling inside my heart from my grandmother passing away a few months prior. She was my absolute rock and her death was sudden and had such a lasting effect on my well being. It made me cold and hard. I wasn’t brought up in a religious home, but she always attended church. In a lot of ways she was my example of Jesus. She would always try to get me to go to church and I would scoff and just shrug it off. I had everything I wanted, why did I need Jesus was my mindset. Her passing on top of being bitter about my parents divorce, and having so much responsibility for my age was just too much. I was a walking ticking time bomb.

While working I had a very scary man come in and practically ask me if I believed in fate? When I replied not always. He said,”sometimes you have to make things happen that wouldn’t typically happen for you.” I felt what I recognize now as discernment but I am pretty sure he tried following me home that night. Luckily I realized I was being followed and called my dads friend who helped me get into my condo safe that night. I realized that night how quickly and unexpected things can change. I decided to move back to Georgia. Within two months of living with parents I wanted my own place.

I met a girl and we quickly became friends and rented an apartment together. It started as a fun little party house that turned into a drug zone. I was so naïve that I couldn’t even see people frequenting my apartment were on heavy drugs. I didn’t ever use any, but I became an alcoholic. The taste was always on my tongue and its all I wanted to dull the pain from losing my grandma. I would party most of the night, go to work, and come home and party again. It truly is a blur. I fell in love with my boyfriend who became my husband in that little apartment so I cant complain about it, but overall it was a truly toxic environment.

My “come to Jesus meeting” was in may of 2011. There was a billboard In my hometown. It said “if you died tomorrow do you know where you would go?” I causally said, “yeah I would go to heaven.” My friend said, “ I would go to hell if I died tomorrow.” Shocked, I couldn’t believe she said that. She looked me dead in the eyes and said, “Emily, you would too. You live the same life I do.” Talk about convicting. That was such a wake up call. God already had his hands on me and was leaving the 99 to come and find me. I was wondering and lost.

A few weeks layer I indulged in a drug they call x, short for ecstasy . What I didn’t know is it was laced with something else. I never became addicted like many of the people I was partying with frequently, but I had a very weird comedown. The mirror in my room was absolutely taunting me. I could see things that weren’t really there. Fear gripped me. The enemy was treating my mind like a playground. My husband who was my boyfriend at the time was having a similar experience, but with the window. It was absolutely terrifying. We went into the living room, turned off the horror movie my friends were watching, and I laid there questioning all my life decisions. I called out to the lord and said,”please take this life from me. Save me from this.” I went to sleep on the floor and woke up different. I didn’t come from a home that I really knew anything about Jesus, other than he was Gods son. But I knew who to call out to in my moment of weakness.

Within two weeks my boyfriend and I moved out of that apartment. Another friend took over my lease, and I left that house. I was required to go to church to live there. I wasn’t thrilled of the idea of it, but I obliged the rules. I was happy to just feel safe. Eight months I sat in church and refused to rededicate my life. I knew Jesus was the way. I understood the scriptures, but I wasn’t ready to change. Finally late April I rededicated my life, and I never looked back.

God immediately started transforming me. People that were pulling us down fell away from us. I was delivered from being an alcoholic. I was given such a fresh outlook on life. I went from being this self absorbed narcissistic girl to this beautiful testimony of what God can do.

Gods brought me through so many things over the years. He’s shown me how to love. He’s rescued me. He’s broken me in such a beautiful way. He is always bringing me deeper into his love. I feel like daily he refreshes me and equips me with the tools I need for the daily struggles. I am a mom of four. He’s given me patience and love that I cannot explain other than, its God.

I vulnerably tell my struggles over the last 9 years and I show you what my breakthroughs include, as well as the entire story for how it came to be. So often we hear of the moment of victory but we never hear of the blood, sweat, and tears it took to be delivered. I am a walking testimony. Gods healed me, delivered me, showed me how to forgive the unforgivable, and love the unlovable. I am in no way shape or form perfect or perfected; but I have the one who is dwelling inside me. I am a lump of clay, and my father is the beautiful potter who molds and sculpts me. He breaks me, and he puts me in the fire. He’s always with me, and never forsaken me. It may get hot. It may get uncomfortable, but he’s building this beautiful masterpiece of my life from the ruins I brought to him. Only God can do what he’s done. I am who I am because of him.