TracieAs a child it was common for me to be around drugs and alcohol. Through my childhood and teenage years I had friends invite me to church and would attend now and then, but I never truly cared about God. I was self-absorbed and wanted instant relief from the issues of life. At 13, I started smoking marijuana and drinking alcohol.

I became more and more dependent and my drug use became progressively worse. By age 23 I was using marijuana, alcohol, narcotics, and meth daily. I distanced myself from my family, lost my job and apartment, and started dating an abusive drug dealer. I was doing whatever necessary to feed my addictions including selling my body, committing robbery, and manufacturing meth. I was so consumed by my addiction I didn’t even go to my own mother’s funeral. My life was out of control. I was ashamed, hating the person I had become.

I started to call out to God for help. I was helpless and hopeless. In 2015, in jail, I made the decision to surrender everything to Jesus. I sought His will for my life and He began to open doors.  When I arrived at Teen Challenge of the Upper Cumberland, I was overcome by a sense of belonging. Through this ministry, I have gained knowledge of who God is, which has strengthened my relationship with Him and increased my faith. I have witnessed the power of His loving mercy, forgiveness, and deliverance. There is restoration in my family, and I have a continuous flow of joy and peace. I know that through the power of the cross I have been made flawless and my identity is in Christ – Whom has saved me and set me free.

Ephesians 5:8 says, “For you were once darkness and now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light.” God has done amazing things in my life. Before, I was merely existing, but now God has given me life and a purpose. I am blessed to be a part of the Intern Program here at Teen Challenge of the Upper Cumberland. I will be able to share the same hope I have found in Christ with other residents. It is an honor to be able to serve in this ministry and help others overcome addiction and reach spiritual victory.