Krista Woodard got stuck in a horrific cycle of drug addiction but felt that she couldn’t speak to people at her church about it. Here she shares her story…
Growing up in a home with dysfunction and turmoil, I experienced a lot of pain and loneliness as a child. After my parents’ divorce when I was 12, I chose self-destructive ways to cover up that pain. It began with alcohol, which was the gateway to marijuana, and progressed to harder drugs over the years.
Ours was not a Christian home, but thanks to my grandma I attended church regularly. I wanted to believe there was a God who loved me, but I didn’t experience it within the church. The pain and emptiness followed me into my marriage. My husband couldn’t fill the void and was unable to love me in the way that I needed. I continued using alcohol and drugs to deaden the pain, but it could not fix what was broken inside. Unsurprisingly, it resulted in what for me was the ultimate failure – divorce. I wanted to protect my son from the ugliness of the separation.
Because of the hopelessness I experienced after my marriage ended, I chose to go back to church. Jesus was drawing me to himself, even as I continued to drink incessantly. While driving home from a bar one night, I blacked out and crashed into a lampost. It’s a wonder I didn’t kill myself or someone else, walking away with only a broken arm and a laceration near my eye.
One Sunday morning I responded to a sermon about sanctification, the process the Holy Spirit uses to change us to be more like Jesus. I went to the altar and prayed. After that prayer, things began to change in my life. I could sense Jesus’s presence in my life, and I no longer felt alone. And I couldn’t get enough of God’s word, diligently searching the Bible to find out how I should live. I misinterpreted it frequently. But I kept searching, and God kept revealing.
Everyone in church seemed either perfect or hypocritical, living two different lives.
Things were still difficult. Jesus said his yoke is easy, and his burden is light (Matthew 11:30). But sometimes that didn’t feel true. I wrestled with doubts and made things harder by doing what I thought I should be doing instead of trusting Jesus to lead and guide. Still trapped in so much sin, I struggled with shame and guilt. I’d given up drinking but hadn’t yet been able to break away from what was by then an addiction to methamphetamines. I lost my job, and my second husband moved out.
Everyone in church seemed either perfect or hypocritical, living two different lives – one inside the church and a completely different one outside. Nobody was being transparent about their own struggles, so I struggled a while in silence. And yet, I continued going to church. Jesus was so compassionate, patiently carrying me through the messy process of transformation. He knows the struggle is real, because he became a man and experienced what we feel and how we hurt.
Christ carried me through the temptation to use the drug that was just twenty feet away.
Still unwilling to tell others about my addiction, I decided that if God’s word was true then he would free me. That he HAD freed me. Over one agonising weekend of battle with the enemy and my own flesh, Christ carried me through the temptation to use the drug that was just twenty feet away. Praise Jesus, free indeed!
Since that weekend 27 years ago, God has done so much to bring me healing – spiritually and emotionally. He showed me repeatedly how much he loved me. And not just loved me, but desired me in a way no one ever had. I still weep to imagine a God big enough to create the entire universe, yet who longs for me to come to Him and spend time in his presence. This was what I had been missing all those years.
God provided for me and my son so miraculously after I surrendered my life to him, that I’m writing a book to help others know he can be trusted. And I am following Jesus’ command to share the gospel and teach others by leading a Bible study that helps other women find healing for past wounds.
You can find out more about Krista on her website here.