James’ Story

20151001_103837I was controlled by addiction for 23 years, which entrapped me inside a never ending, torturous maze of drug use. I felt there wasn’t a map available to lead me to an escape. Before coming to Peniel I had spent 90% of my adult existence caged within a prison cell. Loneliness and anger were my best friends. I suffered self-inflicted torment and longed for inner peace. I had zero respect for authority and often isolated while entertaining myself with negative self-talk and intense drug use. For most of my life, I considered myself a failure, born only to suffer, yet possessing great potential, but I was forever lacking self-confidence and the courage needed to step out of my comfort zone to achieve greatness. I was paralyzed with fear and spent decades drowning in self doubt. I believed that I was worthless and would never amount to anything. At least that’s what the enemy wanted me to believe.

Since coming to Peniel, I have chosen to believe the word of God, which states,

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you, and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity”
(Jeremiah 29:11-14 NIV).

After dedicating my life to the Lord, amid questioning and much concern, I enrolled into Lee University, one of the online college programs available at Peniel. For the first time ever, I was about to step out of my comfort zone, therefore, I prayed daily for wisdom and understanding.

Shortly after completing an English Writing assignment, my professor who is a true blessing, pushed me to have the essay published in the Church of God Evangel, a national monthly magazine. Although I believed this would be a complicated undertaking, I invested into making the publication a reality. Everything quickly fell into place and my essay will be published in this year’s November issue. I still do not understand why this is happening. To me it’s just a simple writing assignment but God has His plans for it. Seeing that I have the ability to achieve the impossible or unattainable has established God confidence within me. Having the Evangel publish my work is a tremendous accomplishment for me, and with the help of my Abba, I believe it is one of many more to come.

It wasn’t the Evangel itself that shattered all doubts but God! He has proven himself many times over, displaying His unconditional and incomprehensible love for me. This has fixed my heart on Him and my life will never be the same. When all I could see was the worst in me, He saw the best. When everyone in my life gave up on me, He never did.

I will always remember December 7, 2014, the day I saw God face to face. I was changed forever by this intimate experience. I am no longer a slave to my anger or my addiction. Relationships have been restored as well as my own life. I now believe in myself and I boldly stand sold out for Jesus Christ.

Through Peniel I was afforded the opportunity to enroll at Lee University and begin my journey of living out my dream as a medical professional. I am now pursuing a degree in radiology and without Peniel none of this would have been possible. Peniel is the best tool belt for someone who is exhausted and broken due to addiction. Peniel has established a profound change within me. A change that has truly saved my life. Today, I stand proud of who I am and I look forward to my future when before I couldn’t see past myself. God has begun a work in me I cannot yet put into words; all I can say is that I am an unfinished comeback story!