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mystee3I met this beautiful woman through my dear spiritual friends and guides, Steve and Kelly Waldrip. I have yet to meet her face to face but I am blessed to have her a part of my life. The world wants to throw her away. The world wants to judge her. The world wants to condemn her. However, GOD desires her to the point of bringing her into His arms, carressing her face, and loving her through some major pain and bringing not only her, but her children, into salvation and redemption and glory! I am honored to share only a part of her story with you so that you can see that around the world, and even your back yard, people are changing the face of recovery through Christ Jesus!

To know mental illness, one has to have truly experienced it first hand. Even just loving someone with it, you could never imagine the struggles. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. Though, admittingly, I wish more could know first hand the struggles one faces just waking up.. the thoughts, the fears of thoughts or memories.. The fear of flashbacks or mania when around people who don’t or wouldn’t understand, & the anxiety that comes with that. Turning to drugs, alcohol, eating disorders, & so much more, to “block these things out” or feel more “comfortable” in these situations… Only starting more wars, not only for & with ourselves, but for those around us. It’s a horrible cycle.
I, myself, have struggled with severe mental illness for many years..
I’ve suffered with anorexia & bilemia since the age of 12… Destroying my body in more ways than one can imagine… At one point, in my 20s, weighing 52 pounds, & wearing an 8 slim in young girls. (Having true friends worry so much that starting in grade school, throughout years, always asking if I was hungry… wanting to “bring me a sandwich” … Thank you, 
Lydia !)
I’ve known alcoholism to severe points. Waking up only to find myself & my young children in some horrible situations… my child waking me at 3 years old, crying that she was scared & hungry and hadnt eaten for “2 dark times”, with a man who’d come in through my window, we didn’t even know.
My addictions… I robbed family, friends, businesses… My father even having to place dead bolts down his doors in his home, because of me trying to keep my habit.. Traveling for hours, all over the state, to give blood, sometimes a couple of times a day… At times, ending with my having to have blood transfusions because I was killing myself, literally, just for a few dollars for a “fix”… Not caring if I lived or died… Worse, my children.. Seeing what they saw.. (Some my children have had nightmares over for years), Going through what they have with me.. Buying them Christmas, then returning it during their nap that day, & telling them they must have misplaced it… Being locked in my tool box of my truck while I made “runs” to only remember, hours later, when the neighbors heard noises & his cries… By the grace of God, my children are alive & even still speak to me… That, truly, is my biggest blessing.

mystee2Though I’ve had 16 yrs clean, and my “cravings” got so much easier.. I found myself weak, when my family was recently going through a difficult time, & almost slipped. Admittingly, I made calls to “find something”. I almost slipped… I’ve not craved like that in a lot of years. I’ve certainly not come that close, but I didn’t. I didn’t fall to that point. I didn’t fail. Thank God.

I’m not one for sharing my “inner-most battles”… My “secrets” that I don’t even like sharing with my closest friends… My nightmares…One of the biggest “steps” is admitting that you were wrong, “taking personal inventory”, & making amends…
I could never “make a list of those I harmed” … There were so many, & I’m sure many I don’t even remember… But I know I’m strong enough, that no matter how embarrased I am of the things I’ve done or how guilty I feel to “bare” myself & my skeletons, and deal with that as I need. It may not be another’s choice, or way of doing things, but it’s mine. It can’t take away the pain I’ve caused to others… & I, myself, know I’m not that person anymore. Some have forgiven, others, can’t. And that’s okay. I wish they could, as many of them were a big part of my life, but I know I have to accept things, liking them or not, as it was my actions that caused me to hurt & lose them.

mystee1I may not be the best I can be, or want to be, but I’m not there… That person who was so screwed up & weak… In all of that horrible mess, and given one more day to allow myself to love myself, & to work towards being who I want to be & the best I can be.”

Recovering addicts are people, too. They are people who love almost to the point of death. They have the biggest hearts and the most courage of anyone else on the planet. You may look at them with a sideways glance and say, “No thanks!”. But isnt’ it everyone’s desire to be loved with an unfailing love?

Proverbs 19:22 (NIV) – What a person desires is unfailing love; better to be poor than a liar.

mystee4An army that isn’t ashamed of what their past looks like is rising up. It’s an army that will stand against the enemy like no other because they have been to hell and know exactly what it looks and feels like and how to survive the fiery inferno. Who better to lead an army of soldiers for Christ than people who know full well the struggle of everyday life and work from compassion instead of judgment? Who empathize instead of scrutinize? Who worship out of gratitude instead of obligation? This girl is a soldier on the front lines and I would stand with her anyday! It’s not what we are called…it’s what we answer to! Daughter of a King, worthy and loved!

Zecharaiah 3:1-7 (NIV) – Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of theLord, and Satan standing at his right side to accuse him. 2 The Lord said to Satan, “The Lord rebuke you, Satan! The Lord, who has chosen Jerusalem, rebuke you! Is not this man a burning stick snatched from the fire?”

3 Now Joshua was dressed in filthy clothes as he stood before the angel. 4 The angel said to those who were standing before him, “Take off his filthy clothes.”

Then he said to Joshua, “See, I have taken away your sin, and I will put fine garments on you.”

mystee5 5 Then I said, “Put a clean turban on his head.” So they put a clean turban on his head and clothed him, while the angel of the Lord stood by.

6 The angel of the Lord gave this charge to Joshua: 7 “This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘If you will walk in obedience to me and keep my requirements,then you will govern my house and have charge of my courts, and I will give you a place among these standing here.”

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