“She Loves Me Not” – Brad K.

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Crystal, whatever happened to us? We used to be the couple that everyone wanted to be around, but now look at us. You can keep the black roses. From the very first time I met you I was in love. Everything else I knew faded when  was in your presence. What are you doing to me? At first our relationship was so contagious. Everyone flocked to be around us day and night. Day after day, they envied us and wanted what we had but I was selfish; you were mine and only mine.

What’s happening to me?

They say the loving kind hearted person I used to be is gone, and the sick part is I don’t even miss him. How can I miss something I don’t even know is gone? By now people are noticing that our love is not quite what it seems. In fact we are toxic for each other; something like fire and gasoline. Why am I not seeing it? My friends beg me, “please leave her, she’s killing you.”

“No she’s not,” I reply, “I’m happy.”

Who are you? Why would they say these things about us? The more time I spend with you the more I love you. You possess a love so deep my knees buckle. When we touch you take my breath away. All I want to do is be with you. You can sleep tomorrow just give me tonight.. You’re being selfish you don’t need to eat you have me I’m all you need remember? You were never this demanding before what changed? I thought you loved me so why are playing with my emotions like this? I’m going crazy here don’t you see it? Stop your crying and get over here.

I finally see it; we are toxic.

The clothes you once paid for all falling off and all of our friends are gone it’s just us now. We aren’t the couple we once were. Let’s go for a ride for old times’ sake. Buckle up I see blue lights. Just like that you were gone. You sold me out without saying a word.

From my bruised arms and sunken face they knew we had been together, but it was too late you had moved on to the next person and I was in jail. It’s funny because for the first time in a long time I feel free. You can keep the black roses. Just book me tomorrow I need to sleep.

“Taking Back” – Mike R.

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You took something from me and I want it back. My days are long, dark and lonely when you are present. My smile is no longer on my face and I act out of character.

What happened to those days when I would talk on the phone with family and friends for hours? Those days when I went to the playground with my children and we would swing for what seemed like days. I remember those strong teachings from my mother and my father, and also the good childhood memories . . . but now they are replaced with rebellion and reckless thoughts.

My goals and dreams are no longer at the forefront of my mind. They have been replaced with the thought of, “I just need one drink so I can escape.” What happened to life? I thought I had it all figured out.

Oh, I now know what it was, it was you addiction.

You took some things from me and now I want them back.

DSC05218 - CopyI’m taking my education back!

I’m taking my
career back!

I’m taking my family back!

I’m taking my friends back!

I’m taking my children back!

I’m taking my healthy thinking back!

I’m taking my life back!

James’ Story

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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!