By Donna Ireland, Lumbee and African American. We are grateful for Donna’s permission to post her hopeful journey from despair to freedom in Creator’s Son Jesus. (Donna is preparing to complete a Crossroads Discipleship Training School at YWAM Tyler, TX and feels called to serve among Native people)
My name is Donna. I am 39 years old and I have a seventeen-year-old son. When I was 6 weeks old a loving Christian couple adopted me. I am half African American and half Native American. My parents are Caucasian. My parents adopted a boy from South America and they have a biological son. My family went to church every Sunday. We went on family vacations.
On the outside my family appeared great. On the inside we were not great. My dad struggled with alcoholism. He was a great provider but he was hard to live with. When I was in middle school the most important thing to me was fitting in with the crowd. I felt different then other kids, I felt a void in my life. In my early teens I thought I found where I belonged. I found a crowd that smoked marijuana, cigarettes and drank alcohol. We hated life and authority. I rebelled against my parents and God. I cursed my mother out daily. I thought I was invincible. I was angry at my birth parents and took it out on any one who tried to love me. I had cool friends. I went to all the keg parties and I fit in.
I didn’t know than that a lifestyle of partying would turn into a life lived in desperation. I became desperate for a drink, desperate to get high, and desperate for someone to love me. My spirit was desperate for Jesus. He was calling me, but I was to busy being desperate for the wrong things to hear his voice.
When I was 22 I gave birth to a son. I wasn’t married. I thought having a baby might fill the emptiness I felt. My addictions took the place of my son. My parents adopted him after the state took my parental rights away from me. During this time my father quit drinking and rededicated his life to Jesus. I should have followed his lead but instead I made the streets my home. I slept behind dumpsters, in bushes, and at stranger’s houses. I smoked crack every day. I drank beer from the time I woke up until I went to sleep. I would stay awake for days. I lived like this for about four years. My parents lived a few miles away from me, but I didn’t think I had a problem and I liked the way I was living. My parents finally convinced me to enter into a detox center. I weighed 90 pounds. I was so weak that I was in a wheel chair the first few days. After detox I went into a one-year faith based rehabilitation center.
It was there that I found my healer and my Savior. I found what was missing in me all along. His name is Jesus Christ. I surrendered my life and my will to Jesus. When I surrendered to Jesus he forgave me for all that I did. I am a new creation today. I graduated Bible School. I have worked in full time addiction ministry. I am healthy. God is working on my relationship with my son. My relationship with my parents has been completely restored.
Jesus has done amazing things in my life within five years. If he can do these things for me imagine what he can do for you. Jesus has a plan for you. There is hope for everyone. I pray that you will surrender your life to Jesus and receive the wonderful plans he has just for you.
I did awful things in my addiction and God forgave me. When I surrendered my life to Jesus he wiped away all my sins.
No matter what you’ve done or where you come from you are beautiful in God’s eyes. You are important and you deserve an abundant life in Jesus. Jesus has a glorious plan waiting for you. He’s just waiting for you to call on him.
“For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11)