by:  Cris Corzine-McCloskey

My 15-year Christian birthday and sobriety date are just around the corner! Every year I get pumped about my re-creation anniversary and like to reminisce. If you get tired of hearing this story, quit reading. I unapologetically share it every chance I get, because when you go from there to here, you never get tired of telling the tale.

By now, nearly everyone knows I was saved in jail. What they don’t know is what a wreck I was by the time I got there. Before my arrest, I had been using drugs for over 20 years, and the last 11 years had been dedicated to daily meth usage. My brain was so fried I often had difficulty forming sentences. My words got twisted and jumbled. I remember feeling sad because I knew meth was damaging my brain, but I couldn’t stop using it. That all changed when I met a man named Jesus.

To think Jesus would offer someone like me the gift of salvation is a testament of His mercy. But He took it a step further by instantaneously healing me, as well. That was His grace. Grace is where His power and unmerited favor meets our weaknesses. Instantaneously, no more cravings. No more jumbled words. I could think clearly for the first time in years. All that happened when I kneeled on the floor of a filthy jail cell and called out His name.

God tells us in His word that He puts before us life and death, and then He urges us to choose life. Before salvation, I was extraordinarily accomplished at choosing death. If there was something bad for me, self-destructive, or potentially damaging, I wanted it. That included drugs, alcohol, and toxic relationships. The worse they were for me, the more I desired them. Every single time. That’s how a broken-hearted, burned out, brain-damaged me ended up in that jail cell.

Calling out His name was the first time I had ever chosen life. Of course, at the time, I didn’t know that’s what I was doing. I honestly didn’t believe Jesus existed. I was just desperate. But sometimes desperation is just what we need to get us to make our first right choice.

The Bible says, “whosoever calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved.” Becoming a “whosoever will” was the choice that turned my life around. Without that, nothing else would have ever mattered. Had they dropped all charges and let me go, without Jesus, I would have never tasted freedom. Had I found a way to obtain sobriety without Him, I would still be dead inside. When I became a whosoever will, He lit me up from the inside out and made me shiny and new.

The new alive me left the old dead me behind in that jail cell. I never saw her again. Of all the things I’m grateful for, I think I’m most thankful for surviving the old me. Someone should make me a special ribbon. Like a cancer survivor, only I am a Cris survivor. Jesus, thank you for saving me from me!
There you have it, the first right choice that put me on the path from there to here. In case you are as adept as I was at self-destructing, I encourage you to think about your choices. Life or death? Self-sabotage or salvation? A new life is only one right choice away.

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