Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: BRAND (01/12/17)
- TITLE: Forgiven
By Kristine Baker
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In my youth, I lived a wild life. I have no solid reason for going astray as I was raised in a Christian family. We went to church every Sunday and I attended a Christian school; all twelve years. My mother thought I was in with the wrong crowd; but in reality, I simply made bad choices.
I had my first drink of alcohol when I was fifteen and enjoyed the feeling it gave me. I was shy when I was sober, but with alcohol in my blood, I became the life of the party. Soon alcohol and drugs were my life. My past is a blur as I was either drunk, high, or both. I had a lot of boyfriends but I was never loved; just used.
I remember waking up in the hospital seeing tubes stuck in both arms; oxygen in my nose and my whole body was in pain from head to toe. I had casts on both my legs from the knees down. I saw my mother sitting in a corner, her head in her hands and she shook violently and cried; my father consoling and crying with her. They told me I fell out of a third-story window. I do not recall.
The hospital chaplain stopped by my room around one o’clock in the morning, and I was going through withdrawal. It was my third night of insomnia, anxiety, nausea and vomiting and I wanted death to take me. When I wasn’t vomiting, I was fatigued, yet I could not sleep. I was at my worst when he walked in and sat with me. My condition did not faze him as he sat quietly before he began to share his personal story of detoxification.
The chaplain knew the early mornings were the hardest for a person in withdrawal, so he chose third shift ministry. Years of Sunday church attendance and twelve years of Christian education was only a surface layer of belief for me. I had neither known, nor felt, the true saving power of Jesus Christ in my life. But what the chaplain was sharing with me about Jesus and his death on the cross for our sins became real to me that early morning. This chaplain was once just like me; a messed up life. Jesus died for me and all he asks is that I turn from my sinful ways and follow him. Repent and follow him. The chaplain prayed with me and left me to think about this awesome gift of grace. He returned each morning when he saw my light on.
During one morning chaplain visit, I noticed some writing on his arm and asked him about it. As he rolled up his sleeve, he said, “Oh, I have a tattoo to remind me that I am forgiven.” On his forearm, he has the word ‘FORGIVEN’ written from his elbow to his wrist in a nice straight line. I thought this was an interesting way to remember and witness to others. I decided when I am well enough and out of the hospital, I want to get a tattoo like his.
Many times I hear, “What were you thinking?” I understand the questioning. I had an artist use a thermal cautery unit on my right forearm from my elbow to my wrist. With this technique, I have a third-degree burn so the word ‘FORGIVEN’ could be branded on me; except the artist transposed two letters and I am forever ‘FROGIVEN’.
Each time someone comments, I smile as I look down at my right forearm and whisper in my heart, “Thank you, God.” My ministry starts with the misspelling of ‘FORGIVEN’ and from there I share my testimony. My life was just as messed up and didn’t make sense. I am not perfect, but I am a changed life because of Jesus dying on the cross for my sins. I repented and know I am forgiven.
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