Eric

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On my most recent visit to Chipotle, a man stopped me, pointed to my shirt that said “Jesus” on it and asked me “who is that to you?” Honestly, I was caught off guard and at a loss for words. I replied simply that He’s s...

On my most recent visit to Chipotle, a man stopped me, pointed to my shirt that said “Jesus” on it and asked me “who is that to you?” Honestly, I was caught off guard and at a loss for words. I replied simply that He’s somebody whom I love very much. The guy smiled, pointed to my shirt and said: “that guy saved my life.”
Chipotle man turned out to be named Eric and we sat down and I was lucky enough to be graced with his testimony. 
Eric grew up in a really rough situation, his aunt raised him and his siblings all by herself, struggling every day to get by. He didn’t have a bed till he was twenty-three, he had to watch both of his parents go to jail, and had to see his little sister battle cancer at a young age. By the time Eric was fourteen, he had done every drug that was on the market and at the age of sixteen he was selling and planning to fail out of school. By some miracle he graduated, but only to continue on to abuse drugs and alcohol and get fired from low paying jobs.  Eric’s twentieth year was filled with many hospital visits due to overdosing, and his twenty-first year was packed full of numerous trips to rehabilitation centers, where he met Maria, who turned into his girlfriend. Every attempt that the two made to get clean failed. They simply could not overcome temptation by themselves. One day, Maria and Eric met this woman in rehab who suggested going to a church. Skeptical at first, Maria and Eric walked into a church, not expecting much, but open to the idea that it could offer them new opportunities. It wasn’t overnight that the two fell in love and accepted Christ, however, after extensive effort on their part and the welcoming arms of God and their new church community, they really fell in love with everything it had to offer. Together, and I am sure with the help of their new community, they prayed to be rid of addiction and achieve a drug free life. Since that moment, they experienced zero withdrawal symptoms and cravings (which every medical expert and counselor told them they would have) and have not touched drugs or alcohol since. Today, they are married with one baby boy and another child on the way. Eric is currently in his last year of college to become an art teacher and Maria works in the church and is pursuing her dream of designing clothes. They live happily, healthily and under God’s love.
Eric’s testimony has a big impact on me and left lasting impressions on my mind.

  1. It really put pressure on the fact that we all have to be active members in our own rescue. It is so easy to drown in sorrows, toxins, people, abuse, ect. but it even easier to stay in that same situation. To overcome adversity, everybody must be active in their own rescue, becoming more and more persistent to reach their goal and keep their head above water. Maria and Eric's journey was long and insanely difficult, however they used their strength to keep trying.
  2. However, we as humans are not enough sometimes. As cool as it would be to be strong enough to fight temptation ourselves, we need something bigger than us to lean on and to follow. For me and for them, that’s God.  Sometimes God works in cryptic ways, and others He works bluntly, almost like magic. This testimony is a true example to the fact that we alone can be active members in our own rescues, however we cannot conquer our missions fully without our Saviors. It has been hard for me to understand at times, but God heals and prevails always. A lot of my friends aren’t strong believers in God and they often state that the reason is because there seems to be no point in believing. When Eric told his story, I was so worried that it would turn into something of a “then I met Maria and she changed my life” story. Instead of relying on each other to rid their life of toxins, they looked to higher powers. When they did so, they became a lot less restless and turned into stronger versions of themselves. Becoming a believer doesn’t mean you figuratively walk with him, but you physically walk with Him, as a friend, mentor, and powerful father every day. He held Eric and Maria’s hands every day and offered guidance and support. Yes, many people on this earth are good natured, however believing in the history, stories and characters that The Bible provides, gives an overwhelming strength in humanity and to one's character that it is impossible to not just love and respect in an amazing and healthier way. For me, that is the whole point, friends.
  3. The most powerful thing that I was left with after I heard Eric’s story was the fact that there is room in God’s kingdom for everybody. Everybody. Often times I sit in shame or frustration, feeling like I don't obtain enough knowledge or am too broken to be a proper follower. I see a great deal of people who shy away from God because they are “not conservative enough”, too susceptible to sin, or that they just don’t go to church enough. This testimony shows how great and beautifully simple, in a way, it is to be a follower. It is not a political party, not a sentence to a boring lifestyle, and not an easy paved road to walk down. It may be a cliche, but the church is truly, truly a house for broken people. People that are all different colors, coming from all different walks of life, and obtaining as little or big amount of knowledge about the stories.


Who knows what others will get from this story, I am just lucky that God used Eric and Maria to teach me how big and bold He is. 
There is room in His Kingdom for everybody.

Much Love + Blessings,
Justine

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