Saying Goodbye to Bondage :: Update on Jessica

Image © Bill Lollar

Yesterday marked the beginning of six weeks of freedom from Jessica’s struggle with heroin and prostitution. Thanks to every who have been praying for this young woman. Her father drove up to Birmingham on Sunday to see her: the very first visitor she’s been allowed since checking into a Christian residential drug rehab program in Birmingham, England. He returned to South Wales with an excellent report, thrilled to see his daughter completely free from ten years of heroin addiction. She’s putting on weight, settling well into her new surroundings, feeling good about her recovery, making friends, learning the disciplines of hard work, and sharing responsibilities with her housemates for cooking and cleaning.

No one in the family thought she would last two weeks in Birmingham, because of the disappointing realities of Jessica’s past history. But God has clearly inserted himself into this new equation, and I’m thinking to myself, “Jessica’s finally saying goodbye to bondage.” Her dad came home and told the family that she’s talking about staying at Betel for at least two years! Amazing! Undeniably and categorically God’s grace in action. She’s had a taste of freedom and her housemates (also ex-addicts) are cheering her on with their stories of deliverance. The good news of Jesus Christ is communicated every day when the young women gather after the evening meal for a brief devotional and discussion of any needs, concerns, struggles, and progress. All of the residents, men and women, meet together in a Sunday worship service at the city center church planted by Betel several years ago.

This coming Sunday, Jessica’s mother and step-father will be driving up for their first visit: a Christmas dinner sponsored by Betel for the immediate family of each resident. The step-father rang me this evening to invite us along and to say again how much the family appreciates our intervention in their daughter’s behalf. His words described this whole thing as a miracle of God, even though he didn’t use the term “God” or “miracle,” but his wonder and amazement were evident. Again, I’m thinking, “Jessica may not be the only one saying goodbye to bondage. Maybe her whole family will soon come to know real freedom in Christ.”

Truth is, bondage to heroin is no greater than the shackles and chains that bind every descendant of Adam. Paul reminded the Ephesian believers in one of his letters,

It wasn’t so long ago that you were mired in that old stagnant life of sin. You let the world, which doesn’t know the first thing about living, tell you how to live. You filled your lungs with polluted unbelief, and then exhaled disobedience. We all did it, all of us doing what we felt like doing, when we felt like doing it, all of us in the same boat. It’s a wonder God didn’t lose his temper and do away with the whole lot of us. Instead, immense in mercy and with an incredible love, he embraced us. He took our sin-dead lives and made us alive in Christ. He did all this on his own, with no help from us! Then he picked us up and set us down in highest heaven in company with Jesus, our Messiah. (Eph. 2:1–6, The Message).

May God grant to Jessica and her family complete freedom, like no other, as His precious gift to them during this season of gift-giving. Seeing the way He has brought us together, I’m so optimistic for their future, even though there may be setbacks ahead that we cannot foresee. God knows. And his plans and ways are perfect.

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4 thoughts on “Saying Goodbye to Bondage :: Update on Jessica

  1. Great to hear of Jessica’s progress. I’m sure your prayers and support have made a great difference. While I would agree with you that using heroin is no worse an addiction than other sins, it is a powerful one. My friends in recovery tell me that, next to crack cocaine, herion is the most physically addicting of all substances. I’ll be praying for her.

  2. I ran across your blog, and I don’t even know who Jessica is, but her testimony is amazing, and will only get better with time :-) We serve such an awesome God :-) This January will mark 4 years that I’ve been free of the bondage of self-injury…so I think that this post especially resonated with me for that reason. God bless you and Jessica :-)

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