Teresa Casteel

I grew up in the church, with a strong family and high expectations.  At age eleven, my parents divorced and life as I knew it disappeared.  My new life consisted of rape, pregnancy, foster care, the incarceration of my children’s father, domestic violence, rejection, abandonment and severe drug use.

My addiction to crack/cocaine eventually took over my life.  I did everything necessary to get this drug.  I lived a life of hell.  After nine years, I had an encounter with Jesus Christ and he saved me from myself.  I praised his Holy Name and acknowledged him as my Savior but did not know him as Lord.  I began a new career and rose to the top, all the while still using alcohol and marijuana but staying away from the hard stuff.  Ten years later when my company closed, rather than turning to God for comfort, guidance, and support—I turned back to the crack/cocaine to numb the pain.  It only took a few years this time to feel death lurking at my doorstep again.  I couldn’t feel the presence of God or hear his voice anymore.  I couldn’t lift my head to praise him or even know how to pray anymore.  I was full of so much shame that I couldn’t even go to my Savior.

Life Challenge taught me that drug use was not my only sin.  My sin was much deeper than that.  My heart was full of pride, rage, blame and bitterness that stemmed from my past.  They were controlling my life.  I’ve learned how to cast all my worries and cares at the foot of the cross.  To trust in Jesus because he loves me so much that he laid his life down for ME.  I now let Him open doors of my heart that were locked for many years.  I’ve made Him Lord of my life.  He has washed me clean– made me into a new creation.  His Holy Spirit lives in me.  I can feel Him and hear His voice again.  He has given me a peace, a joy and a love that I never knew in my entire life. He has taken me out of the miry clay and set my feet upon a rock.  The rock of Jesus Christ!

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