"To Hell with it" would sum up the avalanche of emotions that pounded in my head the muggy August evening that I discovered my Dad's lifeless body. The only thing lonelier than the country road where I found him was my empty heart. As I screamed obscenities, into the   darkness, my life already spinning out of control, took a drastic downward spiral. The next few years would be a blur of alcoholism, drug addiction and degradation.

The American Dream had turned into a nightmare. My parents, both World War II veterans, worked long hours to move from public housing to an upscale neighborhood. They were determined their children would have a "better life" than they had experienced. Financial success did not bring happiness. It brought pressure and eventually a broken family. (The Bible says, "there is a way that seems right to a man but the end thereof is death").

My high school graduation marked a passage. My four-year-old drug habit was full-blown. More devastation was right around the corner. Less than two years later, I would keep watch as my mother slowly slipped into eternity, the result of many years of alcohol abuse. 

Alcohol and other drugs were my chief companions. My hellish, no care view of life and fast lane mentality echoed the only truth I had ever known: there is no hope and no way out! The drug use was constant; a vicious, numbing cycle to take away the pain, life had dealt me. Yet, there was still some small trace of the positive values that my parents had left me. A strong work ethic was at the top of the list. One of my jobs took me across the path of a kind, Christian lady who saw through the rough facade. She lovingly shared the TRUTH.

"Linnie, you don't have a drug problem, you have a "heart" problem. You need Jesus."

All I had ever known of Jesus, was that the people that claimed to know Him, told their kids to stay away from me. I had seen so much hypocrisy and I knew I did not want any part of it. She was quick to tell me, I did not need religion, but instead a RELATIONSHIP, a “born again” relationship with Jesus Christ, the God-man.

This confrontation meant I needed a personal relationship with God! How could I be good enough to please God?

 The Bible says, "for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” It also states that, “The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked:  who can know it?”

This kind lady went on to share how Jesus left Heaven, came to earth, died a cruel death on a cross and rose again.  I had heard that message preached, when I was a kid in church, but never understood what it meant.  Suddenly, it became clear.  She kept telling me, what Jesus had done for mankind.  She kept telling me how Jesus died in my place for my sin. Jesus died and rose again.  That message, the Gospel, is the most powerful life changing truth on earth.

My lifestyle, rebellion, and outward behavior was a flashing neon light revealing my inward unbelief.  I thought I believed in God and I did…in my mind, not my heart and certainly not my will.  No wonder I was empty and searching in all the wrong places for fulfillment.

Jesus was using this sweet lady to “draw” me to Him.  The Word of God and her loving conversation was breaking my heart and my will.  God graciously gave me the faith to believe Him and trust Him. I was “birthed” into the family of God and transformed. Sex, drugs and degradation went one way and I went the other.  

Jesus immediately gave me the courage to tell my drug partners and my “brothers” about my transformation. Shocked and bewildered, most of them just laughed, refusing to accept my new life as a permanent change. I went to church, the next Sunday, for the first time in 13 years.  Gratefully, I can now say, I have lived a purposeful and fulfilled life.

What about you?  You don’t have to be a partier, or an addict to be empty and unfulfilled.  Whether you are at the bottom or consider yourself, successful.  You, like me, need a transformation, a new birth.  Begin your journey toward TRUTH.