Grace Junkie

Grace Junkie

When I was born, I was the product of the sexual revolution in the
sixties. My parents threw themselves into the world of free love and
sex, and I was the result. My father denied I was his, and my mother
became a drug addict. One of my earliest memories was of my mother lying
on the bathroom floor in a pool of blood. As a six year old, I ran to
my next door neighbor crying out for help. As I watched the ambulance
drive my mother away, my neighbor leaned down and said to me,

“She’s going to be okay, be strong for your mother now.”

Of course, I didn’t know what that meant. But something inside was
buried deep down. By the time I was eleven years old, my mother was in
her second marriage to a violent drunk. I joined a gang which became my
new family. Two years later after breaking into cars and houses the
police finally caught up with us.

The older members of my gang were sent to prison and I, being the
youngest at the age of 13 was cautioned and warned that if I put another
foot wrong I would be sent down. Everybody knew who I was in my local
community and looked down on me, even the local church. I was an
embarrassment to my father who I was living with at the time. I was
ashamed. I ran away from home and went to live with my mother again who
by this time was on the verge of breaking up her third marriage.

I had joined the punk movement; I liked the aggression and energy of
the music. In my anarchy I failed at school and at the age of 16 I
couldn’t even hold a job down because of my fiery temper. My life was
hitting rock bottom. It was during this time when a friend started to
talk to me about forgiveness and a Savior who could give me the keys to
His kingdom if I followed Him.

There is something strangely comforting about hitting rock bottom in
your life. There is nowhere else to go. I cried out to my Savior and
asked for the keys to His kingdom. At that point I collapsed in a flood
of tears, another strange experience for me. It was as if someone opened
the floodgates of my soul and all the junk of my life came pouring out.
Stuff that I had buried as a child, all the pent up emotions came to
the surface and was washed away by a sea of grace and a peace that I
could not understand why this was happening to me.

I did not deserve it, as I looked back on my life, I started to see
the course my life had taken, and a blanket of grace wrapped around me
giving me comfort and strength in knowing that somehow God had always
been there in the distance, but now He was close to my heart. This
saving grace is what I live by and what has changed my life, and even
when the worst things happen, grace wraps around me… my mother may have
been a drug addict, but now I’m a grace junkie, there is nothing more
undeserving, more outrageous, more powerful in thought, more world
changing than grace…

- Neil Leatherbarrow