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Epiphany About God’s Mighty Love

Dina remembers, “They rushed me to the hospital. On the way to the hospital my heart stopped for ten minutes and then they put me in a medically induced coma.”

It was a string of bad choices that put Dina Cafiso in a fight for her life. In a search for love and acceptance, Dina had turned to drugs to help numb the pain of childhood abuse–memories that haunted her for as long as she could remember.

Dina recalls, “I grew up in complete fear in my own house.”

The abuse–physical and verbal–had come from a close family member who was mentally ill. It was the worst of his abuse she remembered most.

Dina shares, “He barged in and actually broke the lock on my door and then he grabbed me by the hair, and he smashed my head on this bench in my room, and I have a permanent bump on my head form that. There was this constant pressure of needing to survive.”

Dina says family members knew about the abuse but did nothing to stop it.

Dina shares, “That not only made me feel unsafe, but it also caused me to actually have a strong hate towards these people who were supposed to protect me but didn’t.”

By the time she was nine years old, Dina was experiencing anxiety and depression. At 15, she made the decision to follow Christ.

Dina says, “I heard my youth pastor's testimony of how he had come out of a life of drugs and gangs and all this stuff, and I remember thinking like ‘Wow. Like if the Lord can do that for him, then what could He do for me?'"

But the abuse continued.

Dina shares, “I thought I wasn't worthy to be loved by anybody and that even translated into how I saw God, that He loved everybody else, but He definitely didn't love me because the people who were supposed to love me didn’t love me.”

Soon, Dina turned away from God and started looking for love and acceptance through alcohol, sex, weed, and prescription drugs. She also started hurting herself.

Dina recalls, “It was like an emotional release was happening that I could only get from inflicting the physical pain.”

Still, Dina wanted a better life and after high school, she enrolled in a community college and got a job at a clothing store. But it was short lived. She started dating a guy who gave her drugs, but more importantly filled her need to be loved. When her boyfriend broke up with her she became suicidal.

Dina remembers, “Everything that I gave myself to, again just kinda' disappeared and vanished and abandoned me and that I had nothing left to live for.”

At 21, Dina checked herself into a psych ward where she was diagnosed with several emotional disorders and anxiety.

Dina shares, “And I felt more worthless than I ever have in my entire life.”

After her release a week later, Dina went back to abusing pain pills that would lead her into a two-year addiction that now included cocaine. Still, she knew she needed help and went into a detox program that briefly got her clean. But it did nothing to help her deal with the turmoil in her heart and mind.

Dina recalls, “I cried out to God and again, I said ‘God, if you love me then can you rescue me out of this? If you love me then help me. I need your help.’”

Four days after getting out of detox, she decided to do something she had never done before and shot up with heroine. That was the last thing she remembers.

Dina shares, “I just saw all like the IVs hooked up to me and the tube in my throat and I couldn't even move my left hand, it was stuck shut because I had severe nerve damage in my arm.

Dina learned she almost died from a drug overdose and had been in a medically induced coma for a week. If not for a family member finding her in time to call 911, she would have died.

Dina says, “When I finally realized what I had done to myself I knew two things, that I needed to change or I was going to die addicted to drugs and the second thing was wow, the Lord must really love me in order to have saved me when I overdosed.”

Soon after, Dina re-dedicated her life to God.

Dina remembers, “And I asked God to forgive me and took full responsibility for the things that I had done that were sinful and not pleasing. I released everyone in my family who had hurt me and neglected me, and I forgave them, and such freedom came from that that I don't hold anything against them.”

Today, Dina serves on the worship team at her church. She is also a full-time seminary student. She says she never ceases to be amazed at what God has done in her life.

Dina says, “No matter what we face. No matter how impossible our situations and circumstances may feel, no matter how deep you are, you are never too far out of the reach of God and He is more than willing to go down the deepest pit to rescue His people who He loves.”

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