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Surrendering Everything not Ravaged by Addiction

Jocelynn recalls, “On October 3rd, of 1995, he was headed home to watch me cheer for a homecoming game, and he never made it home. I was very mad at God that he would take someone that was so good to me out of my life, who I needed.”

Jocelynn James had been living with her uncle Wade when a car accident took his life. He had given her safe shelter from her father, an abusive alcoholic.

Jocelynn says, “When he would whip me with the belt, I felt just helpless and, I mean, like it hurt so bad that I just wanted him dead.”

More than giving Jocelyn an escape, her uncle showed her something her father never could.

Jocelynn shares, “I longed for someone's love because I would see families out with their mom and their dad, and I just didn't have that. He was a godly man and he just loved me.”

With her uncle and his love gone, Jocelyn fell into a deep depression. At 16, the once popular cheerleader and A+ student quit high school and started partying and drinking.

Jocelynn recalls, “I didn't care about life, I didn't care about anyone, I was just mad. I was hurt and I knew when I drank that I didn't feel any of that.”

By the time, Jocelyn was in her early 20’s, she was married, working at a manufacturing plant and using meth. The only times she stopped were the three times she got pregnant, all of which ended in miscarriages.

Jocelynn says, “It hurt my heart more than it hurt me. I didn't know if there was something wrong with me, if there was something wrong with him, or if it was just God.”

Two years later, there was a bright spot. Jocelynn would give birth to a daughter and three years later to a son. By this time, she and her husband divorced, and she had gone back to using meth.

Then during a routine check-up doctors discovered she had ovarian cancer. While it took six surgeries to remove the cancer, it also put her back on the path to addiction, this time to prescription pain killers.

Jocelynn remembers, “It completely changed my life. It literally numbed everything in me.”

When the prescriptions stopped, she started getting opiates from people at work. Over the next five years she would fall deep into addiction, going from pills to shooting up 16 times a day.

Jocelyn says, “Opiates takes full control over your whole body. Like your mind, your body, your-your soul.”

Over the years, Jocelynn would lose everything except her children. She was arrested numerous times as she resorted to selling drugs and stealing to support her habit. By 2012, the ravages of addiction had taken over, as she now weighed a mere 95 pounds. Still, she was in denial.

Jocelynn remembers, “I've lost all self-respect, respect for anyone else. I went from being a functioning addict to someone who couldn't even wake up if they didn't have their fix the next morning.”

In November of that year, with nowhere to turn, she and her children moved in with her ex-husband. She was watching the news one night when her picture came up as Franklin county’s most wanted.

Jocelynn says, “I was tired. I was over it; I was sick of living that life.”

The next day, she turned herself in and was eventually found guilty of a number of crimes, including forgery and drug dealing. She would serve six months of a possible 10-year sentence.

The only way to stay out of prison, was if she completed a long-term rehab plan at Lovelady Center. After one month there, her case worker asked her what she could do there that would please God.

Jocelynn shares, “And that was the moment I just kinda scooted out of the chair onto my knees and I was like, ‘I gotta do things His way. I surrender it all, I don't want to live this life anymore. I don't want this heart. I don’t want these eyes. I want to be transformed.’ And I was. I asked Him to forgive me for all the wrong that I done, everybody that I had had stole from, to please just forgive me. I felt like I was looking at a new life, like I was looking at a newborn baby who's got a chance at life. That day, was my new chance at life.”

Afterward, Jocelynn says through two months of prayer God healed her heart, and her mind, and totally delivered her from her addictions.

Jocelynn says, “I've never relapsed, I've never used a drug, and that is nothing but God, and He did it for me, and He can do it for anyone.”

In time, Jocelynn was also able to forgive her father.

Jocelyn shares, “Forgiving my father felt good because there was no more anger there. And that's what God does for us. He forgives us daily.”

Today, Jocelynn is newly married with a blended family. She and her husband Greg help others who were just like her find true freedom in Jesus through their ministry called, “The Place of Grace.” Jocelynn knows that God can take any mistakes of your past and make you brand new.

Jocelynn says, “When you turn your life over to the Lord and you totally surrender, He does fill that void. No one can love you like Jesus loves you. God's the only way, He's the Way, the Truth and Life. He's the only way.”

To contact Jocelynn James, visit the website The Place of Grace Ministries, email ThePlaceOfGrace2018@gmail.com, or mail inquiries to P.O. Box 421 Russellville, Al 35654 

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