I was a broken, damaged and destitute fragment of a girl. Was there hope for someone like me?

I grew up in a loving family but early on the intense desire to feel accepted began to rip and pull at my soul. I remember the feeling from my youngest years. I wanted boys to like me, I wanted their attention I wanted them to think I was pretty. I felt so nerdy. I was very tall for my age with red curly hair and I did not like myself.

That desire to want to be accepted is powerful and dangerous! It was the foundation for a devastating and destructive road ahead.

When what you desire from the world is attention, you will find it, in all the wrong places! And I did, with guys who cared nothing about me. I was just an object for a quick release for them. I was used so many times over I can’t even count. A deep callous grew over my heart and it just hardened.

THE DESIRE FOR ACCEPTANCE DROVE ME TO PLACES I COULD HAVE NEVER IMAGINED.

For years my life was hard drugs, parties, sexual relationships and sleepless nights. I was consumed by sin and I was completely out of control. I just kept falling deeper and deeper into a pit and could not get out.

I was damage. Damaged goods as some may say. I should have died several times. My mother said during those years she mourned me like I was dead. I was rotting from the inside out.

I was a slave to all I had given myself to, I was a prisoner, I was the lowest of all people. I deserved the worst. I deserved judgment and chains, I deserved punishment from God. How could God ever love someone like me?

Yet what I found was none of that…

I met my husband Willie in the bar I worked at. We got pregnant on the second date. My life was a mess and I knew I couldn’t have a baby and keep that kind of life. I didn’t know what to do.

SO HOW DID I FIND MY WAY OUT OF THE DARKNESS?

THE LOVE AND MERCY OF JESUS. HIS LOVE IS THE MOST POWERFUL FORCE IN THIS UNIVERSE.

I took one small step towards Jesus and when I did, I stepped into the arms of love. I decided to attend a small group at my parent’s church that some friends of ours taught. The class was called, Knowing God Intimately.

What I found was amazing. I found no shame or guilt, no rejection. Instead I found the opposite. I found love, grace, mercy and forgiveness.  I found the acceptance I had always searched for. I found that I was desired and wanted. The God of the universe wanted me as His beloved daughter. I found my REDEEMER .

Jesus took me from the ashes and washed me. He put a robe of righteousness on me and set a crown on my head. He made me a new person. He didn’t cover my old sin, He didn’t recycle my old life, He made me new. New in Christ.  As the scripture says in 2Co 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things have become new.

Willie and I got married when I was 8 months pregnant. 6 months after that we totally surrendered our lives to God. We went all in living a life for Jesus.  As I grew in my understanding of who I was in Christ, everything that had once been a part of me just fell away. There was no behavior modification, just a heart transformation.

It has been a sensational journey from that day to this. The lost girl who I once knew has been long gone for so many years now. She is a testimony to the saving power of Jesus.

Another very exciting thing about this is that God didn’t just make me new, He also wanted to use my life for His glory. He wants to use all our lives; He wants to use your life! My husband and I have now spent the last 4 years living in Africa with our 3 kids as missionaries.  We minister Jesus across East Africa. We disciple pastors and live to inspire other believers to live with passion, purpose and excitement for what God has for their lives!

Christ took my mess and made something beautiful out of it, that’s what He does, that’s who He is.

my life is proof that jesus is alive, he saves, heals, forgives and redeems.

Love, Rachel x

Rachel Griffith is now living an adventurous life as a missionary in Africa. She has been married to a great man of God and preacher for 11 years. She is the mum to 3 amazing kids and hopes to inspire others to live all in on the call of God on their lives.

This article first appeared on sabrinapeters.com.
Image courtesy Ariel Lustre, Freely Photos