If you’re interested in reading some of the darker parts of my college days and a more detailed look at my life BC (before Christ got ahold on my heart), you can read about that here in my backstory.

I am a Sinner saved by the Grace of the Almighty King. Once upon a time, I was a 4.0 High School Graduate and Scholarship recipient. The oldest of two, I spent all of my time striving to be ‘perfect.’ I always knew that I was cared for, but I always felt that anything less than 110% of me was considered a failure.  My parents didn’t push for perfection, but they did expect our best. I just happen to have been born a perfectionist, so anything less than perfect, to me, was not right. I didn’t date a lot in High School or have a lot of boyfriends. I wasn’t the prettiest girl or the smartest girl or the most popular girl.

My parents weren’t the wealthiest family at the small private school I attended and I didn’t drive a new car as the other students did. In fact, my first ride was a 1994 Chevy Blazer. It rattled when you hit a speed bump and it shook if you drove over 60 miles an hour and it had a shelf in it. Yes. You read that right, a shelf. I also had to keep a lead pipe in my car in case it wouldn’t crank and I had to pop the hood to bang on something underneath. It was a sight for sore eyes, but man did I drive that thing till it wouldn’t drive anymore.

I was active in the church and my family raised me in a Christian home. But, most of the time, I kept to myself. I was the “best friend” of the popular girl(s) and usually found myself in the role of the third wheel. I did my school work, found success in academics and eventually got up enough scholarship money to move away from my small hometown in Alabama and attend college.

I pledged the top-ranked sorority in College and for the first time began to feel accepted by the “in” crowd. I couldn’t believe it when I received my bid day card…they wanted me. That feeling didn’t last as frat parties and socials took over my agenda and I started to fall into a series of bad habits. My desire to be ‘cool’ and one of the ‘hot sorority girls’ overwhelmed me and eventually, I found myself slipping into depression, anxiety, promiscuity, and alcoholism.

Night after night I would drink until I couldn’t see straight, flirt and throw myself at guys and then drunkenly find my way back home when no one would take me home. I was a mess. Emotionally I was crying out for help with no one to rescue me. I pulled away from my parents out of shame and fear that they wouldn’t love me anymore and that I would disappoint them yet again in my inability to be perfect. So instead, I drank more. I partied more. I skipped classes because I was too hung over.

The turning point

I made a lot of stupid decisions during these dark days of my late teens. Mistakes that should have either landed me in jail or on the side of the road dead. You never think about hopping in the vehicle with someone who is drunk and high until you’re 10+ years down the road and you have children of your own. You never think that playing chicken while driving 85 miles an hour is stupid and could kill someone’s mom or dad or child.

God had begun to deal me with after the second semester of my first year of college was over. I had started to realize just how badly I was messing up, and the notes that came to my email from my academic advisor that I was essentially failing all of my classes slowly began to kick me back into gear. I still partied. I still drank. I still threw myself at anyone who would give me a moment’s worth of attention.

Until that night.

It was a night like every other. I had gotten off work at the local BBQ place (Have you ever worked in a BBQ joint? You leave every single night smelling like a smoke pit, in case you were interested…) and run home to shower and change into my skimpiest outfit and my highest heels while downing a few shots of vodka. We were going to the Bar (again) and I only had a few minutes to “pre-party” before the crowd showed up and there was no way that I was going to be stone cold sober when they got there. The night progressed as usual…we danced. We drank. We had a “good” time. Then it was time to go home. Instead of going straight home,  we decided that a quick trip by the frat house was in order first. I hopped in the car with a guy friend of mine and one of my roommates and we went on our way.

About a mile from the frat house, we spotted the blue lights. Scrambling we started popping breath mints to cover the smell of alcohol and made sure that we were all buckled up. My roommate and I were only 18 at the time and we were not only illegally drunk and also in possession of alcohol, fake ID’s and if I’m betting, the guy driving had marijuana in his possession as well. My heart started to race and I just knew that I was going to go to jail.

But the cops never pulled us over. They never stopped us.

Because they were in the middle of pulling a nearly dead friend of mine out of a tree.

Two kids from my high school were on their way back from a night at a bar when they misjudged (thanks to the alcohol they had consumed) and ran up on a curb going 90 miles an hour in a 15 mph zone, sending their truck airborne and landing it in a tree sideways and nearly upside down. A boy I graduated with was through the windshield and the paramedics were trying to figure out the easiest way to get him down. Another guy I graduated with was lying on the ground covered in blood while his girlfriend (a friend of mine) knelt over him screaming.

We spent the evening in the hospital that night. Some 100+ kids from our area in our little “group” praying and crying and hoping that our friends would pull through. One had a severe traumatic head injury and the other had a few broken ribs. Surprisingly, neither sustained any life long or permanent damage. But, the events of that night changed my heart and my life perspective permanently.

That was the day I put the alcohol down for good.

Since then, my spiritual battle has been an uphill climb, full of its own peaks and valleys. Life gets hard and there have definitely been some hard times since that wreck all of those years ago. My husband has traveled and spent months at a time out of town away from our family. We’ve lost loved ones-both family and friends. I’ve seen countless people that I love endure their own hardships and pains and our marriage has endured its many trials. I don’t claim to know it all. Nor do I claim to have a perfect life with a perfect family.

We still struggle with the day to day things that everyone encounters: bills, budgeting, discipline, children, decision making, the sin and temptations of the world. I am full of mistakes and it’s only through God’s grace and his mercy that I’m even still here. With that said…this ministry…this is my way of sharing what I’ve learned and continue to learn through my study of God’s word. I don’t always get my life “right” and I learn something new every single day. But I put my whole heart into what I write and share and I hope beyond hope that God will use my story to help and encourage someone.

It’s my prayer that this place blesses you and blesses your spirit.

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  8. Kayla Kerns

    May 18th, 2018 at 5:37 pm

    Thanks for sharing that, I really needed to read that at where I am in my life. God Bless

  9. Hayk S

    July 30th, 2018 at 3:51 am

    Thanks for sharing your story. Continue to be an inspiration to others.

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courtney kirkland

live life known.