God Rescued My Broken Heart

My life is not at all what it started out to be. Back in the day – late 90’s, I was certain I had it all figured out and was right on track for harnessing a successful life! I had a list branded in my head that I was dead set on completing to ensure I checked all the right boxes for what the world defined as someone doing well for themselves.

My list looked something like this: Graduate college, Become a nurse, Buy a new car, Get married, Have a baby, Build a big beautiful new home…

I wanted the Pinterest life before that was a real thing.

I actually had a pretty great start until things began to gradually implode! I have vivid memories of the day when I sat on the toilet, cupping my head in my hands uttering the words, “Oh my gosh, I’m addicted to this pain medicine and I have no idea how I’m going to get off of it! If I keep this up, I’m not going to live to be old.” As a nurse, I immediately felt trapped!

I honestly couldn’t believe this was really happening to me nor was I ready to admit to what I thought was such a shortcoming or an epic failure on my part. It was neither. I was living my ordinary life as a wife and mother while also working full-time as a nurse. I had some depression and anxiety that I wrestled with and had also experienced some physiological symptoms of pain that led to the prescribing of pain medication.

What I didn’t expect was the response my body gave to those type of medications. Instead of pain relief and drowsiness, the medication gave me a REALLY great buzz that felt like I could conquer the world! My brain chemistry locked arms with the opioid hit and the object of my affection quickly shifted toward the next buzz! It was like living on a hamster wheel without an escape.

Thankfully, I’m now well on the other side of this life changing heartbreak! It’s been nearly 22 years since I found myself in the throes of active addiction! I was able to preserve my nursing license by working closely with the Kentucky Board of Nursing for 3 years and believe me it was like walking a straight line that did not allow room for error. At the time, I thought the repercussions were quite stringent, but knowing what I know now it was 100% necessary. I went to outpatient counseling, attended a 12-step program while also calling a 1-800 number daily for random drug screening

This was the epitome of stripping pride away from someone who had been so convinced she could slay the day with her tidy list of how to do life.

It was during this time that I began searching for answers as to why on earth this had happened to me? I needed strength to get through this scary and uncertain time in my life. Clearly, I could not handle this one on my own. I joined a Bible study which I had never done as a young adult. Scripture memory was part of the curriculum and I jumped in with my new “rule following self” and went to work! I will never forget the first memory verse that we had to recite back to our leader.  Matthew 6:33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 

I began to marinate on God’s word and consider the message He had for me in His word.

I especially resonated with Romans 8:28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.  You mean God can take this terrible thing I’ve gone through and use it for His good? Really? 

The more I sought the Lord, the more I wanted to know Him.

I even began prayer journaling conversations to God. I wrote letters as if corresponding with a long-distance friend. I had never had a “real” prayer life before, not like this. You need to understand; I had been raised in church with a great family who loved me, but I had never realized my true need for a Savior in Jesus.

My heart needed to be rescued and transformed!

The Lord created us and knows exactly what it will take to get us into a posture where He can work in our heart. I had nowhere left to go, but up. I was at the lowest point in my personal and professional life and was desperate for legit help! Finally, I was in a position to receive.

If you had told me that one day I’d thank God for allowing prescription drug addiction into my life, I would have laughed hysterically! I would not have chosen this particular path, but I wouldn’t change it either because this is the means in which God used to rescue my broken heart for all of eternity. My temporary affliction of addiction on earth was used to make all things new for my remaining years of life here on earth and will one-day usher me to heaven when that time comes!

I was literally given an opportunity to have a do over at life, but only better this time! For the first time, I understood what people meant when they referenced being “born again!” I totally felt like I’d been re-born!

It was the truth and power of God’s Holy Word coupled with my newly established prayer life that strengthened me day by day!

God’s people surrounded me and offered grace and support like I’d never experienced before. It was a slow and steady process that took time, but I wasn’t in a hurry during those days and felt quite content living in the slow work of the Lord in my life. Nearly 2 decades later, I have to go back and remember all that God has done over the years. Remembering (Stones of Remembrance Joshua 4) is so important and serves to strengthen our faith today!

Kelli Estes is a published author (Dare to Be a Difference Maker Vol. 4), nurse auditor, PR Director for Disciples’ Village in Haiti (www.disciplesvillage.org), wife to Greg, and mother to one grown daughter, Kayla. Kelli finds great joy in breeding Goldendoodles for lovely families at www.thesugardoodlbarn.com and can be found on IG @thesugardoodlebarn or @kelliestes. God is percolating new things and Kelli hopes to pursue the launch of a new podcast in 2022!

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