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According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, a testimony is:
2 a: firsthand authentication of a fact : EVIDENCE b: an outward sign c: a solemn declaration usually made orally by a witness under oath in response to interrogation by a lawyer or authorized public official
3 a: an open acknowledgment b: a public profession of religious experience
I'm sixteen years old and from Southern California. I've been at Lighthouse for exactly a year now, and I know it's the best thing that has ever happened to me. I grew up in a Christian home, got saved when I was four, and went to a good Christian school when I was in kindergarten, all the way until 8th grade. I never grew in God that entire time, and was satisfied with how I was spiritually. My parents decided to send me to a public high school after 8th grade. I was involved in a city competition cheer squad, so that kept me busy and out of trouble for a while. I knew only a few people at my new school, and they were pretty good influences, but I was never satisfied.
I began to attract the wrong kinds of friends, and would do anything to please them. I became involved with a junior (when I was a freshman) who had a girlfriend. When she found out I had been with her boyfriend, she and her friends did anything they could to make my life miserable and ruin my reputation. I became depressed, started getting in frequent violent fights with my mom, drinking, and cutting my arms with a switchblade a friend gave me. My mom found out about my cutting problems and we got in a fight. It ended with the police taking me to a behavior hospital for 8 days.
Things just got worse after that. Eventually I got arrested for shoplifting, kicked off the cheer squad, and put on probation. With all my new free time I started hanging out with a lot of older guys, doing drugs, and not coming home at night. It was then that I met a girl who instantly became my "best friend." She introduced me to her friends along with a variety of different drugs. Words can't describe how disappointed my parents were in me. My dad became depressed and would call me horrible names and accuse me of gross things. This only added to my loneliness and depression and made me turn to drugs, alcohol, friends, and guys even more. One morning my mom and I got in a fist fight over what I was wearing, and she called the police. When they came I went out the window and ran, but obviously got caught. They arrested me for battery and I was taken to juvenile hall. I was scared, but still hated my family, my life, and most of all, God. After spending the day there, my mom let me come home on house arrest and extended probation until my court date.
Even after all this things still got worse. I shoplifted everything in sight, cut my arms and ankles daily, hardly ever went to school, and kept doing drugs and drinking. Inside I was so depressed since my reputation was literally ruined, and at times would consider suicide. A few months later my parents sent me to rehab, which was one big party for me and all my friends there. After I left, I got involved with another guy and stayed clean for a little while, until we broke up and he left me for my friend. A couple nights later I was out with friends as usual and I took more pills and drank more than usual. I knew something was wrong and for the first time, I was afraid I was going to die. I called my sister but she couldn't help me because I wasn't making any sense. My mom eventually found me at my friend's house and took me home. I knew that something major had to be done, or I was going to eventually die.
About a week later, two escorts woke me up, handcuffed me, and took me here (Lighthouse). I was devastated, but inside I knew it was the right thing. Even while being here I've struggled a lot with temptation but it's only made me so much stronger. And now I thank God so much for keeping me alive, and taking me out of the miry clay, setting my feet upon a rock, and establishing my goings (Psalm 40:2). Thanks to every staff member here who dedicates so much, God has worked in my life so much, and given me a new appreciation for life that I never had before. Life isn't one big party that I take for granted anymore, and I'm no longer just stagnant in my relationship with God.