Romans 8:28
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, and who have been called according to his purpose.”

    I will start with who I am. My name is Samantha Jo Smith. You may know me as Sammi. I am 19 years old and I live in a tiny town called Franklin. I have a mom, a dad, and two younger brothers. So I come from a pretty amazing and SOMEWHAT "normal" family. Haha! But really, I thank God for them every day. Please bare with me and allow me to share my story with you...

    Growing up, my mom has taken me to church whenever I felt like going. She signed me up for every church camp, mission trip, or Fall Retreat that I wanted to go to. She has taken me to and from church on Wednesday nights countless times, and in return, once in a blue moon, I would get up and go with her to Henry Prairie Church on Sunday mornings. I can be completely honest and tell you that the only reasons I wanted to go to these things were either because my friends were going, it was the "cool" thing to do, or let's face it because there was a good chance my ridiculous crush was going to be there. Did I get anything out of any of that? Maybe a few "camp highs" that faded the next day, and one time I got "saved" but never really took it to heart, nor was I there for the right reasons.

    As I got older, and got more freedom my life started going down hill. I was lying to my parents every single day, and doing things that let down so many people. Why? What was I doing?? I have no idea and I don't think I will ever be able to answer that. And what's bad is that they just continued to get worse and worse. I pushed everyone who loved me and cared about me AWAY. I was always in the wrong place and always at the wrong time. I enjoyed rebellious things and hanging out with rebellious people.. I guess because of the thrill of it. ??

    Around my graduation, I got in a relationship that not only my parents frowned upon, but probably the whole town. It started out strictly in SPITE of someone that I thought I needed to "get back at". I had so much anger and hurt in my heart that this is what I thought I needed to do to feel better. (STUPID! And selfish!) Well.. It backfired! I moved in with this person because that's what he wanted me to do. My relationship soon became mentally and physically abusive, and what started out so small, got worse and worse until eventually there were times I was scared for my life. If any of you ladies are going through this please know that YOU CAN GET OUT... I don't know why I stayed as long as I did, but I finally came to what senses I had left at the time, and decided that the last time was the last time! With help from a couple people I packed up what wasn't damaged of my things and I got out!! I was still so alone in life and people I thought were the closest to me turned on me. I didn't know who I was. I still hungout with the wrong crowd and not only were people bringing ME down, I was bringing others down too. I  drank every single day, and went so long without talking to my parents. I was lost.

     Just recently I've got a job, and I've been so much closer to my family,  but there was still something missing in my life. Something that I was temporarily replacing with drinking. When I say drinking, I literally looked forward to 5 o'clock every single day so I could go home, sit in my room and drink. I wasn't necessarily doing horrible things anymore but WHAT WAS I doing with MY LIFE? One morning in our office we were all sitting around doing the usual 8 o'clock  coffee drinking. Linda McAtee, my co-worker, mentioned to Ashley & I about Awana on Wednesday nights. Thank goodness Ashley and I were actually awake and not too hungover that morning to hear what she said. We asked her what Awana was and we told her we wanted to help. So we went to the meeting that night, and left with so much joy because for once I felt like I was serving a purpose, and it was for someone other than myself. The next day Carrie Casey came over to our apartment to get a shirt. She shared with us her story about 220, and her insight on God and His word. 10 minutes turned into 3 hours, and she definitely left our house WITHOUT the shirt! :)  Not only did I feel something come over me that I have never felt in my life, but I saw it in Ashley too. It was the most amazing feeling you could imagine! I don't know how to explain it, but the easiest way is to say that God was there. Carrie is an amazing person inside and out by the way! Ashley accepted Christ for the first time in her life, and after talking to God I decided that it was time to live my life how we are all supposed to.

    The last two weeks I've attended every Breakaway, and Bible study I could. Instead of alcohol, or some other stupid distraction, I depend on God. Every day. I enjoy reading the Bible, and there is an answer in there to every feeling you have. It is unbelievable how big of a difference it makes when you put everything in God's hands. He answers. He answers me, and He will answer you. He wants a relationship with you and HE WANTS you to live an eternal life in Heaven with HIM. Please don't get me wrong, I still struggle every single day with decisions, and personal issues I have, but I know that God is my Savior and He has a place for me. So I will continue to do my very best to set an example and allow God to use me and hopefully reach out to people like me. I encourage you to meet with God. I know there are things we all struggle with and none of us know exactly what is going on in each other's lives, but I wanted to share with you and tell you that whatever you are going through, God has an answer. And you may feel alone, but I promise you someone is praying for you and wants to help!

    Let me say that the point of this is not to be gratified, or to get a pat on the back. The purpose is to share with my friends, family, or anyone in need, how much my life has changed after accepting Jesus Christ as my Savior, and I want you to have that chance too!

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