One night, like every other night he was driving, Justin Ludwig looked at the rear view mirror and saw the flashing red and blue lights. He received his fourth DUI. When that squad car door slammed shut, Justin never had the slightest hint that he would be embarking on journey that was going to change his life…forever.
For as long as I can remember, I was unhappy. No matter what I would do or what I would experience, nothing ever seemed to take that empty, hopeless feeling away. That was probably the reason why I turned to drugs and alcohol at such a young age.
I had found my place in this world, and that was tucked away and disconnected. I was simply trying to escape from how much it hurt to simply be alive. I won’t go into all of the details of how my life fell apart, but my addiction and self-destruction cost me everything.
Once my wife and kids left me, I made a decision to handle the situation the only way I knew how. I was going to go on one last insane run and just hoped that it would kill me so I could just be done with all of the sadness. I remember when I made that depressing decision. I said a prayer to a God I didn’t know and I told Him I didn’t expect Him to help me. I knew He felt the same way about me that I did. It was my fault and I didn’t deserve saving. I remember thinking, “Who am I to ask for help? I deserve all of these.”
The days rolled on, chaos overlapping chaos, until the pain and despair were all that I could see. I had receded into the shadows with no thought of making a change for the better. I had truly given up on myself. There was nothing to stop me from completing my lifelong run of self-destruction.
Then one night, like every other night I was driving, I looked at my rear view mirror to the twinkling of flashing red and blue lights. I received a fourth DUI (driving under influence) which landed me with a felony on top of everything else that was going on in my life. When that squad car door slammed shut, I had no clue that I had begun down a road that was going to change everything.
Justin’s story continues below…
That felony left me with two choices ― I could do a year in state prison or I could go into a program called Teen Challenge. Repeating similar patterns, I decided to take the easy way out and went into the program. My plan was to do my time, play the part, get my felony taken cared of, and go back to my so-called life. A month or so into this year-long discipleship, I was sitting in a worship service just scanning my Bible, killing time more than anything else. My eyes focused on a single verse, and I unintentionally muttered it out loud:
“Be still, and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10)
It was such a comforting statement, and I just couldn’t understood why, so I began to pay attention. I began to learn of a God so different from what I had thought I knew. A God not of condemnation, but of never-ending love and patience for me, for us; not disgusted nor angry with me, like I once thought.
Being a father myself, the love of a Father on the divine level really intrigued me and drew me in. Not being able to fathom how much God loves us opened my mind to The Infinite.
Throughout that year with everything that I learned, I was convinced. This sounds like a strange way of describing it, but I am a skeptical person by nature. The presence of the Holy Spirit was undeniable. With all of the study, teaching, and experience that I was exposed to, I had been shown that our faith is not a fairy tale, but it’s real.
In 2013, I graduated and immediately got plugged into a local church which is my home church today. It’s amazing when I started going to Journey. I joined a small group to get me plugged in, which evolved into myself becoming the facilitator of an ongoing weekly small group that is so diverse and loving that my faith and love can’t help but continue to grow.
In the last five years, God blessed me with the life that I never dared dreaming. I love to tell my story because looking back is when my faith is strengthened, when I am reminded that if all those horrible, painful things didn’t happen to me, I never would have gotten to where I am at today.
Each piece of the puzzle fits perfectly into place. When we recognize that God’s plans are so far beyond anything we can anticipate, understand or predict, we are able to trust to simply be still and know that He is God no matter what the circumstances are. ― Justin Ludwig, Rawdisciple
About the Author
Justin Ludwig lived most of his life in a world of darkness. He was consumed by addiction, self destruction, and hate. He was beyond hope and he knew it. Then, he encountered Christ and everything changed. He writes to let the world know what Jesus has done in his life so that they can see that with Christ, no one is beyond hope.
My Story is a collection of posts written by readers who believe in the power of a story to positively impact other people’s story. It offers a safe space to share your personal life stories, as well as, inspiring adventures and moving insights that interpret and re-imagine what it means to live, love, and share. Your story can be the next thing that can change someone else’s story. Tell us about it, right here.