The Satisfaction of Every Longing: Amanda's Story of Hope
Amanda Wood is a student in the School of Ministry at Brooklyn Teen Challenge—a Hope for New York affiliate and residential faith-based recovery program for men and women with life-controlling issues.
Below, Amanda shares her story of how God worked through Teen Challenge to show her the love of Christ and give her hope at a time when she has lost who she truly was.
I’m originally from West Virginia, and I’m an only child and was raised mostly by my mother. When I was nine, my parents got divorced, which began a long road of me being angry and bitter and holding onto a lot of things I didn’t realize I would hold on to for almost 20 years.
Somewhere around the age of 15, I smoked weed for the first time. But it didn’t stop there. I graduated to pain pills when I was 20. And what started out recreational turned into an addiction.
That continued until I was 23. That’s when my dad passed away and I inherited $40,000. Within a year, I also got $30,000 from a car accident and another $8,000 after leaving my job at Walmart. With all that money, my drug use got a lot worse.
Still, I had always thought I would be able to fix myself if I wanted to. I didn’t realize how broken I was or that I couldn’t fix it myself. So, I continued to work everyday to get high everyday. It was a horrible life. To make matters worse, my mom was in addiction with me, and I lived with her until I moved to New York in 2015.
At the time, I was in a long distance relationship with a guy from Long Island. He didn’t know it, but I was doing drugs the entire year and a half I was with him. I would stop whenever I saw him, but he could still hear a change in my voice. And one time he visited me he found out what I’d been doing. So he gave me an ultimatum—either I could get help or he was done with me.
At that point, I loved him more than I loved myself. I had lost who I was. So, two months later, I went into rehab. But being there, I knew I was still the same person—I just didn’t do drugs anymore. My boyfriend knew that, too. So when he told me I needed something more, I said okay. In August of 2015, he picked me up from rehab and brought me to Brooklyn Teen Challenge, a faith-based residential recovery program.
Going there was hard. I was scared they were going to shove a Bible down my throat. I didn’t know Jesus then. And I wasn’t there for myself—I was there for my boyfriend. But shortly after I got there, things started to change.
For the first time in my life, people were pouring into me. They showed me love when I didn’t know how to receive love. They helped me recognize the emotional abuse I’d suffered and the anger and bitterness that I carried toward my mom for leaving my dad. I didn’t know that until I got there. I didn’t know Jesus until then, either.
My whole life, I had never seen the love of Christ in somebody. I had never experienced peace. I saw those things in the people at Teen Challenge. So one day, I sat down with the women’s home supervisor and told her, “I don’t know what you have, but whatever it is, I want it.” And she said, “Well, I have Jesus.” I knew at that moment I wanted Jesus. Three weeks into the program, I gave my life to the Lord and He has been changing me ever since.
In a split second, the Lord showed me what I’d been searching for my whole life: the love that He showed in giving up Himself for me and the hope that I now have in Him. As He’s revealed Himself to me, I’ve been able to see how Jesus satisfies every longing that I’d ever had.
Before Jesus, I was hopeless. Today, I am confident in who I am in Christ—His beloved daughter—and who He calls me to be. Now I’m in Teen Challenge’s School of Ministry, and I plan to be a missionary. I just want to share with others how good my God is. Because if he can change my life, he can change anybody’s.