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  • July 11, 2014 - Reflections

    By Jean S. Horner
    The other day while walking down a corridor in a public building, I saw what appeared to be someone walking toward me. On coming closer, I found it was my own reflection in a huge mirror. For a moment it frightened me. Somehow a full-length reflection of one’s self is a startling thing. ...

Connections: Susanne Cox

You Can Always Start Over

Susanne Cox didn’t think she could ever recover from her drug addiction and alcoholism. Now an Assemblies of God minister with her husband, Ron, she serves on the Women in Ministry Task Force. Recently, she spoke with Technical Editor Jennifer McClure about the events surrounding her discovery of hope and a second chance at life.

evangel: What was your childhood like?
My parents divorced when I was 9. After that, my mom had to go back to work, so my older brother, sister and I became latchkey kids. I started drinking and smoking pot early in my childhood. By the time I was 16 years old I was a full-blown alcoholic, and by the time I was 23 years old, I was a cocaine addict. So my life began to spiral out of control at a very early age.

evangel: When did the suicide attempts begin?
I tried to kill myself several times, beginning when I was 10 years old. I tried drug overdoses. Then when I started driving I tried to run my car off a bridge. I would hear voices in my head saying, Just go ahead and take your life. Everybody else would be grateful for that.

evangel: Where were you in life when you found a new beginning?
I was 31 years old. I had pursued a graphic arts career. I had a job, a car and a house. I was living the American dream, but I was caught in my own personal nightmare. I was so empty on the inside, and I tried everything to fill it — career, men, drugs, alcohol. I had been to treatment centers for substance abuse, but nothing ever seemed to work for me. I know now that outside of Jesus Christ there is no hope. I was hopeless and helpless and just didn’t know how to get out.

evangel: Tell us about Sept. 14, 1993.
I was driving home from work, depressed and suicidal, and I passed a church. It was Garywood Assembly of God in Hueytown, Ala. They had a huge camp meeting sign out front. I saw the camp meeting sign and thought, They must be having summer camp there.

I went home and took a nap. When I woke up, instead of going out drinking that night, like I normally did, I knew I had to be at that church. I went — and I sat in my car in the parking lot, watching people go in. I thought, I would never fit in here. Besides, who wants to go to church on a Tuesday night?

I was about to drive away, and it was like a hand just pushed me out of my car. I walked up the steps to the church, and a lady greeted me at the door.

The speaker that night, Dr. Mark Rutland, shared a simple message on the love of God. He looked across the audience and said, “You may be here tonight and you’d wished you’d never been born.” That’s me, I thought. I’ve tried to kill myself since I was a little girl. “But I’m here to tell you,” he continued, “that you can be born again. You can start your life over. God is the God of new beginnings. No matter what you did last night, you can be washed clean by the blood of Jesus and stand before a holy God as if you’ve never sinned.”

Tears began to stream down my face. I had never heard that before. I wanted a new beginning. I wanted to start over. I had never set out in life to become an alcoholic or a drug addict. I didn’t want to be like that.

That night, Sept. 14, 1993, I made Jesus Lord of my life. Jesus radically changed my life that night and gave me hope. I knew God was real and had a plan for my life, and I could really start over and begin a new life in Him. It was like everything in me came alive.

evangel: After you became a Christian, what happened next?
I went to work the next day and started telling my friends about Jesus. They came with me to the same camp meeting’s services on Wednesday and Thursday nights, and my friends starting getting born again.

That Friday night, when the speaker was done, he said, “If you want everything God’s got for you, I want you to come down to the front.” So I went. I felt the fire of God. It was like 10,000 volts of electricity went down my arm. I hit the floor like a rock. I went out, kneeling, under the power of God. When I sat up, I was speaking in a language I’d never heard before. I was the first person I had ever heard speak in tongues!

It was an amazing experience. God just filled me with His Spirit, and the depression that I had battled for years and years just rolled off of me as God filled me with joy. I believe that salvation gets you ready for heaven, but the baptism in the Holy Spirit equips you to walk your life in Christianity every day on the earth.

evangel: How did you grow in your new life?
I took off in my prayer life like a rocket and began to seek after God. God put those little white-haired ladies in the church in my life, and they just began to mentor me. Really and truly, I never would have made it without them just loving on me, sharing the love of God with me and mentoring me for those three years before I went to Bible college.

evangel: How does someone get a new start like the one you experienced?
The thing about Jesus is He loved us so much that He gave His very life so that we could have freedom. Sometimes we don’t even know that’s what we’re looking for. I was not even looking for God, but He was looking for me. He’s looking for each and every one of us to let us know how much He loves us and that He has a plan for our lives. All we have to do is say, “Jesus, I surrender. I cannot do this on my own. So now I just surrender my life to You, and I ask You to come into my life and change me. Make me into the person You created me to be.” When we do that, He enters in. He literally comes into our lives and begins to make us into that wonderful creation He has called us to be.


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