Dara Wren was once proud of being a “seven time convicted felon” until she discovered the everlasting joy she did not know was possible.
"I would fight at the drop of a hat and I enjoyed it," Dara shares sadly about her former life.
She used drugs from age 12 and was an I.V. addict by age 15.
Despite a first six month stay in prison, she continued her drug use undeterred.
"I used any kind of drug and I used every day," she says.
Dara's addiction took over her life in her early 20s and resulted in her last and longest prison sentence.
Before her arrest, Dara admits, "I abandoned my two children, became homeless and began to sell my body as a means to support my habit."
As she was locked up for four years Dara recalls that a mixture of anger and tiredness fed a new desire to turn from her selfish lifestyle.
"I had been living so hard and so fast for about 10 years and I really just wanted to forgive people and myself and move on," she explains.
Dara believes that this was "God giving me a desire for forgiveness".
This desire led her to a program called PLUS, led by a faith group.
"I watched a Louie Giglio video," she recalls, "which led me to my (prison) chaplain, who explained the grace of God and, for those who trust in Jesus, the Biblical foundation of who they are in Jesus Christ."
She made a decision that day to submit her life to Jesus Christ. She believes this occurred because God supernaturally opened her eyes to see His love, kindness and forgiveness.
“I had been living so hard and so fast ... I really just wanted to forgive people and myself and move on”"I was spiritually dead in my sins," Dara explains. "God called me out of darkness and the Holy Spirit regenerated my heart and made me alive in Jesus Christ."
Old desires and thoughts changed she says, due to the Holy Spirit's work in her heart.
Now she is a child of God and explains, "When I get sinful desires the Holy Spirit convicts me and guides me. Life is not easy, but life in Jesus has given me assurance that this world is not satisfying or eternal. Only Jesus is satisfying and He is eternal."
She describes her life as "drastically improved" and it has "deep meaning" she never knew before.
"I have joy because of the salvation that Christ has given me. I have a new family and I experience Christ-centred love through them. God has restored my relationship with my children."
Not only does she reject temptations when they come, she says that God has shown her how to defeat the underlying lies that previously led to her following them.
"God has taught me through His living Word, the Bible, that my addictions came from a desire to please myself and to feel good. I had an idol of self and that I was serving myself.
Instead of worshipping selfish desires, Dara concludes, "I now worship and serve God and He gives me joy. God's correction is loving and lasting."•