By Garrett Markwood: I don’t deserve to be here.  I’ve gone too far, done too much, and hurt too many.

But grace says otherwise.

I became an addict towards the end of high school.  It began with alcohol and pot, but eventually progressed to include any liquid, pill or powder that would change how I felt.  Before long, I didn’t have a choice -- I had to use.  All of the things I told myself I would never do, I did.  The drugs I used and the ways I used them left me ashamed.  Friends and family told me to stop -- that I was killing myself.  But they didn’t understand.   I knew that I was killing myself.  That was the point.

I bought my destruction with lies, treachery, violence and crime.  In exchange, I gave up my self-worth, relationships, ideals and morals.  I cursed God and abandoned my soul for one more fix.

But then I collided head-on with Grace.

I somehow found myself in rehab, which became the launching point for my recovery. My father sat with me for 3 days while I detoxed, until I was able to go to treatment. When the facility saw I had nowhere to go, they gave me a maintenance job, and from there I started rebuilding my fractured life.  And I began to understand that I was being given a second chance -- no less than an act of God. I didn't deserve it, and I'd counted myself out, but my life was being redeemed.

I've learned that grace is not a limited commodity.  It does not decrease as it is passed from person to person.  In fact, it increases.  Grace creates something from nothing; it creates life from ruin.

So before you count yourself out, know that grace is real, and it's moving in your life right now.