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"So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak. When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob's hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man. Then the man said, "Let me go, for it is Daybreak." But Jacob replied, "I will not let you go unless you bless me." The man asked Jacob, "What is your name?" "Jacob,"he answered. Then the man said, "Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with humans and have overcome.". . . then he blessed him there." Gen 32:24-29 NIV

Going all-in means sticking to the course at all costs, but the ROI (return on investment) is a meaningful life that stretches way beyond you.  On May 1, 2012, I walked into the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) nurse's office with my last ten 10mg Norco pills and pack of Salem Lights cigarettes determined to overcome addiction.  I just could not take it any longer.  Overcome by grief, loneliness, and depression, my unconscious attempts to commit suicide,battling with my conscious desire to live for God, hit a height of desperation.  I fought the good fight of faith with the only scriptures I could remember in my sedated state.  Or, maybe it was the only scripture I could recall that fit this frantic situation. "I will not let you go unless you bless me," I repeated over and over and over for probably six years. Like Jacob, I was determined and in despair as I faced one of the most challenging trials in my life – the struggle to live.  The other was the death of my daughter.  I was broken and felt separated from God and His intentions for my life and the lives of others he planned for me to touch in mission and ministry.  Who knew, but God, I was being prepared to help others in my future who were desperately struggling to live as God intended and not die to the thoughts of "what's the use" like me.


I put my ministry reputation, workplace relationships, and livelihood on the line.  But it did not matter!  At all costs, I yearned for a deliverance that would push me back from the cliff'sedge of giving up on life, and I ached for the me God created.  Sure, I was nervous and scared, but I was clear He had a purpose for my life even while numb.  I prayed, declared, and banked on God doing for me what he did for Jacob.  I walked into the Chemical Dependence Recovery Program (CDRP) department, the EAP nurse referred me.  I was anxious, sweating, and my stomach was griping as if I had already started going through physical detox.  The doctor prescribed medication for diarrhea, a low dose of high blood pressure med for anxiousness, and a program for addicts.  I got the prescriptions filled.  Instead of signing up for the program, I was led to attend a weeklong Jerry Savelle revival at Heart of the Bay Christian Center in Hayward, California.  Please note, I do believe CDRP programs work.  However, I was directed by Holy Ghost to the revival.

While I believe in same-day miracles, that is not how it happened for me.  The revival was a place of prayer, supplication, and deliverance.  However, I struggled to become an overcomer for at least 60 days and throughout each of those days.  I could hardly eat, and when I did, it came up or out.  Towels became my bedsheets because of night sweats. And, I had panic attacks at home and at work, causing me to disappear from my desk and walk around the corner and down the street from my job so no one could see me with my hands up and hear me crying out to God.  Whenever I testify about these walks, I tell people I imaged the scenes in Ghost when Patrick Swayze took possession of Whoopi Goldberg's being.  In my setting, it was Jesus and me on the streets of Oakland.  With my hands lifted, I yelled SHAZAM and envisioned Jesus taking control of my spirit like Patrick did Whoopi. Before judging me, I did what I needed to do to get through those overpowering urges to take pills or smoke a cigarette.  It was the great exchange of His power for my weakness that Paul talks about in 2 Cor 12:8-10 and Martha Munizzi sings about in her song Great Exchange.

I went all in and trusted and believed God was doing the same.  When I encounter people at our seminars sharing their stories of giving up and considering suicide, I am overwhelmed by the purpose that came out of my struggle to live.  I needed to live not just because God intended it for me.  I needed to live because God intended me to help others to live.  We are called into an existence that goes beyond ourselves.  When we are absent or distant from that reality, we prolong or deny someone else's blessing.  We are God's masterpiece created in Christ Jesus to do good works he prepared for us to do a long time ago (Eph 2:10).   So, while going all-in cost, when we do and overcome, the ROI is a meaningful life for us and others, God places in our lives.

Peace and Blessings,

Dr. Gina E

Copyright © 2021 by Gina E Johnson

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