My name is Josiah Schubring, and I grew up in the suburbs of Chicago. I was raised in a Christian household with two devoted Christian parents. While I was growing up, everyone told me I had a calling on my life I could not run away from, but I certainly tried. I had a very up-and-down relationship with God. In junior high, I smoked pot for the first time. When I started high school, I began to party heavily. This was my real introduction to drugs, and not just any drugs but all drugs I could get my hands on. I wanted to try everything.
In spite of my questionable decisions, I had an encounter with God at a church camp and left that life behind. I was filled with the Holy Spirit and the Lord told me I was meant for greater things, but little did I know, I had a very hard path in front of me and would soon discover I was my own worst enemy!
After starting school, things started to go wrong. College was hard for me, and nothing piqued my interest. Ministry and God’s calling seemed more distant when I had to study for it. One day, a teacher pulled me aside and asked me if I had considered another occupation. Around that same time, I had gone to see a doctor about pain in my lower back. The doctor determined I had a bulging disc and prescribed physical therapy and painkillers
I never did physical therapy. I took the painkillers every time I felt pain, even emotional pain. The difficulty of studying, the comment from the professor, and the thrill of the medication were a perfect cocktail for me to run from the Lord, and I did exactly that. I left college, got a job, and moved into a house with a bunch of old friends from high school. This was the beginning of an almost end of me.
I got into the culinary business, which made my substance abuse even worse. Kitchen work can often have a party-style atmosphere, and doing drugs is a common way of coping with and energizing you to be on your feet for 13-hour shifts. This was even worse for me because of my lower back pain, so I was taking painkillers like crazy. Eventually, painkillers, cocaine, and alcohol weren’t enough, so I started doing heroin to get high again. Drugs consumed so much of my life that I stopped showing up to work.
Because of my family’s relentless prayers, God allowed me to hit a sort of rock-bottom. I couldn’t afford the drugs,so I had to steal, and I got caught. I got arrested and thrown in jail for a few days. After bailing myself out and being off heroin for a few days, I went out and shot up another dose, but this hit led to an overdose that stopped my heart. Thankfully, God revived me, but I didn’t change my ways.
Because I decided to continue using, I missed my court date and was thrown into the Cook County Jail, where I experienced withdrawals and fought with gang members. That was my rock-bottom. I found myself crying out to God and asking him for help.
After some time, I remembered my mom suggesting Teen Challenge, and she got my lawyer to look into the program. The next court date, my lawyer told us that he was in a running club with the executive director of Teen Challenge Chicago! By the grace of God, we were able to convince the judge to get me into the program instead of going to prison.
My challenges in the program were hard to say the least. It took me a long time to really get what the Lord wanted to do; in fact, Teen Challenge had kicked me out after a month and a half of being there for breaking rules. Thankfully, after 30 days, the director showed me grace with me and let me back in the program.
There was a lot of breaking building up humbling and refinement that needed to happen with me in the program. But God worked in my heart and renewed my call to ministry, and this time, I followed His leading. After graduation, I became an intern at Teen Challenge; meanwhile, I felt the Lord telling me to serve the church.
I was hired by the church we attended in Teen Challenge as their building maintenance supervisor, and the pastorshave pushed me to become a leader and to continue my studies so that I can become a pastor one day!
I met my wife in the church, and we’ve been happily married for a year now. It has been almost 5 years since God delivered me from the addictions and made me a new creation! My testimony has been a blessing to a lot of people that have come into my life with the same issues. My time at Teen Challenge and the lessons I learned there led me to realize that my ministry is to help people with life-controlling issues. Through sharing God‘s word and character, I pray I will be continuously used to bring hurting people into the kingdom of God.