Justina was born with several allergies which caused her to suffer physically and mentally. From a young age Justina was prescribed medication to help with her allergies. However, she still struggled with her health and in her teenage years turned to street drugs for relief.
“I just experimented with different drugs — just to do something that I hadn’t done before … really just trying to escape [from what I was feeling],” Justina said.
While Justina was raised in the Seventh-day Adventist Church, Justina left the Christian faith in her youth.
“When I was younger, I would definitely present myself as a follower of the devil way before I would present myself as a Christian,” Justina explained.
Justina continued to suffer from her allergies but in her mid-thirties her health declined rapidly. She was diagnosed with several illnesses, both physical and mental including lupus, rheumatoid arthritis and severe clinical depression.
Between 2013-2015 Justina was involved in two motor vehicle accidents. As a result, Justina had access to prescription narcotics and opioids.
“By 2015 I was in the throes of a serious prescription pill addiction,” Justina recalled. “…I became mostly bed-ridden and covered in hives. I had been suicidal since my early teens, and this time was no exception.”
Facing the worst health she’d ever had, Justina realized she had an opioid addiction. She decided she wanted to be sober. Under the supervision of doctors Justina went through withdrawals.
Justina spent most of this time alone. With just her thoughts and the withdrawal side effects, Justina pleaded to God for help. This was the first time Justina acknowledged God’s existence in years.
Once her withdrawal period was complete, Justina sought professional help for her allergies. The doctor she saw promised Justina mental health healing and freedom from prescription drugs with a diet change. Eating strictly vegetables and meat, Justina started to see her health improve. She gained back physical and mental strength without relapses.
However, in 2018, Justina inexplicably started having symptoms again. She was confused because she had been eating as the doctor recommended, even hearts and livers.
Justina began researching health information online and stumbled on content about the Adventist health message. She had never heard the full health message before, only that she shouldn’t eat unclean foods. Justina spoke with her mother, an Adventist, about what she was learning. Justina’s mother gave her more health message resources.
After more research, Justina decided to change her diet. In 2018, she quit eating meat the Sunday before Thanksgiving. Justina’s husband Terry was fine with her decision if he could still eat meat.
However, as Justina’s health improved, and her children and husband learned more about the health message, the family stopped eating meat. Later the family became vegan and eliminated processed sugar from their diets.
At the same time, the family was learning more about Adventism through Justina’s mother and the local church. Justina and Terry enrolled one of their children in an Adventist elementary school. There, their child learned even more about Christ and shared what they learned. The family began to attend church together. Justina’s husband and children decided to be baptized into the church and Justina recommitted her life to Christ.
“Praise God, He not only had a plan for me, but for my whole household,” Justina said.