Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Testimony Tuesday

Today we meet Brenda who is recovering from physical, emotional, and sexual abuse and alcoholism.

As I was growing up, my family attended church every Sunday. The truth was, though, that we got dressed up once a week so that everyone in town could see how religious we were, only to return home to drunken rages and abusive lives.

My father was an alcoholic and as his drinking worsened, so did his abuse. At first it was strictly verbal, but around the time I turned nine it turned physical. My mother and I were the primary targets. I remember one horrible night watching my dad attempt to strangle my mom. I tried to stop him but he threw me across the room and kicked me several times in disgust.

The abuse in my life wasn't all perpetrated by my father. I also suffered sexual impropriety at the hands of other family members. Three of my grandparents were also practicing and abusive alcoholics.

Despite the chaos, I excelled in school. Tragically, though, at the age of eleven I too discovered alcohol. Suddenly I felt comfortable in my own skin. I began to drink more often, always to the point of passing out. At age 14, I acquired a fake ID so I could buy liquor. I wore heavy makeup, acted out sexually and tried drugs. As my alcohol and drug use increased, so did my promiscuity. I relied on relationships with men to feel loved and to soothe the pain of my childhood. I was sexually active with multiple partners from the ages of 14 to 25, during which time I had two abortions.

I continued to believe I was in control of my life, but this was not the case. I was fired from my job, which had entailed traveling across the country for a large corporation. I never traveled without a supply of illicit drugs, and I'd drink to the point of blackouts and sleep with strangers in every city. My boss caught me in a lie that put the company's reputation at risk and he rightly questioned my integrity. My shame was compounded when I received a DUI that same year and realized that my live-in boyfriend was dealing drugs from our home.

Spiritually bankrupt, I sank to the lowest point in my life, crying out or God but truly expecting nothing. I was in bondage to alcohol, drugs, sex and the aftereffects of my childhood abuse. I was at this point willing to do anything to obliterate the pain. After a failed suicide attempt I entered treatment for drug and alcohol addiction. There I was introduced to the secular 12 steps but steered clear of the God I'd known as a child-the one who had deserted me in my suffering.

Although I managed to stay clean and sober for 8 years, other addictions filled the void. I became a workaholic who would turn around and spend my hard-earned money on other temporary fixes. I dined at the finest restaurants and began struggling with my weight, all the while continuing on the path of destructive sexual relationships.

Just when I began to wonder whether that was all there was to life, I received a job offer that promised to relocate me to the other side of the country. Far away from family, friends and accountability, I slipped away from reality almost to the point of relapse. At that point God intervened and saved my life. Several of my new business associates were bold enough to talk about their church. I had never witnessed young, successful adults talking about a church with such enthusiasm. For the first time in my life, I began hearing the true message of hope. Pastor spoke about a ministry called Celebrate Recovery and I wondered whether God could truly love me in spite of my sin and shame.

In the summer of 1997 I first attended Celebrate Recovery. I fell in love with Jesus Christ and made Him my Higher Power, and through the experience I was also reunited with a man I once hurt but who is now my loving husband. We serve God together at Celebrate Recovery and live to offer our experiences, victories and hope to other hurting people. Like Mary Magdalene my bondage to the "demons" in my life was broken by Jesus.

I have more love in my life than I'd ever before imagined, more friends than I can count, a devoted husband, a darling baby daughter and a God who has delivered me from bondage. My purpose in life has been clarified: I'll follow God's leading with all my heart and help others find their way out of darkness. I've also discovered my life's verse: "Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,' says the Lord Almighty." Zechariah 4:6

What did you think of Brenda's testimony? I can relate on a high level because I too struggle with sexual addiction. Please take time to read the story of our "sister in shame" Mary Magdalene in John 20:1-18. Her deliverance from bondage to Satan had left her with a depth of devotion to Jesus the other disciples lacked.

There's a sharp contrast in this story between Mary Magdalene and the male disciples. Her gratitude for recovery had made her a permanent, faithful servant of Christ. Although each of the disciples had received a special call and commission, they lacked Mary's history of bondage. Only John among the Eleven witnessed Jesus on the cross. Mary Magdalene was there, supporting Jesus and his mother and aunt. And Mary Magdalene and another Mary followed Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus to see the location of the tomb (Mark 15:42-47)After the Sabbath, Mary Magdalene led other women to the tomb to anoint the body of her Savior (mark 16:1)

The deeper our bondage, the greater will be our gratitude for God's grace. This equips us, like Mary, with a story and dedication to Jesus that many other disciples lack. The pain of Mary's past kept her close to Jesus even when others deserted Him.

GOD NEVER WASTES PAIN!!! He used the pain of Mary's past to shape her into his messenger. Jesus wants us to tell our stories! Tell others there's nothing more to fear; after all, you've seen the Lord! We can tell our story to those who languish behind locked doors and look for opportunities to share it with the fearful, the imprisoned, the hurting.


  1. Previously know as "Laura" on this page (didn't have my own google account) I can relate to this testimony. I have 1 friend in the entire world that I see and can talk to. I am beginning my walk in sobriety as this is day 5 without any opiates. All I can do at this point is surround myself with my Lord who got me out of this and showed me yesterday it was time to dump the abusive drug addict on and off boyfriend of 5 years. Day by day I feel stronger and closer to my goals and I too will someday have the life I've always dreamed of. Thank you soooo much for sharing Brenda!

  2. Jess, when I read your post at the beginning I thought how did she know about my life wow that is scary. My father drank alot and hit my mother and brothers alot. I was sexual abuse by one of my brothers it was sad. Every day I go through life wondering why? thanks for the great post.

  3. I knew this new blog of yours was going to be an amazing inspiration!