My name is BrandonÂ and this is my story. As a child I was overweight, shy, red-headed and wore glasses, a quadruple whammy. Needless to say I had a horrible time on the bus rides to school. As a teenager I struggled with depression, horrible depression at times. After I graduated and dropped out of college, I met some guys that were into the grateful dead. I went to my first concert and this started a wild time in my life of endless travel and crazy times. I don’t regret the travel, I was able to see so much of our country. I do regret some of the crazy times with drugs and alcohol. When it was all said and done I saw the grateful dead 52 times and visited everywhere from Boston to Miami and San Diego to San Francisco. I also found the best dog I have ever known at a show in Miami. My dog ‘Jerry’ was with me for over 10 years and got me through some tough times (see below).
Around this time I was about 350 pounds at my heaviest! I finally moved out on my own at 24 to Markleysburg, an hour and a half away from everybody I knew. I was very isolated, just me and Jerry. I had a horrible body image problem. I couldn’t look at myself in the mirror. It would start a brutal onslaught of self-abuse. I would just stand there and say “you are an ugly piece of garbage” or “Look at you, you are disgusting” Etc… it was relentless and endless, and got quite creative in it’s brutality. After 10 minutes of this I would just be exhausted.
Around 24 or 25 I became interested in healthy eating, and I REALLY got into it. I lost 60 Lbs just by watching my diet. Then I joined the YMCA and started to walk. I would go to theÂ General Nutritition CenterÂ at the mall and weigh myself on the scale that gives you a slip of paper with your weight on it. I would dream of the day when that slip of paper would say 200lbs! I still remember when I decided to jog for a mile on the treadmill. I thought I was going to die but I did it! I ran a mile, and I did it again the next day. Lo and behold the day came when that little slip of paper at the mall said “199lbs and 11oz”. I was on cloud nine. The weight continued to drop yet I felt fatter then ever! Soon I was down to 180lbs!!! Everybody was telling me that I had to stop losing weight. I felt so fat, so ugly, so disgusting. I can’t express enough how bad the body image problem was. It never left me. I would drink and get high to get away from it. I remember a frequent saying in my mind was “I am sick and tired of being sick and tired” and “what am I gonna do now”.
On one particular summer day I was full of darkness once again and like usual caught a fateful glimpse of myself in the mirror and it started. The radio was playing in the background and I came out of my bathroom beaten up again. I said to myself “what am I going to do now?” at that exact moment a song was playing by ‘The Who’ called “Don’t get fooled again”. The chorus of the song goes “pick up my guitar and play, just like yesterday and I’ll get on my knees and pray-don’t get fooled again” I asked “what am I gonna do now?” God told me-Pick up your guitar and play, just like yesterday, and get on your knees and pray, DON’T GET FOOLED AGAIN! The thunder crashed in my soul! It hit me all at once. I realized in one moment what had been happening FOR YEARS! I was being fooled, I was being held down. Satan was using MY VOICE! It sounded like me, the voice that spoke in the mirror that said how ugly I was! It wasn’t me! Dear God it wasn’t me! I was fooled, again and again. Tears flowed down my face and I screamed, I cried! The devil had suffered a defeat and he knew it. ALL AT ONCE it ended, that’s how I came to the Lord. I grew up hearing about Jesus and God, yet I didn’t come to God until I found out how hard satan was working to keep me from HIM!
After I got off my knees in my kitchen I walked into my bathroom and looked in the mirror–and I Smiled! Maybe for the first time ever I looked at myself honestly and I smiled. I said “you’re not that ugly” LOL… I’m not ugly, neither are you…We are beautiful!!!! I didn’t have a complex, I didn’t have some mental disorder. I know this because such things do not disappear in ONE MOMENT! In one moment of divine intervention I was made clean! The proof is in the pudding, within two years of that day I met Catherine, the love of my life. The woman I stand beside on Sunday morning and sing praises to God with (she and I lead the praise team at our church). I don’t have enough time or space in this message to tell you of all the things that have happened since that day that prove God’s purpose for my life. All I know is, satan knew enough to be afraid of what I could do for the Kingdom, he wanted me right in front of that mirror. he wanted me to stay there. God had other plans. I want everyone who reads this to know that satan is stealing your voice in one way or another. Let God help you figure out what way that is. It might not be with self image, but it’s something. satan wants you ineffective, worthless, tired, and scared. God wants you SANCTIFIED! Powered by the Holy Spirit. I can’t believe how far I’ve come. Since that fateful day I’ve been in a horrible ATV wreck and lost my spleen, and even gained back too much of the weight that I worked so hard to lose. Yet I look in the mirror with a clean heart, and a voice that says “I won’t be fooled again”, and I SMILE!