A pastor in church earnestly praying for a young man.

How Far I Had Fallen away from God

My testimony begins when I was young. My family went to a Baptist church for the first 5 or so years of my life. I specifically remember my father sleeping in the seats, and when worship hymns were sung, there was not a smile to be viewed anywhere, and it was monotone and dull. Something that always struck me as off-putting. When my parents got divorced when I was a preschooler, it didn’t take long for my father to begin dating again.

When I was in the 2nd or 3rd grade my father met a woman with 3 kids of her own. These kids were problem children in the fact that the 16-year-old always ran away and was on drugs and had her first child at 16. The middle child always fought with the woman that would become my stepmother.

The youngest, who was a year older than me, was hyperactive and was always getting into knock down drag out fights with my father. I mean stabbing my dad and pushing him down the stairs. The youngest, the one I had to share a bedroom with, always made threats to kill me in my sleep. He used me as a literal punching bag as well as a target to take out all of his frustration on. He beat me, touched me inappropriately, tortured me emotionally. My father knew all of it and so did my stepmother. They didn’t care to ever even attempt to stop it.

Fast forward to 5th grade and skip over the details of those years filled with living in fear and being beaten by my stepbrother and neglected by my father. My mom finally found out what was going on, as my father always threatened me not to tell her.

To add to this, my school life was not to be desired either. The only friend I had through elementary school was as pathetic as I was (in my own mind). Everyone in my grade called me names like French Lardo and awful insults like that. It got bad enough that I even caught my teacher starting to call me that.

On the home front, a custody battle began where I had to talk to a case worker and air out all the dirty laundry and relive all the torture I had undergone at my father’s house. When I was at my mom’s, I usually beat everyone home during the week, and it was routine for me to get home from school and cry myself to sleep for a nap all the way up through the 5th grade.

One day I got home, and I went to my room. I cried for a moment, and I got the idea to end it all. I thought, ‘if I just wrap the pull cord to the window blinds around my neck really tight, I can finally get away from the pain and end it for good. So, I did just that. I attempted to kill myself in the 5th grade.

At this point I had already sworn my hatred for God and walked away from any belief in such a thing. It took me until I was 38 before I really understood God made my mom come home early that day. I panicked, and I unwrapped the cord and jumped into bed and acted like I was asleep like usual. My mom still doesn’t know to this day that she would have walked in to find my body if she came home the same time she usually did. PRAISE GOD.

WELL, things got better after my mom won full custody, that is, until I was 14 and I began to show symptoms of what I would learn was a heart condition when I was 28. I was originally diagnosed with panic attacks, because that’s how the symptoms presented. Heart palpitations and nausea, black outs and even the occasional red out. It started with only once every so often, but got more and more prevalent and lasted longer as I got older. I lived in abject terror of going through episodes of that heart condition for many, many years.

When I was 21, my girlfriend and I of 2 years, a woman I wanted badly to marry and spend the rest of my life with, had broken up and I took it horribly. That mixed with the terror of going through the now 2 episodes a week lasting on average 2 hours at a time, mixed with repressed memories of what I had gone through when I was younger, mixed with my best friend almost dying from a collapsed lung, I was in rough shape. I was slightly suicidal for much of my teens already, but all that when I was 21 led down a very dark path. I never got into drugs or anything, because looking back I always had God’s laws written on my heart, even when I cursed any idea of God.

When my friend who I almost lost, turned to God, he began asking me to go to church with him. Every other week for over a year, maybe 2, he would ask me, and I would tell him no. Finally, one day I said yes. Curiosity got me and so I vowed that I would go, and I would experience every little bit of what church had to offer. I went and God got my attention that day.

I don’t remember the service itself, but I remember thinking my friend had gotten the pastor to make a service specifically for me. When the alter call went out at the end, I went up. A man named Jason came to me at 8:08 on August 8th to pray for me. He asked me what I needed prayer for, and I told him I did not believe in anything really, and so he said that’s perfectly fine, I will just pray.

I don’t recall anything he said, but the second he put his hand on my shoulder, I lost control of my body. My eyes closed and my head rose toward the ceiling, and my hands rose up to my side. When he started speaking, it was like the flood gates opened in my eyes. My hands stretched up toward the sky, all without me having any control over any of it. It seemed like he spoke for an hour, but the second he stopped, my eyes were dry, and I had full control of my body again. I felt free, but I was dumbfounded at the same time.

The next week I was saved. I gave myself to Christ.

Sadly, my testimony does not end there. Sadly, that mega church was great at getting people in the door, but it wasn’t great at mentoring those who were newly devoted. I didn’t know to read my Bible, I didn’t know how to pray, I didn’t feel like I had any guidance, so it wasn’t long before I started falling away. I clang onto the comfort of the pain and terror that I felt every day because that’s all I knew. God, however, wasn’t done with me and he was working in the background.

God had placed several friends into my life that never gave up on my no matter how depressed I was. My depression got bad. My suicidal thoughts grew to the point where I sat on my bed with tears streaming down my face and a gun in hand ready to take my life. On at least one occasion I had the barrel in my mouth, and once more had it to my head with my finger om the trigger. All the while I felt something in the back of my mind nagging at me not to do it.

In September of 2011, I went through one of the worst episodes of my life, 6 hours’ worth of, when I got the ER, they clocked my heart going 235 beats per minute. 235 beats per minute for 6 hours. I was ready to die. I was diagnosed with pseudo tachycardia that day, and by June of 2012, I went through surgery to correct it. GOD made it possible, and even though the hospital bill was 55 grand, He saw to it that the hospital would cut out $50 grand of that bill. I didn’t praise God yet. I was still dealing with depression and at that time, I had fallen into a porn addiction.

Although I no longer had to live in terror of the heart condition, I still hadn’t dealt with the demons that tormented me from my childhood, and the porn addiction was due to always feeling rejected by women. A few years go by, and God put in my mind the idea to write a letter to my stepbrother telling him how he destroyed me. So, I did.

It was the next step closer to the healing that I needed. Thousands of pounds of weight lifted off me when I sent the letter. I don’t know If he ever read it as he was in jail at the time, but the last line of it read,

“I forgive you.”

That was all I needed.

Fast forward a few years and I finally defeated those demons. Of course, I know now that it was all at the grace of God, but I didn’t even fully realize that until I was 35 or so. Back in 2018 I began to fully realize just how far I had fallen away from God, and I began to start a journey to figure out the answers to all the questions I had from when I was saved.

God revealed so much to me and I fully submitted to Him as of 2020. God placed a wonderful woman in my life who has a very similar testimony to my own, and we both feel as though he paired us, because we fully understand each other and feel as if we have lost no time for not having met sooner in life. Now we both know that God was shaping us into the people we had to be for each other, and for those around us.

God put it in me to share my testimony, because it was through hearing testimonials that really brought me back around to Him. I am now fully committed to God, and I praise him daily! GOD IS GOOD! Thank you so much for taking the time to read my long-winded story. Have a truly blessed day!


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