“But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes, we are healed.”
The following is my Testimony of how I came to know Christ and the timeline of my life from the beginning up until the present, where I have truly been born again.
It all began way back in 1976, when I was born to Lee and Nancy Schaffer. Early on I grew up in what appeared on the outside as a normal Christian Household, with loving parents. My Parents both attended New Life Church, and I was quickly indoctrinated into the Faith; where I soon attended Vacation Bible School as well as youth outings.
I was suddenly joined in life by 3 beautiful siblings- Rachel, Priscilla, and Hannah. Unfortunately, I do not have many memories of this early childhood due to PTSD, which I will get into later in my story. However, I will say that my earliest memories were happy ones, and I can remember feeling God’s calling on me, even during those brief moments of consciousness.
Moving along in my journey, my parents enrolled me in a Christian Elementary School- Holmesburg Baptist Christian Academy. I can remember memorizing many Bible Verses during this time period and of course, even in a Christian environment, was subjected to my first worldly influences, which obviously conflicted with what I was learning in the curriculum.
At the age of 7, my world was turned upside down. You see, my dad suffered from what would later be diagnosed as Bi-Polar disorder. My father began to act out in violence (I truly believe this was a demonic attack-I will explain this later).
One early memory I have is of my mom being beaten up; suffering a black eye at the hands of my dad – at this point in time my mom enacted a restraining order on him, and he moved in with my grandparents. During this one-year period (1983-1984) my parents were separated, with my dad transitioning between hospitalizations to living with his parents.
After reconciling with my mother, we quickly learned that this would not just be an isolated time period, but that it would be one that would plague our family for our entire life together (and even apart up until this day as far as trauma and pain goes). The violent outbursts would quickly morph into regular occurrences in the Schaffer household. The family dynamic became one of dysfunction from this point forward.
I won’t get into each and every single incident- there are too many to count, but I will be transparent as I feel led and inspired by the Holy Spirit to share this, so that others who may be struggling with the same type of situation will know that they are not alone.
The first vivid memory was at eleven years of age. We were coming home from Church and my father was driving. For one reason or another my dad became angry which caused him to drive extremely erratic, at one point heading straight for a tree, before quickly swerving to avoid it. My mom and all three sisters were present, and this obviously shook us!
Another incident occurred around the same time period, we were eating dinner as a family when my dad picked up the highchair with baby Hannah in it and slammed it violently to the ground during a fit of rage. As I mentioned, these incidents grew more and more frequent with an increase of intensity.
The next several years are a blur to me, and at this point I can only remember the traumatic events that seemed to define who I was (or at least that is what the enemy was instilling in my mind at this moment). I can remember nine separate occasions where my dad attempted to kill himself in front of me with a knife- I would always run to him and stop him (as if I was Superman or somehow his legal guardian- even though I had not turned even 16 at the time).
There is one moment though, that for me I believe the enemy fully took advantage of my innocence, and this was an open door to legal rights as far as spiritual attack goes: I was hanging out with my dad, and he was very depressed. He told me that he didn’t want to live anymore, and he grabbed his keys and went to the truck. As I followed him, he began yelling that he was “going to get in his truck and take himself out and as many others as he could.”
One would think that at that moment, I would have run the other way, but no, remember- I thought I was Superman so I jumped in the truck with him. As he quickly headed towards State Road- a road that had an almost daily rotation of accidents, he punched the gas pedal and said I’m going to kill them all. At this exact second I prayed “Jesus please stop him” and I can only describe a supernatural occurrence at this moment because my dad slowed down and pulled over to the side of the road. At this time, we had him committed, but I knew then that my life had been completely scarred and my mind was warped with FEAR.
There would be many more “Incidents” (as I mentioned too many to document here in my testimony), but it was at this point in time where I began to try and numb that terrible feeling of trauma and pain with anything I could get my hands on. I was about 15-16 during this time and that is when had my first experience with porn. A childhood neighbor showed me some magazines including Hustler and another one called [name removed by editor]. The moment I looked at those images in the magazines, I felt something powerful come over me that I had never felt before -It felt like Love. At the time, I didn’t realize that it was just a Fugazi or Counterfeit- I instantly wanted more and more of it and anything else that would give me that “False” feeling of love.
One other particular incident would mar my self-esteem, which would further lead me down the path of self-hatred, that in turn would fuel my appetite for worldly counterfeits to the TRUTH. I was Eighteen at the time and my father and I got into an argument. While we were arguing, my dad flat out punched me right in the head, knocking me out and over a table. This incident would be etched into my memory bank, and it would lead me down that road towards addiction.
The traumatic events up until this point were damaging enough and would have made any child seek comfort in the things of this world as it is. However, the way my parents church responded to these issues gave me an even larger passion to curse God and turn from him. In my mind, I was thinking- “How can a Just God allow the things that me and my family had to go through? And by the same token, if this same God is the one preached by a Church – How can that same Church who preaches “Love” also in the same breath condemn my family and act like my Father’s mental illness was only a Sin?
God gives us free will, but you see many times we are forced into situations that are out of our control when we go through traumatic events. These traumatic events open doors to demonic entities which in turn can create strongholds in our lives.
It was at this point in my journey, that I completely abandoned any belief in God and started seeking anything and everything that could give me pleasure and replace that emptiness that was living inside of me. I was eager to do whatever it takes to overcome those negative feelings/core beliefs and replace them with a polluted dullness of the senses.
This is where alcohol entered the equation. The first time I tried alcohol at 16 years of age, I was instantly hooked. I can remember that first occasion where I drank a beer – Rolling Rock quickly became god of my Life. I couldn’t stand the taste of beer, but I loved how it made me feel. My alcoholism would be a slow process but combined with Lust and the need for instant gratification- it would soon become the Great Imitator.
At 21 years of age, I moved out on my own and that is where I could sense a change of direction. I was being pulled further and further towards the things of this world while moving farther away from GOD. It was at this time that I would lose my virginity. It’s crazy, because as depraved as I was, I still wanted to somehow maintain that purity, as if that would somehow grant me eternal life in Heaven, lol. I realize now that is because I was living in a mindset of “Legalism” that you could somehow earn your way into God’s Grace by works (we will re-visit this later).
Anyways, I was somehow able to graduate from Bensalem High School and accepted into Penn State, where I would go on to study Criminal Justice (I wanted to be a Law Enforcement Officer) that was my dream. While I was enrolled in College, I also got my first real job at Shop Rite in October of 1997.
During this time, I moved in with my first girlfriend and her family. At this moment, my drinking quickly took off and I dove more and more into the influence that it had, as I began to idolize the party more than the consequences of the party. After a few years of part time work, I got my first Full Time Position at Shop Rite which required me to move to New Jersey. I truly thought that this “New Opportunity” was a fresh start of life, but little did I know that the Devil had other plans…
When I moved to New Jersey, my drinking went to another level. Now I was working full time and while I wasn’t working, I was either drinking at the bar or drinking alone in solace. This is also where I began to seek out pleasure in meeting different women. I was 27 years old and ready to become a “Man” in my mind. You see, the only problem was that my mind was so polluted. I was living for a counterfeit god – Drinks, Drugs, Porn and women. Those were my primary avenues of pleasure.
However, there were also a few subtle areas that also came to have equal influence on my life at this time- Sports, Music, Entertainment and Social Media. I would soon realize that these worldly things that most people indulge in could also become idols and produce that same feeling of comfort that the “Evil” ones did. When you combined those platforms with the alcohol, sex and drugs, I could then feel INVINCIBLE.
Not only did I become a full blown functioning alcoholic, but I also started to seek out prostitutes. I would later realize that one of the reasons this appealed to me was my fractured self-esteem and my core belief that I was “Unloved” or that I would never find a woman who would ever trust me…or even one that I could fully trust.
So, from the age of 27-37 I was on a one-way journey towards death – At this point I was living in full blown sin and in my mind, I was unsalvageable – God could not and would not come to my rescue (in my belief). I always knew that there was something missing (Jesus) but I continued to indulge in the counterfeits that Satan had etched into my mind. During these years, I would get engaged briefly, bought a home with my fiancé, she would then cheat on me and become pregnant with another man’s child, we would break up and I would soon move out of the home to an apartment.
They say that alcoholism is a progressive disease. Well, you see, at this point most of my real friends and all of my family knew in their minds that I had a problem, but in my mind I was normal. When I moved into the apartment, something else changed in my mental state. Not only did my drinking increase, but at this time I felt a shift in my overall mood. I was always a pretty happy person, even with the drinking/fornication issues. However, it was at this precise time that I began to isolate, and my life became unmanageable.
I was a full-blown alcoholic now. I would drink a full Handle of Captain Morgan on a daily basis. For those of you that don’t know, a handle is a large amount of alcohol. I would drink air-plane bottles before work. I would go to the bar after work. I Would then go home and drink the bottle. Alcohol had become my go to drug along with weekly encounters with fornication. This happened in congruence with masturbation and porn which became a 4-5x daily regiment in my dark broken existence.
I was living this way for a few years-all the while keeping my full-time job being able to function and, on the outside, I appeared to have it all. A decent job, a nice car, a great apartment; meanwhile, on the inside I was slowly dying a cruel and slow death. As I mentioned, I became very depressed at this point and had suicidal thoughts regularly.
When it got pretty bad, I figured it was time to seek some therapy. I had already encountered 2 DUI’s and my life was heading on a one-way course to destruction. However, the therapist just prescribed Klonopin (for anxiety) which I soon realized was a great combination with alcohol (it’s actually very dangerous) but in my depraved mind it was my salvation.
I would then meet a woman (who momentarily made me forget all of the counterfeits and actually made me feel good inside). But this would be short lived because, you see, she could not fix the ailments that were going on inside of me. I was drinking so heavily and abusing Klonopin at this time that I would have blackout periods where I couldn’t remember hours (even days sometimes) and I was nearing a collision course with destiny.
It was December 19, 2015. This is where God would rescue me from my self and start me on the path that I am on now (of course at the time, although I acknowledged that it was God’s hand- I never fully surrendered or turned back to him…more to come on this later). Anyways, that day began with the same viscous cycle – Slug an airplane bottle of Jack, pop a few Klonopin, Uber to work (I had lost my License due to 3rd DUI), work a full day, Uber to the bar….and then it gets grey.
I arrived at Ollie Gators Pub in Berlin. This was one of my favorite spots. I began the late afternoon by ordering a Long Island Iced Tea and a shot of Jack. That then morphed into 3 more Long Islands and a few more shots…and here is where my memory goes black. Well- The next memory I have was waking up in a Camden Jail Cell and I looked to my right, and I saw the words- “Never Again” written in Black ink across the wall.
I would later find out that I had blacked out while at Ollie Gators, my bar tab that evening was $475 dollars (I apparently was buying everyone and their mother drinks) but had eventually been kicked out of the bar. Well, at this time I had went next store to a Chinese Restaurant and became very belligerent with the staff, at which point they called the Police.
When the Police arrived to try and deter me, I became combative and actually punched the police officer, which led to me being arrested and charged with a few charges, the most serious one being assault on a Police Officer. This charge could have resulted in “Prison Time”-(we will get to that later) but I wake up in jail and I hear these charges the next day. Well, you can imagine what must have been going through my mind…but you are not going to believe my first thought- How am I going to get my next drink?? That is what I was thinking- how depraved I really was right?!
After 3 days in Jail, I finally was able to make bail and I took an Uber to my apartment. One part of me wanted to go buy some alcohol to numb the pain but I called that woman who I told you about earlier in the story. She came to my apartment and pretty much demanded that I get help or that she would never talk to me again.
I now believe God sent this woman to save my life because I firmly believe had I not went to seek help at that moment, I would have either drank myself to death or killed myself or others in a car accident. I also believe that God was using those words “Never Again” in the jail cell as a commandment to never drink or abuse drugs (Klonopin) ever again.
That next early morning, I was on a flight to Orlando, Florida where I would reside for the next 30 days in a Treatment Center. Of course, during that flight I had some of the most intense feelings of FEAR (the biggest of which) was the fear of the unknown. What would become of me? How would I overcome this addiction?
Well, I can honestly say looking back this was all just part of God’s plan. I successfully completed the 30 days of inpatient therapy which also included some intense trauma (EMDR) work where I faced the demons of my past and began to get healing. However, I know now that I wasn’t fully healed at this time and that no Human Entity (Rehab, AA, Church, etc) can do this – only the Blood Of Jesus can Truly Heal-as I said that part will come later.
Anyways, when I arrived back in New Jersey, I had lost a lot of weight, was healthier than I had been in years and was prepared to do whatever it takes to never go back to alcohol again. I hired a good lawyer, went to 90 Meetings in 90 Days at Alcoholics Anonymous, got my job back, and seemed well on my way to recovery. The Lawyer was able to get me time served and only a $1K Fine…God’s Grace and Mercy once again!!
You see, God had blessed me in such a glorious way in that moment, but I still wasn’t seeking God. I was still in a worldly state of mind. I knew that God had healed me but I wasn’t in touch with the fact that I needed much more healing than just breaking free from alcohol- Don’t get me wrong this was a huge accomplishment and a huge blessing from God but if the story ended there where would I really be? The answer to that question is simple – I would have been in Hell.
Fast forward to 2017. I am almost 2 years sober from alcohol at this point and on the outside, I appear to be doing great. However, I still had a terrible secret. Yes, I had given up the alcohol and drugs, but I had just replaced it with more Sports, Entertainment, Music, and Social Media…and of course the Devil in Disguise himself – PORNOGRAPHY.
I have now moved back to Pennsylvania at this point and even taken my father in to live with me. Anyone that has read this has to be saying wow…that in and of itself is a miracle and an absolute testimony that although my dad had done all that harm to me in my past…I was able to forgive him and keep the commandment of honoring thy father and thy mother.
So, I fell heavily into porn and masturbation and was living this secret life of sin which had basically replaced what alcohol had done in my life prior – The numbing of my uncomfortable feelings of pain, anxiety and depression.
After a few years of being a slave to this new addiction – in 2020, a little before COVID- I decided to give Church a try again. I saw an advertisement for Victory Church near my house and began to attend when I could. I was starting to feel a conviction; However, the enemy quickly got the best of me. Just know this- Satan owns the fence. Because, if you are not fully committed to Christ, then you are in fact committed to Satan…and just like that COVID hit and I told myself, I cannot be a lukewarm Christian I may as well give my life totally over to sin.
“No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.”
Matthew 6:24 KJV
During COVID, I became like a rabid dog returning to my vomit. PORN and FORNICATION overtook my sensory glands, and I no longer had any control over even the knowledge of right and wrong. For almost 3 years – I lived a double life. On the outside all appeared to be ok still – A Good Job, a Nice Car, A Roof over my Head, Decent Financial Status. However, on the inside I was once again a rotting corpse.
Anyone that struggles with lust and any type of sexual addiction/immorality (adultery, fornication, porn, masturbation, homosexuality, etc) knows this cycle all too well. First comes the intense desire to act out sexually. Then comes the acting out of the sexual act. Thirdly comes the INTENSE feeling of shame and guilt (this is how the enemy keeps you in bondage because you believe it’s God giving you those feelings – Which couldn’t be further from the truth). Then it’s RINSE and REPEAT. This cycle is relentless and it’s straight from the pits of Hell. Satan and his goons know exactly how to destroy even some of Gods strongest warriors. You’ve seen it in the Bible – David, Samson, Solomon, etc. It’s the oldest trick in the book and it’s all so clever.
So here I am, engulfed in sexual sin. At this point it’s a free for all. At the height I’m watching porn multiple x’s daily, masturbating 5-7 x’s a day, seeking out escorts and prostitutes at least once a week. Talk about taking a toll. This cycle of Rinse and Repeat led me to the darkest place I have ever been. It brought me to a point in my life I’d never thought that I would be.
I was so stricken from shame and guilt that I felt that the only way out was to kill myself. I heard many voices in my head telling me to just end my life and that I’d be free….and that my friends, is where I hit rock bottom.
But it’s also where I truly encountered JESUS and my life as knew it would finally be changed forever. You see it was in that moment of total brokenness, a time period where I was ready to end it all, that Jesus finally heard someone’s prayers!! It was at that exact moment that the Holy Spirit directed me to go to Victory Church one Thursday evening in June. I had been contemplating going to see another prostitute that night, but God called me to Church instead and my life as I said would never be the same.
I do not remember the speaker that evening (it was a female pastor) but I do remember the message. She was preaching on a passage of scripture from Luke where Jesus was having a discussion with Peter:
“And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: but I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.” Luke 22:31-32 KJV
Earlier in the day I had been watching a random YouTube Pastor speak and they had been preaching on the exact same scripture….COINCIDENCE??? I think not. God doesn’t make mistakes. I instantly realized at this very moment that God is real and that Jesus is the Way The Truth and The Life. I was convicted at that very moment that I needed to repent of my sins and surrender my life FULLY to Christ. I was not instantly healed though folks. I prayed the sinner’s prayer and I wept like a baby. However, when I left the Church, the enemy came roaring back to try and steal, kill and destroy.
Three days later, I was fully engulfed in lustful thoughts and ready to seek out another prostitute, and I was once again gripped with Depression, anxiety and fear. I actually said to God, I’m not sure if you’re real and I’m not sure if you’re actually capable of healing me. Well, I say this with some humor to be careful what you wish for.
The next day, I woke up and it was all DIFFERENT!! I was totally overtaken by a feeling of joyous LOVE!, a love that I cannot describe in human terms. I felt totally FULL and EQUIPPED by GOD! There was not one ounce of Depression, the anxiety was gone, the Fear was replaced with an on fire desire to seek the LORD!! The best way to describe it is that I was Born Again! I felt totally new, like God had finally in one fell swoop come in and delivered me from darkness. So yeah; this is my testimony of how I finally came to Christ and truly surrendered to him as my Lord and Savior.
Of course, as you all know the sanctification process is a lifelong process, but I can firmly attest that Jesus is REAL and he is doing a mighty work in my life as we speak!!!!
God has blessed me beyond measure in the few short months since re-dedicating my life to Christ. First and foremost, I was Baptized at Victory Church to celebrate my public profession of Faith. In doing so, it was the first time since 2011 that My dad, my mom and sister were under the same roof since 2011!!! Yes, Jesus did that…can you say MIRACLE!
Also, I have since come to find out that I will be the father of a baby boy who is due in November. This was obviously not planned but yet it’s another example of God’s amazing mercy and blessings. One of my greatest desires in life was to have a child and now God has answered that desire in AMAZING fashion!
I just want to tell anyone that is out there struggling with a lifestyle of sin, anyone that is struggling with any type of mental affliction, anyone that is sick and at their wits end, even anyone that doesn’t believe there is a God to seriously read this entire testimony. I can honestly tell you that it is all 100 percent true and accurate and my life is a living testimony that GOD is real. If you read this and you can’t see the truth- my prayer is that God will open your eyes and that the Truth will set you Free.
I also want everyone to know that PTSD is real, and it can have a profound effect on your spiritual life if you do not seek healing. You can try to find healing in the things of this world (Sports, Entertainment, Sex, Movies, Social Media, etc), but I can tell you that you will come up short 100% of the time in those efforts. THERE IS ONE PATH to HEALING…
Jesus is the Way, The Truth, and The Life, no man comes to the Father but by Him. Jesus loves all people and does not desire anyone to spend an eternity in hell. He only desires that we repent and Trust in him as our Lord and Savior. Jesus does all the work and as we begin to trust him daily, we go through a sanctification process which leads us to want to follow his commands and pick up our cross daily to follow him.
No one will ever be perfect but trusting in Jesus as your Lord and Savior leads you to a personal relationship with him. This is the mark of a true believer. I love you all brothers and sisters and hope that someday you too will come to the Foot of the Cross and into the Blessing of God’s Grace and Salvation.
There is no Greater Gift than Eternal Life. For God So Loved the World That he gave his only son that whosoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life. There is true healing power in Christ-I am living proof. A little over 3 month’s ago I was ready to end my life, but Jesus had other plans. Are you ready to give your life to Jesus? He loves each and every one of you and doesn’t want one soul to perish. Ask him to come into your heart and your life will never be the same – I promise.
I will leave you with some scriptures that I believe accurately depict the entire message of the Gospel.
“for all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;”
Romans 3:23 KJV
“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
Romans 6:23 KJV
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast.”
Ephesians 2:8-9 KJV
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
John 3:16 KJV
“For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
Romans 10:13 KJV
“and saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.”
Mark 1:15 KJV
“Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.”
2 Timothy 2:19 KJV
“Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.”
Acts 2:38 KJV
“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” John 14:6 KJV
“And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.”
Mark 8:34 KJV
“If ye love me, keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;”
John 14:15-16 KJV