When I first contacted Stephanie it was at a moment in my life when things had unraveled to the point where my anger and rage were at an all-time high. I was contemplating hospitalization for my depression for the fourth time in my life and for the third time in six months. To top it all off, it was on the heels of my psychiatrist dumping me after working with me for many years on the basis that “my history was too complicated” and that he couldn’t help me anymore.
I had nearly attempted suicide in my past, and although I may have wanted to end it right then and there, suicide was no longer an option for me. I had vowed to myself never to use suicide as an escape after my first attempt and after losing my close friend to suicide years prior. Also, I had read the book, Beyond the Darkness: My Near-Death Journey to the Edge of Hell and Back, by Angie Fenimore that put the fear of hell in me so much that I will never think of taking my own life ever again.
Feeling hopeless, I emailed a few Facebook friends. I got a reply to one of these messages that said, “If you ever need to talk, call me”, and so I did. This message was from Stephanie Stanton. We hadn’t spoken in 20 years, but it was like time had never passed. She told me, “I’m a Christian counselor, and I’m happy to work with you if you want.” We spoke on the phone a few days later, and I began to feel a sense of peace that I’d never had before. I learned about renouncing sin, breaking soul-ties, generational curses/patterns, demons, and the healing power of Jesus. I also gained insight into why I struggle with the challenges I have. I saw how my ancestors had many of the same issues I was struggling with and it frightened me to see that my own children were also afflicted in many of the same ways.
I was born with cerebral palsy. My legs don't move that well. I faced rejection and was bullied throughout most of my childhood. This caused me to feel like I didn’t fit in. I learned to hate those who had hurt me, and I found it difficult to forgive them. I tried to be happy but anger was always simmering just below the surface. I cried myself to sleep nearly every night because I felt as though no one loved me. This bred anger in me towards others, and eventually I also grew angry at God. I didn’t understand why He let me suffer so. As I got older the anger, depression, social anxiety, and poor self-confidence lingered. These feelings gradually drove me to drink excessively, fall into sexual sin, develop a craving for heavy metal music, have bouts of rage, contemplate hurting others, and grow farther away from developing a relationship with God.
Stephanie and I worked together for a few months. Now I have a much better understanding about why things happened the way they did, and I'm starting to develop a closer relationship with God and Jesus Christ. I have repented my sins and I'm working on forgiving those who have rejected and bullied me in my past. I realize that if God can forgive me than I can, and must, forgive others. I know that God will never reject nor forsake me and that I no longer need to turn to drinking, sex, porn, heavy metal music, or anger to get revenge on those who have hurt me or to escape the pain I feel.
It wasn’t easy (and it still isn’t), but every day is a step in the right direction. I no longer drink, I deleted my heavy metal music, walked away from unhealthy friends, and I’m much more aware of the tricks the enemy uses to try to get me to fall back into sin. I’m not perfect, but when I realize I sin, I repent immediately. I've also asked my family members to forgive me for the things I've done. My sins, especially my anger, nearly destroyed the relationship that I hold most dear, my wife. That's what the enemy wants. To destroy marriages.
I have since found a local church (the Spirit had been leading me there for awhile) and was baptized there (full immersion as an adult) a few months later. It took decades, but I’m finally ready to serve God and follow Jesus Christ. I refuse to be one of those holier-than-thou, condescending, angry Christians. I am just as broken and weak and sinful as anyone else. God has granted me grace and peace after I decided living with the consequences of my ways was too much. It nearly destroyed me and might again if I’m not careful, but I’m going to try my best. It’s comforting to know I’ve got God to count on. He still has my back. Even though I didn’t deserve it. I can’t wait to see what He has in store for my life now. All honor and glory to you, my Lord God.