• TESTIMONY

“Okay God, I can’t handle this on my own anymore, please help me”.

MY TESTIMONY


Hi Doug and Peggy,


I really feel like God used you to initiate my life transformation and wanted to encourage you not to stop, and that God is surely with you.


God bless!

I accepted Jesus into my heart just over a year ago, and got baptized at this church this past June. When I stand back and piece together the last couple of years, I can confidently say that God was actively working in my life, even though I had no clue of his presence at the time. I grew up in a Catholic household. I could recite bible stories off the top of my head, but at the time, they were just that… stories and fairy tales. The emphasis back then was to be a good person and to attend Mass. Up until grade 10, I was actually a really “good” kid. I got good grades, never skipped classes, and was completely against drinking or doing drugs. During that year, something happened, I lost a lot of friends, and I ended up hanging out with a completely different group of people from a different school. I still remember my first time drinking; I had one of those $5 40 ounce beers. I thought I was cool by chugging the whole thing and the next thing I knew, it was morning and I was laying in a backyard, shirtless and had spider bites all over my body. Over the next couple of years I had tried ecstasy and mushrooms numerous times, but the drug that I really dug myself a hole with was marijuana. It started off as a weekend thing and only with friends. Eventually, it spiralled wildly out of control and became something that I both loved and hated, but needed, if that makes any sense. It got so out of hand that I would even get high before taking tests while I was a student at UBC. The drinking also became a bad habit. I often drank so much that I would black out the next morning and have to call my friend to ask if I did anything stupid. I would also often drink and drive when I really extremely shouldn’t have been. I have a couple of Driving under the influence violations and license suspensions to account for that. So fast forward to my second year at UBC, this was around 4 years ago. I was at Costco and this girl packing really caught my attention. We made small talk but that was it, I wasn’t the type to ask for her number, especially in front of so many people. It just so happened that I ended up at Costco every day that week, because my friend was constantly replacing his car battery and he was taking advantage of Costco’s lenient return-policy. Each time, I made sure to accidentally end up at her till. I chickened out a couple of times, but I somehow mustered the courage to ask her for her email address of all things. She came from a Christian family and this was reflected in many facets of her life. I started attending church with her family every week. At that point, I had very little belief in God, though I was still open to learning more about it. I had a lot of respect for her dad, and seeing how into it he was, I just couldn’t shake the feeling that, “hey, maybe I should look into this”. I would ask, “how come people in the bible lived for 800 years”, “how come dinosaurs aren’t mentioned in the bible”, “how come my science class says that we evolved from monkeys”. To be completely honest, I thought the whole thing was made up. For 3 years, I went to church, participated in bible studies, hung out with Christians, and researched on my own. I struggled with the concept of an all knowing and all powerful God, but slowly came to believe. The main thing that captured this belief was realizing that Jesus was a real person. This man performed countless miracles, of which even his enemies couldn’t deny. He remained firm and consistent in his purpose here on earth, even in the face of humiliation and death. This man was resurrected and seen by countless people. This is how I looked at it, if somebody who was as loving and as righteous and Jesus came along and was able to heal the blind, raise the dead, and change water into wine; I would listen to his words. It didn’t matter that this happened 2000 years ago; it didn’t make any difference to his purpose and to his message. Unfortunately, this new found belief didn’t help me to turn my life around. I was still getting drunk to the point of blacking out. Worse of all, I was still smoking weed everyday. Even worse than that, I was hiding the habit from the important people in my life. I would always have an excuse of why my eyes were bloodshot, or why my fingers smelt.. and so on and so forth. Living this double life was extremely tiring; having to lie to people you love is one of the worst feelings I have ever experienced. Ironically, It was something that I read in the bible that, at the time, pushed me further and further away from God. In 1 John 2:4, it says, “The man who says “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him”. This verse made me feel extremely guilty because although I believed in Jesus and would ask for forgiveness one day, I knew I would just turn around and go back to same sinful lifestyle the next day. This guilt kept me away from God and I really felt like Satan had a firm grip on me. There was a period of time when I would wake up sweating from a nightmare and sense that something evil was in my room. The feeling would be so strong that I would have to jump out of bed, run to my living room, and sleep on the couch with the lights on. I literally hated myself during this time. One day last October, I was at a Canucks game and drank an unbelievable large amount of hard liquor in about 15 minutes. To top that off, I had about 7 beers when I was inside GM place. For some reason, on the cab ride, home, I kept jumping out of the cab and running away. To this day, I still don’t know why. I’m also not sure why the cab driver kept letting me back in. Anyways, long story short, my girlfriend found out because supposedly I bumped into one of her friends at the game and of course I didn’t remember this. She ended things with me and I was completely broken, I had hit my rock bottom. That morning was the worst day of my life. But you know what, it was also the turning point for the best day of my life. I ended up at this church the coming Sunday as I knew somebody who was a member here. It just so happened that there was an enthusiastic guest speaker who was from out of town. He was there with his wife and 5 kids who also formed his worship band. It was pretty random because he was one of those guys who runs up and down the aisle with his hands in the air. I had been going to a pretty conservative church so it was pretty awkward for me. He started to share his testimony of how he found Christ. His story was eerily similar to mine in that he also lived a sinful lifestyle and was introduced to Christianity by his girlfriend who also ended up leaving him. Near the end of his sermon, he asked that whoever was suffering from regrets and pain, to come up to the front of this very room so that he could pray for the Holy Spirit to heal them. I can promise from the bottom of my heart that he was looking directly at me when he said this. I almost went up there, but was reluctant because everybody else was staying in their seats. After the service, I went up to him and told him that his testimony really spoke to me because of how similar it was to my current situation. He told me that he could sense my pain and spent some time talking to me about it. He and his wife then prayed for me for about 10 minutes with their hands touching my stomach while intermittently blowing air onto my closed eyes. I’m sure it looked kind of weird, as we were standing right over there in the midst of everyone. They prayed for the Holy Spirit to take away my guilt, heal my pain, and break down the walls that were separating me from Christ. At that moment, I sincerely gave up and essentially surrendered to God. I said in my head, “Okay God, I can’t handle this on my own anymore, please help me”. I left that morning not knowing what to think. It wasn’t something where I immediately sensed a change. However, there were some things that I slowly came to realize. I stopped swearing, in fact, hearing people swear gave me a really foreign and unpleasant feeling. A couple of times while listening to Christian music, I would feel a rush of emotions and start welling up in tears. I stopped sensing the presence of evil spirits and the nightmares didn’t occur anymore. I was able to instantly conquer my addictive habits with alcohol and drugs. I’m not sure how that happened exactly. God blessed me by introducing me to new friends at this church. I was surrounded and supported with positive influences which I never had before. I was never put into compromising situations until I had built up the strength to handle it. Most importantly, I felt a sense of forgiveness and love from God that was way beyond anything that I have ever experienced. It blows my mind to think that I’m up here tonight talking about God. My sister recently asked me “gee, Anth, why are you always talking about God?” The reason is that I’ve experienced, first-hand, His life changing power. I’m so sure of this that it would be impossible to not tell people. I started off my testimony by saying that God has been working actively in my life the whole time. Even though I thought I was being pushed further and further away, when I really I think about it, God wasn’t pushing me away, he was actually picking me up every time I fell and drawing me closer towards him. My addiction to drugs and alcohol, having to lie to the face of the people I love, losing an important person in my life, hitting rock bottom, all were steps in bringing me to this church on that fateful day where God saved me and gave purpose to my life. My God is an awesome God. He has forgiven me for my past sins, even before I have fully forgiven myself. That’s why I’m always talking about God. The theme of this year’s coffeehouse is hope. If you can relate to any part of my testimony, have hope in that the moment you truly desire to seek God, you will notice that He’s already been waiting for you with arms wide open. On the other hand, if you are a Christian and have been praying for someone to find Christ, do not be discouraged, no matter how far he or she seems to have drifted. Not all roads lead to God, but trust that God will travel down any road to find them; any one moment can be a moment of difference, a moment of change.

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