Brian R.

Brian R.

from KS
Story #484
My name is Brian, I’m the director of Celebrate Recovery at Lenexa Baptist Church. God has used this program to bring me to a deeper and more intimate relationship with Him. The relationship I have with Him has given me a deeper and more personal relationship with the people He puts in my path.

My life has not always been like this.....

Growing up I experienced many things that a child should never experience.
I started Kindergarten a couple of weeks later than my classmates. I felt like an outcast and never connected with them. That was the beginning of my feelings of being unloved, feeling out of place and unaccepted. I felt like a failure that had to earn acceptance and love.

When I was around 12 a series of events happened that caused me to develop unhealthy coping skills.

I had a near death experience, I was a victim of sexual abuse, a neighbor girl and I became sexual active, I was exposed to pornography, I started drinking alcohol and drug use started soon after. These events and the choices I made to deal with these events caused me to make many poor choices which caused many bad consequences.

Throughout my life I knew something was missing.

I had a desire to be accepted and loved but didn’t know where to find that love. I know now that I was missing a relationship with my Creator. As a child I was confirmed into a religion, but I never understood that I was created by God for a purpose.

I was about 16 when I was first experienced the God of the bible. I couldn’t date this girl unless I went to church, so I gladly went to church. For the first time I experienced God’s love and grace. I will always remember the peace and joy that God gave me when I went to that church. Those people truly loved God and loved each other. I wanted to be like them. So I stopped doing the things that I thought God didn’t like. I tried to clean up my act in my power. But I never turned my life over to Jesus and soon I fell right back into my self-seeking lifestyle. But this time it was worse. I lived out the story in Luke chapter 11:24 - 26; "When an evil spirit comes out of a man, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, 'I will return to the house that I left.' When it arrives, it finds the house swept clean and put in order. Then it goes and takes seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that man is worse than the first."

This is where my life really spiraled downhill fast. For the next 20 years I tried to find acceptance and satisfaction on my own. By the time I was 24 I was the plant manager of a commercial bakery, I was married and had 4 children and owned a home. (Well, co-owner with the mortgage company) I was drinking, doing drugs regularly, I was very angry and empty. Nothing satisfied my emptiness. At the age of 29, I found myself divorced with 4 children.

A few years later two of my sisters started a family business, so I joined them. I thought maybe I could find happiness in success. The business started to grow and become successful, but I was still doing drugs and drinking, empty and alone. I had no reason to even think of anything spiritual.

My girlfriend at the time started attending Lenexa Baptist Church and really liked it. I will never forget when she told me she was going to church, my heart jumped as I remembered the peace and the joy that I had experienced when I was 16. I knew that I need God……I was tired of acting ……. tired of being empty so I started attending service.

Our pastor taught right from the bible. He said everyone has sinned, and everyone falls short of the glory of God. I knew I had sinned and I was far from God. My life was broken, I need a change. He taught that Jesus Christ was crucified for the sin that I have committed. That He paid the price that I should pay for my sin. I learned if I would turn from my sin and repent by turning my life over to His care and control that I would be saved.

During service one Sunday morning, I realized for the first time in my life that I needed a Savior. I cried out to God that morning I asked Him to save me and I gave my life to Him.

God has done an amazing work in my life since then. I became and stayed sober. The emptiness is gone. He has molded my attitudes and desires, so they would start to look like His attitudes and desires.My self centered attitude has been replaced with a love for those that are hurting and need God. He has given me a sense of purpose. He has changed my heart. Ezekiel 36:26,
And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart.

That is what He has done. I’ve gone on many mission trips ……organize community projects……shared the hope that I have found in Him. He even gave me a job at the church. Can you believe that?......But you know what…I still struggled with many of the same things I did in my addiction. Pride was my default, I wanted to look “good” to others. Hide my problems. Too often I was bitter, self-centered, selfish. I got rid of the addiction but I still held on to some of the junk. I was still putting on a show…. wearing a mask. Pride was my new addiction. Plus I had a lot of guilt from my past. I knew God had forgiven me of my sins and hurt that I have caused others…….but I had a hard time forgiving myself.

Three years ago, I stared a ministry at my church called Celebrate Recovery. It is a Christ centered 12 step program that helps people overcome all different types of hurts, habits and different hang-ups. God has used this ministry to make me a better husband, father and a better servant. He has taught me that I do not have to be perfect. That He loves me unconditionally, despite my past and imperfect attitudes today. He has helped me be honest about my past, these things I have shared with you I keep hidden for most of my life. Facing these things have brought so much freedom. I no longer have to hide my past. If you have struggles or hurts in your life, please let me know. I can direct you to the place I found, that has brought me peace and healing. Thank you for reading this, Brian

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