Straight Up....a testimony

Lets make this a bit clearer.....

Its has been a little while since my last post. In that time I was convicted that while the allegory of the puff pastry is clever (and a real reflection while making puff pastry) being real would reveal much more of the God I worship, in....and out of the kitchen.

“And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom.” 1 Corinthians 2:1

The raw ingredients:

I grew up in W.A, son of a Navy man and a home keeping Mum. 3 Brothers, 2 older, 1 younger.

I would spend the first 4 or so years of my life in the U.S as Dad was there for work. Theres not a great deal that I remember from my time over there except for really disliking the snow, getting stitches, Disneyland and most significantly my love affair with McDonalds… The story is told that as we drove across America I would cry incessantly every time I saw the golden arches until I got something.

Shortly after returning, maybe around 5, my parents would separate and a life that never felt grounded or safe quickly ensued. My days in and around Nollamara (until the age of 9) were pretty wild and adventurous for a kid of that age and for the most part a blur. As I think back to those years the memories come in confronting vignettes.

The fights between parents prior to and after their separation, confrontations on the sidelines of my brother’s soccer matches, plates smashing across kitchen walls. Attending school and having the staff wondering why you are there because you hadn’t gone in months. Your teacher being the one to discover you have chickenpox. The fear when being found out for stealing toys from your friends parents. Walking down to Bi-Lo alone to get smokes for Mum and then lighting them up for her when you get back. Going out with your brother on searches for used cigarette butts at the local shops. Watching horror movies and porn as a family. Bringing a friend home after school to a loungeroom of men smoking weed and there being black garbage bags full of the drug around. Coming home to a destroyed house, graffitied, looted and soiled after your big bro had a party. Smoking weed and drinking whiskey before your 8th birthday. Discovering the irony in the name of the skin burn marking "smiley". Having your first sexual experiences as molestation by your brother and then having that become a routine for years. Sitting in bed and trying to draw someone into your room with "magic power" because of your loneliness and being shocked when it works. Being surprised when after school play dates at friends houses end up in oral sex between other boys, more surprised when this happens on the school ground. Having your other brother initiate sex acts with you and then later teasing you for being gay. Getting a 50cc motorbike for your birthday before you ever even tried to ride a push bike. Going out at midnight with your Mums boyfriend’s son, to steal the net from the local tennis court, ducking from police cars and taxi's. Beating down your friend because he disrespected your little brother who has cerebral palsy. Using a lacrosse stick across the face of your mate on your first and last day of after school sport.

This is not a list to shock, or celebrate the kind of beginnings to life we had but a reflection of the manner in which the memories occur and in an attempt to scratch the surface of the realities without taking 20 pages to do so.

Some pretty fundamental years in good ol' W.A. Suffice to say we got off to a pretty shaky start... the good news is I did end up getting a push bike, and we had some mad races round our front fence.

In the mixing bowl they go....

By the time I was 9 my Dad had moved and set up in NSW. He had begun his own small business. Thankfully he decided even in the beginnings of his business his boys would be better with Him.

By that time he had also met another woman, and this woman had 3 children of her own, two daughters and a son from two different men. One daughter a few years older than me, the son and other daughter just older than me.

This family was based in W.A and made the move across to NSW around the same time we did. In the style of the Brady Bunch we came together and moved into a new life, on the opposite side of the country together.

This was never going to be an easy feat. There was already a lot of rebellion in my older brothers, I was pretty independent by that stage but also lonely, our oldest step sister was pretty rebellious and came from living with her Father in QLD and strong willed, and her step siblings were very different from us. I actually established quite good relationships with the two younger siblings. There was a lot of pressure I guess in keeping the family together especially as Dad was completely consumed in the beginnings of the business. In an attempt to control and keep order corporal punishment became a norm, police would occasionally rock up as the eldest brother would be getting in trouble, writing off the family car and nearly killing a friend passenger, found sleeping in public spaces on the way to swimming practice in the morning etc. I will never forget getting a phone call asking if he was there as he was wanted for questioning in relation to a homicide. Othertimes my brother would call because of the way we were treated with not much result.

In so many ways all us kids thrived publicly in the new family but it was coming at a great unseen cost. Fear was prevalent, rewards based relationships among parents and children, our youngest brother was often humiliated and unfairly punished as a scapegoat, dogs were put down because we had ‘gotten lazy’ in walking them. We were told that we had to remain close as a family and be careful what we told other people. Sexual relations broke out among the children in every direction.

I remember having to go to a counsellor because my brother and I were arguing, off the back of one argument. My step-mum would drive me to the meeting and tell me what to say basically that your angry at your Dad because he only gives attention to your brother, that he doesn’t support or help you etc. I remember being a little confused but also not wanting to disappoint out of fear. In reflection I realised this to be the great manipulation that It was. That I was being used by my step mum to control my Dad. We excelled in all the sports and schooling but it also came with a feeling that if you weren’t at the top it wasn’t good enough. If you weren’t at the top of your thing it would be drilled into you with forced discipline, sometimes corporal punishment and shame talking to do better. If you done something good you were rewarded with something. Which also caused great resentment and jealousy between the siblings.

As the years went on not much changed, arguing between dad and this woman increased, whispers of her cheating on Dad grew louder and they ended up separating. However our step mum retained some right to control us and discipline us from another home, where she would sometimes be at another man’s home.

As I entered High School this desire to continue to be good and please everyone started to unravel a bit. As I was no longer the best in the class, making the soccer teams etc I started to realise I couldn’t maintain life at the top to survive everything so I started looking to other things, initially buddhism, then existentialism and philosophy, wicca or paganism, altered states of consciousness, drugs and alcohol and relationships with girls. Meaningful causes and movements. Music, rock and roll. Poetry and literature. Skating and rebellion. Parties and destruction. Meditation and solitude.

Slowly by my final years of high school, I had removed myself from most of this womans influence and control over my life. I was living at home with Dad finishing school and working casually in retail/cinemas. And exploring all the above fervently and at the cost of my formal education.

Often my Dad would have to go overseas for business trips and this would be the times in which his previous partner would express her authority in any way she chose. Which generally consisted of her coming with a display of authority on our front lawn until I submitted to go to her home or didn’t respond and she left.

I found myself trying to establish any kind of meaningful connection I could make, or to lose myself in any search for meaning, or to elevate or change my perception of my current circumstances.

I had become a confused mess of being an incredibly caring and sensitive, completely narcissistic, free spirited non-conformist who was craving approval, a mature young man who would go to federal parliament for work experience and write speeches on racial injustice and vomit on the back of friends cars after getting too high at a house party.

I used and abused women – physically, emotionally and sexually,

I lied, stole and cheated,

I broke into homes and destroyed property for pleasure,

I was responsible for 2 abortions, experienced miscarriage I destroyed my body, mind and soul.

And then I would leave home… sadly things didn’t get better.

Drugs got worse. Meth became a preference, then ecstasy

Alcohol became alcoholism

Parties became week longer benders

Women continued to be a commodity of comfort

I was stealing, borrowing and pawning

I barely ate to feed my habits

I moved from place to place hiding my shame & guilt and with the belief that in every new move, in every new job I would be the person I truly am. That I could make a new start if I just tried. Which completely DID NOT work. I was running away from things that were INSIDE of me.

The tension in these moments is that you absolutely hate yourself yet you’re so good at convincing yourself that your all good, that overall you’re a good person, in fact I convinced myself that I had it so together, that I was in a better state of freedom and happiness than the people around me who were really trying to help. You justify hurting them by insisting you have some higher moral ground. Some higher level of freedom. Some infinitely more meaningful insight into life. Which of course is all lies.

The longer I went on the worse it got, at one point in my life I was living with a roommate who ended up leaving because he saw the destruction of the life we were in. I lived in a two bedroom apartment in a rundown block with drug addicts, dealers, economically disadvantaged and disabled, with a bed and a couch. I wouldn’t sleep or eat for days because of the methamphetamines, I would sit and stare at the cockroaches and butterflies I saw covering and coming out of the walls and write pages of explanation and apology to my boss.

Eventually. I called my Dad who I hadn’t spoken to in years and he drove the 4 hours to come and take me home. With very little explanation or truth.

I spent a couple years at my Dads and get off the harder drugs but continued in heavy drinking and smoking weed. Soon we would be joined by his soon to be wife from Belarus and her son who is my age. We had a great initial connection and family life. I continued in my partying ways which helped me and my step brother bond and introduce him to life in Australia. More of the same behaviour that followed me since High School.

I eventually would take the move to Brisbane to once again “get my life together” leaving in my wake stories of hurt, brokenness, shame, guilt, theft etc etc. from my short time back home.

Again, even in the sunny state of Qld what was inside me followed me. Entire months salaries would be spent in a single night, rent unpaid, empty fridges, pawned watches to have money. Ecstasy benders replaced the methamphetamines, running from unpaid taxis, knocking in my own door to get in at night and finding my keys in my pocket the next morning. I moved from Brisbane to Hervey Bay to Redcliffe. Changing friends, girlfriends, drug of choice workplaces all in this endless attempt to get out of this cycle of shame, guilt, fear, destruction and rejection.

Writing this I feel completely estranged from the person described above yet at the same time a deep connection too. I guess what is described as personhood is what I feel very estranged to.

The deep connection is to the witness of the horror.

In reflection of the life I’ve experienced -flashbacks of drug runs from Canberra to Wollongong drifting around mountain corners with on coming traffic, shooting kangaroos and cutting of their legs to feed dogs, smoking ice in truck stop toilets; faces of broken hearted and crying women; drunken nights at house parties with singalongs and punch-ups, nights spent at bus stops in sub zero temperatures– It feels as though I am reading the book to another person’s story. Yet I know this story is mine.

My worldview at that time was an amalgamation of a few different perspectives:

- As long as I’m a good person and don’t hurt anyone. In the balance of all things I will be forgiven for anything bad and be acknowledged for my good. That any God would recognise the difficulty of the world and sympathise. That a God did not require worship. Problem with this is I essentially became God, that the lens to which I thought something hurt others or not was essentially determined on how it made ME feel. That something that made me feel good but hurt others was ok because I was first in consideration of judging good or bad.

- That this world was not substantially ‘real’ that it was all spiritual and I was on a mission to observe and consume everything around me, that pursuing every perspective and situation no matter how depraved would lead me to a greater understanding of the ‘essential truths’ of life. This was comforting because I could separate myself from any feeling of responsibility or hurt or regret because everything served a ‘good’ purpose. This had led me to spending retreats at buddhist temples in silent meditation, going on walkabouts of drinking and contemplative writing, seeking energy and restoration through nature, the moon and stars, philosophical contemplations and cycling through ancient perspectives of the soul and the world and engaging in every experience, nothing would be refused everything previously described plus homosexual acts, acts of bloodshed, any drug it was always a yes, in fact I was convinced that the more confronting something was the greater the revelation that would come.

My thoughts on Christianity was much aligned with what I had grew up with. It was basically a cult for the weak who couldn’t get it together themselves. They needed a crutch and support to lean on. That it was generally old fashioned and unloving. A sort of club for losers who didn’t know how to have fun.

In the looking back, the change to where I am now seems both immediate and gradual.

The proofing…

The process I guess really began about 12 years ago. 2008.

I had relocated to Brisbane some time earlier and had somehow managed to maintain a job in retail since I was 15. I really didn’t enjoy it, I had just ended another relationship, I had no money and desperately needed a job. The guy I ended up living with was the cellarman at a local pub and he got me in for a trial as a kitchen hand. Scrubbing dishes and doing food prep.

I felt at home. My people. I loved the work, I loved the adrenaline of the kitchen, the music, the food. It was awesome. There was an element where I felt I could be authentic that the ‘good’ self and the ‘messy’ self could come together and be accepted. I guess the kitchen was fully of people that were rough around the edges. They were drinking beers at work, cutting up and talking about marijuana in the kitchen. The other kitchenhand was the drug dealer for all the chefs.

It was here that I began my career as a cook, met my (to be) wife, and most significantly began my life with Christ.

My path started much the same here, drinking, drugs, parties, girls, fights, break ups and debauchery. Then I met Eileen.

Eileen was the most incredibly cute, tiny, joyful, pure, innocent person I had ever met. Even her attempts at being rebellious were insanely playschool. In her, however, was a fire.

She was an international student cook on work placement. And I was her ‘dish pig’.

Shortly after we began to ‘hang out’ together I was told that I would have to come along to church with her as she had felt God was calling her to go back (she had been in Australia, a year or so at that point) Funnily enough it was actually her eastern culture and I assumed Buddhist background which I was partly attracted to. I obliged. Sometimes going with her to Church sporting significant hangovers, crushing cigarettes at the front prior to going in with her. I didn’t think about the religious side of it all very much. I was there to make her happy and hang out with interesting people. Work was going well. The apprenticeship had begun. I had slowed down in my lifestyle to essentially alcohol, marijuana. I was not going out but preferring to stay at home and to work extra shifts, I loved the work, I would work extra shifts as a kitchen hand after starting my apprenticeship just to be in the kitchen.

After almost a year of dating and going to church together I decided that I would one day sooner or later have to find out about all this Jesus stuff. I mean the people were lovely and all but I had my suspicions. I had generally a more individualistic outlook to life, I certainly wasn’t against these Church goers I just thought it was their community and framework they participated in. So that they may be encouraged to be good people. Something that was good and important but that could be lived without having to give up Sundays. (The fact they served good food afterwards, followed by a game of soccer kept me happy)

So one day after a message about suffering and being seen by God I decided to have some time by myself and went home directly after (missing the best bits of food and soccer) to do this thing called prayer.

The way I saw it was this: if God isn’t real, if he doesn’t show up, then I’ve got my ticket out of this church thing.

So I began by saying sorry for everything specific thing that I could remember…. It’s a pretty long list.

God showed up...

As soon as I had quieted myself God answered me. You are my son I am proud of you. I know what you have been through, and I am saddened by it, but I will use everything for good. I will restore it all for a good purpose. I felt a weight and a peace unlike anything I had previously felt and I suddenly had memories of all the times God had been revealing himself in my life.

-Singing the John 3:16 song in primary school, the loudest with great joy – I had no idea what it was about.

-The U.S / Australian youth group ministry at High school, their witness to me and endurance with me. Again the music with them.

- the guys I used to go skating with who was always inviting me to church

- the customer who gave me her phone number to invite me to church when I was in Canberra

And here I began my life with Jesus.

He slowly began to draw me out of places which led me to darkness, and I would fall. He would remind me of his grace and mercy and we’d go a few steps further.

Shortly after we got married and we started the journey with Jesus together, as one. God had laid on our hearts jointly that we would one day have a business to help the poor/ needy/ homeless. This confirmed our decision in getting married. We lived a further 4 years in Brisbane, I was so excited for Christ when I was with my Christian family and so drawn to sin when I was with the Kitchen family and it felt like a much cleaner continuation of the previous life but with more self control. There was solid ground but God was teaching me self control and discipline. In the year prior to leaving Brisbane for Melbourne I was sober, no longer smoking, I was growing in my faith and wanted to live for Jesus.

Into the oven….

When I tell this story to people and describe the moving from Brisbane to Melbourne I often say that the moment we closed the doors on the car was the beginning of our walk in the dessert.

What I have found so incredible in reading the bible as I go through life is just how the most inexpressible things in our lives are described so perfectly in the Bible. What I’ve come to see in the desert story of the Israelites is that the wondering and the suffering was never because of a lack of Gods presence but completely because of their lack of obedience and faithfulness. My reflection of this time in our life seems to be clearer the further we get away from it in time. What I see so clearly now is that the moment we began our move to Melbourne we started to drift away from what God was doing in and through us and in fear or worldly desire drifted into what WE wanted.

God had begun HIS STORY, through us.

We overwrote it with our story, FOR US.

In recent reflection I’ve also come to see that until very recently I had been trying to be a Christian. That is exactly the life that Jesus came into the world rebuking.

The life of a Christian is a gift of New creation. That we receive in faith. It is a surrender to the Kingship of Jesus. Not a working for citizenship.

The problem is we’re terrible authors and we’re terrible writers of our own stories. The good we saw in our lives being surrendered to Christ could never be sustained if we were not connected to him. If it was our trying the results would always be swayed by our circumstances, our emotions.

Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. John 15: 4-6.

Indeed as we began to live our new lives in Melbourne in pursuit of self, destruction was close at hand. Professionally and financially we achieved things we never thought possible, I became the head chef of a multi venue restaurant I wasn’t sure I’d even be good enough to get a job at. I never expected to be earning a salary of 6 figures as a chef. We took great holidays, dined at the best restaurants, it was nothing to have a $50 glass of wine.

The decay began 6 months after moving down as a drink after work, moved to cigarettes, rolled into alcoholism, into idolatry, into workaholism, into perfectionism, fear of man over a fear of God, adultery, hypocrisy, separation from one another and most significantly deep separation from God. While continuing to go to Church each week I lived in complete rebellion to the God who had come to me at my call, to free me from all the guilt, shame and pain of a life before knowing him.

Over 4 years as we were increasing in approval from others our personal and spiritual lives were crumbling. I was drinking till drunkenness almost every night, smoking at least a pack a day, and had on a few occasions used drugs. I was chatting with women over messages or face to face in ways which did not honour God or my wife. I went against what I knew to be just in my decisions at work. I managed in anger, and fear a lot of the time and actually gaining a lot of clout by bringing others down. What had been with me since the beginning had not died but I painted over it a new person in my trying and I was back to being completely lost, at conflict within myself.

I started to see a psychologists who was encouraging divorce. My job was a disaster, my wife would be staying at friends houses to get away from me. I had separated myself from anyone who would speak truth into my life. (if you’re a Christian, new or old, and not in community – get into one). My wife and I would be in uncontrollable fights with one another, we were both crying out to one another for help but could not understand or feel understood in the very slightest.

On the verge of divorce, on bended knee, on our bathroom floor with a full weight of sin, shame, guilt and pain. I confessed to the Lord and my wife and surrendered to the only one with right and claim to our life. Jesus Christ. For it was by the price of His blood (his death) shed for us on a cross that my life was saved.

Out of the oven….

Contacts were deleted, requests to no more communication made, submission of resignation made, Christian counselling initiated.

The exact order of the events surrounding the near end of our marriage and the ensuing restoration are a little blurry to be honest. But in closest order:

Prayer: Being on bended knee before your wife and repenting of rebellion to God, adultery to her, failure to lead a Godly marriage, is the most soul wrenching thing I have ever done. It took everything out of me and left me empty. At the same time, in that moment, whilst anger, hurt, frustration, and 1000 inexpressible emotions were present there was a piercing of hope, a penetration of light. Its like in that moment, for the first time in so long, we could see one another again.

I also finally realised that I cannot do this, that left to myself, even with great intention and a heart for goodness I will continue to destroy life in and around me. I also knew however that there was something in what I knew of Christ that had redemption power. We were also, through people we met and circumstances, introduced to a ministry of prayer. There was a couple who are gifted in being able to pray with people. They have a discernment of spiritual oppression that was influencing us and through repentance in faith my wife and I have continued to see great deliverance from a lot of the patterns that caused us great anguish and suffering. During my first meeting with the couple it was revealed to me that a nurse in the hospital I was born had held me and prayed for me and God had been faithful in answering her prayer. Also Romans 8:28 -  And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Confirming the very words God had spoken to me some 10 years prior.

Travel: my wife took a solo trip to Japan and I took a trip to the Phillipines. In that trip to the Phillipines for 10 days I visited small community churches and families and children struggling in poverty. Before the trip I prayed that I would come to see and know God in new and bigger ways. God answered that prayer in greatness. I was so deeply affected by that trip. Every day God spoke or revealed something about my life in the people we met on the trip that was very healing to me and allowed me to go deeper in my forgiveness of my family. I must say I had never struggled with resentment or bitterness towards my family I had expressed tangibly and face to face forgiveness to all in my family and asked of it too. The depth to which God revealed myself to me in that trip I can not really describe, nor the healing that came from it.

Fellowship: during the trip I met a woman who would later become a great and dear friend of my wife and I along with her husband. In reflection I don’t even really understand why we initially got along. After coming back from the trip we would meet and catch up over coffee, they invited us to join their church small group. They encouraged us, spoke truth to us. Increased our desire for the word of God. They were transparent and their dogs were incredibly cute. This relationship continues to be a great encouragement to us and to which we are always thankful to God. They also helped us to understand the spiritual world that we are in and what implications that has to our lives in Godliness. That indeed there is a foe that seeks to destroy but one whom we have victory over in faith.

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Ephesians 6:12

for the LORD your God is he who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies, to give you the victory. Deuteronomy 20:4

The healing to our marriage continued, slowly and increasingly. I had picked up work 2 days working as a coordinator of a ‘soup kitchen’ and a few days in a kitchen to pay the bills. I would occasionally be home late from work and memories of the past would stir in my wife and division would come about. But we were in prayer, fellowship and seeking of the Lord breaking from the ways of our past and stepping into lives defined by faith and not by self.

We were surprised one day to hear from an old chef acquaintance that he wanted to have a meeting. Out of curiosity we went along and were propositioned an opportunity to go into business together to start a café together.

When we left, we looked at each other, and said ‘I think God wants to do something in His life’. This is often the way God will reveal his purpose to us, with a joint calling at the same time. So despite a thousand reservations, Thinking God was actually calling us out of the chef life we, in faith, decided to follow God and see what he wanted to do. So we started to prepare that and continue in the part time work.

So now we were both out of hospitality, seeking God, spending all day together. We committed to regularly praying together and with others. To reading the word together and sharing what God was showing us.

In fact it looked quite similar in the way we lived in Brisbane before moving to Melbourne but there had been a deep change in the heart. We were no longer pursuing Godly things because or through what we knew, but in who we knew with a great joy and assurance and with an illumination that we hadn’t ever had before. My wife grew up in a Christian family, her brother is a pastor, they were always in the word and even She was having a new life in Christ.

Repentance has been the foundation of the restoration, the renewal and the transformation of my life. In repentance I acknowledge and apologise heart felt before God my rebellion to His rule, I reject the influence of Satan over my life and I turn back to Jesus and invite his authority and kingly rule over my life. If I surrender my life to Him then it is under his authority and Satan no longer has any right or claim to my life. Although he will try again, which I overcome with the faith given to me by the power of my testimony and ultimately the blood that was spilled for me (and you) on the cross.

By the grace of God my wife and I are more happily married and close to one another than ever before, we have great joy in the Lord our God and having daily intimacy with Him and a real relationship where he guides us and leads us. The café we’re apart of has, despite all the covid difficulties, remained a place of peace, joy and hope. We were over joyed when our business partner accepted Christ approximately 6 months after we opened and we saw Gods great faithfulness. He continues to encourage us as he models his dependence on Christ. God has also used our café to minister to people, to provide food for the homeless and disadvantaged. The joint vision that God used to bring our marriage together he brought to fruit despite all of our rebellion.

I have often wondered what is different now in this time of my relationship with Christ as compared to prior to coming to Melbourne. And again as I read the Bible in reflection God helps me to see what is going on. I now know that my life with Christ in Brisbane was me trying to be better, me fighting to be a good Christian, to fight myself and be the better person.

Through the continued life of darkness and sin I came to a place of surrender to Christ, I know I have nothing to give Him. All that I have which is good, is his. All that I have that is good is from him, for him, and to Him. I need not fight my desires, my feelings or fears but to truly submit it all before him, for him to show me the condition of my heart and to lead me on the path of his righteousness. I know with confidence now that the desires of my flesh will lead to destruction and that His word and my obedience to it brings GREAT LIFE. I am, as you are, deeply, deeply, deeply loved.

By God’s moral standard I deserve punishment, judgement, condemnation even death for the life I have lived.

But Jesus comes to set sinners free from the wrath we deserve AND from the sins that keep us enslaved.

That, in faith, we who believe are raised with Him as he was raised after 3 days in the tomb.

He was raised to his heavenly throne room and we, in him, are raised to be new creatures here on the earth and eternally with him in heaven.

Christ has brought freedom,

And His Kingdom is a kingdom of freedom

He wants to be your king

I have been radically transformed by the grace of Jesus Christ, in the power of His Holy Spirit, to the Glory of our Heavenly Father.

I have done nothing to add to this, nothing to deserve this.

The good in my life now is Jesus Christ living in me, as I die to the desires of my sinful self and live in obedience and surrender to His Spirit in me.

We are truly only imprisoned when we seek to live for ourselves, no matter how this looks like to the outside world be it in good deeds and moral behaviour or complete recklessness.

I have kept people names out of this story because I acknowledge that all people have their story to share and it is only fair that I share my story from my perspective and allow them the right to do the same. I do so so that Christ may be seen in His power and Glory.

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