Even Messy Stories Can Be Useful

A desperate man in the dark

There are people in your church who have suffered. They have stories to share that will help others who experience similar struggles.  If you work in church ministry, God has positioned you to hear, collect, and use those stories to help people know God.  The following is part of the way I saw God in my story.

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The Messy Part of my Story.

On Sunday morning, January 13, 2013 I arrived home after a 12-hour blackout, drunken drive around the Twin Cities.  I walked through the house, into our bedroom and passed out on the bed.  A few minutes later, I sat back up again and the bedroom was full of cops.  My wife had been in contact with the police through the night when I went missing and not knowing what condition I was in or what I might do, she called them to come over as soon as I got home that morning.

I was a mess. By that point in my years long addiction to alcohol, I had tried everything in my power to change my life.  I had reached a point where I could no-longer see a way forward.  I didn’t know how to do life anymore.  It made no sense to me.  I would drink till I passed out at night, hoping that I would just not wake up the next day.  But morning would come along, I’d wake up, and I’d think “You’ve got to be kidding me, I have to do this again?”

So I sat up in bed that day surrounded by cops, with no clue why they were there, and out of desperation I gave up.  I thought to myself, “okay God, if you are going to keep waking me up, you are going to have to take over. Cause I don’t know how to do life anymore.  I said out loud “I give up.”  And I felt immediately, a sense of calm and certainty that everything was somehow going to work out. I didn’t know how, and I knew it wasn’t going to be because of me, because I had stepped away and placed God in charge. All I know is that I was absolutely content with whatever was going to happen. 

That day when I gave up and stopped trying to control my life, everything changed.  I went to the hospital that day and then to inpatient and outpatient treatment, through hundreds of support group meetings, all the while simply following along where God led me, meeting the people that God put in my path, people who would share their experience, their failures and successes with me, people who had credibility.

Here’s Why Messy Stories are so Important

When I was in my addiction I was utterly hopeless.  I used to stand in front of a mirror, with a bottle of vodka in my hand and say out loud “You are not going to drink.”   And you know what?  I drank every time.  Because I didn’t believe myself.  I was trying to listen to ME for life instructions, and I was simply not credible.

In order for me to believe change was possible, I had to hear it from someone believable. Until someone could convince me that they had been in front of that mirror too, and that they had been able to change I couldn’t see change as a realistic possibility.  Until I believed change was possible, change was not possible.

The stories of all those people that God put in my path, people who were willing to share the ugly truth about their struggles, those stories gave me hope that something different was possible, and that I could actually figure out how to do life again, because they had done it.

Here's Where You Come In

Credible stories of redeemed lives are rarely told, and they need to be told often.  If you work in church ministry, God has put you in the ideal position to hear, and gather stories like mine, and then help people see God in those stories.  In our next article we’ll be sharing some practical ways that story can help your ministry, as well as strategies for collecting stories from the people in your church.

We Have Many More Stories To Share

You can hear more of my (Lee’s) story and many more on the LifeSupport YouTube Channel.  The goal of our channel is to help people grow closer to Christ, and inspire hope and healing by sharing stories of real people who have face the struggles of life.  Subscriptions are important on YouTube.  More subscriptions makes our channel more visible which means we can help equip more churches, and we can reach even more people who need hope and healing.

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