My life seemed destined to fail before it had really begun. I was twenty-five years old, an alcoholic, burned out, tired of living and seriously considering ending it once and for all by committing suicide.
I had tried everything possible to escape feelings of emptiness and hopelessness but nothing worked. I soon concluded that nothing would work and I would cry myself to sleep every night. Being alive was so painful that waking up each morning became a fresh source of disappointment and frustration, punctuated by my thoughts, “Oh God, you mean I’m still alive?” “What is the point to this kind of existence?” The answers continued to evade me, apparently preferring to dodge in and out of the shadows as if enjoying a good game of hide and seek.
Each night I visited one of my two favorite shops. They had gained my affection because they both offered me an assortment of alcoholic drinks, enabling me to attempt to drown my sorrows. I bought a bottle everyday which became embarrassing, so I visited them alternately hoping it wouldn’t be obvious to the friendly shopkeepers that I was quite capable of keeping them in business, all by myself. I became driven by the need to experience that numb feeling which made me forget, if only for a short while. I had to have a drink, a nice can of super strength Tenants Extra, or special brew, a bottle of sherry, anything really. I didn’t care what it was, just as long as it did the job of deadening my senses.
At the time I didn’t face up to the fact that I was an alcoholic. Nothing seemed to matter because I just wanted to die. I smoked so much that there were often times when I was awakened by a very loud noise. Then it would suddenly dawn on me that the loud noise was my breathing! I hoped that perhaps the drinking and smoking would combine to kill me soon. Deluded, I somehow believed that that was better than overdosing on a bottle of sleeping pills.
There was always a constant heaviness on my heart, pressing down on me until depression and suicidal thoughts dominated. How else could I get through the evenings pregnant with loneliness and helplessness? Drinking deadened the pain of having no one to talk to, to hold me, and tell me that everything would be alright. I trusted no one. Who cared about me anyway? Everyone around had their own problems. How could they be what I needed them to be?
I began searching, desperately grasping at straws, trying to find one good reason to live. I became very curious about anything to do with unexplained phenomena and the paranormal. I hoped my discoveries would help me make some sense out of the mess that was my life, but instead there was just a dull ache. Peace and joy continued to remain out of reach, and suicide became more attractive.
Drinking deadened the pain of having no one to talk to, to hold me, and tell me that everything would be alright. I trusted no one. Who cared about me anyway? Everyone around had their own problems. How could they be what I needed them to be?
There was nowhere for me to run. I had tried by my own might and strength and failed. I had no more energy to care or desire to carry on. I was on the edge of a cliff just trying to pluck up enough courage to jump off. Things got progressively worse until one day I had a visit from an uncle I hadn’t seen in years. He claimed to be a Christian and decided to visit me out of the blue.
On July 29, 1992 something happened to change my life forever. My uncle invited me and my brother to a large Gospel-sharing event where the evangelist Reinhard Bonnke was due to speak. Sometimes called a crusade, the event was held at a big open air park and there were thousands of people in attendance. As we made our way through the crowd getting as close as we could to the front, the strangest feeling came over me. For the life of me I didn’t understand what was happening. All I knew was that the atmosphere felt as if it was charged with high voltage electricity. It was so powerful you could almost reach out and touch it. I had never felt or known anything like it. Suddenly this electric current surrounded me like a warm blanket. My whole body and soul began to tingle in this amazing presence.
After a while I was only half-aware of the evangelist speaking at the front because I could hear another voice. I couldn’t explain exactly where this voice was coming from, but I could hear it clearly, and instinctively, I knew that only I could hear it. It carried an authority that I had never heard before in a man’s voice and it thrilled and excited me as it said, “Jesus Christ is here in this place and it is His presence you feel. He is the living God, and he will reveal himself to you if you pay very close attention.”
I waited, hardly daring to breathe in case I missed something. Although there were thousands of people there, it seemed as if Reinhard Bonnke started to speak to me directly. He seemed to know all about my circumstances including my broken and aching heart. Everything he said hit me like a very well-aimed arrow and I remembered thinking, “How can this be happening? How does he know all about me?” I shook my head trying to pull myself together. Just at that moment, my brother Michael looked me straight in the eye and said, “Dee, it’s time that we served God!” Then, as if on cue, my uncle (who had been very quiet up until now) said ever so tenderly, “All that pain and hurt you feel, God can heal. He can take it all away if you just let him.”
Even though God spoke barely above a whisper, the effect was profound. I knew that this was the only way for the circumstances in my life to get any better. I had to surrender to this very powerful person called Jesus, the one I had been hearing about all evening. Could it really be true that he loved me so much he had died for me? Could he have sacrificed himself just so I could really experience the kind of life that I had only ever dreamed about? As I asked myself these questions, in my heart I knew that it was all true. At last I understood why nothing before had worked, but all that was about to change. The realization of this was too much for me. I broke down then and I wept uncontrollably from depths deep within me. The floodgates of my soul that had been nailed shut by each disappointment in life flew wide open.
As I willingly surrendered my life, Jesus walked in and took complete control. His healing presence soothed away every ache and pain I had ever felt. I literally felt the weight of life’s failures lift off my shoulders.
As the barriers came down, I realized that my soul was completely naked before him, and my heart an open book upon which he was now free to write whatever he wanted. Even though it had only been a couple of minutes, it felt so right for Him to be in control. It was obvious to me that he knew what he was doing.
As the barriers came down, I realized that my soul was completely naked before him, and my heart an open book upon which he was now free to write whatever he wanted. Even though it had only been a couple of minutes, it felt so right for him to be in control. It was obvious to me that he knew what he was doing.
The relief was so amazing and I was crying so much that I could hardly stand up. Jesus had come personally to touch my life in a very special way. It felt as if he was holding me in his arms and wiping away my tears. I could still hear his voice, so sweet, gentle, and soothing. That night, I felt all the love in the world possible for a human being to feel. In all honesty, it was his tenderness that was my undoing. I had to yield because I just couldn’t resist him anymore. I was created to communicate intimately with this wonderful God who was now mine. My heart leapt and rejoiced as I heard him say, “You belong to me now, and you will never be lost again!”
The authority I heard in his voice assured me that what he said was true. The more I thought about it the more I wept, but this time it was a different type of weeping. I was now weeping out of joy, relief and sweet freedom. Jesus had opened his hands and given me these special gifts, as an introduction, a taste of what was in store for me in his kingdom which I was now a part of, and instinctively I knew that the best was yet to come.