My Walk with Jesus Vol. 22 “My Life Testimony”


I want to first make a statement regarding my life testimony.  The contents of this post are not meant to slander, be little, or hurt anyone.  This post is simply my life… It’s sole purpose is to show the transformation of this mans heart and life, through the love of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Childhood

My childhood was a rough one.  My parents divorced when I was only a year old.  Although the first few years I don’t remember, I can say that the effects were felt for years to come.  My earliest childhood memories involved a lot of things, but mostly the longing for attention from my father.  I remember times sitting on the porch with my suitcase, I was probably 5 years old or so, waiting and watching for my dad to pick me and my brother up.  After several hours, my mom would come and get me, I would get mad at her, telling her, “He’s coming, he’s just late”.  I can tell you, that pain of a child’s heart breaking, can linger and linger, even under the surface for years and years.

Many times during my childhood, (many is not the right word for this, a ton is the correct term) I got into fights at school and in our neighborhood.  I was not a bully, however, I was a defender.  Anytime I saw someone getting picked on, I was there… I even stopped a little girl from being kidnapped in front of my school.  I was in the second grade, I saw a girl screaming and kicking, a man dragging her towards his car.  I ran over and starting kicking him in the legs and pulling on her, yelling the entire time.  Finally, some teachers saw what was going on and the man took off.  I tell that story for this reason, I had no fear in me.  I was more concerned about everyone else, then I was myself.  That fearlessness stinted from an altercation between my father and me when I was about six years old.  My father had been out drinking and came home and told me to go take a bath.  I replied, I already did.. I guess he got mad for me talking back, so he walked up the stairs and told me again.  Well, again I replied, I already did… so he hit me.   I fell down the stairs and with a bloody lip, I walk up the stairs and called my mom to come get me.  That anger and bitterness carried with me for years to come.

My first taste of church that I can fully remember was in the 4th grade.  I remember very little about it really, but I do remember the night I accepted Christ.  I remember sitting by my mother and the invitation was given ( as in most Baptist Church’s at that time).  I fully remember the calling… So with out waiting, I moved past my mom, and walked the isle.  That night, I knew I was saved.  But very little happened with that, because shortly after that, we stopped going to church.  Not being taught how to properly walk the Christian walk, nothing really changed in my life, other than the fact I was saved.  That process that I missed out on, would cost me dearly in the years to come.

Middle School Years

Middle School can be a trying time for any kid.  New friends, more pressures and much more temptation.  My sixth grade year brought about some changes in my life and not for the better.  As I had stated before, I kept all my bitterness and anger deep with in, because even at that early of an age, I didn’t want anybody to know how bad I was hurting.  So, as with anybody who keeps there feelings locked inside, depression set in.  Now by 7th grade, I was willing to try and do anything to fit in.  I tried smoking weed, taking liquor from my dads liquor cabinet… anything to make me feel accepted.  You see, here is where the rejected feelings of my past took over.  I never dealt with them, I was to afraid to.  Now I am not saying that all my poor decisions were my parents fault.  I am just saying that I let them control my thoughts and actions.  As the depression set in further and the things I was doing were not working, I wanted to die.  I remember crying one night, telling my mother, I don’t want to live anymore.  The pain inside had grown so deep and so severe, that I didn’t care.  Of course, she did what any parent would do and took me to counseling.  That helped a little bit and medication was given because they said I had a “Chemical Imbalance”.  When in fact, I had a emotional imbalance.  I wanted so bad to scream and yell, but I simply couldn’t.  I was stuck like a prisoner in my own mind and body.  Longing for something to take away the pain.

High School

Still carrying with me the depression, I learned to hide it very well.  My freshman year went fairly well, but by my sophomore year, I was hanging with kids who could drive and I was doing some driving of my own… I took my brothers truck for a little joy ride with some of my friends and no… I had no license.  Luckily I never got caught, except by him.  I would often times talk my neighbor into letting me take her car.  By the end of my sophomore year, I was drinking, and drinking heavily.  I would literally drink until I passed out anything to escape the pain.  My junior year was much of the same… Drinking, parties, and anything else to bring me temporary pleasure ( although, none of it was pleasure..).   One story sticks with me more the any though and that was a night when I got so drunk, I struck a police officer.  Me and a friend, went to my work Mesquite Go-Cart.  I had a lot to drink and the officer (who was a friend of mine) noticed me and told me to leave.  I refused.  He then asked me how much I had to drink and wanted in my car ( my mothers by the way… not smart).  I refused again… he then grabbed me and I broke away a hit him.  Guess where I was then… face down on the police car.  Luckily, (because he knew me) release me to some of my friends at work.  I was not very bright at all that night, and I would love to say it got better, but it really didn’t.  Not until my senior year.

I had be visiting a church with a friend of mine.  I went with her to a church conference and met a girl.  She put me on the straight and narrow.  I began attending church with her and her family.  For the first time, I felt like I had meaning.  I felt a calling on my life… a calling to be a youth minister.  I was so very excited about this calling and about my lifestyle changes… I lost all my friends, (all but one and you know who you are) as they began to call me a holy roller.  With all the positive changes taking place, there was only one problem… my age.  I had graduated and she was still going to be in high school.  So her parents, just before I started college made her break up… (smart move on their part).

College/Young Adult

I still had the ambition to continue my education for my calling, but due to some financial issues, I was not able to continue past my first semester.  This brought about the feeling of failure, like I had never really experienced.  I moved to California, thinking a fresh start would help.. It didn’t.  I came back to Texas… that didn’t help either, so I moved back to California.  Guess what, that didn’t work again.  So I moved back.  I was in bad shape.  So I decide to go back to church one night.  I ended up meeting a girl and we hit it off.  So we started dating and she got pregnant.  I was determined to do the right thing.  So I asked her to marry me.  Well shortly after that, I knew there was no way it would ever
work, so I broke it off.  I was still excited to be a father, but it was nothing like I had pictured it to be.  Needless to say, I was not a popular person with her or her family.  The night she had the baby, I was called late.  Me and my mother went down there and I was so full of joy, only to have it sucked right out of my when I found out I was not even on the birth certificate.  I was told that I would still be able to be part of her life, but I was not going to have any legal rights.  ( now I know you can fight these things, but I was a 21 year old bartender)  At first, the visits went okay.  There were purely on the her terms and as time went by, they got harder and harder.  I was living with another woman and we ended getting married shortly after my baby girl was born.  Which brings us to…

My First Marriage

My new wife and I, moved to Denton for her schooling shortly after we got married.  We starting attending church up there and I was really attempting to allow God to use me again.  In an attempt to reconnect with my original calling, I became an intern in the youth ministry there.  I loved it.  I felt so at home, but during a revival there, my life would make a drastic change. I had been traveling around to different schools with the Power Team who was visiting our church.  We were having a final revival service to were all the kids who we had visited could come for one final shabang… It was a great service, a lot of kids were in attendance.  You could feel the power of the Holy Spirit moving… then… the Holy Spirit came over me like never before.  I had a full vision of what I as supposed to do, but did not know how.. The Lord was telling me to go… to go the California for a third time and be a witness for my Dad and share with him the gospel.  I was like, how the heck is that going to happen?  My wife is pregnant with our first child together, I work at Sears and she is going to school.  Lord, you are going to have to make this happen if you want me to go… Well, that night we got back home and guess what?  My Dad called… he was wanting me to move to California to help him.  He offered to pay for the entire move and he even got us into an apartment.  Okay?  So we went.  However, it went nothing like I thought.

At first, it was great.  We got along good, he was there for the birth of my first born son.  It was going great.  But that is when I really felt the Lord reminding me of why I was there.  One day driving back from San Fransisco, my dad and I were talking.  I felt the Lord saying, now is the time.  I was scared to death.  So I asked him, Dad, if you were to die today, were do you think you would go? Heaven or Hell?  Let’s just say it did not go so well and after that, everything changed.  I knew that the Lord was at work on my dad, but I also knew how tough and stubborn my dad was.  One night, I was watching my son, while my wife went out with a friend from church.  My dad called and he was hot… I don’t even remember what he was mad at, but I do remember this.  He gave me an choice, either I worked for him or I worked for God.. So I told him, I work for God… that changed everything, for the worse.  Shortly after that, we had a falling out over some money and I move back to Texas.

Right after we got back, I was disowned by my father over the money issue.  The feeling of failure set in. Not only did I feel as if I had failed God, I also had lost my father.  I tried to hide the pain once more, but that hiding place was beginning to over flow, I just did not realize it yet. A deep depression set in, causing me to lose job after job.   Still trying to hide it, I became the youth director at my church, thinking if I could make it up to God through my service, all would be better.  I was so wrong.  I lost a ton of weight, I dropped to around 120 lbs.  I was in a ton of pain, so much so that it caused me to physically feel sick.   Spiraling out of control, I began to have marital problems.  Before I knew it, my wife was leaving me.  I was losing it all.  I got evicted from my apartment, moved.. tried to work things out with my wife, she got pregnant with our second son, still spiraling, got evicted again, wife left again.  After some time, I moved to be with my wife trying one last time to work things out… I was made to get some counseling. Things seemed, although very rough, to be working out.  I had a job, our second son was born, I was going to counseling.  All was good, until the plant where I was working shut down.  I could not find work in this small town, so I became a substitute teacher… that didn’t pay very well at all. However, it was still going okay.  My counseling sessions began to take a very strange twist.  My counselors began to discredit my motives and questioning everything about me.  And then I soon found my wife asking me to leave.  So I did, and all hell broke loose in my life shortly there after.  A nasty divorce followed.  I hit rock bottom.

Still trying to hide my pain (because it worked so well all the other times) I met a woman, who turned my life even further upside down.  We ended up moving in with each other, (awful move) and I had both of my boys living with me also.  But inside, I was a mess.  Although one good thing did happen during that time.  My dad and I forgave each other and started building a new relationship.  However, me and my girlfriend were fighting none stop and my boys were right in the middle of it.  I made the decision to move out and live with a friend.  My hours at the job I had didn’t allow me to keep my boys, so they went to live with their mother.  I didn’t see them for about a year in a half, unable to contact them, unable to see them… I was lost.  During that time, my friend and I were two peas in a pod.  Both drinking every night just to find the piece to sleep.  Until one day an old friend called me.  He came and bought us groceries and took me out to lunch.  For that moment I had some clarity… If I stayed were I was, I would die.  So I moved back with my mother. A short time later, I began going back to church and making some good friends.  I ended up meeting someone… the love of my life.

My Second Marriage

We ended getting married, but things still weren’t easy.  I had started seeing my boys again, and their mother, step father and I just could not get along to save our lives.  There was so much bitterness on all parts, that I had to make the most difficult decision of my life… I gave them up.  Trying to do what was best for their well being, I through in the towel on my feelings and on theirs.  I wanted them to have a good life, one without all the fighting, they had already been through so much.  So I did what I thought was best… a mistake I still live with today.

From the day I met my wife, I was new… although the process was not the right way to handle the start of our relationship, I was still new.  I was able to hold down a job, I was able to work my way up and succeed for once in my life, but there was still something missing.  After a while, although I was able to hold down a job, things were very tight.  We were having to live with my mother and the strain of finances and stress of everything, I pushed her away too.

Miracles do happen

On the brink of divorce, papers signed and papers being filed for my second divorce, I cried out to God.  I prayed for Him to show me what it was that I kept doing to fail… His answer…
you keep getting in my way. You see, since I was saved in the 4th grade, I was bought and paid for.  All my sins, past, present and future… forgiven.  But while He was my Savior, he was not my Lord.  Meaning, He was not the Lord of my life.  In fact, He was not even close.  I prayed and asked for forgiveness and asked Him to please save my marriage at any cost… my friends, He did just that.  He not only saved our marriage, He transformed it.  God did what only He could do.. He enabled our hearts to forgive one another and moved into the Lordship wing of our house.  God is now at the forefront of what we and our family stand for and while we still struggle and still fall, He is right there with us every step of the way.

Shortly after we restored our marriage, she became pregnant, and she gave birth to our beautiful daughter.  Then almost one year later, a baby boy arrived.  I tell you, God is GOOD!  To top things off, He has restored my relationship with my oldest daughter and guess what else… my boys too!  I speak with my daughter once a week and my boys and I communicate via facebook.  But wait there is more… forgiveness is such a powerful tool, that my ex and her husband and I have forgiven each other as well.  And they say miracles don’t happen.

Restoration

It is also important to note that my father and I, as I stated above, have forgiven one another for our past.  My dad and I now have the father son relationship that I so longed for as a child.  He has turned his life over and to the Lord.  He has been sober for over a year now and is truly a change man, father and husband.  You see, the miracles in my life are exactly that.  I praise God for every ounce of restoration and healing in my life. And while I struggled for the majority of it thus far, I have the freedom to continue my growth and pursuit of God’s perfect plan for my life. You see, our failures and guilt we carry from our past are simply lies for Satan himself.  We must recognize that Satan will use anything we let him, to destroy our paths.  He knows he can’t effect our ultimate destination, so he does whatever he can to distract us with his lies. We must break free of the chains that bind us, in order to experience the full love of God on our lives.  We must also be willing to make Him the Lord of our lives in all we do.  For by allowing Him in to our hardened hearts, we open the door to true restoration and freedom for our lives.

Closing

In closing, I want to share two last things… Forgiveness is the key to my testimony.  Not just forgiveness in my relationships and God, but forgiveness of myself.  You see, I let my guilt and shame control my life for 30 some odd years.  Allowing Satan to use my failures and my past against me, in all I did and try to do, holding me from my blessings that God had for me.  Forgiveness is hard, but forgiving yourself, well that is harder.  But you must realize that God holds nothing against you.  If you are a believer and you have been bought and paid for by the blood of Jesus Christ, His Son.  Then when you ask for forgiveness, you are forgiven… PERIOD! But you must forgive yourself at the same time, because as you have seen with me, the guilt and shame with destroy you and the ones around you.  God grace and mercy cover us and it is His gift to us, but we must accept that gift.  His Love for you, is speechless… embrace that love, and began experiencing the life He meant for you to have.

The second is depression… Depression is a very serious condition and the longer you wait to address it, the more destruction it will cause.  If you are experiencing depression of any kind, seek help.  Depression doesn’t make you a weak person, but trying to fight it alone will.  Most depression victims are depressed due to something in their lives they have not dealt with, much like me.  By hiding your feelings of hurt, bitterness, and anger, the only person you are really hurting is yourself and the people who love and care about you.  So I pray, that if you are going through depression and have not dealt with it, that you will soon.  Call your church, call a minister, or call a friend, they will be able to put you in touch with someone who can help you.

I pray that God will use this for His Glory… So please share my testimony with anyone God lays on your heart.  God Bless you and your journey with the Lord!

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About Brad Clarke

The Christian journey takes us through many different areas in life. Our Walk with Jesus, is exactly that and is designed to encourage, inspire, and help any and all that read it.
This entry was posted in Faith, Jesus, Religion, Religious, Temptation, Trials. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to My Walk with Jesus Vol. 22 “My Life Testimony”

  1. Nan Hart says:

    oh Bradley!! How I long to be you? You set my soul on fire!

  2. Nan Hart says:

    Brad? As I sat here awaiting Spiritual Developement, I read your blog!! What an uplift to a young spirit! You have inspired me! I give all Glory to God, for He has blessed me so, but I find I need Prayers more than ever! I’m so new at this and it really helped. I have to sit here in my own prison day after day oh please pray for me…..

  3. Brad Clarke says:

    Nan… you bring tears of joy to my eyes… I am so very proud of you. We are praying for you and the work God is doing in your life. Please know this.. God so loves you and is right there with you each step of the way. Even when you feel all alone, cry out to him… Continue to seek his face in ALL you do… for the Bible tells us in, Jeremiah 29:11
    “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” That is a promise for you to hold on to… That is what I repeat to myself daily! I love you and know that you are always in my prayers!

  4. Nan Hart says:

    OH Bradley, thank you!! You donnot know how you have changed my life and Spirit filled being! This is such a long hard road and your comment has helped me sooo much. I Desire only GOD in my life and I know I’m going to have to get up from here and do something! I pray for forgiveness and pray that I will always have this cherished feeling in my heart, HE, and His infinite wisdom is pouring thru me and I cannot stop singing His praise! I have a desparate, desire and longing that I never lose this feeling. Would you please send me info on how you have dealt with depression!…or point me in the right direction,son!

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