I’m a very grateful believer in the God of the Bible, and this is not my story; it is God’s Story in My Life. My name is Marshall.
Although I was raised in the church and even went forward at an altar call when I was a ten or so, I was prodigally lost for most of my life, falling into habits of sexual brokenness, alcohol abuse, and wasting my precious time here on earth.
BUT… in 2008 at 46 years of age, I was saved by the divine intervention of Jesus Christ, who literally took my place during a suicide attempt. Now I live by Psalm 66:16:
“Come and hear, all you who fear God. Let me tell you what he has done for me.”
Ever since that life-saving day nine years ago, I have been attending recovery programs; and Celebrate Recovery since 2010. The Twelve Steps, Eight Principles, and God’s countless blessings have brought me through healing and transformation in so many ways, I would need the whole night to share them all.
So, to make sure you get to hear Lori’s miraculous testimony, I’ll share the top five.
#5 SEXUAL BROKENNESS
1 Corinthians 10:13
No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And GOD is faithful, He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.
In April 2008, I was surfing porn and acting out daily in a variety of dysfunctional ways. Then one day, I caused myself an injury that required immediate medical attention. God opened my eyes to exactly what I had been doing to myself, and I called a Christian counselor and began attending support groups like CR. I started working the steps. I soon returned to church. I began reading books about God and recovery, and the Bible. However, I continued to fail at sexual purity.
#4 ALCOHOL ABUSE
I began drinking in High School, and from the start, I always drank to get drunk. I drove intoxicated many times with my infant children in the car. I was arrested for an OUI in 1996. Even after beginning recovery – or what I’ve come to call “Spiritual Formation,” I continued to drink daily, often starting with beer with dinner and switching to hard liquor afterward.
On July 25, 2008, hung over from another drunken night and again breaking sexual sobriety, in desperation I attempted suicide but was stopped literally by the bell of a kitchen timer. Jesus Christ had saved my life.
I spent a week in a behavioral health center, and began to know Jesus and God’s grace. That week was the turning point in my sobriety for both sexual brokenness and alcohol abuse.
I began to put together significant periods of purity and ceased to drink beer, although I continued to get buzzed on shots of liquor at family events and even when I was alone.
But… on July 28, 2012, I became sober from all alcohol.
#3 WASTING MY LIFE
The old me could spend an entire day supposedly “working at home,” but actually surfing porn, playing video games, before drinking in front of the TV. The next area of brokenness God began healing was my pursuit of such time-killing worldly distractions.
In recovery we pursue what we call “Replacement Therapy.” In a word, it is “service.” My days now are filled with volunteering
- with the worship teams at several different Celebrate Recovery meetings and for Sunday services at Grace Chapel in Lexington,
- facilitating the sexual brokenness open share groups at CR and with Small Groups Online,
- as a Stephen Minister, which is a formal Christian Care-Giving ministry,
- By Sharing my testimony at meetings like this one
- And by blogging at Sharing God’s Story.net
- (I also spent two years in a career change working in the Human Services field in a group home for dual diagnosis patients – Mental Health and Substance Abuse.)
In short, God has given me a purpose for my life here on earth – carrying this message to others – and I am doing my best to follow His path.
#2 FAILING HEALTH
2 Corinthians 4:16
We never give up. Our bodies are gradually dying, but we ourselves are being made stronger each day.
My experience with the Twelve Steps has helped me not just in addiction recovery, but also in surviving several severe health crises which all hit a very short period. Between the summers of 2014 through 2016, I believe the count of hospital admissions of at least ten days was seven.
Here is a condensed list of health issues:
- In July of 2014 my kidneys failed due to an infection and my immune system’s attacking them. I was hospitalized for 10 days. I’ve required hemodialysis 3 times a week since then.
- A month later, an inherited aortic stenosis (a leaky heart valve) caused another hospitalization when my lungs filled with the fluid my kidneys were no longer removing. During that stay, I lost 20lbs in fluid removed with dialysis for five straight days.
- The leaky heart valve was replaced on January 8, 2015 during open-heart surgery. There were some complications and I was hospitalized, including rehab, for a full month. Recovering physically took more than a year of home care, and I’m still not at “full health,” since on dialysis days, I’m “wiped out” and unable to do much.
- Between November of 2014 and August of 2015, I experienced 3 bouts of diverticulitis, the last and worst requiring a hospital stay of 2.5 weeks, followed by another 8 days’ stay when an abscess developed. On September 8, 2015, I had surgery to remove that part of my colon, and was hospitalized for another 2 weeks.
- In July of 2016, I had another hospital stay for intestinal bleeding, which, fortunately, healed without further procedures, although I did undergo several colonoscopies, including one on my birthday
- And that’s not all. Because I’m on blood thinners, I’ll have to be admitted soon for a hernia repair, and I’m almost at the top of the kidney transplant list.
#1 FAMILY AND TRUE FRIENDS
Christians refer to our church community as a “Forever Family.” I have many brothers and sisters in Christ, particularly here at Celebrate Recovery. Of note, are the completely open and honest relationships which develop in the sexual brokenness open share groups, where men talk about those things which are unmentionable in any other place or situation.
My family members who have gone home:
Psalm 30:5 Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.
- My parents, who passed in 2008 and 2010
- My older sister, in 2015, from ALS
- My mom’s twin sister, Auntie Miriam, in 2015
- Several other aunts and uncles in my parents’ generation
I have two beautiful children, 20year-old Kilian is a student at UMaine in Orono. 23year-old son Brendan, diagnosed two years ago with Type diabetes, has a 19 month old so, our grandson, known as “Weebs”.
My wonderful wife, Barb, has stood by me through all my recovery and health adventures. She drove 45 minutes each way to visit me in the behavioral health center, and from Marlboro to Worcester daily to visit me during my hospital stays.
We have become closer than ever, and are currently working on cleaning up our house for sale as we downsize to a townhouse closer to Weebs.
I never thought I would see my wife or daughter give a recovery program a shot, but recently, they both began attending Celebrate Recovery here at Grace Baptist. Amen.
And, of course, my Heavenly Father, His Savior Son, and the Holy Spirit I know are now with me always.
I received Believer’s Baptism in March 2009. I am a child of God.
1 Peter 3:15 says
Honor Christ and let Him be the Lord of your life. Always be ready to give an answer when someone asks you about your hope.
I do this with my testimony, with my words and actions, in Sharing God’s Story, with Worship and Praise, and in service to others.
I know I’ll be attending meetings like Celebrate Recovery for the rest of my life, because, as
Hebrews 10:32 says, this is how I
Remember those earlier days, after you had received the light, when you stood your ground in a great contest in the face of suffering.
If you have any hurt, habit, or hangup in your life today, I invite you to come to our next meeting and find recovery, healing, and transformation.