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Testimony of Brenda

I am here to share my testimony with you in the hopes that it encourages you to ask for help, and if you do not know Him today, you will accept the Lord into your heart as your Savior.  I accepted the Lord into my heart when I was 38 years old.

Prior to that, I lived a life that focused always on the external – never the internal or the heart. I have always appeared “successful” as a Director for a CPA firm and a successful business woman.  But on the inside, I was hurting and trying not to deal with the pain endured over a lifetime because it hurt too much. 

I felt hurt so bad when I was 3 years that the walls went up around my heart, and I didn’t want to ever feel that pain again.

We lived on a lane with 3 houses on the lane.  The mailboxes were at the top of the lane.  My mom and us 3 daughters came home from shopping and the 2 olders daughters (my sisters ages 4 and 6 at the time) wanted to get out of the car to get the mail then run along side the car.  Karen, my middle sister age 4, was running along the car and her shoelace was untied and got caught up in the spokes of the hubcap and was pulled under and died. 

I was told at the time by a neighbor that it will all go away, ignore it, don’t worry or think about it. All I wanted was my mom or dad to tell me everything would be okay. I wanted them to tell me that they loved me but they were dealing with the tragedy in their own ways. I don’t fault them for that. But I realized at that point, that I had to take care of myself, not show feelings, and keep others away for my protection so they didn’t hurt me.  I never wanted to feel that sense of pain and loss again.

I spent the next 10 years in my bedroom reading and keeping to myself. I don’t remember any friends I had at that time and have no memories during that 10 year period.  I learned at a very young age that the best way to keep others away and not get hurt was to have walls around my heart but to also stay in a physically walled room.  This was how I was going to protect myself forever (or so I thought).

My dad took off shortly after the accident emotionally from the ages of 3-14 and eventually physically detached himself from our house when my parents divorced when I was 14.  He was an alcoholic most of his life.  Later on, I would also become quite the social drinker.

After the divorce, my dad would say he would come take us 2 girls to dinner, but never showed up.  He did this about 30-40 times.  When we did see him, the first words out of his mouth were “looks like you girls have gained weight”.  This started my journey towards trying to be thin ‘enough’ so my dad would tell me he loved me. I believed that I wasn’t ‘perfect’ in his eyes and that is why he didn’t love me as his little princess.  

When I was about 17, my sister told me her friend, Kelly, was staying thin by throwing up her food. So I tried it and it worked.  I was never overweight but I believed I was overweight but found the miracle cure to stay thin and be perfect, and my dad would love me.     

In about one year, I had become anorexic, over-exercising, and anemic.  Within 6 months and for the next 8 years, I focused on bulimia only which means eating a lot of food and throwing it up. I joined a Family Fitness gym and started competitive body building.  I was in about 4-5 shows. I looked good on the outside but if only I would win bodybuilding contests, then my dad would tell me he loved me. I was wrong.

I stopped the bulimia through the inappropriate and over use of cocaine and alcohol – but I was just going from one addiction to another.  I used cocaine for 6 months and alcohol for about 2 years every night. I stopped all of that about 15 years ago and continued to live with the walls up around me—not letting anyone in to know the real me.  On the outside, I appeared perfect to others but on the inside I was alone and hurting.

After a few years, I worked full time, went to college at night and obtained a 4 year degree with honors in Information Systems from SDSU.  If I was smart enough then my dad would tell me he loved me.   I was wrong. I went back to school at night for 2 more years to obtain a masters degree in technology management – but still not receiving the love from my father that I so craved.

Therefore I would find that love in other men.  I dated heavily throughout my years from 15 until I met by now ex-husband at age 23. I was divorced at 32 because my husband had an affair with a married woman. I believed that if I could get love from any man, then I knew that someone loved me.  But it wasn’t love I was getting, but being used for sex.  This lack of true ‘love’ and being used by men further re-enforced my core belief that I am not good enough and therefore unlovable. 

At this point in my life (about 10 years ago), I felt that I wasn’t good enough for anyone and would be alone the rest of my life.

I accepted Jesus into my heart on May 15 2002. I started attending church about 4 weeks prior to that when Mike MacIntosh at Horizon did an altar call and asked us to leave everything at Jesus feet and come forward. My Abba Father in heaven loves me the way I always wanted to be loved by my earthly father.   That was very healing to me.

The Lord has changed my life drastically since then.  

I used to prefer men’s company over women’s. I had no women friends because I thought they were ‘catty’.  The Lord has shown me that women are nurturing and loving and accepting. I have many women friends now that are Godly and have helped me tremendously. When I struggle I know they will pray for me. 

I always know I wanted to help people struggling with poor body image and eating disorders but didn’t know what to do with that.  I have been recovered now for 20 years. I came to the Rock a little over 2 years ago and the first Sunday I was here, I opened the bulletin and there was a Wednesday night group meeting for Eating Disorders.  Praise God because he led me to the Rock and led me to attend the support group meeting.  Shortly thereafter, I was asked to take over the ministry. We serve about 8-10 women and men every Wednesday night through the support group in room 214. I mentor at least 2 girls a week and provide transformational coaching to several women.  I also serve in the Hospitality Ministry as a leader in the Noon Service.  I have been on several missions’ trips to Poland, Chiapas Mexico and Puerto Vallarta.  

I never saw myself as a leader, a servant, or compassionate towards others. But here I am to testify that God heals, He loves and He transforms lives.  God bless you all and this ministry.