When I was “found out” on August 28th, 2015 and I very nearly destroyed everything I held dear, I wondered if God would really be there for me. As an addict I believed the lies I’d told myself and was convinced that He hated me, that I was too far gone and that He had washed His Holy Hands of me. But I was so desperate and so broken and so lost that I truly had no choice but to throw myself on His Mercy and trust Him. I was so desperate that at the time it wasn’t even difficult in spite of my life-long trust issues. I knew, deep in my heart, that there was absolutely nothing I could do to fix any of the destruction I’d caused. I had no choice but to trust God.
True to His Word He has been nothing short of miraculous in our lives. He led us when we didn’t have a clue what we were doing. He directed our decisions and chose our paths. He put His Ways before us. Specifically, for this post, He put Bill Perkins into my mind almost immediately and now three years later He put Keith Swanson in my life. I know, you’re reading this and wondering who in the world are these two men and what do they have to do with Freedom?
Bill Perkins spoke at a men’s retreat I attended in 2013 or 14 and his specialty is men’s sexual addiction issues and the topic he covered at the retreat. We talked briefly after he spoke and that was that. Out of sight, out of mind, don’t in any way, shape or form let his influence into my heart or I could jeopardize my addiction. But God brought Bill to me. Bill is affiliated with Living Free ministries and he has a Gift. He has written many books and is a well-respected teacher & speaker. God sent me an email from him; his weekly blog posting. I do not remember ever signing up for it but there it was in my email and I remembered that retreat. I emailed him on October 1st, 2015. I expected to get a nice response from a “staffer” thanking me for contacting Bill and that they would pray for me. Bill himself emailed me back almost immediately. I had dumped my entire desperate situation on him and his response was simple: “Maybe we should meet.” We met the following Tuesday and he led me through his Freedom Process of forgiveness, confession, repentance and destruction of idols I’d collected in my heart. Then he laid his hands on my head and prayed for healing of my addicted brain. There were no bells or whistles or demonic manifestations. I’m not even sure I can say at the moment I felt a lot better. It took four hours and I was emotionally and physically depleted. But GOD was there that day, without a doubt, and a miracle occurred. Months later Lynn would define my time with Bill as “Pivotal” in my recovery. Please realize that you’re getting the less-than-nutshell version of what occurred that day leading to a singular point.
Through quite a number of “coincidences” (no, I don’t believe in them) God introduced us to Grace Chapel in Wilsonville, OR. One of the many blessings from that introduction is Keith Swanson. Keith is a trained facilitator of Neil Anderson’s “Steps to Freedom” through Freedom In Christ ministries. I’ve been taking Keith’s class at church and last Sunday I and another friend went through the “Steps.” The Steps are very similar to Bill’s Freedom Process – since they’re both EXTRAORDINARILY Biblically-based this comes as no great surprise. When I saw Bill I was desperate. When I started the class with Keith I knew we would be doing the Steps eventually and was looking forward to it. But then, as the time got nearer, I became apprehensive. I didn’t get it. This was another glorious opportunity to grow closer to the God I now truly love with all my heart. This was an opportunity to open my heart for God’s BEST and I should have been excited. But I was troubled. So I told Lynn. One of the loveliest blessings of our recovery is that I share with Lynn and we talk on levels we’d never ever imagined before. So I told her. She was surprised as well but in her wisdom she reminded me I would be digging up my past again and that’s always hard; maybe that was it.
I tried to shake the feeling but it persisted. I shared it with Keith on Sunday before we got started and he, too, was a little surprised but as always very kind in his support. The Steps is a seven step process. I had read through the workbook prior to Sunday and I had in my head some things that I needed to deal with. God had more. He gave me connections that I hadn’t seen in my preview. He showed me areas that were linked but nothing that explained my apprehension. I was still feeling it. Until we got to the seventh step: Curses versus Blessings. The main Scripture here is Exodus 20: 4-6 where the iniquities of one generation can be visited on to the third and fourth generations. That was it! That was my apprehension. Going back to Step 1 where we identified counterfeit religions or beliefs God made the connections. Freemasonry. Mormonism. I was being asked to do some more hard work. And it HURT. A lot.
I’d lost my Dad to a car accident when I was three years old. In my addiction and delusions I felt abandoned by him and didn’t embrace anything of him. My mom remarried when I was 15 and in my anger I let my first Dad go. Pretty completely. In counseling I understood my feelings and the love for my Dad came back. I embraced him and our heritage and I value the few bits of memorabilia I have of him. There isn’t much so I treasure it. I have his kilt from our Scottish heritage. And … I have his Freemason’s ring. That’s when the fog lifted and I knew why I was apprehensive coming into it. I believe that I need to give it up and destroy it. And lose a little bit of him. I was surprised how easily the decision was to make. I simply knew what I have to do.
I promised you a point to all this and I’ve been very long-winded so here it is: The curses of my addiction are being visited and I will do whatever it takes to keep them from my children, even though they are all grown up. It’s hard to know exactly where the results of our addiction will fall but rest assured they will. It’s subtle. Satan is a lion but can also masquerade as an angel of light. Please hear this clearly – your children are at stake. You already know your wife and your marriage are affected but your children, too, are not immune. Seek counseling and then find someone in your area who can help you walk through a “Freedom Process.” Whether it’s a Bill Perkins or a Keith Swanson, Living Free or Freedom in Christ (those are the two I am familiar with) it’s so very important.
You were Created To Be Free. God wants you to be free. Let Him set you free in Jesus.