I was struggling miserably in a hopeless mixed mess of active drug abuse and trying to keep the shameful truth of an eating disorder deeply hidden.
My Aunt Yvette invited me to come to church with her, and that is when I met Colin Garnett for the first time. I turned down Colin’s idea of me coming to stay in Bethesda. There was a list of excuses I had why I couldn’t possibly take the time out of my life to heal.
One and a half years later, I found myself in an even darker, more empty place.
There was no will in me to live, and I decided to quit my job and move to PE with a girl I knew to become a stripper and earn some “easy” money.
That is when Colin Garnett flashed before my eyes, and I knew I needed to contact him…
Dominique’s diary entry from 15th Feb. 2007
“… Convenient amnesia is a threat to me. I forget the pain. I forget what it was like.
Denial is a real problem right now. I keep making it ok to mess up. Empty promises!
I fear rejection so much. It’s keeping me from having the freedom to be honest.
I am making excuses not to download. All I need to do right now, is go up to Colin’s office and knock on the door, and I just cant seem to do it!!!
It is making me so ANGRY!
But I don’t care. (That’s a lie)
I don’t need to talk. (That’s a lie)
I don’t have anything worthwhile to talk about. (That’s a lie)
I don’t want to waste their time. (Lies. Lies. Lies. Lies!)
Let the truth be told, I don’t have the courage.
I’m terrified of exposure. Terrified of confrontation. Terrified of being vulnerable.
The only courage I have is between me, this pen, and this paper.
I have been avoiding standing in any light.
And who is suffering? Who is miserable? Who is alone? Me.
Who is the cause of this suffering? Me.
Who has the power then to stop it? Me.
Wrong! That is a lie!
I don’t have the power to do anything. I don’t have the courage. I don’t have anything.
Absolutely nothing. I have nothing but fear, lies, and more of nothing.
Will I hide forever?
Maybe. Because every time the pain comes to the surface… I stuff it down again.
I go blank. I go numb.
GOD HELP ME!”
After I wrote this in my diary sitting at a table in the living area in Bethesda, I stormed upstairs to the TV room where I literally fell on my knees at mercies door, praying for a way out of the darkness I was trapped in. Being 23 at the time, I was tired of years of self destruction that haunted me. Self harming from the age of 13, bulimic since 16, hooked on drugs and alcohol from when I was 17, and dying alone while I used all the energy I could gather to keep up an illusion of girl who was doing just fine.
Whatever reason I could blame it to do with abuse, an unstable home environment, divorce, violence, moving country… it didn’t matter. I felt lost in the dark, and all I could think of doing was praying on my knees.
I remember that moment when I thought “who am I even to be praying to God? I am so unworthy, stained with sin, look how dirty and disgusting I am! There is nothing good in me. I am just a fake”
I heard this message loud and clear throughout every cell in my body, and it shook me awake, “I am the way, the truth and the life…no one shall enter the kingdom of my Father but through Me… you will be made holy and blameless in His sight”
Then Colin flashed before me and I heard his words from one of our bible study lectures,
“ …we repent not to BE forgiven, but because we ARE forgiven!”
I lifted my head, tears streaming down my face, filled with His grace, and for the first time it was truely clear to me.
Jesus died for me, for my sins. Indeed I cannot stand before God stained with sin, yet through Jesus Christ I stand before Him washed clean.
I was stunned to say the least. “…so go now, and sin no more”
Let me share with you that it did not get any easier from there. I felt the voice of conviction so loud and clear, challenging me on my behaviour, thoughts and attitude, making me aware of the motives behind my choices, and I was suddenly super sensitive to lies and illusions all around me. After 2 weeks of being high on bliss and wonder I crashed into a depression of reality about what the costs really were when choosing the cross.
Being ignorant and blind was definitely the easy way out.
Following Christ as a role model meant saying to goodbye to my old way of life. Being willing to start letting go of all my old behavior patterns that had become such a huge part of my identity as a bulimic and an addict.
My first steps in the light were graciously supported and gently encouraged by the loving and ever-patient team that held all of us there inside Bethesda.
Brian, with his flaming and contagious passion for Christ and brilliant enthusiasm, always ready to fill any one of us with hope. It was Brian who from the very beginning when I arrived at Bethesda mid Jan 2007 attracted me with his tireless spirit and light in his eyes, and made me curious as to what God had done to change this man’s life so drastically. I even prayed then for God to do the same for me.
John Stewart, another friend I grew to love, was always there with the most amazing gift to just listen. John would take in whatever it was I had to say, with an open mind, with no judgment, and a heart full of understanding. I was blessed with the opportunity to share my step 4 with John, which I only managed to get through because I felt so safe to share my deepest pain, shame, guilt, anger and resentments.
Colin Garnett..thank God for him, and for all the lives God has transformed through him. Anyone who ever got “Colin-ized” in the office knows that Colins God given gift is cracking through denial of steel, seeing through lies and no matter how angry or upset a person may get, the truth is the only thing that matters…bin everything else.
I had a few of those encounters myself, and left the office feeling hopeless and broken. It wasn’t me he broke… you see, it was all the lies I started to believe in myself.
Besides all that Colin showed me such unconditional grace, that it gave God the time and space to work on His perfect plan for me, according to His will.
A year further down the line, I am living in Holland back with my mom and my brothers.
I’m starting to build a new life walking in the light of the Lord, and can honestly say it is my desire that God’s will be done in my life, that I may fulfill His purpose for me.
I am a nursery school teacher in a children s daycare center, I have found a wonderful church and am becoming involved in the Sunday school as well which I really enjoy. By the middle of March I will be moved into my own place where I can live independently again.
More than anything I am grateful every single day for the freedom of my mind. Even though surrender is still a daily thing for me, I feel I have been completely renewed in the sense that I no longer wake up with obsessive ego-driven thoughts and fears. I don’t go through the day planning when I am going to get chance to use, creating lies and being manipulative. I don’t suffocate in anxiety wondering if anyone is going to catch me out. I don’t waste all my money on feeding destructive habits. I don’t go to sleep filled with self loathing, promising myself it will be better tomorrow.
I am free. The Lord set me free. When I wake up my heart is in prayer. When I am on my way somewhere I am singing songs of praise. There is deep trust in me believing that everything from God is good, even when I don’t understand why things happen the way they do.
“Psalm 121:I lift my eyes to the hills. Where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the maker of heaven and earth”