She had a beer after school in first grade.
At that point, she already knew her favorite brand of beer and that she liked them ice cold.
When she called us, she was drunk.
That was the only way she was willing to talk to a pastor.
A good friend had put her in contact with our ministry, and she made arrangements to come to church that Sunday.
“I thought, ‘Alright, I’m going to give God one last chance, but that’s it.’ If it didn’t work, I planned to give up sobriety, because I couldn’t handle it,” Jennifer said, recalling the moment she committed to try church one last time.
Since alcohol can’t be purchased before 1:00pm on Sundays in the state of Ohio, Jennifer went to the store Saturday night before church to buy a 30-pack of beer in preparation for the drinking binge she planned to go on as soon as she got home from church Sunday morning.
Jennifer honored her commitment and showed up at church that Sunday morning. My husband, Gary, and I prayed for her at the end of the service.
“For most of the service and the time I was getting prayer, I was just thinking about the 30-pack of beer in my refrigerator and how quickly I could get home,” she says.
“I didn’t believe God could heal me. In fact, I believed God had made me an alcoholic and that was how He wanted me to live.”
As she drove home that Sunday, she thought about what she had experienced at church. “I didn’t feel any differently,” she says.
But something had changed.
“I didn’t realize something had happened until I realized I had gone all the way into the living room without stopping to get a drink,” Jennifer says of that Sunday morning. “I stood there in the living room empty-handed and realized I had passed the refrigerator for the first time in years without opening it to get a drink.”
The desire for alcohol was no longer there.
As Jennifer started getting plugged in at church and started discovering God’s unconditional love for her, she started experiencing emotional healing and true freedom. She began dealing with the root of her problems and the walls she had built. She started experiencing emotions she had just drank away in the past.
“I started learning to live life,” she says.
Now, more than 10 years later, Jennifer is still walking in that freedom she found through God and helping others to experience the same.