My Personal Testimony

Updated: Apr 11

On frequent occasions I have heard it said that personal testimonies of how a Christian came to faith in Jesus Christ, and how it completely changed their life, are of the most impacting shared experiences to others. And I can't deny that lately something has been nudging me to share mine. And so, here it is... my personal testimony of how I was utterly transformed from a destructive, depressing, and immoral lifestyle to a person with peace, purpose, and fulfillment in all areas of my life. And if God can take me from the darkest ashes of depravity, breath new life into me, and restore me with a real purpose... He can do it for you too. Here is my story...

I was raised in a family that had never given any thought of God. I didn't grow up going to church, reading my bible, or even praying. The topic of God was simply non-existent. I never considered my life to be lacking much because of it either. Sure, I understood there was a God. I understood He created everything. But honestly, that is as far as I took it. Although, when I was about 15, I had what seemed to be a rather random dream that I was walking through a beautiful forest and eventually came upon a stone with writing. I couldn't read the writing, but it was made clear to me that God brought me to this stone and it said I was to teach people about Him. It startled me a bit, but I honestly didn't give it too much thought and simply continued on with my life. Little did I know, this dream would be fulfilled around 25 years later.

I had a rather tough childhood; child abuse, drugs in the home, drunk parents, people screaming at one another, throwing and breaking things. Over time, I too developed an anger inside of me that destroyed me for the better part of my life. I also became a drunk, heavily dependent on drugs at one point, was extremely selfish, used women frequently, was quite promiscuous, married and divorced twice, and always had a chip on my shoulder. I honestly could not get much lower. I ruined my credit, had my license revoked through most of my 20's for extreme drunk driving (which also carried a period of jail time), I had no money, no career, no meaningful relationships, struggled to pay rent for my tiny run down apartments, and just had zero hope for any real future. I was SLIME and I knew it. I was dead inside with no hope of life getting any better. By my mid 30's I was just going through the day to day motions and self medicating with alcohol in the evenings. In fact, there was a night, in a drunken depressed state while alone in my apartment, I put a loaded .44 Magnum pistol in my mouth. I was going to end it all. Give up. I was disgusted with myself and my life. The only thing that stopped me that night was the thought of my 2 year old son growing up without a father.

Even though I was living this life of absolute self-destruction and immorality, I always understood there was a God. I also believed He was watching me, even though I didn't really have a relationship with Him. I believe He even saved me by supernatural miracles a few times. I had close calls with drug overdoses and car accidents that should have killed me, but didn't. Those incidences should have brought me to Christ, but it only shocked me for a few days and then I was back to my old ways. I thought just calling myself a Christian, and not committing evil crimes was enough to go to Heaven. I later found out I how wrong I was.

I eventually met a rather nice woman and we started dating exclusively. Of course we had a rocky start because of my lifestyle and dumb decision making, but for some reason she really made me want to change. She was honest, nice, and extremely genuine. She was unlike any other woman I was used to meeting. Truth be told, she was actually out of my class by a long stretch, but her kind love and pleasant demeanor kept me tied to her.

We were dating for about a year and a half when we went on a vacation together to tour around the state of Colorado. While there we visited someone who had a stash of marijuana on them. We took a drive up into a high mountainous road and he got it out. I figured since it was not illegal in Colorado I would give it a small try. I barely put it up to my mouth and took maybe a half of a puff and thought nothing of it. As we continued down the road, our host wanted me to pull over so we cold get out and look at the scenery by a stream. It was extremely beautiful, but I suddenly wasn't feeling so good.

As I was standing there with my girlfriend and our host, I was dead silent, started to turn completely white and could barely stand. My girlfriend noticed something was really wrong and rushed me back to the truck. The host was given the keys and he started driving. To shorten this story up a bit, my body quit taking in oxygen as I was being rushed down the long mountainside. I was still breathing, but it my lungs did nothing else. My hands and fingers started to involuntarily curl back toward my chest and I experienced severe tunnel vision as the oxygen was being depleted from my body. Eventually I was going in and out of conscience, all the while my girlfriend is sitting behind me in the back seat, with her hands on my chest, telling me to BREATH!

It finally entered my thoughts... "Am I going to die?" It felt as though if I had just closed my eyes and let go I would have been gone. Then I heard a foreign voice in my head that said, "Josh, if I let you die, you will not be with Me." This voice was unlike any voice I've ever experienced; powerful and very clear! To be honest, I INSTANTLY KNEW it was God! In that moment I panicked. I remember in this panic, my chest tightened up and I fought as hard as I could to gain a little bit of consciousness. It was then that I realized I actually WAS DYING! First thing that I could think about was my girlfriend driving home alone with my son. But then it finally sunk in... If I wasn't going to be with God... the only other place to go would be HELL! It was made clear to me, by this voice, that Hell was a very real place and that is where I was heading.

With what little consciousness I could muster up, I prayed harder than I ever did in the past, and this time I MEANT IT! I prayed, "Oh God, please give me one more chance. I'll read my bible and do all the things that I you want me to. Please don't let me die."

Right after that prayer, it was like a light switch turned on the life in me. I screamed at the driver to STOP because I had to vomit. He quickly stopped and as fast as I could open the door I threw up more than I had eaten in a week! After a cloudy few moments I got back in the truck and fell asleep for the rest of the trip down the mountain. When we reached the hotel room, I slept deeply for an additional 2 or 3 hours. I later found out that I had a life threatening allergic reaction to the THC in the marijuana, and I was lucky to be alive!

When we returned home from the vacation, I prayed to God asking where to start. I was at ground zero, but I wanted to be a man of my word. I started reading and studying my bible, along with additional study materials eventually falling into the study of apologetics, cults, Satanism, and bible manuscript history. Ever since, I have been on a desperate path to have a real relationship with God and knowledge of absolute truth.

In the beginning stages of my journey, my girlfriend started seeing the changes in me. At first she thought I was losing my mind and having a mental breakdown, as I shared how upside-down this world really was. As my paradigm of this world shifted, it was painful to learn how many lies I did subscribe to for most of my life. At one point, even I thought I was losing my mind. My foundation of security, that was built on the lies of this world, was ripped out from under me by the Holy Spirit and I was rebuilding my foundation on truth. After a while, what I was learning started to make my girlfriend raise her own questions, as she saw truth in it also. Over time she accepted Jesus Christ as well!

Eventually, God was tugging on me to stop the sexual sin in my relationship with my girlfriend, so I proposed to her and we have now been happily married for several years! God blessed me with a marriage that is better than any loving relationship I've ever experienced. God restored my finances, allowed me to make a one time payment of $42,000 to pay off my student loans, allowed us to purchase a wonderful house to live in, and has blessed me with a stable career that I have now been at for 7 years. I have more than I could ever ask for! I still look around my home in wonderment at the blessings the Lord has given us.

But aside from all the material earthly blessings, which are still amazing and overwhelming, MOST OF ALL God gave my heart a peace I have never known previously. The hopelessness, chronic depression, and anger in me is completely gone. I now feel a worth that is absolutely irreplaceable. I learned that if I was the only person on earth, Jesus Christ loves me SO MUCH that He STILL would have taken my place on that cross to save me from eternal separation from Him. Now that I know I'm going to spend my eternity with a real creator that loves me, and I'm TOTALLY FORGIVEN for every wrong I've ever done in my life, I'm simply in awe and at peace!

Don't miss out on God's forgiveness, grace, and salvation through Jesus Christ. It's NEVER too late, and your life is NEVER too broken for God. Jesus Christ is like a doctor seeking out whom He may heal!

"But when Jesus heard that, he said unto them, They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick. But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance."

- Matthew 9:12-13 KJV

Written by: Joshua Berry

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