My time in the military left me with deep emotional scars. I suffered from post–traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, depression, and suicidal thoughts. Addictions emerged as I fought to survive the hopelessness of each day.
My mental issues, plus the fact that I was far from Christ, destroyed my young marriage and prevented me from being a good father. Feelings of worthlessness set in as I watched another man father my child. I wasn’t even good enough to be a dad, I thought. I had no sense of hope or value.
In 2016, a friend from the military graciously allowed me to stay with his family while I got myself together. I tried to work and go back to college, but depression made it difficult. One night, I found myself on my knees, weeping uncontrollably. I was ready to end my life. I cried out to God and asked Him why my life was the way it was. Why did I struggle with PTSD and depression?
In that moment, it was like time stopped. I felt God’s presence so strongly. His peace overwhelmed me, and I couldn’t move or speak. Then I heard a voice say, “Brandon, you are where you are because you’ve tried to do everything in your own strength. I love you. I have a plan and a future for you. I want to prosper you, but you have to follow Me and allow Me to lift your burdens from your shoulders. Surrender and let Me come into your life.”
My tears of sadness turned to tears of joy. I wasn’t religious, but I knew I had had an encounter with God. Suddenly, I understood my life had a purpose, and with God, I could overcome anything.
The next day, depression tried to return. Before it could take root, however, I shouted, “No!” I remembered the encounter from the night before. I had heard from God. He had promised me a better life in Him, and I wanted it. But Satan was fighting for my mind.
I didn’t understand spiritual warfare yet, but I knew the battle was on. It was like a force was keeping me from reading the Bible. Desperate to win, I prayed, “God, help! I am struggling to read Your Word. Help me to be motivated and disciplined to study the Bible, no matter how I feel.”
Days later, a friend called to tell me he was having marital problems. Scriptures came to mind about love and marriage, and I shared them with him. He called every night for a week, and together we dove into God’s Word. The Lord used my friend’s situation to motivate me to study.
The more I read the Bible, the hungrier I became for God’s truth. Then, as I stood on the Word, God began to change me. He removed my addictions and helped me focus on Him. He transformed my mind and gave me thoughts of peace instead of despair. Knowing how much He had impacted my life made me to want to share Him with others. God used a visit from my mother to fulfill that desire.
She introduced me to her friend Paul, who was a traveling missionary. I had never spoken with someone so passionate about God; talking with Paul fueled my new faith. He asked me to join him on the road. I was all in. My time there revealed the power of God, not only to save people’s souls but to heal them mentally, physically, and emotionally as well.
Soon after, the Lord led me to my wife,
Britney, who shares my passion for telling others about the goodness of God. Today, we travel the nation with our son, leading others to Christ—the One who can heal completely. It’s not been a comfortable journey, but the good fight of faith (2 Timothy 4:7) is one worth fighting. It’s an incredible thing, to know you’re part of something bigger than yourself.