David’s life story is certainly highlighted by his prodigy-like talent at the piano, his awards for songwriting and musicianship, the songs and hymns he has published and recorded, and traveling with a host of well-known music artists. However, David found the theme that emerged as he became more successful was one that he would never have chosen or written into one of his melodies—and one that ultimately would offer life, hope and healing.
The twists of his wife’s suffering with a progressive and eventually debilitating disease and his own subsequent spiral into alcoholism began derailing what, at first, seemed like a storybook life. David recounts his days as a “professional Christian” trying to spin the plates of a very public ministry life and a serious addiction to alcohol with candor.
“If we are as sick as our secrets then I was terminally ill. I was drinking at God. I was drinking at my church. I was drinking at my wife’s MS and everything in between,” David explains.
“I was finding myself in situations where I had no memory of conversations or even what happened to me the night before. My hands would shake so badly that I wouldn’t even hand someone an ink pen,” admits David. “I would have bouts of deep remorse after a night of heavy drinking and throw out all my liquor bottles in dumpsters and then return to gather up my discarded bottles in order to go home and drink again that night. I would wake up with pizza boxes in my bed and had no recollection of ordering, paying for, or eating a pizza.”
David explains, “I was hiding in plain sight. My personal life was one long stream of broken promises and my teenage daughter had lost all respect for me. My wife’s eventually incapacitated state left me a virtual single parent who doubled as a nurse. My daughter had two sick parents. One whom she knew couldn’t help it, and one whom she thought could. She was equally angry with both of us. I drank every single day for at least five years, and my life became a string of humiliating episodes that I constantly prayed would remain a secret from everyone in my ministry world. No one was more relieved than me when it all finally crashed.”
For most of his life, David could tell you what he believed about anything, anytime, at the drop of a hat. He prided himself in how well he could parrot what he d been taught about the Christian doctrine. At some point, he decided to trust the experts with matters regarding his spiritual formation and he learned to spout their words as his own. In so doing, he flipped off the switch in his heart.
He didn’t want to confuse himself with questions. And he certainly didn’t want to explore the issues and people that fell outside the grid of what he understood to be truth.
I knew what the Christian subculture wanted, writes David, and how to fit into it. I even knew how to make a living giving it what it wanted. I bought in, signed on, drank the Kool-Aid and even ended up working at the stand. Most confounding to me is that I thought I was being authentic and genuine. And maybe at the time that was even true.
It all worked beautifully … until it didn’t.
We can never be honest with others until we are honest with ourselves. Our Authentic Selves will peel back the layers of your heart and leave you transformed, filled with God s truth, and a transparent follower of Christ who is learning to distinguish what you believe from what you wish you believed.
Author Anne LaMott
Nate Larkin – Samson and the Pirate Monks: Calling Men to Authentic Brotherhood
At 50:30 …
We are joined by Author and Recording Artist Ilonka Deaton
Held in a sexual slavery for 5 years through the threat of her and her family’s life, she is now rescued, redeemed and set free, and is a healthy, full of life, complete women in Jesus Christ. Ilonka sings and speaks to audiences across the US to encourage them through the love of Jesus Christ and to remind them that their stories matter. Her inspiring message is one of victorious life, freedom, tears, laughter, and hope for any wounded heart. Her appearances fund her own organization, Ilonka Ministries, which provides free counseling for hurting women.
She didn’t think she mattered to anyone, much less to God. Life was little more than a nightmare, a dark narrative that included seduction and child rape, emotional brutality, and all the countless injustices that flow in its wake. It began when she was twelve and didn’t end until she was seventeen. And though the horror was repeated over and over again, she could tell no one what was happening to her. However dark our secrets might be, they are never truly idle. They lie to us. They tell us awful things about ourselves. They shape our thought life, and make us afraid. It wasn’t until she told the person who would later become her husband the whole story did liberation come. And it is still coming. In the hands of a loving God, a God who not only sees but cares and responds, our nightmares become redemptive tales. Our darkest secrets show themselves for what they are (and what they are not). Keeping Secrets is a true story. It’s about survival and recovery from the madness of childhood sexual abuse. And, happily, it’s about redemption.