4.19.2018 - Freedom From Addiction & Abuse - Lindsey Dohm
- Propheticast - 4/23/18 - Special Guest Lindsey Dohm
- Audio of Restoration U Service - 4/19
We had the honor of having Lindsey Dohm tell her story last week at our Restoration U service. Almost immediately Lindsey prefaced her oratory with the disclaimer that she's not a pastor nor a speaker. It's true, she isn't a Pastor, at least in the literal sense, but she is indeed a speaker, and most in attendance likely noted that this first public rendition of her testimony was the first of many times she'll share it. It was well articulated, complete and cogent in every way that I could tell as a spectator, but most importantly, its content was the stuff of God. Her transformation, as told from her own perspective, is so markedly and inescapably God, that it would be hard for any believer or unbeliever to not at least consider God's hand in the situation. That's the power of testimony.
Abuse & the Things that Followed
Lindsey's story, at least at the spiritual core, might be similar to many other heartbreaking stories we've heard, if only they all would have an ending like Lindsey's. The abuse that she faced early in life was causal to the addiction and behaviors that came later. Whether it was right or not, the way Lindsey lived in her teens and into her 20's was a product of the wound that was inflicted years back. After being abused by a close family friend when she was quite young, the lies of shame, condemnation, and the feeling of dirtiness crept in and made themselves at home. Innocence was out the window, and God became distant to Lindsey. After a childhood of pure closeness to Jesus, this series of acts stole, for a time, that proximity to her Heavenly Father.
So Lindsey coped. She coasted through her childhood and into her early teens, withdrawing from people, even family, anything to not be hurt again. As young adulthood came into view, this "escape" from reality led to alcohol abuse, and then drugs, and even a controlling attitude toward friends and close family. She described herself as manipulative and angry at this time. Somewhere in this season, she decided that she couldn't be silent any longer about her abuse. This, of course, hit her family like a ton of bricks. Guilt overwhelmed them and Lindsey, not being in a great place, was obliged to put on the victim's hat, as she described it.
The next decade featured more of the same. Dangerous habits of alcohol and drug abuse, using men in the sense of not allowing them to ever get close, and searching at every turn for an answer to her problem, yet not ever finding the solution. She hadn't quite rediscovered the God of her youth yet. Eventually, an ultimatum came from her mom, who was amazingly persistent in prayer for her eldest daughter throughout this ordeal: get clean or please leave. That was Lindsey's ticket to ride. She became a vagabond of sorts, visiting and living in Arizona, North Carolina, and even India. She tried college, but dropped out not long into her schooling. This was a rock bottom time in her life. Eventually, after a lot of seeking she returned home and committed to a rehab program.
At this point, Lindsey described her stubbornness, even after having enrolled in rehab, as "not wanting the answer to be Jesus." She may have known it in her heart but she was still resistant to saying "yes" to Him. Sometime after completing rehab, Lindsey and her then boyfriend and now husband, Dustin, became pregnant and invited Ella Dohm into the world. This, in Lindsey's own words, was a big factor in softening her heart toward God.
A Simple Act of Submission
God began to really woo Lindsey's heart after giving birth to Ella. She dabbled with other religions at this time, just to check if they might be the way, the truth, and the life, but was ultimately pulled front and center to the feet of Jesus. Then, one day in her home, she asked the question: if you're real, I want to know.
"If you're real, I want to Know."
In a dramatic instant, perfect love and grace overcame her. All of the pain and searching and striving and hiding were washed away. Her chin, which was pointed downward for many years on account of shame, was propped up by her Father! Lindsey describes this experience as "impossible to articulate." The time that followed this moment of transformation is what Lindsey calls "divine therapy." It was a 12-week, very personal boot camp. Just she and the Father. Contentment flooded her heart and she felt joy again, which had long evaded her.
The Gospel Personified
The kicker of the story is what Pastor Brian describes as "the Gospel message." After some 25 years, and an express course on love and identity with God, she felt impressed to call the man who abused her long ago and officially forgive him. He was "floored," as Lindsey explained it, and just as many years as Lindsey was plagued with shame and addiction, he had dealt with debilitating guilt. That guilt was lifted with a perfectly timed phone call. Two people that were broken for so long were now whole, through the power and ravenous love of God. That's the Gospel folks, that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
"I'm getting comfortable being uncomfortable." - LD
Stay connected to our Do it Again Project, as Lindsey's story will be recorded and released in video form in the next couple of months.
- JF D'Orsie