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Bonus : Rob and Heather Dolby

Words of Life / Salvation Army
The Truth Network Radio
November 4, 2019 1:00 am

Bonus : Rob and Heather Dolby

Words of Life / Salvation Army

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November 4, 2019 1:00 am

Here is the part-one, extended interview with Rob and Heather Dolby. They join us to share their own story and discuss some of the powerful ways God has allowed them to do ministry with those struggling with addictions.

Series: HEADSPACE/ a series on mental health

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Well, I'm Captain Rob Dolby and everyone knows Heather.

I'm Heather Dolby. And we met at an urban missions training college, the Salvation Army hosted in Vancouver, British Columbia in Canada, called the War College. Yeah, back in 2003.

Right. That was a two year program where young people would come together and live incarnationally. Vancouver is a very unique place. In the neighborhood, the downtown east side, where we're located, we're located. That's where we lived.

That's where addiction is pretty prevalent. So the Salvation Army has an urban training facility there where young people will come in the gap year. We would live incarnationally in the single room hotel rooms with the folks we were ministering with.

We'd have classes in the morning and do outreach in the afternoon. And it was a community, a church plan at the Salvation Army there. And that neighborhood, the downtown east side of Vancouver, that's the neighborhood where I was homeless, experiencing homelessness and living. Living on the streets where I first entered a Salvation Army treatment facility called the Vancouver Harbor Light. And that's so that's the place where literally I went to detox. And I remember showing up at the door, you know, I remember pressing the buzzer and just saying, you know, I have nowhere to go and I'm ready to I'm ready to do something different.

I need help. And then a few minutes later, the door opens and there's an intake worker there that brings you in and begins that process of detox. And yeah, I didn't know at the time, but a whole experience that would change my life forever. So we we met on the other side of sobriety. So Rob and I separately had Jesus experiences where the Lord just revealed himself to us and like this fresh and living way. Neither of us grew up in a Christian home or grew up attending church like it wasn't a thing. And so it wasn't a big part of my life. And it wasn't something I knew I was missing, but I did identify that I longed for connectivity and for community. And when we met, we already were clean and sober.

But I will say, in retrospect, I realize, gosh, the Lord has, he's just so unexpected. So I had an experience I come from a family who were supportive, who loved me, but like every family has their problems. And so as I got older, and my life started really falling apart, as I made all my own decisions, which were terrible decisions. You know, I was a I was an adult, like I was a young adult, I was in my 20s.

And I, you know, I had my own business, and I had my own car, and I had relationships, and I had finger quote friends. But I was wrecked. And I was drinking heavily, just to manage my own life. And I was just like, this can't be what my life is like, I just can't continue to do this existence day after day until I die.

This can't be all there is for me. And so I remember, my grandmother invited me to come to church with her on Sundays, and then we'd have lunch together afterwards. And I loved that together time. So I would go to church, so I could hang out afterwards. And I began to meet people that were nice.

I liked them. But I really, gosh, I really believed that if they knew what I was like, like for reals, the rest of the week, or the things I did, or the choices I made, where I hung out on Friday and Saturday nights, they'd be like, yeah, thanks. This is not the place for you.

Please go now. And so I would like I had like a double life, you know, and a lot of loving people at that church, that I let them see a bit of me but not the whole because I was afraid of being rejected. I was afraid there wouldn't be room for me.

It was a long time to spend believing that was the whole. So on Sunday mornings, I would sometimes I'd still be up from Saturday night, not even gonna lie. I go to church, hope I didn't smell like the bar.

And then what he would notice and if it was this was back, you know, in the early 2000s. But if it was nowadays, I probably would have sprayed myself with Febreze and gone in the door, right, like hoping for the best. But I would show up at church trying to look fancy on the outside. And I would learn to, you know, shake hands and say the prayers.

You know, it was the Salvation Army. So when that, you know, when we're singing, and we all get into we start clapping, and it gets exciting. And so I loved that. Like, I felt like I was having an experience different than I'd had before. And people were encouraging of that experience.

But I was worried about really just showing them all of who I was, not just like the stuff that I thought they would like, but the dark side of me too, right? Because I had not had any spiritual experiences. And I didn't know anything about God.

And I didn't even know if he would want me or if he knew about me. And so, you know, people began to invite me to spend time and hang out and do small groups and get together and I began to make friends. And I enjoyed that part of my life. But the other side, the dark side of me, like with the heavy drinking and the like free relationships where my heart was being just broken over and over again. And I would find, you know, like I got friends and no places like that was me where the whiskey drowns and the beer chases my blues away. Me and Garth Brooks were right there. But I realized that those two things were polar opposites. And I was afraid people would find out. And I remember it was a Sunday afternoon, it was June 2, 2002. And I had a lot of my life was on a downward spiral. And I, you know, I know we haven't mentioned this yet.

We met in Vancouver, but we're Canadian, even though we live and work in the United States. And I don't know, not everywhere in the United States has basements, but in Canada, we do almost everywhere. And I feel like there's something about being a grown up and having to move back into your parents' basement. It's like you hit a certain point in life where maybe, you know, you've lost a job or moving back home into the basement at your parents' house. You hang your head and you tread down the stairs.

You make that phone call. Hey, mom. Hey, dad.

How's everything going? Great. Yeah. But, you know, I need to come home.

Yeah. I was in my parents' basement and my life was just falling apart. And I remember I was so desperate for connection. I was calling every guy's number I had just to hook up, just to like, because I was hurting inside and I needed somebody to, I need somebody and something to push that hurt away. Because I was just so sad and so lonely and so dissatisfied. And I had already worked my way through a pail of margarita mix, you know, the kind where you, the white pail where you just dump in the liquor and away you go, stir and away you go.

And I'd drink the whole thing on my own. And I was making all these calls. And even the guy that always would answer, even he wasn't answering for me.

And that's when I was just like, wow, I'm that girl. I'm like, I'm rejected. Like, I am alone. I have nothing to offer. I have, like, nobody wants me. And then I was like, why would I even want to live this life like this stinks, especially in light of having this other, you know, this Sunday experience.

Sundays and Sunday nights where I would gather with these believers who saw the best in me and loved me and were kind and were warm, were happy to see me. Like, it just made me realize how dark my darkness was when I was with them. And I was just like, God, if you're real, I need you right now.

Because I don't want to live this life every day until I die. So if you're real, like, I need you to come and do something. And so which is so funny because I feel like I watch movies where that's like in the movie and I'm like, oh, that's crazy. Like, he really did.

Like, he really did show up. Like, he really the room, like the basement that I was sleeping in my bedroom where I was alone, began to fill with this tangible presence. And I was just like, like, listen, I watched a fair amount of horror movies and ghost stuff. And, you know, like sometimes you get that feeling of that there's like something behind you or like you're not alone in the room. Like you get that creepy feel to it. It was like that, but it did not feel creepy. It felt like safe.

And I just heard the voice of God say to me, Heather, if you give your life to me, I'll make it new. So you're hearing this is like an audible voice. Yeah, it was. Now, to be fair, like I was drunk. There's that. But I really like I've really tried to think about over the years because I've you know, I've told this story before, Rob, because I love sharing that moment where Jesus introduced himself to me and was like, surprise.

June 2nd, 2002. And I've thought like, is it like, did I hear him with my ears? Or should I just say to people? Is it more honest to say I sensed him and my spirit?

But I really feel like I heard him say, if you give your life to me, Heather, I'll make it new. And I straight up because like, I'm keep it real kind of girl. Lord, I said, I can't quit drinking.

So like, what use am I to you? Like, I can't stop. And he just said again, if you give your life to me, I will make it new. And I was just like, okay. And I cried a lot and cried. And then I just began to feel so full. Like all of a sudden, there's like something filling me up inside. And I was like, what is happening right now? And I felt like I was full of light. And there's like, if I could have looked in the mirror, I felt like there might have been like laser beams come out of my eyes. Like it was like, I was like, something is happening to me right now. And in retrospect, I know that was the Spirit of God.

Right? Because it's the promise of all believers that we will be filled with the Holy Spirit. And so that's what was happening in that moment. But I don't know anything about anything because I was new. And so the very next day, I went right into the Salvation Army Church where I had been attending in London, Ontario. And I marched into that corps officer or the pastor's office. And I was like, I met Jesus yesterday. And he said that these are the things I need to do. And so here I am.

So what's next? And he was like, well, okay, then let's get to work. And then a few months later, I really felt called to go deeper.

And that's how I ended up at that War College program, our mission training program where you and I met. So it's interesting, though, you know, just a few weeks before that, you're sitting in church thinking, if these people knew what I'm really like, they wouldn't want me. Right.

They would just tell me to leave. Right. And then after this encounter with Jesus, you're like, I can't wait to get in the door. Yes.

Yes, because something happened. And in the Word of God, it says that perfect love drives out all fear. And I believe that in that moment, like what was happening to me spiritually was so much bigger than the stuff I was afraid of that I was like, I got to go with that.

Like, I got to go with this. Like, like this experience I'm having is real. And it is unlike anything I've ever experienced.

And people have to see. And I really felt like people who encountered me, especially in that first couple of weeks, were like, what is different about you? Because first of all, that was the that day was the last time I ever took a drink.

In fact, it was the last time that I ever wanted to take a drink. Like the Lord just did this beautiful supernatural thing where he just removed this desire to push my feelings and my hurt and my brokenness away and numb it with alcohol or other substances. It just he was went boop and took it away in a supernatural way, which I believe he does. And I'm thankful for that. But interestingly enough, and that's why I said, like, he's just so unexpected, Rob, because by the time I got to Vancouver, to that neighborhood, to those neighbors, to that dark, that spiritually dark place where we began to learn about how to love people with the love of God. But in practical ways, I was clean and sober, like I wasn't using, but I wasn't living life in fullness. And so God did this fun thing where I thought I was going to go and offer something and learn something for people. But really, he put me right in the middle of a group of people on a journey to sobriety because we in that neighborhood, there's a strong 12 step presence.

There's a strong spiritual recovery community. And so I know if I knew at the beginning that that's what's going to happen, I would have been like, yeah, no, I'm good things. But the Lord, he knows how to be tricky with me and he knows what I need. And he plopped me right down in the middle of a community, people on a journey to sobriety. And so I began to learn not just how to not pick up anymore, but how to actually change my behaviors and allow God to transform me by the renewing of my mind so that I could not be a slave to my old ways, my stinking thinking, my old behaviors, issues from my past. But I began to learn new ways and I'm really thankful. And that for me is important because if I had just like I believe that if I hadn't had that experience, I'd still be clean and sober today. But I wouldn't be who I am now. And I like who I am now.

You know, I've grown because I've had people around me who were accepting of my faults, who were gracious when I was a challenge and who were direct and straight up with me when I was acting crazy and acting out. And you and I have talked about it before, but I really believe that Jesus saved me in my parents' basement on June 2nd, 2002. But every day since then, the church, this body of believers, this Jesus family has held me when I want to cut and run, when I want to, you know, just give up. It's that community of believers that, you know, over years, more people come and people go. But they're the ones that have held me and reminded me of who God called me to be.

So I'm thankful for that. Also, think about this. Your grandma, right, who really was the person that initiated, hey, you need to come to church, had been praying for you daily for over 40 years. And I guess I think about that because people listening and stuff, you know, they might not have the experience where, you know, one day their loved one had this experience with God and everything is new and everything is perfect or easy or maybe, you know, some people can experience this touch of God that's miraculous and supernatural. But then there's other folks that maybe are on a hard journey. I mean, we have friends that love the Lord, that have struggled with addiction, that we've seen overdose, that we've seen not end up in this place of victory, just struggling and striving. And for a lot of people that maybe have kids or parents or brothers and sisters that are still out there struggling, that's a tough one.

You know, you hear these stories of hope, but you're maybe looking at your situation just saying, wow, where's the hope here? And I guess I just think of your grandma for over 40 years daily praying for you, right? So you can say, yeah, it took eight years of going to church.

It did. You can say it took this many months of gaining spiritual maturity, but it's over 40 years of daily coming to the Lord and praying for you. And that's a real gift of love that we give someone when we will choose to persevere. Like, despite what our eyes see, despite the choices somebody's making in their day to day, to believe in faith that God has something more for them, that they were created for something more, and to pray that in faith.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-02-03 08:28:15 / 2024-02-03 08:35:25 / 7

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