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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
What Capt. Rob jewelry and have the ability, and that we met, urban missions training: Salvation Army hosted in Vancouver Canada.
Cold War: back in 2003, right was a two-year program were young people would come together and live incarnational he Vancouver is very unique place in the neighborhood the downtown Eastside where we lived.
That's where addiction is pretty prevalent so the Salvation Army has an urban training facility.
There were young people come in the Year.
We live incarnational in the single room hotel rooms with the folks we were ministering with. We have classes in the morning and do outreach in the afternoon. It was community a church plant of the Salvation Army there and that neighborhood downtown Eastside of Vancouver.
That's the neighborhood where I was homeless, expressing homelessness and living on the streets.
I where I first entered a Salvation Army treatment facility called Vancouver Harbor light and all that so that's the place were literally, I went to detox. And I remember showing up the door. You know I remember pressing the buzzer and just saying you know I've nowhere to go and I'm ready to ready do something different. I need help and that if you miss later, the door opens and others. An intake worker there that brings you in begins the process of detox and yeah I did note the time, but a whole experience that would change my life forever so we we met on the other side of sobriety. So Robin I separately. Had Jesus experience is where the largest revealed himself to us in like this fresh and living way I grew up in a Christian home or grep attending church like a pleasant 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 mats we Harry were clean and sober. But I will say in retrospect, I realize the Lord has unexpected so I had an experience I come from a family who were supportive who love me back at every family has their problems and so as I got older my life started really falling apart. As I made all my decisions which were terrible citizens United. I was an adult, slight as a young adult is in my 20s and I know I had my own business and have a car and I had relationships and I had finger quote friends but I was right and I was drinking heavily just to manage my life and I display 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 have lunch together afterwards.
I love that together time so I'll go to church so I can hang out afterwards, and I began to meet people that were nice.
I like them, but I really, guys, I really believe that if they knew what I was like, like for reals the rest of the week are the things I did or the choices I made where I hung out on Friday and Saturday nights they be like I thinks this is not the place for you. Please go now and so I would like. I had like a double life, you 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 as afraid I wouldn't be room for me. It was a long time to spend believing that was the whole self.
On Sunday mornings I wades. Sometimes I'd still be up for Saturday night, not an ally. I go to church hope that in smell like the bar and that we would notice and if it was this is back you know in early 2000's. But it was nowadays up. I would spray myself with a reason got in the door I like (the bad, but I would be Silva church trying to look fancy on outside and I would learn to shake hands and say the prayers you know is a Salvation Army. So when Elmer Sandel get into. We start clapping and gets exciting and so I love that I felt like I was having an experience different night had before and people were encouraging of that experience, but I was worried about really just sewing them all. If I was, not just like the stuff that I thought they would like, but the dark side of me to write because I had not had any special experiences and I didn't know anything about God and I didn't even know if he would want me or if you knew about me and so you know, people began to invite me to spend time and hang out into small groups and get together and began to make friends and I enjoyed that part of my life, but the other side, the dark side of me late with the heavy drinking, and the like free relationships where my heart was beating is broken over and over again I would find in a like I got friends in low places like that was me where the whiskey drowns in the beer to Vanguard bugs arrived there, but I realize that those two things are polar opposites, and I was afraid he would find out and I remember it was Sunday afternoon.
It was June 2, 2002 and I had a lot of my life is in a downward spiral and I you know, I know we haven't mentioned this yet. We met in Vancouver but were Canadian. Even though we live and work United States and I don't know as basements, but in Canada I would do almost everywhere, and I feel like there's something about being a grown up and having to move back into you.
You hit a certain point in life were made. You lost a job, or moving back home into the basement of your parents raised you hang your head and you tread down the stairs made a phone call. Hey mom is going great but you know I come home I was in my parents basement and my life is 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 I was hurting inside and I needed summative to I need somebody and something to push that herd away because I was just so sad and so lonely and so dissatisfied and I had Artie worked my way through a pail of Margarita mix.
You know, the kind where you the way pay wages dump in the liquor and away you go staring at Wego and I don't drink the whole thing on my own and I was making all these calls and even the guide always would answer even he wasn't answering for me and that's when I was just like wow I'm that girl I like, I am rejected, like I am. I am alone. I have nothing to offer.
Like nobody wants me and then I was like why would I want to live this life like this, stinks, especially in light of having this other know this Sunday experience.
Sundays and Sunday nights where I would gather with these believers who saw the best of me and loved me and were kind and warm, happy to see me like it just made me realize how dark my darkness was when I was with them and I was just lay God if your 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 with us. Like in the movie and I'm like 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 leg like Alyssa and I watched a fair amount of horror movies and go stuff and you know like sometimes you get that feeling of that last like something behind you would like you 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 lay safe and I I just heard the voice of God say to me, Heather. If you give your life to me, I'll make it new grimaces like an audible voice yeah I live like I was drunk that I really like. I really think about over the years told the story before Rob because I love sharing that moment where Jesus introduced himself to me was like June 2, 2000 and to and I thought like I did. I with my ears or should I just say to people is a more honest to say I sensed him in my spirit but I really feel like I hurt him say if you give your life to me Heather I'll make it straight up. It's like I'm keep it real kinda girl. Lord I sent. I can't quit drinking so like what you some idea like I can't stop need to set 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 try and then I just began to feel so full all of a sudden there's like something filling me up inside right now and I thought like I was full of life.
There is like if I could I looked in the mirror. I thought that maybe like laser beams can, I think it was like anything right now and spec I know that was the spirit of God is the promise of all believers that we will be filled with the Holy Spirit and so that's what was happening that moment anything about anything that I was new and so the very next day I went right into the Salvation Army church right been attending in London Ontario and I marched into that Corps officer or that the pastor's office and play. I met Jesus yesterday and he said that this these are 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 college program.
Our mission training program where you and I met this interesting though just a few weeks before that you're sitting in church thinking if these people knew what I really liked right they they would want me just tell me to leave right and then after this encounter with Jesus your love.
I can't wait to get in the door and told him about yes because something happened 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 had a go at that. Like I got a go at this lake like this experience.
I'm having having is real and it is unlike anything ever experienced, and people have to see and I really felt like people who encountered me, especially my first couple weeks were like about you is 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 does remove this desire to push my feelings and my hurt, my brokenness away and now met with alcohol or other substances, it just he was went and took it away in a supernatural way which I believe you guys and I'm thankful for that. But interestingly and naff and that's 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 look I wasn't using but I wasn't living life in fullness and so God did this fun thing where I thought I was in a 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 twelve-step presence is a strong spiritual recovery community and so I know if I knew at the beginning that that's what happened.
I would been like. I know I'm good thanks but the Lord he would be tricky with me and he knows that I need and he plopped me right down the middle of the committee 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 you by the renewing of my mind, so that I could not be a slave to my old ways.
My stinking thinking all behaviors issues from my past, but on I began to learn new ways and I'm really thankful and not for me is important because if I had just like I believe that if I had had that experience. I'd still be clean and sober today, but I wouldn't be who I am now on I like who I am now you know I've grown and because I've had people around me who were accepting of my faults who were gracious when I was a challenge and who were directed straight up with me when I was acting crazy and acting out and you and I talked about it before, but I really believe that Jesus save me and my parents basement on June 2, 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 you know just give up. It's that community of believers that in over a year's 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 thankful for that. Also think about this.
Your grandma right who really was the person that initiated you need to come yes been praying for you right daily for that over 40 years. Yet 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 have this experience regarding everything is new and everything is perfect or easier, but you know some people can experience this touch of God.
That's miraculous and supernatural other folks that may be your own hard to remember, we are friends that love the Lord, that I struggled with addiction that racing overdose that we've seen not end up in this place of victory just struggling and striving for a lot of people it may be have kids or parents or brothers and sisters that are still out there struggling. That's the one you you hear the stories of hope you're maybe looking at your situation. Just saying. While were were where's the hope here. I guess I just think your grandma for over 40 years daily prayer yes right right so you can say yeah it took eight years of going to church and say it took you know this many months of gaining spiritual truth but is over 40 years of dearly coming toward a real gift of love that we give someone what we will choose to persevere, like, despite what our eyes see despite you know the choice of somebody's making him 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