I began to spend time with Trish at The Lighthouse there was a heart connection from the beginning. We spent hours talking about scripture and learning how to walk in the truth.
Many times we prayed through issues until the chains were broken. I learned to have pictures in my mind, I believed as I got to know Trish then my relationship with Jesus was also getting deeper. I was talking about the inner secrets which I never shared with anyone, especially Jesus in case He rejected me.
One day in my mind I got an image of Trish in a wedding dress and me standing beside her.
Jesus was using Trish to take away my rejection, fear and low self esteem. I still think like this at some times in the day but that is the old man speaking not the new creation me.
Every now and again I would see Trish was actually very beautiful. A part of my heart belonged to her. I kept saying to myself ‘don’t be stupid this is old behaviour patterns’. I knew in my heart there was something more.
One day I told Trish I got a picture of her in a wedding dress with me beside her.
She said what ‘are you trying to say?’.
I replied ‘ I think we are going to get married.’
Trish just laughed.
She said ‘I will marry you if God shows me 100 palm trees!!!!’
Remember this is Scotland!!!!!!!!!!
Fair enough I replied.
And Trish laughed!!!!!!
It was after about 8 months without any drink that another life changing event took place. Paul had just came out of a discipleship rehab place for people with life controlling problems. he asked if I wanted to go. I said yes and applied.
I got a place in the ‘Lighthouse’ and when I arrived I knew that this was where God was going to properly teach me His ways. It was tough because it was disciplined, when you come from a place where you do what you want whenever, but it was rewarding.
I heard a speaker talk about rejection. I wanted to run but the staff were trained for this eventuality. Jesus was identifying the real issues in my heart. As they were being dealt with then His love was pouring into my heart.
It was a safe and secure place where God could pour in his Love.
I shared a room with an Irish chap called Eugene. He used to tell me wait until you meet Trish, you will really like her. Trish was away on a training course for the first few weeks. I was always a bit stubborn so if somebody says you will like anything then I would go out my way to not like it.
One Friday night Trish appeared she was okay but I wasn’t going to like her. In the courtyard one day there was just Trish and I. She asked me a question ‘when were you last happy?’. I replied ‘when I lived in Auldgirth.’ That conversation was going to have a major impact in my life.
The love of God was slowly soaking through the walls of protection that I had builr round my heart.
I had spent a few weeks now without anything, that is any alcohol. I understood exactly who my Lord and Saviour was. Jesus Christ died to set me free from the chains that bound me up for years.
I knew that I had to get the basics right so I prayed every day, read scripture every day and kept away from alcohol. As long as I did these things I knew that Jesus would walk with me.
I had feelings that I never recognised as I had spent most of the last years drunk. I had to learn to hand these over to Jesus and not pick them back up. Everyday seemed long but I knew deep down I belonged to Jesus and that someday I could walk fully in His ways.
I was told about an AA group that was Christian, they spoke openly about Jesus and handing our life over to Him. I ended up with a sponsor called Rab who was a Spirit Filled Christian. he helped me walk the walk.
I decided to leave AA and just go to Church. Most people in the Christian AA meeting went to the same Church as me, I just never knew it, I am still in touch with some of these people today.
I told AA I wasn’t going back to there meetings, they kept phoning me. I was told that if I never kept going to AA I would never keep off Alcohol.
I have been 25 years sober not because of AA but because of my relationship with Jesus Christ. He was the God of my understanding.
After a few months of sobriety I met a man called Paul who was a strong Christian. he opened up the door for me to fully understand the Love of Jesus.
I had no idea how significant this day was going to be. At first it seemed just the same. OH no another day of this chaos. I had arranged to be picked up by Lynette to go to Church. I felt so ashamed and guilty that I never wanted to go.
I tried to go back to sleep.
Them a whisper in my mind, ‘get up go to church and tell them you are an alcoholic.’ I knew this still small voice was God. I went and got washed, dressed. My lift arrived.
I sat in the car.
Lynette asked ‘how are you today?’
I replied ‘I think I am an alcoholic.’ She replied ‘That’s great Ritchie (that was my name when I was drinking. That’s a story I have still to come to!!!). You should speak to Avril.’
I spoke to Avril who shouted ‘ Praise Jesus I have been praying for this day!!!! I’ve known for years. Try and not drink today and I will take you to a meeting tonight’.
I went to the AA meeting. I heard people telling others about the same pain I had. A slogan on the wall said ‘You need never drink again.’ I never did drink again.
AA taught me how to take a day at a time as well as supported me through the first few weeks. I am forever grateful that Avril took me there and Jesus had a plan in place when I screamed out for help.
The only problem was after a few weeks people from AA told me to leave the Church.
I loved Jesus and knew he had finally called me out of my Egypt. I would never leave Him. Not this time.
I began to realise that the love I had for alcohol was stronger than the love I had for Diane. I tried to save up and go to Perth but I spent my money on Alcohol. The pain was immense almost as if somebody had died. I was using drink now to self medicate my self.
I wanted to end the pain.
I wanted to die.
I ran away to Arrochar it was like my inner hell.
I ran away again to Cambridge. This was hell itself. Met a woman in a pub and got to close. She told me she was HIV positive. In my head I had it as well. I thought this was the ultimate curse from God. I ran away dying to the Robertland.
Martin and Lynette were home now. I visited them and they knew something was wrong. I told them. They advised me to get a test which I did and had to go back for the results.
The results were negative. I didn’t have HIV.
I went to the Bonnet pub for what was to be my final drink. My friend crawled in the door on all fours, looked at me and she asked where the toilets were. I told her and looked in the gantry. I saw myself and thought that might be me some day. I got up, left my pint and went to my Mother’s house in the Robertland
That was the last Saturday in November 1992.
The next day my life would change forever.
I panicked inside when they left for the Jesus Army. I never trusted them as a group so never followed Martin and Lynette. I had major trust problems with everybody though I never knew that at the time. I wanted to run to a safe place.
A Christian place.
I had heard of the Iona Community on the Isle of Iona. Iona is a small island of the West coast of Scotland. It was 1 mile wide and 3 miles long. I heard about some Christian kids who went there when I was young.
I applied to work there. They accepted.
I was terrified when I left for 4 weeks initially. It took hours to get there by train, 2 ferries and a bus. It was a beautiful place. I was broken inside but was trying to find inner sanity.
I was introduced to Ally Hallett who would be my supervisor while I was a volunteer. Ally was great with me as I had become a housekeeper. I got on that well with her that I stayed for 5 months. For the first time in my life I felt like I belonged.
A woman came to volunteer from Perth Australia. Her name was Dianne Trenaman I got to know her really quickly. I fell in love with her. We left Iona together and ended up in Belfast. I felt loved and felt accepted for the first time in my life.
There was only one problem.
Dianne was heading back to Perth in a few months.
That fateful day came. it completely broke my heart. I never wanted her to leave. I wanted things to stay exactly as they were. Happy, Safe and Secure or so I thought.
I waved her away on the train.
I cried and cried inside and outside.
I heard a small voice deep in my heart asking me to write my story, I believe this was Jesus. I never really wanted to go into my past as it was very depressing. A few people had asked me about the blog Cleaving Hearts and how it was doing. I hadn’t written for over a year. I loved blogging but it took a chunk of time so I gave that time to Jesus to develop a deeper relationship with Him.
I started blogging again and began my story. I want to explain the name Cleaving Hearts.
Through my life I struggled with Alcoholism and when I became a Christian it was also a struggle at times. I had a couple of good Christian male friends and wanted to do a men’s conference. As I realised that many people are followers of Jesus but still struggle with issues which cause them pain.
The problem was that nobody wanted to talk about their issues.
I had planned a first conference and as part of this I would start a blog. I wanted to call it Passionate Hearts as men needed to get passionate about their walk with Jesus. Passionate hearts was unavailable so I searched for words that were like passionate. I discovered the word cleave. So Cleaving Hearts was born.
Only one person showed up at the conference. Angus from India. Jesus spoke to me about this. He showed me that he would travel round the world to spend time with me, even if nobody else wanted to.
I kept the blog going but I discovered that it wasn’t only men who had deep hidden hurts it was also women.
I began to write my story to try and help others who struggle trying to grasp the Father’s love for them. At the end of my alcoholic days I want to continue and show you how my heart began to Cleave to His Heart. When our two hearts cleave together then we have what I call;