My Personal Testimony
You may find this story hard to believe, and its likely to evoke various emotions of anger, frustration, happiness, or perhaps forgotten memories of your own as you read it. However, rest assured in the knowledge this testimony is a story of Jesus’ absolutely unimaginable love, unfailing commitment, relentless pursuit, and complete transformation of a totally unworthy sinner. Amen!
Looking back now, I sometimes find it hard to believe I’m actually where I am today. I know it may sound slightly cliché, but I say this to you with the utmost of sincerity:
If it weren't for the Lord saving my life, I'd most likely be dead, or homeless, and strung out on meth by now. Click To Tweet
Table of Contents
- 1 My Personal Testimony
This may be completely made up in my mind, but I know someone reading this may be thinking: “Oh boy, here we go…, here’s another one of those ‘drug testimonies’… This is just the same ‘ole regurgitated Christian garbage testimony all over again!”. However, this is indeed the true story, the testimony to God’s greatness, from this sinner, to you.
We do tend to hear the same type of testimonies from Christians a lot of times, but this isn’t due to them all making up or retelling the same ‘ole story over and over; it’s the result of God’s children following the world’s system of lies, deceit, sinfulness, and road to despair, always arriving at the same end. In my experience, when a person follows the world’s system, or looks to the world’s system for answers and guidance, far too often this system delivers the same results: despair, defeat, and a sense of loss which drives the person to using drugs or looking to the ‘system’ for answers, all the while driving themselves deeper and deeper into despair.
My Birth, Growth, Rebellion, & Fall
This is the story of one sinner’s child-hood birth, growth into a very rebellious teenager, and subsequent fall into despair, drug use, drug dealing, loss of multiple career opportunities, and near loss of marriage.
Born Matthew Spencer Vaden to Richard and Betty Vaden in Aberdeen, MS, on Jan 23, 1980, I was the child of everyone’s dream. My parents had previously given birth to John and Amy some 13 and 10 years earlier respectively. I was the first-born, so to speak, of a new generation of Vadens. Actually, it’s much deeper than that on a spiritual level. I was considered the first-born of a new generation because until my inception, my parents practiced the use of birth control.
However, through the Holy Spirit’s teachings, they realized the error of using birth control medication to ‘control’ something which was never supposed to be controlled by man in the first place. My birth was the result of them following the Holy Spirit’s teachings, thereby bringing great feelings of happiness and excitement into our home! Following my birth, my parents continued to have children, giving us three more brothers and three more sisters. I have eight (8) siblings, giving Richard and Betty nine (9) children in all.
Simple Life, Not All Bad
Growing up we lived a simple life. My Dad was the Pastor of a small Baptist-based church, and my mom was a homemaker taking care of our every need. Mom schooled us with a home school program, made our clothes (when we were young), cooked our meals, and shared her love with us in ways we’d never understand until we were much older, raising our own children. The Lord always provided my parents with everything we needed (I don’t ever recall going without food or having our lights turned off), but I do remember times when my parents were without a car, and times when we didn’t buy very much at the grocery store, choosing only those absolutely necessary items. We raised a large garden which took care of us with all our vegetable needs, and it even fed many in our small church with the excess food it produced.
My parents convictions regarding the ‘worldliness of this world’, and their attempts to teach us Godliness in our lives, lead them to remove all TVs and radios from our cars and homes until I was approximately 16 or 17 years old. Even without these ‘seemingly necessary evils’ of today’s world, we grew up just fine, and our minds were certainly free from many of today’s temptations because we were never exposed to them.
Parental Problems & Rebellion
However, due to many extreme problems in my parents marriage, and what I now believe to have been an evil spirit’s existence in our home controlling various situations in it, coupled with my own sinful nature and the sinful desires of my heart, an intensely rebellious spirit began to grow inside me, even at an early age. I rebelled against anything and everything my parents tried to teach me (especially my Dad’s teachings), even rebelling vehemently against them, many times without reason or clear cause.
Rebellion is one of the most detrimental sins in a person's life, often destroying them from the inside out! Click To Tweet
Military Service & Drug Use
A few years later in January of ’98, I joined the US Navy, serving for four years, doing two tours of duty in the Persian Gulf (Iraq). My time in the military, proved to be the beginning of my downward spiral, a spiral out of control, a spiral that would eventually land me into the worst years of my life.
During my time in the military, I started using drugs of all types (E.g. Smoking meth, taking ecstasy ‘X’ pills, and following a ‘hard weekend’ with smoking marijuana to bring me down…back to reality where I could function during the next week. Even worse than using drugs, near the end of my military service, I started dealing drugs to support my habits. I sold literally 100’s of thousands of dollars worth of pills and methamphetamine to anyone that would buy them (mostly service members), risking the lives of everyone I came in contact with. I was completely out-of-control, and loosing respect for other’s lives quickly, just to prop up my own greed of money and self-desire. Completely sad.
Following my military service, I floundered through life obtaining a couple of great jobs, loosing some job opportunities to bad decisions, some others lost to drug use and lack of caring. In March of ’06 my Dad was sentenced to prison, and unknowingly at the time, I became one of the most angry heartless people you’d never want to meet. My consumption of marijuana and alcohol reach a new, all time high for me, and I was sinking quickly into a huge pit of despair.
Through the providence and grace of God Almighty, I met my wife in January of ’06 (shortly before I lost my Dad to prison). I know the Lord knew what I needed in my life at that time, but I wasn’t ready for any type of relationship. I didn’t even know how to have a relationship at this point in my life. I treated her terribly! She is the most wonderful, beautiful gift…given to me by the Lord, and I absolutely disgraced her and my God by the way I treated her. Yet, she being sent to me by the Lord, full of love and forgiveness in her heart, treated me with as much respect and love as she had within her being, despite all the evil and hatred harbored in my heart (toward my Dad, my childhood, and my sorry excuse for a life). She continued loving me and supporting me through it all, as much as she possibly could.
Marriage Problems & Forgiveness
Marriage & Problems
Even after the extremely volatile, dating relationship my wife and I had experienced, it was as if there was an invisible, driving force keeping us together. On September 13, 2008, we were finally married! Looking back on it now, I can really see how God’s hand was working in our lives, because I was still a total, absolute, loser and generally terrible person at this point in my life. I had no business getting married, being married, or even being around loving people at this point, but my God knew best! He knew how much of a positive effect my wife would have on me, and how much He would use her to humble me and change me for the better!
My persistence to be a liar and cheater to my wife continued in the first months and years of our marriage, and eventually reached a point where my wife told me: “I no longer love you…I can’t”. Of course this was a very hurtful thing to hear, but I was so wrapped up in myself at this point, I pressed on with my pitiful excuse of a life! After all, I didn’t need her! In my mind I was moving on, and I wanted her to do the same thing.
Thank God, He had different plans. I was never able to completely remove myself from her, and looking back on it this was God’s providence at work! We both had a love for each other which exceeded our own understanding, because even though we desired to move apart from each other, God wouldn’t let that happen. God knew He was going to use our marriage to not only bring us back together, but more importantly, bring us back to Him! In 2011, the Lord helped us reach a point in our minds, where we knew living a part from each other and dishonoring our marriage, was a sin before God and something we no longer wanted in our lives. During this time, He was also rebuilding our love for each other.
I don’t want to be misleading in any way here… Reconciliation of our marriage and love for each other was neither quick nor all-inclusive. This was a lengthy process which required many changes in both of us, changes only possibly through the Almighty hand of God. Looking back on the whole thing, I realize God didn’t fully heal our marriage until our love for Him, our desire for forgiveness and change in our lives, and ultimately our desire for a relationship with Him came to fruition. As each of these things happened, God would miraculously heal more and more of our marriage!
As God opened my eyes to His teachings, and as He guided my mind in growth towards Him, He began to show me things in my own life requiring a major change before His work could continue. One of these major things was forgiveness. The primary reason my heart was so full of hatred and discontent was due to me being a very unforgiving person. In my mind, I was right, most of the time I was the only one who was right, and even though I didn’t fully realize it, everyone else was just plain, wrong! The Lord placed my Dad on my heart one day…that I needed to forgive my Dad! This was a doosey! This was something I really didn’t want to do, but after I’d completed this step in my walk with the Lord, WOW!! It was like the Lord opened the flood gates of love, compassion, and rebuilding in my life!
Making the step to forgive someone else for something I harbored in my heart, had a greater effect on my relationship with God and my wife, than any other single thing in my life, seriously! (Mat 6:14-15) Instructs us very plainly on this matter: “14 For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: 15 But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”
Forgiveness is a powerful thing, and one that's certainly ordained of God! (Mat 6:14-15) Click To Tweet
Rebirth, New Calling
My life since then, has been a slow, but steady progression forward to the point where I am today. My rebirth in the Lord, through forgiveness, and a renewed desire to have a relationship with Him, has completely changed the direction of my life! God has taught me so many things I never knew before…so many things in the Word of God have been revealed to me. Once you finally get all the “junk” out of your life, get your focus where it should be (on God), then and only then will the Lord be able to begin His most incredible, life-changing, work in you!
Since then, God has completely healed my marriage, improved my home and work life 110%, and He’s repaired my finances. There’s a peace in my heart now, day-to-day, that’s 100% greater than any peace I would’ve ever been able to imagine in my previous life. God has truly reborn and restored me from the bottom, and I’m so thankful for His Grace and Mercy. My life isn’t perfect right now, and yours won’t be either! My marriage isn’t perfect either. My wife and I still have disagreements, and so will you, but now we have hope! AMEN! Please see (John 16:33) “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”
In 2016, through the study of God’s Word, attending church, and searching for a deeper relationship with Him on a daily basis, God impressed on me a calling for a career change, a calling to preach His Word. I first felt this calling when I was approximately sixteen years old, and I’d felt it continuously from that time forward, but I’d always suppressed it to the recesses of my mind. However, with a renewed sense of life and freedom in the Lord, I was no longer able to, nor did I want to suppress His calling on my life any longer.
The BibleBasedBelievers.org ministry is something the Lord placed on my heart several years ago. I believe with my whole heart, Christians have, in many cases, based their entire platform of Faith and belief in Christ on the teachings and sayings of others instead of the Word of God. My goal with this ministry is to assist and encourage other children of God to learn the Word of God and to encourage them to write it on their hearts. (Prov 7:3, Rom 15:4)
The Holy Bible is all we need for instruction! The Holy Bible is all we need for life. We don’t need fancy Biblical sayings; we don’t need different versions of the Bible; we need the Word of God! (Is 40:8) “The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.” The Word of God is all we need! It is everything!
As God continues to write my testimony, I pray I would be a living example of the true meaning of a Bible Based Believer. I pray this testimony has touched your heart with the knowledge and realization that God can and will pick you up out of the pit just as He did me. As we pray for answers, and put into action those things the Holy Spirit lays on our hearts, He will continue revealing to us the path we are to take. He will also reward us with Peace and Joy unimaginable. May God bless you richly!