My name is Brian Berthod and this is my testimony. The simple and honest truth. For a long time I have keep my story hidden from seeing the light of day. Fear and embarrassment has keep my secrets hidden. I am sharing my testimony now not to highlight my troubled past but to glorify our Lord Jesus Christ. This is not the complete story, I am simply highlighting what I feel are the most relevant aspects leading up to my salvation.
My first experience with religion came when I was seven years old during Sunday school service. The group leader was discussing Jesus and asked the class if we accepted Him as our Lord and Savior. As soon as I accepted Him my chest became energized, as if a light had been turned on inside me. From that point on, I knew Jesus existed and that I was protected. This protection I would exploit and take advantage of. For the next several years and through high school I had walked as straight as path as possible, attending some Church services but never on a regular basis. Although I was but a child, I was slowly becoming more and more self-absorbed, looking only to please myself. My will and my ego grew exponentially when I moved out after High School.
With this freedom came the ability to do whatever I wanted. I realized that the more I gave into temptation the more a storm was beginning to grow inside me. This storm was insatiable but I tried to fill it anyway. Instead of looking to the bible for answers I began to look everywhere else. This is the time that I began to use drugs and alcohol and I would remain dependent upon them for nearly 13 years. I turned to other religions, I found some solace in the Eastern Philosophy religions such as Buddhism and Hinduism but nothing really grabbed hold of me. I also looked into satan and his teachings. At first, I told myself I was looking into it for educational purposes but soon found myself embracing the lifestyle of giving into sin. This selfish, egotistical mindset combined with heavy drug use lead me down a dark road of depression. On the surface I tried to present someone functioning in society, but on the inside, chaos had consumed my life. I no longer had any desires in life except death.
My first attempt at suicide left no scars on the outside, but it will forever be a reminder to how close to death I had come. I never told anyone about it. I buried the memory deep inside and drug myself along with life, feeling the pangs of failure. I carried this burden with me for years. Depression had such a firm grasp on me that I felt like a failure for not committing suicide. I did want to seek help from someone else, I figured no one could possible understand what I was going through. So I did the next best thing, I sought out treatment in a way that I felt kept my reputation intact. I enlisted into the military.
The military provided discipline and structure, both of which I needed in my life. With a new sense of purpose; I felt invigorated and eager to take on anything. However, this new enthusiasm was merely a band aid for my troubled mind. All it would take is one incident to bring me right back to my gates of hell. With the news of my divorce I broke down. My neat little world crashed down and just like that, I was starring again at death. This time I was certain I would not fail at suicide. I went to work that day with a smile upon my face, not to prolong the inevitable, but to embrace one last final day on earth. By the grace of God someone at work saw something on my face that day they did not like and pulled me aside. His words cut right through my armor and into my heart. He inspired me enough to keep on living. I got home that afternoon and in the midst of my pain and suffering I cried out to God. I surrendered my will over to Him. I told God that I was not strong enough to do this life anymore myself. I told God that I needed his help. Immediately, as if a lightning bolt struck my chest I felt alive again. I felt reborn.
It was as if a switch had been turned on again in my life. On the surface everything appeared to remain the same but it was also very different. I had new eyes and new vision. I marveled at what I saw. It was as if I saw the world for the very first time. My life would forever be changed after that day. I am thankful for the mercy God has shown me. The next day I was at home and lost complete control over my body. I could barely breathe and could no longer stand. I fell to my bed where I remained for what seemed like an hour. I was being twisted and squeezed and when it was over I was exhausted but felt cleansed. I cannot say for certain what happened that day, but it felt as if I was wrung out like a towel. That night I had a dream, a vision. I was looking into a large mass of life and knew instantly that I was staring into my soul. There looked to be an even mixture of sin and light. The sin was black and the splendor of the light was brighter than anything I had ever seen before. I was shown that there was a lot of sin in my life and also that there was new light. With this new light came new hope. Hope for a future free from the bondages of sin. I awoke to the reality that I was still alive and that work needed to be done.
Since that day, I have been doing my best to work for the Lord. I have surrendered my life to Him and trust in His will. This does not mean that I have not sinned. My journey has been filled with many tribulations and I have stumbled many times but my trust remains in the Lord. Since leaving the military I have devoted more time to Him and He is asking me to do more, which is why I am now sharing my testimony. I am grateful for this opportunity to share my story and I pray that others may find comfort in the everlasting love that our Lord has for each and every one of us. He is waiting with open arms to accept you, if you are willing to surrender your life to Him. My name is Brian Berthod and this is my testimony.