Real Romance That Wins Over Addiction
By Rhonda Stoppe
He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. (1 John 4:4)
Jeff and Jennifer are the first to admit their love story did not start out like a fairytale. Jennifer said, “Our story is not what young girls hope for, and definitely not one I look forward to one day sharing with our children.”
As a young adult, Jennifer battled with feelings of being used or unwanted. She was determined to find a husband who would make her feel wanted for who she truly was, and not just for what he could get from her. She was convinced her happiness would lie in marrying the right man.
For most of Jeff’s life, he wrestled with feelings of inadequacy and loneliness. As a means of escape, Jeff looked for relief in alcohol. Making one bad choice after another only contributed to his sense of hopelessness.
Jennifer recalls, “We were each masking our pain with people, places and things. We were both lost and seeking fulfilment in all the wrong places.”
Of the day that Jeff and Jennifer met she said, “Then one day we collided into one another. Whether we knew it or not, it was really a case of each of us looking to the other for salvation.”
In a whirlwind romance, the couple soon married. After a time Jennifer was overjoyed when she became pregnant. But her excitement was short-lived when Jeff began to drink again. But this time he seemed different. Even on the days when Jeff didn’t drink he was extremely distant from Jennifer.
Jennifer’s pregnancy progressed but their marriage digressed. As they battled over Jeff’s addiction Jennifer grew bitter and angry, which made Jeff all the more distant from her. Jeff wasn’t sleeping, he was losing weight, and his mind seemed to be withering away. Jennifer’s anger turned to fear. She had no idea how to help Jeff, or how to help herself.
Then it dawned on Jennifer that Jeff was in far greater trouble than she had imagined. Jeff was in a full-blown battle, with not only alcohol but with drugs too. Soon she realized separating from Jeff was necessary. Although leaving Jeff was the hardest thing she had ever done, Jennifer moved out of their house, taking their six-month-old baby with her.
WHY PRAY WHEN YOU CAN WORRY?
Jennifer was completely devastated when Jeff continued to get worse. She missed him terribly and was concerned for his wellbeing. Her mind was constantly consumed with worry and fear. She rarely prayed. When she prayed it was more the idea of rubbing a magic lamp to wish for God to help.
Leaving Jeff was the catalyst that brought Jennifer to surrender her heart to Christ. While Jennifer was finding strength in the Lord, Jeff’s life was crumbling around him. The constant drug abuse had disintegrated Jeff’s ability to think logically. At his darkest point, Jeff found himself huddled in a closet in his home, engulfed in thoughts of loneliness and despair.
In that moment when there seemed to be no hope for Jeff, there was a knock at his front door. Remarkably, Jeff pulled himself out of his closet to answer the door.
And even more remarkably, the man who knocked had come to share the gospel with Jeff. The man at the door vaguely knew Jeff from work. When he had learned of Jeff’s plight he did not hesitate to go to Jeff’s home to share with him the gospel.
As the man explained to Jeff how much Jesus loved him––so much so that He came to take the punishment for his sins and give him new life––God lifted the fog of Jeff’s drug-induced stupor and gave him the ability to comprehend what the man was saying.
When the man told Jeff if he would only surrender his life to Jesus as His Lord and Savior he could truly break free from the bondage that was holding him captive.
In that moment God gave me the clarity to understand
and accept the message of the gospel.
That day, on our front porch, I gave my life to the Lord.
When Jeff called Jennifer to share with her the news of his conversion, she could hardly believe her ears. God had answered her prayer in an amazing way! Within a week Jennifer had moved home and Jeff admitted himself to a treatment facility.
Jennifer recalled, “My husband’s commitment in seeking restoration and healing was one of the most inspirational things I have ever witnessed.”
The charm of Jeff and Jennifer’s love story is how true love begins in loving God. Twenty years later, Jennifer says they are still learning and growing. And they are happy to share with others how true redemption is found in the ultimate love story of a relationship with Jesus.*
Father, thank you for this reminder that you are more powerful than any addiction. We stand together today praying for those who find themselves in the clutches of the enemy. We ask You in Jesus’ Name to grant them mental clarity and ability to repent and turn to Christ.
*To learn how you too can have new life in Christ, request the article: How to Have a Relationship with Jesus,
Want more Real Life Romance? Watch Steve and Rhonda share secrets to raving up your romance on Thriving Sexy Marriage Podcast. Here’s the Link.
Rhonda Stoppe is the NO REGRETS WOMAN.
Rhonda Stoppe is the NO REGRETS WOMAN. With more than 20 years experience of helping women build a no regrets lives. I could have listened to Rhonda talk all night, is what women say about Rhonda’s enthusiastic, humorous, transparent teaching, and zeal as an evangelist. She’s committed to fulfill the Titus 2:4 commission by mentoring, teaching and writing books that are inspiring, grounded in Scripture and easy to read––like you’re visiting with a friend over coffee.
Rhonda is the author of 6 books and appears on numerous radio programs including FamilyTalk, Focus on the Family, Family Life Today and hosts The No Regrets Hour. She speaks at women’s events, Pastor’s Wives Conferences, MOPs and homeschool conventions. Sharing the gospel is her sweet spot––she’s an evangelist at heart.
Rhonda ministers alongside her husband Steve, who pastors First Baptist Church of Patterson, California. They live out their own Real Life Romance writing books and speaking at their No Regrets Marriage Conferences, but their favorite ministry is their family. They have four grown children and nine grandchildren. To learn more about Rhonda’s speaking topics, watch her teaching and to book Rhonda for your next event visit: NoRegretsWoman.com