Updated: Aug 12, 2020
By Leah Grey
God's Brave Women - Leah's Story
When I married my husband and moved to New York from a small town in rural, Ontario, Canada, I spent the first few years in my apartment afraid of the “big world” outside. I was afraid to go out at night and afraid of the traffic and angry honks from seasoned city drivers. I was especially afraid of the busses – they don’t care what direction you’re driving in when they want in the lane, they just go. I was afraid of losing my way and getting lost in a certain section of town where life looked hard from the window of my car.
When alone, I drove my son to and from his kindergarten school, I went to a nearby grocery store, I walked to the coffee shop around the corner, and I went to Target. That’s all. In my fear and out of a need to have more positive male influences in my young son’s life, I signed him up for Taekwondo - also around the corner. There was another school that was less expensive and had better reviews, but it was too far for comfort.
While inside, I painted and decorated my apartment, I ripped up sheets and made a massive rag rug for my son’s room. I called my parents to chat. I honestly can’t remember what else I did all day, and looking back now, it was one of the only times in my life as a mother that I had no children at home and didn’t have a job. Three children later, what I wouldn’t give to have that kind of free time now!
My whole life, I dreamed of living in New York. When I met my husband, I knew it had to be fate, but as dreams often go, what I experienced when I got there wasn’t what I expected. I certainly didn’t think I would be crippled with fear! I put on my brave face and attempted to channel my inner savvy businesswoman – I would make it in New York.
That’s when I found out about my husband’s addiction.
"Without skipping over the entirety of the pain, I want to preempt by saying no one understands addiction until they’ve lived it. I thought I got it, but I didn’t. I would also say our understanding is limited when it’s only in our own experience."
Without skipping over the entirety of the pain, I want to preempt by saying no one understands addiction until they’ve lived it. I thought I got it, but I didn’t. I would also say our understanding is limited when it’s only in our own experience. I’ve hosted a group online for wives of addicts for the past four years called Habit, and the old adage from the Bible that says, “Iron sharpens iron,” is true (Proverbs 27:17). Through our collective experiences, we gather a deeper understanding of addiction and how deep the root of evil can go.
Confronted with my husband’s addiction, I had to choose to walk away from my marriage and live in fear, or face his addiction with the promises of God in hand.
"Confronted with my husband’s addiction, I had to choose to walk away from my marriage and live in fear, or face his addiction with the promises of God in hand."
We teach our kids in Sunday School about putting on our spiritual armor (Ephesians 6:10-18), but the war many Christians are in is not a story for kids. When faced with things that scare us, we need to put our armor on and prepare for war. In that war, expect a fight. Expect there will be casualties. Expect you could come out wounded. But also expect the Lord will be victorious because He has already won the battle by the blood of Jesus.
God gave us spiritual armor for physical protection. We can’t face addiction, a spiritual wound, without the belt of truth. “Once an addict, always an addict,” is a lie from the devil. I couldn’t take on fear without cleaning out the muck in my personal life. Where the devil gets a foothold, righteousness will prevail if you continually lay your burdens down at the Lord’s feet. Whatever Satan throws at you, you can repel with your shield of faith. Don’t let yourself get too tired, that’s too easy for him. Exercise, eat more salad, go to bed on time. The plan is easy and the battle is hard.
“Once an addict, always an addict,” is a lie from the devil... Where the devil gets a foothold, righteousness will prevail if you continually lay your burdens down at the Lord’s feet."
My husband and I fought his addiction for approximately five years. It’s a short amount of time compared to some, but I believe God accelerated my husband’s healing so I could step into the role of leading and ministering to others. The biggest impact though was not his addiction, it was my absolution of fear.
God used my husband’s struggle to strengthen me in a way I had never felt before. Where I was once afraid to walk alone at night, scared about who may break into my home, and worried about my husband’s fate, God replaced those fears with trust. An unshakable, unmovable, trust.
"If you’re struggling with fear, my advice to you would be to stop fighting it. Don’t be afraid of the fear. Let yourself feel all the things you’re feeling, let it overwhelm you, and then turn to God’s Word and let Him strengthen you in that desperate place."
If you’re struggling with fear, my advice to you would be to stop fighting it. Don’t be afraid of the fear. Let yourself feel all the things you’re feeling, let it overwhelm you, and then turn to God’s Word and let Him strengthen you in that desperate place. Those fears are lies from the devil sent to torment you. Sometimes, we need to be desperate to hear God. And in hearing Him, we begin to know Him more. The more we know Him, the more we trust Him. The more we trust Him, the more we love Him and feel protected in return.
You know something? I was never afraid when my husband took me out in the city, only when I was alone. Despite everything, I trusted my husband would always keep me safe.
I didn’t have to be brave to battle against my fear, I needed to be Jesus’ bride. So I put on my armor, took up my shield of faith, and walked into battle with my Heavenly Husband. I came out of my battle changed – once you’ve been through war, you can go through anything.
"I didn’t have to be brave to battle against my fear, I needed to be Jesus’ bride. So I put on my armor, took up my shield of faith, and walked into battle with my Heavenly Husband."
Looking my fear in the face and telling it to back down, taught me how to be brave. It can for you, too. A brave bride. Changed. Stronger. And so very loved.
Brave Woman Manifesto
Make sure to check back next week as another courageous Sister shares her story!
And by the way...
You are Brave!
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Leah Grey is a Christian wild-child turned hope-giver, blogger and author. Best known for her candid, humorous, faith-based approach, Leah challenges popular beliefs about addiction to support and empower women with loved ones who struggle with, or are in recovery from, addiction. She left her New York City dreams behind and now lives in Canada with her free healthcare, three children and Latin-lover husband.
Connect more with Leah on her website leahgrey.com, as well as Facebook and Instagram. Feel free to check out her popular Bible study, The Be Still Series in her shop for more encouragement for anything life throws your way. And if you are interested in Leah's group Habit, for wives of addicts, click HERE.