Joy being baptized
My name is Joy Bryans and I am a member of Passion Life Church. I was saved as a young girl and have been in church my whole life. Even though I grew up in church and knew about God, I never experienced true peace and freedom. In many ways I have been a prisoner to the frustration, anger, hatred, and resentment that I have held toward other people. Over the last year I have truly experienced what it’s like to forgive and see relationships restored. I dreaded work and now I love it! When I showed up at Passion Life Church, I carried a lot of baggage, but over the last year I have been able to hand over that weight to Jesus and experience the freedom that only Jesus gives. He has given me a whole new perspective. I love people that I used to hate. I can even let things go when people wrong me. I view people and my relationship with Jesus from a new light. My life has taken on new meaning and I’m very excited about my future hopes and dreams. I am very grateful for the ministry that has taken place in my heart, and I long to see the same thing happen in the lives of my family and friends.
My name is Glenda Howell Newman and I am 38 years old. I grew up in McDonough, GA and due to the growth of the
county I was blessed with going to eight different schools. A different school for every grade just about and I chose to
graduate from Henry County High School in 1998. I grew up believing in God and loving Jesus Christ and got saved
and baptized at a young age.
When I was in 7th grade my father left for work one morning and never called or came back home. Growing up in a
family that didn’t know how to express love and feelings properly became very hard to process, therefore, I began
looking for love in all the wrong places. I modeled for top agencies around Atlanta until I began working as a Director
of an international furniture company. I ran the office while importing and exporting the furniture from Holland. I owned
my own home and my own cars at 21 years of age. I was working and partying living what I thought was a normal life.
In 2001, my best friend and I were in a terrible accident due to drinking and driving, leaving one club and
headed to another from Destin to Fort Walton, FL. We hydroplaned and flipped eight times, she got trapped under the
steering wheel and I was ejected. We both survived but we both suffered major injuries. I broke my left and right
scapula, four ribs, had contusions on my lungs and kidneys, broke my pelvis, and my right hip. I had a hospital bed in
my mother’s living room, a nurse that came to our house daily and a pharmacy on the side of my bed. I remained bed
ridden for months and underwent rehabilitation to walk again. Due to the chronic pain caused by the accident I became
dependent on pain relief medications. Because doctors were prescribing these drugs to me I came to believe that I
needed to be medicated to have a normal life. My health problems were extensive yet they never made me quit partying
or doing drugs and I ended up losing my house years down the road. I moved to Meriwether County to get away from
drugs and the life style that I had been living. Meriwether County was God’s country in my eyes and where I wanted to
raise my children if I ever had any. Living in the country, getting married, having kids and my husband and I growing old together was my kind of dream.
In 2006, while dating someone I truly loved I got pregnant and we decided to get married even though I lost the baby The Lord blessed us with three beautiful children; Ethan is 9, Noah is 7 and Jasie is 6 years old. Each pregnancy became harder and harder and I miscarried twice but I know they are in heaven. My husband began abusing me when Ethan was nine months and I became even more depressed, disconnected, always out of sorts, having panic attacks and unable to concentrate. I was prescribed every ADD/ADHD, bipolar medication and every antidepressant imaginable. My marriage came to an end and my world fell apart on May 10, 2013. A part of me died that day and for a long time I thought that maybe I deserved the abuse because I can plainly remember all the pain that I caused. Due to my instability the judge awarded my husband custody of the children and I was left with having supervised visitations. These events made me hateful and mad at the world. I did what I knew best take pills and get high all day every single day. I damaged relationships with my best friends and the people that were most important to me. In November 2014, I got arrested for possession of methamphetamine and began living with the man who was my boyfriend at the time. We lived with his mother and in their basement or at least I did. I became MIA “missing in action” from my family, my children and my friends for quite some time. There was no running water, no toilets and nowhere to shower. He kept the key with him at all times so I was locked away and in a room. No one could hear me cry and no one could hear me scream! He would only come home when he wanted to and/or for his pleasures. It could be days before I saw him again. He always brought beautiful and loving gifts and drugs, hardly ever any food. I was living a life that I never imagined would happen to me.
On January 5, 2016, the police came to his house to issue me a warrant for failure to appear in court. I was so scared, so ashamed and so full of guilt that it didn’t register in my mind that they were sent by God. So I ran away through the dark woods to an abandoned house and ended going from motel to motel. I was tired of the life that I was living but I didn’t know how to change it. And so I continued to bury everything inside and just act like nothing ever happened. From January 21st to February 23, 2016 I went to jail for failure to appear in court and the drug charge. Everyone was so sad when they looked at me because they just knew that I wasn’t going to live much longer. However, it was because of this experience that I surrendered my life, my body and my whole heart to the Lord. I surrendered fully and completely, I was born again! Jesus saved me and healed my body!!!! I am happier now than I’ve ever been in my life. My issues and addiction caused a huge gap that I can never get back but I have learned that putting God first in all that I do, my recovery and everything else just falls into place. I have also learned that just giving my time to my kids and others is the most precious gift of all because time is something you can never get back. Many of us have a messy story, a past that hurts to think about, a road we never meant to take or a decision that ended in destruction. That was true of me, and from the ashes came beauty just like in Isaiah 61.
ISAIAH 61:3 God gives beauty for ashes; strength for fear; gladness for mourning; peace for despair.