I wasn’t trying to start a ministry. I was alone, living in my parent’s basement (again) feeling totally and utterly pathetic (again) with one extra kid to boot.
I had always loved to write. Needing a distraction, I impulsively spent five hundred dollars on a blogging course.
"Going... to... do... something. Have... to... change... my... life!"
I thought as I slammed in my credit card numbers.
My story began as all romance movies did; small-town girl meets big-city boy. Fall in love. Whirlwind romance.
As a young girl, I sat in my lavender coloured bedroom cutting out fashion ads from Vogue and Elle and plastered them over my walls. Women in Chanel. Handsome boys. The heels a girl in farmland wouldn’t dare to wear. Wishing on stars that twinkled outside my bedroom window for God to take me on the adventure of a lifetime.
I believed I belonged in New York.
A belief that was only reinforced when I visited it for the first time on my nineteenth birthday as a gift from my parents. "I'm home!" I squealed to myself seeing glimpses of the skyline as the tour bus approached the city.
I didn't believe that God would actually send my small-town butt to New York City. That is, until I met my husband on my first New Year's Eve outing in five years as a young, single mother… tall, dark and handsome he was from none other than the illustrious New York City.
It had to be fate.
I had no doubts about him and within eight months, we were married.
But before long, New York would break my heart. Not in the way a boyfriend does, it was so much more disappointing.
I should have been wise enough to adjust my expectations when my son and I moved into a bachelor-size Jersey City Heights apartment, with the kitchen to match.
Nothing against New Jersey, of course, but it wasn't the fashion-forward Manhattan neighbourhood I imagined. Coming from rural, Ontario, Canada, I told myself all five flights of stairs we had to climb with our groceries from the Latin supermarket were a life-long, lavender bedroom wishing dream come true.
In retrospect, I can see the many mistakes I made but isn't that how life goes? As Joyce Meyer says, "We live life forward but we understand it backwards". Naive as I was and swept up in the adventure, I didn't realize my husband was struggling with an addiction. It wasn't until he entered treatment that I was forced to face what had been in front of me all the while.
The man I loved had a very real problem.
Being fairly new to the city and having had made only two friends, I didn't want to tell anyone what was going on. I was too overwhelmed to fathom what was happening, let alone put it into words. My family was emotionally involved and talking to them seemed to do more damage than keeping quiet. Al-Anon wasn't an option because I didn't have (and couldn't afford) a babysitter for a night out (what a night out anyway, going to a meeting!).
I cannot begin to say how alone I felt.
Desperate for support, I eventually reached out to pastors and therapists in my community. I received conflicting advice (does this sound familiar: "Why haven't you left yet?" "You need to have more faith" "He's hopeless until he hits rock bottom" or my favourite, "You deserve better").
Meanwhile, my husband's battle continued and as time went on, I began to see how deep the root of addiction could go. In a city full of strangers, I didn't know where to turn.
As things progressed, being an intimidated "immigrant" (feels so weird to say that!), I knew I would be unable to support my children and myself living in the USA. So I picked up my childhood dreams and drove through heaping sobs and waterfalls of tears back to the Mennonite, farm country I grew up in to move back in with (oh no! Oh yes!) my parents.
With shattered dreams and my heart in pieces, I swore I would NEVER move back to New York.
From New York City all the way back to my parent's basement, I realized it was just me and God.
Though I had lost all faith in my husband's ability to be the husband I desired, I decided with an intense determination that I would entrust my marriage to God. Through that experience, God gave me renewed hope for my life as I desperately clung to His promises.
"The Lord will fight for you; You need only to be still." -Exodus 14:14 (NIV)
I was not going to give up on my husband.
Our addiction journey was the most challenging thing I had ever walked through but can see how God will use that pain for His glory.
I am not a pastor, a med school grad or drug counsellor or even a super, tough, independent woman (though, I try).
I am a normal girl who chose to trust an extraordinary God.
For those of you who love a happy ending, my husband is currently in long-term recovery, we are very much in love and I am incredibly proud of him.
Like any good adventure, there are inevitable bumps ahead but I know whatever we may face, God has our lives in His loving hands.
If you're here now, I know how confusing addiction can be. I understand the burden, overwhelm and intense sadness. I have felt how hard every day can be when your everyday is a nightmare.
Grey Ministries exists to let you know you're not alone; God wants to fight this battle for you. He wants to lift your heavy burden off your shoulders, wipe your tears and gently lead you to your own happy ending.
Everything is going to be okay. You will make it through this. But even more amazing, you can be happy- in the middle of it.
In an intimate relationship with God, there is freedom for you from addiction. And as an added bonus- your loved one may follow.
Come, stay awhile, I'll show you the way.
"...And do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” -Nehemiah 8:10 (ESV)
P.S. God brought me back to New York! Say, what?! Read a preview of the story and get on the waitlist for my award-winning, upcoming book, "No One Brings You a Casserole When Your Husband Goes to Rehab".
HEALTHY YOU WILL HELP THEM BETTER THAN UNHEALTHY YOU.
UNHEALTHY YOU CAN’T HELP ANYONE BUT YOURSELF.
"...we also rejoice in our afflictions, because we know that affliction produces endurance, endurance produces proven character, and proven character produces hope. This hope will not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us."
Grey Ministries began as a blog in March 2016 as "LeahGrey.com". It quickly transformed into a platform encouraging Christian women with loved ones struggling with addiction and is now a global community with tools and resources set to challenge the status quo.
Grey Ministries offers a place to meet women who understand. We also created courses and Bible studies to help wives and mothers find peace in the chaos and make good, Godly boundaries.
Our blog touches on topics like pornography, substance abuse, narcissism, physical and emotional abuse, rebuilding marriage, how to help your children, trusting God with finances, and so much more.
We tell it like it is. Truth-tellers. Super raw (maybe too honest sometimes!). But in a world becoming increasingly offended, corrupt and falling farther away from God, we feel it’s important to go tell it on the mountain.
“Therefore, go and make people from all nations into talmidim, immersing them into the reality of the Father, the Son and the Ruach HaKodesh, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember! I will be with you always, yes, even until the end of the age.” -Matthew 28:19-20 (CJB)
Talmidim, תלמידם: (Pronounced tal mee DEEM, singular talmid) A plural Hebrew noun meaning "disciples" in its truest sense: those who leave family to study and follow the ways of their teacher. They study not only to learn what their teacher knows but to become the type of man their teacher is.
We have been following the world in treating addiction since the 1930s. There have been no significant updates to the model, hardly any opposition and now you see, we have landed in the addiction epidemic we’re in today (Big Pharma had a hand in that).
After much research, we believe the global community has accepted and adapted a faulty model for the recovery of multiple negative behaviors, for almost 100 years; A model that boasts a 5% success rate and will ultimately hurt more than it will help because it leaves attendees believing that relapsing is normal and they are totally helpless to their addictions.
The 12-step model has been re-adapted for family recovery and it quite simply, doesn’t work as it should. Considering it is the world-wide go-to for treating and managing addiction, should we not expect it to work better? Would you buy insurance if they promised to cover 5% of your damage? Would you take vitamins that had a 5% absorption rate? Would you work for 5% of your wage?
5% is unacceptable.
The reason 12-step programs do work is because of the desperately-needed accessibility, community, human connection, and clear pathway to safe and supportive honesty it offers for those who are struggling.
This is why Grey Ministries has committed to creating an accessible, honest, loving, community-based model for support focused on the Word of God and teaching of Jesus.
MEET THE GREY MINISTRY GIRLS
WE WOULD NOT BE WHERE WE ARE TODAY WITHOUT THEM!
An all-American sweet, Southern girl from Mississippi (who says things like “y’all” and “britches”!). She grew up in a traditional Baptist family with deep spiritual roots. She loves Jesus, her husband, her handsome boy and beautiful girls, coffee, all things Disney and going to the beach.
Kara graduated from the University of Southern Mississippi College of Business and currently works in finance. She found peace in God’s Word and through Grey Ministries, where she now acts as lead administrator, writer, and chief financial liaison. Kara has been invaluable to the ministry, where she serves with passion, insight and experience as an overcomer of a life-long battle with anxiety as well as being a devoted wife through her husband’s addiction and struggle with mental illness.
A spicy, New Jersey native, devoted mama to a beautiful little girl, self-care advocate and lover of Jesus. She graduated from Old Dominion University with a degree in communications. Following God’s call on her life, Tania left the corporate world behind, picked up a camera and never looked back. In 2017, she stepped out in faith to follow her passion of becoming a lifestyle photographer, creating her start-up company, Tania Fe Photography.
Tania found her Christian roots in the trenches of addiction while her husband served in the United States military, secretly battling an addiction, while stationed in Virginia. Seeking a faith-based support system, she was lead to Grey Ministries where she now serves as a graphic designer and photographer. Currently, she spends her days photographing brand new babies and building her photography empire.