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A Hidden Secret Paves the Way for Emotional Healing

“I struggled with a murderous rage and such a horrible anger problem, that I would say things to him and I would cut him down and I would try to do anything and everything I could to hurt him, because of how hurt I was,” says Brandon. 

Growing up, Brandon Brecht moved around a lot due to his father’s military career. His dad was constantly absent from Brandon’s life, and when he was around, they would argue constantly. His father’s anger often resulted in physical and emotional abuse.

“My father would make these promises to show up at my games and other things, but I would always look out and he would never be there. But when he was home, it was you know, him yelling at me or being angry or me always seeing my sisters treated better, and I just felt really like my life did not matter,” says Brandon.

The absence of a caring father left a hole that Brandon could not fill. As a teenager, he became addicted to video games which served as an escape from reality, but one day that escape came to an end. 

Brandon recalls one example of the abuse he received from his father, “At this time, I had longer hair and my father came into the room, he grabbed me by my hair, threw me on the ground, got on top of me, began to choke me, and I got so angry that I started crying and one of the things he asked me was, ‘Oh, are you going to cry like a baby? Are you going to be a little girl?’ I hardened my heart and shut off that emotion. I went into the kitchen, I grabbed a knife, and I told him, I said, ‘If you call the cops on me, I’m going to kill myself.’ And shortly after that they ended up arriving at the house, where he was being abusive towards me, but I was the one that actually got arrested and went to the juvenile detention center because of it.”

When he was eventually released, he moved into his friend’s house where his life continued to spiral out of control. “I started smoking weed, started skipping school, started really living a life of rebellion, and I found these friends that actually made me feel like I was wanted, because up until that point, I never felt like anybody wanted me or cared for me or loved me,” says Brandon.

Brandon eventually re-joined his family when they moved to Georgia, but shortly after they arrived, his father walked out. “He left my family with nothing. We were living in Royston, Georgia in the middle of the woods, and he decided to leave,” says Brandon.

After his father left, Brandon was rummaging through a box at his house, and he discovered something that would turn his world upside down...his birth certificate. Brandon describes the moment he found the birth certificate, “My whole life up until 15 years old, I’ve known myself as Brandon Robert Brecht. Well, I’m looking in this box at this birth certificate and it says, 'Brandon Terrence Peele,' and at that moment, when I saw that, my whole world stopped...my whole life, I thought this was who I was, but now I see my whole life was a lie. And I was like, well this is why he didn’t love me. This is why he never showed me any affection, this is why he was never there for me, because, I wasn’t his.”

He sought acceptance wherever he could find it. Brandon was introduced to crack cocaine by a co-worker, partying, drinking, and eventually heroin. 
“I was at the bottom of myself, I hated my life, I hated everything about myself, I had so much shame, I had so much regret, I had so much anger towards myself, and everybody involved, you know, my family, my friends,” says Brandon. “I was always abandoned or rejected and didn’t have any security or stability, but I remember this night, I went into the bathroom, and I just began to cry out to God, saying, ‘God, I hate my life. Every time I try to get clean and every time I try to do better, I go right back to the same thing. And if this is how my life’s gonna be, I just wanna die,’” says Brandon.

“And clear as day I heard God’s audible voice, and He said, ‘Are you ready?’ And in that moment, I looked up and I said, ‘Ready for what?’ And He said, ‘Are you ready to live up to everything I created you to be? To serve your full purpose?’ And I said, ‘Yes, I surrender, I give up.’ I believe right there is when I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior. I noticed that there was something different about me. Immediately I felt this peace, this love, this security, this life, enter into me.”

Even though he had an encounter with the Lord, Brandon continued to struggle with breaking the hold [that] drugs and alcohol had on his life. A month after his spiritual experience, he over-dosed on heroin. “I woke up in the hospital where my mom told me that she asked the paramedics if I was alive, and they said, ‘No, he’s not breathing, he doesn’t have a pulse.’ So from that over-dose, I ended up dying and losing my life, but God had better plans for me and He brought me back,” says Brandon.

At the end of his rope, he enrolled in a faith-based recovery program that found the root of his addictions. “It’s pretty much a discipleship bootcamp; it’s not just a regular place you go and hangout at, but it’s really getting you to a place where you begin to hear God’s voice, where you get grounded in who you are. You start walking through some of the emotional healing that’s definitely needed, especially from the things that I went through. I learned what forgiveness was, and was able to really forgive my mother and my father, and so many other people that had hurt me, and even myself for the decisions that I made,” says Brandon.

He reconciled the relationship with his father. He spent four years serving in the ministry that helped him, he hopes to someday become an itinerant minister, so that he can continue to share the miraculous work God has done in his life.

“When I began to encounter His love and His goodness, and that He was a loving Father who took me as I was, that’s when I really began to understand, ok wait, I do have a purpose in life, I do matter. I got a second chance at life, and I’m gonna do anything and everything I can to be able to share that with whoever comes in my path, and it just brings me joy to be able to take my story and what I've been through, saying ‘Ok, these are all the mistakes that I’ve made in life, but this is where I am now, and this is what God is doing with me,’” says Brandon. 

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