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  • Writer's pictureBrittany Falkner

Brittany's Testimony: Worthy to Be Loved

My name is Brittany (Wilson) Falkner. I was born and raised in Warner Robins, GA. My story starts out with my mother getting pregnant at 17. She was pretty much forced to marry my dad. My dad was an alcoholic and drug addict. He was also abusive to my mom. They split up when I was two. When I was six my mother married my brother’s father. He was abusive and showed favoritism to my brother. He treated my brother like he was everything and I was nothing. He was always telling me that I wasn't good enough and never would be. I just remember a constant feeling of being unloved as a child. My dad wasn’t involved in my life a whole lot and when he was he was drunk.

When I was fourteen I was raped by my best friend’s brother. I didn’t tell anyone. I felt like it was my fault and no one would believe me anyway.

I met my children’s father when I was fifteen. I got pregnant with my oldest son Isaiah, three months after we met. About two and a half years later we had my youngest son Joshua. We ended up getting married not because he loved me but because a Christian couple refused to rent to us unless we got married. We didn’t even get the house. It was a terrible marriage. He was an alcohol and drug addict. He would blow all of our money. We wouldn’t have money for bills or food. He was unfaithful and verbally and physically abusive. He would tell me everytime he got caught that it was my fault that he was unfaithful. I wasn’t pretty enough or skinny enough. I was never a good enough wife. That I didn’t clean enough. It was always just not enough. That was the record that played over and over and over again in my head “you're not enough”. You don’t matter. You're not worthy of love. He ended up abandoning me and the kids. He left me with a house and mortgage and bills that I couldn’t pay.

I was working two jobs and it just wasn’t enough. I felt like I never got to see my kids. That I couldn’t be the mother I needed to be. So I decided to join the Air Force at twenty-three years old. I signed up to be an aircraft electrical and environmental apprentice. On January 27, 2009 I took off to basic training. After basic training I went to Sheppard Air Force Base in Wichita Falls, Texas for my AFC training. While there I was raped by an Airman Leader. I did not report it. A friend of mine came to me and told me how the same guy had raped her. I confided in her that he had done the same thing to me. She decided to report it to a staff sergeant. When she did that, I was legally obligated to report it. They actually threatened me that if I didn’t report it I could be charged. Well it ended up being that this guy had raped a total of six women. As soon as it got out that we had reported on a fellow airman we were shamed for it. That was just something you didn’t do. In their eyes we had betrayed a wingman. The whole wingman concept is that you would die for each other. You fight to the end with each other, you don’t turn on each other. We were backstabbers and liars. We were ridiculed and mistreated. It was just another way I wasn’t good enough, that I didn’t make the right decision. I should have kept my mouth shut because I wasn’t worthy to report this. I wasn’t worthy of justice.

After I completed AFC training I was sent to my first duty station. I was stationed at Hurlburt Field Air Force Base in Fort Walton Beach Florida. When I get to my shop I am the only female in my shop. They assigned me to a senior airman for training. It started out with comments which are common. They seem to think because we're all mechanics it's okay to say nasty things. His behavior escalated from there. He got my number off the recall list and started making harassing phone calls and dirty text messages. I repeatedly told him to stop and I wasn’t interested. While under the nose of the aircraft he sexually assaulted me. I requested to be assigned to another trainer. I told a supervisor what was going on. The next thing I know I’m called into a meeting with the Master Sragent and told I was in the wrong. I was told this better be kept in house and that they would not assign me another trainer. It got worse from there. He got braver and bolder. Even to the point of sexually assaulting me in front of other airmen. No one stood up for me. To me that was worse than the rape or assaults. Just another way I was unworthy. I wasn’t worthy enough for someone to help me. I got heavy into drinking. I just had a lot of self hatred. It was all my fault because I wasn’t strong enough to fight back.

I had enough hardship and got out of the Air Force. I returned home and started doing drugs. Pills, weed, coke, ecstasy and I drank. That wasn’t enough so I went to mental health doctors and was prescribed more pills. They gave me Vyvanse and Adderall, then Nuvigil. It is a miracle I’m not dead. I instantly loved them and was hooked. I could control my weight, I had tons of energy and all of a sudden I had self esteem. I did that for a few years. Then, I started to have problems at work and decided to get help. I checked into a rehab in Atlanta Peachford. I was there for about two days and decided that I wanted to go home. They wouldn’t let me, so I said I’ll show you, and tried to escape by climbing out of the ceiling. They had to call the firefighters and the police to get me down. Needless to say, they kept me for a few extra days.

When I got out I stayed clean for about two weeks. I couldn’t live with the pain, or self hatred, so I went right back to the drugs. The only difference was that this time I decided to try meth.

A few months later I met Ben. It seemed that all we ever did was fight. Within a few months I lost my apartment and my kids had to go live with my mom. We were homeless and bounced around from my grandparents house, my cousins house and sleeping in my car when we did sleep. During this time my second husband, who had adopted my kids, sued me for custody and won. I was devastated. I cashed in my retirement and we stayed in hotels for a while. We took some of the money and got another apartment. The kids were able to come stay with me, but that only lasted for two months before we were evicted. Once again we were homeless. I had to drop my devastated kids off at my ex-husband's house, bawling their eyes out. I will never forget the pain on their faces as I drove away. I had failed them again.

I had enough. Enough of the drugs, enough of the fighting and enough of life. I became suicidal. I wanted to die but I didn’t have the guts to go through with it. I used to beg God to kill me and thought because He wouldn't that I was cursed. The fights with Ben got worse. We stayed with my cousin for about a week and I tried desperately to quit the drugs. I wanted so badly to be the mother my kids deserved. I slept for an entire week. Defeated and broken I got up and did my drugs because I thought I couldn’t live without them. That day Ben and I got into yet another fight. That was the last straw. I sat on my cousin's couch and sobbed. I cried out to Jesus and said, “If you are real, save me. I can’t do this anymore. I’m too scared to go to rehab and I cannot quit on my own. I will kill myself if you don’t do something.” I cried until I couldn’t cry anymore and got up and did more drugs.

A little while later Ben came and picked me up. While driving through my cousin's trailer park we were pulled over by the Centerville Police. As they were putting the handcuffs on me all I kept saying was, “He heard me. He heard me. He’s real. Jesus is real and He heard me.” I was absolutely shocked that the God of the universe heard me and loved me enough to answer my prayer. I mattered to Him, I mattered. It was the first time in my life I knew that I mattered and that I was loved. I could feel His love for me and that changed everything. I knew that I was not alone and I didn’t have to fight this battle with drugs by myself. I just knew in my heart that things were different and that I was different. I knew He gave me a chance at a new life and that I was not going to mess that up.

Ben bailed me out of jail and, since we had nowhere to go, we ended up living in the dope man’s shed, like the real shed that he kept dogs in. None of that seemed to matter since Jesus loved me. After about a week of being there, knowing that everyone there was using drugs, including Ben, I reached out to a friend, Gary, for help. He hooked me up with his wife Ginger, who got me into the Broom Tree. I spent about two days there before I ran away, like taking off on foot at night dodging semi trucks. I walked all the way to Perdue, where Ben picked me up and took me back to the shed.

I couldn’t leave Ben behind and I felt like if I stayed at the Broom Tree that was what I was doing. God used those two days in a mighty way. They taught me what quiet time with the Lord was and how important it was. They gave me a bible and that changed everything. I filled the shed with God’s word all over the walls. I went to every meeting they had between AA, Celebrate Recovery and OneWay. God got me through those first 30 days surrounded by users. There were two scriptures that seemed to breathe life and hope into me. Psalm 147:3, “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” That was me brokenhearted and beat down by life. The other one was John 10:10, “Thief comes to steal, to kill, and to destroy. I (Jesus) came that they may have life, and have it in abundance {to the full, till it overflows.}” I held on to that promise of a better life even though I really didn’t know what an abundant life was at the time. I just knew it had to be better than the one I had currently.

Ben and I were still fighting all the time. We got kicked out of the shed and lived in the Walmart parking lot for three weeks while waiting on the paperwork to go through at the VA. Through the homeless veteran program the VA provided me a section 8 apartment at Lake Vista. God is so good. He blessed us with a place to live when we had nowhere to go. Not just a place to live but a home. He restored everything in my life in a way that I could never even imagine or think to ask. Ben got clean and my kids came to live with us. We started being able to spend time with Sarah, Ben’s daughter, again. God blessed Ben with a job and the blessings didn’t stop there. Our God is the God of abundance!

I look back over the last three years at what God has done in my life and it completely overwhelms me. Gratitude overtakes me and I can’t help but to sob. His love, mercy and grace is indescribably good. There are no words that I could use to accurately describe how much that He has blessed us. How much he has healed me. He did for me what He promised me in Psalm 147:3. He healed my broken heart and bound all my wounds. He restored my soul. Everything those men took from me He replaced. He replaced unforgiveness, bitterness, fear and resentment with love, mercy, grace and forgiveness. He has restored my relationship with my kids. They had every right to hate me but they don’t and I know that is by the grace and goodness of God. He has blessed me with peace. Honestly I really had no idea what peace was. I heard people talk about it but I never had experienced it for myself. All I knew was chaos. He took those feelings of unworthiness, shame and self hatred and gave me the grace to love and accept myself. He has blessed me with an amazing husband and a blissful marriage. He turned our constant fighting into love and respect. I truly do have the abundant life from John 10:10. Even through all the trials of life I look to my Father and know He’s done it before and He will do it again. He will never leave, nor forsake me and He loves me with an everlasting love. Glory, honor and praise be to God! He doesn’t leave us in the pits that we dig for ourselves. There is no pit so deep that His loving arms can’t reach into save you, it only takes one cry to the Father and your whole life can change.

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