Mark Brooks: Saved by Relationship, Not Religion
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By the time Mark Brooks was five years old, he had already learned a painful lesson -- home was not a safe place.
“He would blow up, and I mean within seconds, he would just knock everything off the table or hit my mom,” Mark tells The 700 Club. “There was a lot of physical and mental abuse. Midway through the night when he was drunk, we could be laying in bed, and the next thing you know, you’d see your mother get drug by a door or her head get busted against the mirror.”
He hung out with older kids; most of them did drugs. By the time Mark was eight, he was smoking pot. Soon he was hooked on other drugs.
“Everything I’ve ever touched has been an addiction. Everything. Cigarettes, drinking, smoking, everything. Crank, meth, pot, the whole nine yards.”
As the years went by, Mark plunged further into drugs and began selling acid. His life was one big party.
“When I got into drugs in my teen years, I began to get worse and stronger -- doing acid, being away from home two and three weeks at a time. When I did come home, I probably looked pretty rough ‘cause I hadn’t had showers, been drinking and partying.”
He tried to get better and even checked into a treatment center. But nothing worked. During that time, he got married and had a daughter. But he was so addicted to drugs, he couldn’t take care of his family. His wife took the baby and moved to Georgia.
“She didn’t want me to be a part of her life, because the drugging and alcohol I was doing.
So Mark signed over his rights to his little girl.
“I really felt like I was doing the right thing because of how bad I felt about myself. I was totally a drug addict and alcoholic, and I didn’t want her living that life.”
Mark later began dating a woman named Lori. She had gone to church growing up, but now she loved to party.
“We started drinking and partying together,” he says. “I hid the drugs from her for a couple of years, and then after we were together for a while, I started getting her into meth, ice and smoking pot.”
The two got married, but Mark was still dealing. The two were always on the run from the police.
“The paranoia got really bad ‘cause we were running so much dope. We were selling it outside of motel rooms. We would, in the middle of the night, have to pack up our entire house, go on the run for a few month and then come back home.”
After eight years of getting high, Mark noticed that Lori began doing something he had never seen her do.
“She would open up the Bible and read the Bible to me while we were high. This went on for three or four months before she finally got to the point that, 'I’m not doing this anymore. Either you’re coming to church with me, or I’m going to leave.’ That’s exactly the way she put it.”
Lori was returning to the faith of her childhood. For fear of losing Lori, Mark went to church.
“She got saved that first day,” he says. “I thought we were just going to church. She took off up the aisle and gave her life to Jesus. The next three weeks I seen changes in her I hadn’t seen in her in eight years.”
The change in Lori made Mark want to give his life to Jesus, too.
“I sat in the back of the church, and I was having conversations with God and Satan. I said, ‘Devil, I know you’re real. But God, if You’re really up there, if You’re really a God, if You’re really Jesus, I can use a change.’ When I did, all the electricity in the building and everything shut off.”
Mark knew he had his answer and could hardly wait until the end.
“I was just like ‘hurry up!’ When he did the altar call, I just took off down the aisle.”
Mark gave his life to Christ. As for the drugs… “gone, done, over with, never again. Didn’t want it no more. We went back home that day. I remember finding drugs in my house and poured it down the toilet.”
Today Mark and Lori share the message of Christ with people who can’t break the cycle of drug abuse. Mark has also reunited with his daughter. He’s thankful that God has changed his life.
“He’s my everything. I changed. When I first got up in the morning, I did a line or I smoked pot. Now when I get up in the morning, the first thing I do is talk to Jesus. I read my Word. Everything is built on a relationship, not a religion. It’s all about Jesus.”