God my deliverer
My name is Laurence. I was born in a town called Barnstaple in North
Devon, England. I grew up in a small seaside town called Ilfracombe.
From an early age I began to be interested in tennis. Within a few
years by the time I was twelve years old I had already attained a
reasonable level. I became a local champion winning quite a few competitions.
After a while I could see that if I wanted to progress further I would
need a full-time coach. My dad found one for me in another seaside town
He was a very good coach and in no time at all I was making great
strides and improving fast.
By the time I was sixteen I decided to leave school and try and make a
career out of tennis. My coach invited me to go and live with him where
I could help him in his coaching work and at the same time he would
help me to make it as a Professional tennis player.
I agreed even though I was a little scared of him as he was a very
aggressive man and I was naive and probably the most timid boy in the
country. I thought it would be a good step for my career and as tennis was
the most important thing in my life(I lived for tennis) I agreed to go.
My parents didn't stand in my way, which in retrospect, perhaps they
should have done, after all I was only 16. In their defense however they
could see how important tennis was to me and they let me go.
Things were fine for a while, I was earning money and I enjoyed the
extra coaching sessions(for free). My relationship with my coach improved,
although to be honest I was still scared as he could be quite severe
and explosive with his temper if I did something he didn't like, some of
it deserved, other times I'm not so sure.
As I said things were ok until one day out of the blue my coach decided
that I would no longer be able to sleep on the sofa as it was damaging
to the sofa to have someone constantly sleeping on it and I would have
to sleep in his bed from now on.
As naive as I was I thought nothing of it although perhaps I should
have been suspicious. That night he masturbated me. I felt dirty,
disgusted with myself and very ashamed that I hadn't had the guts to react and
to do something.
As I have already mentioned I was incredibly timid, I wouldn't have
said boo to a goose. I was afraid to react, this guy frightened me. All of
a sudden I felt very alone. My parents were 100 miles away, I had no
real friends I could talk to. I was afraid even to tell anyone. I thought
they might condmemn me because I hadn't done anything to stop him so I
kept quiet, pretending nothing had happened.
This carried on for years after that. I had to put up with rumours in
all the tennis circles that we were lovers when all the time all I
wanted to do was get away, to get out of this nightmare.
I got so desperate that I tried to commit suicide, I drank a bottle of
whisky and I took what must have been close to 30 paracetomols. I also
tried to slit my wrists but it was too painful(I obviously hadn't drunk
enough whisky). The next morning I woke up covered in vomit, the only
thing that was going through my head was 'shit it didn't work, I'm still
alive'. I spent the whole of that day throwing up and thought I was
going to die.
My coach was obviously shocked but couldn't understand why I had done
it. I had tried a few times to confront him about what was happening but
to no avail, as far as he was concerned he had done nothing wrong.
In the past I had tried to get away from him, to return home to my
parents but he would tell me that I would be nothing without him, that I
didn't have what it takes to make it in life. He told me that if I went
back to Ilfracombe I would end up on the scrapheap, on the dole with no
Being someone who wasn't sure of himself anyway, I was severely lacking
in self-confidence, I believed him and so it continued and even got
worse. I eventually became so deadened to the situation that I even
engaged in sexual acts that completely disgusted me, I didn't care anymore, I
felt no self-worth, I hated myself for what I had become, for what I
had let happen.
At one stage I even contemplated killing my coach. We were on the
island of Malta where we were spending the winter. I was training with the
Maltese davis cup team. I had it all worked out. I would get hold of
some sleeping pills, crush them into a drink which I would offer to my
coach just before going to bed. When he was fast asleep I would get the
hammer and bash his ugly head into tiny pieces.
After a while he moved out permanently to live and work in Malta. By
this time I had become more or less totally dependent on him, I had been
brainwashed into thinking that alone I was inadequate. Anyway he left
me in England to fend for myself. I took over his former jobs and to
begin with I really enjoyed my new found freedom but It was a real
struggle to make ends meet and I felt myself still needing a crutch as though
I was incapable of making it on my own.
As a consequence I spent the winters in Malta. The winters were
especially bad for a tennis coach in England who didn't have the facilities,
I just didn't have enough to survive the winter and my coach persuaded
me that I should spend my winters in Malta. I din't want to but I
didn't know what else to do. I certainly didn't want to go back to
Ilfracombe and end up on the dole otherwise I felt that I would get 'I told you
so' from my coach.
One summer I met a girl called Eve. She was just the most beautiful
thing. I fell in love with her, I was besotted. At last I thought I had
found someone who could help me out of my terrible situation. I wanted to
tell her but I was afraid of rejection. I didn't want to lose her, she
was the best thing to happen in my life.
The winter trips to Malta continued. The feelings of guilt got worse, I
couldn't stand it any longer. One day on a rock in Malta by the edge of
the sea I cried out to God for the first time in my life. Isn't it
funny how people cry out to God when things are desperate. I asked him to
take my life, that I couldn't stand it anymore, that I'd rather die
than go on like this.
I began to refuse to do the things my coach wanted me to do, from
somewhere I had found the strength to resist. One night he offered to pay me
for my services. Suddenly it all clicked, it all became clear like a
bright shining light. I knew I had to get out of this situation for good.
It had gotten to the lowest of lows to where I was being treated as a
prostitute when God spoke into my situation in response to my cry.
He showed me the sinfulness of my situation. Before that I had blocked
it all out as if I had locked it all away and thrown away the key, I
didn't allow myself to think about it, but now it was clear, I had to get
All of a sudden I felt God's presence so near, revealing himself to me
through creation. I began to see things differently, I began to see
things through God's eyes. Within a few days I was back in England and I
was free! Never again did I go back to Malta and it was several years
before I even saw my coach again.
I had to tell Eve. I couldn't go on living a lie. She took it well
considering but it did change our relationship. She moved away onto new
pastures and our relationship ended. I was devastated but in my pain God
was there. He helped me through it and he healed me. I cried almost
every day but God was so good. After a while the joy of the Lord hit me
like a ton of bricks and those next few months were the best of my life. I
witnessed to everything that moved about how God had touched my life
but until now have never shared the full story.
He put a wonderful woman in my path called Gabrielle who is now my
wife. We now have two gorgeous children called Emmanuelle and Naomi.
Whereas before I was living in a dingy bedsit in Torquay scraping a living I
now have a lovely house and a good job which I really enjoy.
Things have not been easy, I have had to struggle to overcome my
problems but God has always been there, he has never left me. He has helped
me through it all and I know that he will never leave me and that one
day I will be with him in Heaven where there will be no more pain or
tears or evil.
He has helped me to forgive my coach. I feel no anger or bitterness. I
have visited him once since I Ieft the island of Malta all those years
ago. I went with my wife(who knows all about what happened) to visit
him in Torquay with my first child about 3 years ago. I have been able
to put it all behind me thanks to the grace of God. I don't feel guilt
anymore. God has cleasned me and now I know that by the cleansing flow
of his blood which he poured out at Calvary he sees me as white as snow.
I have a bright future and my dark and ugly past in but a distant
memory. I thank God and I praise him that he took me out of that pit and he
has blessed my life.
If you are going through a dark and ugly place, I urge you to cry out
to God. He can lift you out of that pit and turn your mourning into Joy.
Testimony submitted to the Breadsite. To submit yours click here.