Story by Anna Flagg
Photos by Devin Etzold
Brandy Honeysuckle flat-lined and died twice. She has a past filled with rejection, addiction and despair. But now, it is filled with hope.
Honeysuckle grew up in a home that she thought was normal. In second grade, her family moved to Michigan and that was when things began to spiral downward. Her dad began having extramarital affairs and drinking too much. Her mom soon followed the same pattern.
“I began to see the thread of rejection in my life and started to look for acceptance anywhere I could find it,” Honeysuckle said. “I opened the door for the enemy to come in and take root in my life, making me feel unworthy of any kind of love.”
By the age of 14, Honeysuckle turned to alcohol and drugs, finding acceptance in friends who would participate with her. These people, she realized later, were all broken and looking for a way to ease the pain just like she was. Her addiction became more serious in high school when she started injecting drugs directly into her body and experimenting with ecstasy and acid. Throughout high school and the years that followed, she got pregnant, engaged, had a miscarriage and then an abortion.
At 21, she checked herself into a rehab center and began to slowly piece her life back together. Though she still used drugs occasionally, she believed she was in a better place than she had been in years. At 26, she married a man she met in rehab, and they attended the University of Arkansas together. It was a happy and healthy marriage, but once out of college, things started to go downhill. She began to follow the same patterns she created for herself years before. Honeysuckle and her husband started to take prescription pills, and her husband was eventually arrested and jailed for forgery.
After a series of incidents, including her husband leaving her for another woman, Honeysuckle’s life took still another nosedive. She was alone and found herself desperate for prescription pills, and willing to do anything to get them. She flat-lined and died twice, but still left the hospital asking for more pills.
Six months later, she ended up at the Freeman Center, a detox center in Waco. It was there she learned about Grace House, a residential recovery home for women to find restoration and deliverance from their addictions. She took a step of faith and decided to turn back toward God and take a chance on Grace House.
Living at the house was a struggle for Honeysuckle from day one. She had to face herself and confront her addiction in a whole new way, without distraction from the outside world. She found it difficult to surrender the habits of her life that she had formed, and in the beginning, found it hard to even stay at Grace House.
“I had so much anger and resentment built up from my life,” Honeysuckle said. “I had absolutely no hope and no trust. It took me about five and a half months to overcome my shame from the past. Then one day I prayed for God to remove my guilt, and the next day I was able to walk out of everything that was in my past.”
Missy Morris, director of Grace House, heard all of Honeysuckle’s stories concerning her past and stood beside her during the healing process.
“When she first came into the house, she was in a very desperate place, wrestling with her addictions in order to be released from bondage,” Morris said. “She had to make narrow choice after narrow choice in order to find freedom. Grace House is a place that works to restore women holistically, and building new patterns was not easy for Honeysuckle”
After a few months on the road to recovery, Morris said Honeysuckle began to speak truth to the other women living in the house. She said she has spent every day saying ‘’yes’ to Jesus, and giving up control in order to pay the price for freedom.
After 14 months in the house and an amazing journey, Honeysuckle moved out to begin life more on her own. It was difficult for her to enter the real world and the workforce again. The house was full of peace and grace and calm and quiet–qualities the real world do not always provide. Life moved a lot faster for Brandy in the real world, and it was hard to adjust.
“The transition out is never simple, and nothing came easy for Brandy along this journey,” Morris said. “But she is a leader. She is fiery, And she is an influencer.”
“I have amazing people that love God and are walking through this thing with me,” Honeysuckle said. “It is not always pretty, but it’s life and we stay together.”
Honeysuckle now works in Waco and lives with Erin Rambo, a woman she met through her life group at Antioch Community Church. They have committed not to simply co-exist but to actually live life together and connect on a deeper level. Rambo has seen Honeysuckle grow tremendously in the past year.
“Brandy has become a confident woman who is at peace with who she is and at rest with who God is in her,” Rambo said. “She has pressed into God in those hard places instead of rebelling and pulling away.”
Honeysuckle said she does not think of drugs anymore, and every once in a while when the thought does creep in, she reaches out to God and it goes away in an instant. She went from someone who could not hold a job to someone who is employable, and from a person who hated humanity to someone who is able to trust again.
“I had the revelation a while ago that yes, Jesus’ blood flows from the cross and it covers everything from my past, but now I look at it and I see the blood shed for me flowing forward,” Honeysuckle said. “I can walk under that knowing I am covered by his blood and his grace.”
Morris said Honeysuckle regularly comes back to visit the house and the ladies are encouraged by her life.
“I have seen other ladies come out of the house, but the difference for Brandy is that she has really encountered Jesus,” Rambo said. “She feeds herself on Jesus and that makes all the difference.”
Honeysuckle’s life after addiction is still a choice, but she said she has found abundant life in Jesus. She is a symbol of hope to women who are walking through their own journey of healing.
Find more info at: http://www.antiochcc.net/missions_ministry.php?id=11&tab=13