This week’s guests are special friends of our family, Donavan and Lavonna Garrett. I’m so humbled by their willingness to share the hard story of Lavonna’s loss of her parents and only sibling to cancer, their years dealing with 13 miscarriages, and their painful struggle through Donavan’s alcohol abuse. It’s an incredible story of hope, forgiveness and healing.
My family met Donavan and Lavonna eight years ago when we started attending the same church. I knew they had an amazing story but didn’t know all of it until we sat down for this interview. I was blown away by how God worked in their lives to bring restoration to their marriage and family. I loved it when Donavan said, “I will never get over what God did for me.”
Donavan is recognized throughout our community because he plays the part of Jesus in our church’s Judgement House every year. It’s amazing how God can take someone who was so out of control under the influence of alcohol and change his life to the point of using him as a vessel to reach others for Jesus in such a powerful way.
I hope this episode will encourage you, especially if you’re walking through your own seemingly hopeless situation. It’s Donavan and Lavonna’s desire to glorify God with their story, because they know He alone deserves the honor.
Highlights from this Episode
“Out of all the alcohol, all the drugs, everything I’ve ever put in my body, I’ve never had a feeling like I had that night. I know it was God. My life has never been the same since. It changed me from the inside out.” – Donavan
“When you sell out to God and you’re serious with God and you make Him Lord of your life, He will change your life. He changed my life.” – Donavan
“You all have been told probably for the last several years that you have a disease and poor you. I’m telling you that it’s not true. You have a choice. You have a choice every day.” – Lavonna quoting one of the counselors who was talking to the newest residents as she left Donavan at Home with a Heart. She smiled as she walked away thinking, “He’s in the right place.”
I waited patiently for the Lord; He turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; He set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear the Lord and put their trust in Him. – Psalm 40: 1-3 (Donavan)
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11 (Lavonna)
Resources and Links
Donavan gives all the credit for his being set free from alcohol abuse to God, all those who prayed for him and to Home with a Heart. A Christian rehabilitation home-like environment dedicated to helping men get set free from the bondage of drug/alcohol abuse through Jesus Christ one day at a time while also resources like this alcohol rehab centre in Cheshire helps a lot. They are located in Liberty, S.C.
Lavonna believes that if she hadn’t sought Christian advice from godly friends, she could have taken a very different path. If you don’t have Christian friends, seek help from a godly pastor or a Christian counselor. Focus on the Family has great Christian counselors available to talk to and who can connect you with a local counselor in your area.
Christian radio can also be a great source of comfort and encouragement, especially if you’re going through a difficult time. His Radio (89.3 in Greenville, S.C.) is a local station that can be streamed online from wherever you are.
Overcoming Alcoholism to Restore a Marriage Part 1 with Donavan and Lavonna Garrett