Author: Peter Leishman
“Between the searching and the need to work it out, I stop believing everything will be alright.” – Tears for Fears, 1985
Ten years ago, I lived alone in a small one-bedroom basement apartment. My life looked and felt very much like the neglected warehouse you see in this photo; abandoned and empty. A ray of light pierced the gloom, but my days were darker than my nights. I dreaded the mornings, the first faint glimmer of dawn wavering into my bedroom. Another day I didn’t want to face. The lyrics are from the song ‘Broken’; I had stopped believing everything would be alright. I had completely broken the bonds of trust in our marriage. This led to our separation, and in due course, I lost everything. My wife Tina, family, and friends were all gone from me. I had no idea how I would live through the coming weeks and months. I was in complete despair. Although I was Christian, I feared I had lost my salvation.
“What do I have to lie about today?”
For two years, I had been in a relationship outside my marriage. Sin had slowly seeped into my life in ways that seemed so innocent at the time. It was too late when I finally realized how far things had gone. My poor choices had taken me further than I had wanted, costing me much more than I had been willing to pay.
The first thought I had getting up each morning during my affair was, ‘What do I have to lie about today?’ Do you know how hard that is to do? You have to remember each lie to make the next one work. Your life slowly spins out of control.
“What are you afraid of?”
I went to my doctor for cognitive therapy a year before our separation. He had a long history with our family and was someone I could trust. I had come to him hoping to untangle myself and find some answers. His first question was, “What are you afraid of?” After a long silence, I could only reply, “Nothing.”
Today, with hindsight, the truth was that I was afraid of losing my marriage. I was afraid to be alone. I was afraid of my addictive behaviours. I was afraid to fail and not find my way back. Seems simple right? But back then, how could I know who I was? I had lived most of my life as an island unto myself. Simon & Garfunkel said it best in the song ‘I Am A Rock; “And a rock feels no pain, and an island never cries.” I was afraid to open up to him. I let a good chance for a better understanding of myself slip away.
I didn’t change my ways, so the day came when my fears came true, and Tina told me to leave.
“I will not live like this anymore.”
It was two months after our separation. I was driving one morning and I made a decision that would change my life. Just like in the parable of the Prodigal Son in Luke 15:17, I came to myself and spoke out loud, “I will not live like this anymore!” I remember this moment like it was yesterday. The day was Thursday, November 22, 2012, at precisely 11:15 a.m.
I emailed Tina’s younger sister Joanna that afternoon to tell her how sorry I was. “Joanna, I’m ready to change and turn my life around.” She replied, “I don’t believe a word you’ve said, Peter. you should find out all you can about God’s will for repentance.” I was taken aback by her response but took it to heart. I was so ashamed. Her words truly humbled me.
That night I searched ‘repentance’ online and discovered Derek Prince, a well-known teacher, and Christian pastor, now passed. I thought repentance was a punishment. But I discovered from Derek that it is a gift of mercy and grace from God that we don’t deserve. Repentance is deciding to turn your life around and get back on track.
I prayed a prayer of repentance. I collapsed on my bed in tears. I cried out to God and surrendered myself to Him. I knew I was fragmented; what to do? How do I put myself back together? I found the answer the next day. I talked with all these ‘fragmented parts’ of me. Like a coach, I told them we had to do this together, or it wouldn’t work. I didn’t know it then, but this heart-healing method is the basis of the HeartSync Ministry taught today.
I was bringing together a divided heart into oneness again. It was the beginning of my heart healing that I so desperately needed. I decided to change my thinking and move into a new direction for my life. I prepared my heart to come back into a relationship with God. I wanted to receive the fullness of His grace. Repentance is present and ongoing. I’ve learned it’s not today’s repentance that counts. It’s tomorrow’s. God moved in my life, and miracles opened the way for me.
Tina reached out to me later that week. A friend suggested that a Christian Healing Centre, Singing Waters Ministries, might help me. Established in 1956, their mission statement is “To bring the unfailing love of the Father to the broken-hearted.” I didn’t know a retreat like this existed.
I was saved in 1993 when a missionary had an alter call in a local Pentecostal Church. My hand was shaking, but with a mind of its own, it somehow ended up in the air. I fought every step of the way to the front. I spoke the words and accepted Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. Nothing changed for me that day. This wouldn’t happen until almost 20 years later. That day had now come. No one could do this for me. It was a choice only I could make. I called Singing Waters the next day.
911 Emergency Call
The receptionist answered the phone, and I immediately poured out my heart and circumstances into her. I thought this must be like making a 911 Emergency call, so I didn’t hold anything back. When I finished my story, there was an awkward silence at the other end. “Sir, I’ll find another person for you to talk to,” I repeated my story to the next person with the same result. A third person came on the line. She was easy to talk to and asked some good questions to get to know my situation. She was with the Ministry Team and got me settled down.
I was arranged to visit that weekend, so I arrived Saturday to sit in on a session of their Isaiah 61 Fall School. The Executive Director was waiting for me when I walked in and greeted me by name. I was startled. “How did you know it was me?” She smiled and ushered me down the stairs to the Meeting Room. I was given an empty desk at the back and a notebook. The afternoon School session was about to begin. The Ministry teachers that day were Scott & Hillary Dalton. The lesson focused on God’s plan to prosper and grow our relationship with Him. It was all new to me, but my heart was open to receiving the message.
Driving home, I remembered that I knew God through His wonderful creative designs when I was a small boy. I remembered my joy for nature on my Grandfather’s farm each summer. I felt unique and special back then. I wondered, as a child, did everyone see the blue of the sky the way I did? Did the notes of the robin’s song sound the same to all? These are serious questions for a young boy to ponder. I left Singing Waters that day with a question for God. “Can I simply know you as I did as a child?” I wanted Him to be real for me again.
“Who am I? Why am I here? Who do I trust?”
Five weeks later, I returned to Singing Waters to stay a month for the Isaiah 61 School in January. The daily teachings and prayer fellowship are designed to deepen people’s relationship with God. Inner healing flows into our hearts through the Spirit of God. I remember thinking as I arrived, “Who am I? Why am I here? Who do I trust?” God answered me. “Peter, you are here for me.” I felt safe. Who is this Father that loves me so much? I was about to find out.
Stepping through the front door, I wondered how people lived and worked here. It was all new to me. What is it about Christians that binds them together? What do they do for fun? What does being in a community mean? Talking to my neighbors over the fence was about the closest I had ever come. Going to church on a Sunday was more or less a casual outing. I couldn’t imagine living with my church members seven days a week. At least I would no longer be alone. I had given up my basement apartment and was all in. My ‘fragmented parts’ had pulled together as one.
The Isaiah 61 School and living in the community challenged me. My vague upbringing as a Christian had not prepared me for this. My knowledge and basic understanding of scripture were limited. We worshiped before each session and later broke into small groups for prayer and fellowship. We were taught and led into forgiveness, repentance, and judgments, to name a few. Sometimes I didn’t want to leave my room and come to meals. I struggled to let others in. I learned to ask Jesus to be with me wherever I went and in every situation. Over time he became a brother and a constant companion. What a difference now this has made in my daily life and walk with God.
Toward the end of the four weeks, the Executive Director asked if I would like to stay on as a full-time volunteer. Another miracle unfolded for me. They could use my hands-on skills around the 50-acre property. I prayed about it, but there was no need or desire to look back. It was a road less traveled by many, but I didn’t hesitate and said, “Yes.”
“We put our marriage on the shelf and trusted God.”
Tina started to visit me at Singing Waters. We agreed to put our marriage on the shelf while we worked through our pain to know ourselves and each other again. Inner healing is a form of Christian prayer and counseling that access’s traumatic memories of difficult life experiences or events. This allows us to develop a deeper relationship with God and experience healing for unresolved emotional and spiritual issues. There’s a story about a grandson asking his Grandfather how he ever found such a beautiful and loving wife. (his grandmother) The Grandfather answered with a smile, “When I made myself right, she found me.” It took seven months for Tina and I to put our lives back together. We learned new ways to communicate with each other. To listen and be open to difficult questions. I made myself right. We were committed, and I left Singing Waters in November 2013 to move back home.
“Dad, it’s going to be okay.”
My relationship with my family, however, took much more time. There are always consequences to your actions. My son didn’t talk to me as his Father for three years. He had lost all respect and trust for me. I had no choice but to wait on him. Curtis decided on his own in 2016 to forgive me. He put his arm around my shoulder at a Blue Jays game in the fourth inning. Leaning in, he said, “Dad, it’s going to be okay.” I cried in front of 36,000 people.
In the Summer of 2019, I was honoured to officiate his wedding at Singing Waters. Instead of the traditional speech, I spoke a Father’s Blessing over him. Some people today still think I don’t deserve this new chance in life. That’s okay. I’m focused on God, my marriage, and my family. I give Him the glory every day. My inner healing brought me into a closer relationship with Him. I believed in myself again. The true definition of loneliness is when people don’t know who you are. When there is no truth in your life, where is your hope?
What a Difference
What a difference Singing Waters has made in our lives. God prepared a safe haven for us to heal and find each other again. A place we could trust, where God could look after us. The marriage on the shelf remained there. This new marriage is built on a solid foundation. Tina found the strength to forgive me. I found the husband and Father that, deep down, I knew myself to be. A decade has passed since the day I made my decision. It was only this past Summer that Tina woke one morning to tell me, “Peter, for the first time in years, I feel normal again.” We’re living a miracle. A ‘Lazarus’ marriage, some call it. We are privileged to teach and share our testimonies in Schools and to be on the Ministry Team at Singing Waters to encourage others. Our family now spans five generations. I almost broke that succession forever. A love for God binds us together through the difficult times that always come in life. I know Him now in a simple and real way. I was lost, but I found my way home. What does the robin’s song sound like to you?
I want to leave you now with my favourite scripture verse. The words best describe, more than I ever could, how I feel about myself today.
“As a face is reflected in water, so the heart reflects the real person.” – Proverbs 27:19
I’m hoping my testimony has encouraged you. My Christian life is rooted in reality, restored by a miracle of God’s grace. I’m living now as my true self, not believing the lies from the past.
About the Author: Peter Leishman
Peter and Tina Leishman have been full-time resident volunteers at Singing Waters for the past seven years. Peter is the Property & Maintenance Manager with a strong vision for future development. Tina is the Special Events Coordinator and facilitates the Weekend Groups. They teach in our Isaiah 61 Schools, Heart To Heart Weekends, and are Personal Ministry Counselors. They have a powerful personal testimony to encourage others and are team builders in our community. Their family now spans five generations rooted in a love for God that binds them together in strength and faith.
Praise God for His faithfulness to heal and restore. Great testimony Peter. A new man with a new heart, and a beautiful marriage! Richest blessings as you and Tina continue to walk in His grace.
A truly inspirational testimony of God’s redemptive nature Peter.
I watched you walk it out the first few years at the beginning and I was impressed by your commitment to make things right.
Your relationship with Tina and your family and Singing Waters is evidence of what God can do with a heart that is truly open to His love and healing.
Love yo Brother. Thank you for your testimony .
To God be all the glory. Your story/ testimony is a wonderful manifestation of IS61:3-4
3 To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness, that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He might be glorified.” 4 And they shall build the wastes of old, they shall raise up the former desolations, and they shall repair the waste cities, the desolations of many generations.
The joy of the Lord continue to strengthen both of you. Shalom! Shalom!
When I read the testimony, a sentence came into my mind “have I weeped for my sin?” My heart is too deep to be understood. However, when I lost connection with my heart, there is no true me. Thanks so much for Peter’s testimony. That is God’s precious gift for me.
Wonderful testimony Peter, and very well written. This will be a blessing to many people. Our God of second chances (and third and fourth and…). Glory to God for who He is.
When I was reading God prepared a Safe Haven that was exactly where you are.And you andTina have opened the doors to many others. Your writing will help many.
WOW, what a testimony Peter! It is amazing to hear what God has done in you and Tina’s life. Truly there is no barriers for God when one surrenders their life to Him. There is and always been a wonderful peace about you. From the first time I met you at Singing Waters in 2015 to now that peace remains. Thank you for your wisdom.
This testimony is an example of the goodness of God, when we make a conscious decision to follow Him and walk in obedience He will surely lead us. Those that seek Him will find Him, such an incredible testimony.
Thank you Peter for your vulnerable transparency and open hearteness. I truly felt your words of pain and despair. You are a reflection now of the Divine Workmanship and Grace Walk of God’s Love. Your story of the revelation of God’s original intention and love as a Father reflects his original and authentic design for you and humanity! You have displayed a Divine anointing of the Christ Jesus. For you have experienced the extravagant GRACE of Christ that although He was Infinitely Rich, He impoverished himself for our sake so that by His Poverty we could become rich beyond measure. Thank you Peter for reminding us all of this Eternal Truth. Blessings to you and your family.
Beautiful testimony Peter of a heart and marriage restored through the love of God.
Both you and Tina did the hard working of facing yourselves and turning to each other to create something new. This is a testimony for not only those who read this but your children and your grandchildren – Dad and Mom fought the good fight of faith and of love. May God continue to pour out his strength, love, peace, and joy in your lives and in the lives of all those you touch.
Inspirational, well written, really touching.
Thank you for sharing the details of your testimony Peter. I have heard bits and pieces from you before but your putting it all together illustrates both the beauty and the miracle of the marriage restoration process as well as the personal restorations of both yourself and Tina. Your lives are a valuable tapestry woven together by the Father using two pieces of beautiful yarn and using a weave pattern that is unique and seemingly impossible to achieve…..but God….
What a BLESSED TESTIMONY…You are so brave. What a God we have who takes all the things the evil one means for bad and uses it for HIS GLORY…how extraordinary that your lives are fused together by and In God’s Grace and your marriage is better than it ever was. This is what God does. Fixes the broken places and you end up with a Majestic Mosaic that keeps being constructed. If your marriage did not go through the bumps and bruises, there would not be the healing that gets extended to generations forward and back. I agree with Mignon above and have copied and pasted GOD’S HOLY WORD and the work that was achieved through your total surrender to allow God to fix the brokenness:
“To appoint unto PETER AND TINA that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness, that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He might be glorified.” 4 And Peter and Tina shall build the wastes of old, they shall raise up the former desolations, and they shall repair the waste cities, the desolations of many generations.
The joy of the Lord continue to strengthen both of you. Shalom! Shalom!”
I couldn’t help but notice that SHALOM SHALOM was written…and I think it is DOUBLE HONOUR FOR YOUR SHAME. God redeemed your marriage and family from the pit and now you have double-Peace that surpasses because God’s Glory keeps multiplying. All the best!