Meet My Sister

My hands have been frozen on the computer keyboard while I took in the pure profundity of this moment in my personal life and family life and, Lord, have mercy, my spiritual life. When I say that I am about to share something gigantic to me, I am not kidding. I am bug-eyed that this is really happening and it is everything I can do not to type these words to you from face down on the floor. My dear Siestas, it is my great honor to introduce you to my blood sister, with whom I was raised and with whom I shared a room for many years and many secrets. Some crippling. We have known much pain together and much devastation apart and were so close growing up that one of us could hardly be okay if the other were not. Today – and for this moment – we are both okay. And blessed. Redeemed. Forgiven. And, in staggering ways, restored. Only because of Jesus.

Years ago in a speaker/teacher workshop, the consummate Christian communicator, Florence Littauer, taught us to ask ourselves two questions before standing in front of an audience: “Do I have anything to say?” And, “Do people need to hear it?” I can confidently say today that, if Florence Littauer knew my sister and her story, she’d tell her to open her mouth and rarely shut it till God took her Home. Oh, Sisters, does she ever have something to say and do people ever need to hear it!

Please meet my older sister by three years, Gay Tuttle. She and I are two of five siblings who we love as much as we love each other. I do not know anyone well who has a more powerful and genuine testimony than Gay. Her rescue and revival flooded over into mine. God used her healing to add to mine. It is with the hope that God could use it to somehow impact you that I make this introduction.  My heart is pounding with awe and reverence as we release her story – and at times our story – to the public. In her words. I have not edited a single sentence. Here you will find the first of several installments of this story of redemption that, God willing, we hope to share with you over the weeks to come. I don’t want to put her into a time crunch but you could reasonably expect them about 1 to 2 weeks apart. Pray for her as she writes to you. Sometimes we have to relive to RE-LIVE.

As I put her out here for the eyes of multiple thousands, I beg you from the deepest part of my heart to take good care of my sister. This is huge for her and huge for me. Allow her the freedom to talk in the language that she presently speaks and with the terms she presently uses. I believe you will be so blessed. Very few of you Siestas need me to say this but, because I do not want to throw her to even two wolves, I ask you to please refrain from preaching to her. Instead, receive from her. Just let her share with you a vivid flesh-and-blood illustration of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. These won’t be articles for legalists. These will be articles for people who do believe or who want to believe with all their hearts that “it is for freedom that Christ has set us free.” (Galatians 5:1)  If I didn’t believe you were the kind of people to embrace her with lavish affection, I’d never take this chance. But I know you, Siestas. I know she will be well cared-for here. By the way, she knows you a bit, too. She’s been reading the blog and many of your comments now for a year. So, without further introduction, my beloved Siestas, please meet my beloved Sister, Gay. I am now full-on crying.


Hi Siestas!  My name is Gay and I’m an alcoholic.  I’m not just any alcoholic.  I am a serious, hardcore, dedicated, classic, textbook alcoholic.  I drank just like that for thirty-seven years, all of my adult life, with the exception of the last two and three-quarter years.  Today I have 1000 days of sobriety, nights included, weekends too, consecutive, all in a row, no breaks, no slips and no sneaks.  Now, that might not sound like much of an accomplishment to those who have stayed sober all of their lives or for those who drink responsibly, but for ME, it is a flatout miracle from God!!

To be honest, Sweet Siestas, I have grappled with how to introduce myself on this most-esteemed blog until I almost didn’t come out here at all.  Because I have been “raised up” in the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous and in our beloved Mercy Street, a church that ministers to many in recovery, the word “alcoholic” just rolls off my tongue.  I don’t even think about it.  It feels right, it sounds right, IT IS RIGHT!!  It is a huge part of who I am and I own that.  My God-given, God-planned deliverance from it is my testimony and I believe with all my heart that there are those of you who have, at the very least, people in your lives who have struggled or are strugging with some similar experiences and need some hope.  That’s about as simple as it gets.  I am quick to blurt it out for another reason as well, possibly the most important one:  I do not want to forget.  I believe that in order to LIVE what I have been delivered to I must REMEMBER what I have been delivered from.

What it was like:

I started drinking at seventeen years old as a rebellious teenager (loved it), continued to do it through the “functioning” years (tolerated it) and moved on to radical self-medicating simply to kill the pain, much of which I caused myself (hated it).  I was given countless opportunities to recover and refused.  By the time I got serious and very scared, it was too late.  I was hopelessly addicted to alcohol, both mentally and physically, and I had lost the power of choice.  So I threw in the towel and proceeded to try to drink myself out of my misery and miserable existence, to death.  And I almost did, many times, but for the radical grace of God.  I lost my husband, my children, my job, the trust of my family, my home, my car, my driving privileges, my self-respect, my dignity, my values, my freedom and the list goes on and on.  I was confined to jails and institutions more times than I can count.  I thought I was a certifiable lunatic because WHO would drink after all that???  And that wasn’t the bottom for me; I ended up homeless and on the street (yes, outside!) for approximately eighteen months.

What happened:

God intersected into my life like a burning bolt of lightning and in the blink of an eye my story took an abrupt about-face and became His Story.

What it is like now:

A thousand days of sobriety and a God bigger than life Who requires a lot of WORK from me, have molded and chiseled me into far more than an alcoholic.  I am a loving and responsible mother, sister and friend.  I am a dedicated employee and member of Mercy Street who believes in its mission and lives it OUT LOUD.  I am a driver with a valid Texas drivers license and insurance, a car owner, townhouse dweller, volunteer, law-abiding citizen, taxpayer (ugh), sponsor, sponsee and recovery coach.  I sit on three committees that are a part of the Houston Area Recovery Initiative for the fourth largest city in the country.  I am a Servant and Lover of God who is fully dedicated to following His will for my life which is to share my experiences, both there and back, and offer hope of God’s deliverance for all who suffer from a similar seemingly hopeless state of mind and body.

I hope to offer a unique perspective, possibly even tilting the axis a bit (in a good way), of an intimate relationship with this most Mysterious Jesus God who never leaves us or forsakes us no matter how far down the scale we have gone.  I love Him because He loves me, all of me.  He first loved me!  I had been taught that as a child and had sung Jesus Loves Me since I could form words.  Yet I had forgotten that while I was out there in the wilderness, pounding the hot concrete with bare feet.  I didn’t know the love, grace and mercy of God until I walked off of that concrete and began the journey out of the pit, to hope and a future, to FREEDOM.

“The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners,”  Isaiah 61:1-3

I am going to tell you my story, Sweet Siestas, if you care or dare to listen.  I promise I will be honest and candid, direct and to the point.  I will try my best not to ramble on about the problem without moving quickly to the solution.  For me, not just any alcoholic, there is but One Solution.  Not just any God.  It takes a God the size of the universe, bigger and badder than them all, to accomplish for us and through us what we cannot do for ourselves.  It takes the all powerful, all consuming, all merciful Crazy Love of Jesus and our full acceptance of who we are in and to Him.  It takes a willingness to do WHAT HE ASKS, which is A LOT.  It takes honesty and authenticity.  This is Who I Am and it only matters what God thinks because of Who He Is.  Then its Katie bar the door!  Here am I, send me, all of me, scars, limps and all.  And He will and He does because He loves us with a love that transcends all barriers and which is, well … indescribable.  Brennan Manning, my second favorite author, wrote these words in The Furious Longing of God:  “Employing adjectives such as furious, passionate, vehement, and aching to describe the longing of God are my mumbling and fumbling to express the Inexpressible.  Yet, I plod on.” Please bear with me, my Siestas, while I mumble and fumble to express the Inexpressible.


Dear Jesus God, You know that the absolute best prayer I ever prayed in my life was the simplest of all prayers:  God, Please Help Me!  I’m praying it again now, Dear Jesus.  Please help me to be effective in Your world and for Your glory and honor alone.  Please help me to shine the light of Jesus in the darkest night, to the wounded and broken who need a shred of hope because everyone needs some, Lord.  I love you with all my heart and soul.  I am Yours, all of me.  Amen.


1,534 Responses to “Meet My Sister”

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  1. 151
    Becky says:

    I rarely comment, but I just wanted to say thank you to Gay for sharing her story.

    What courageous it takes to share your story with so many people, but God is using you to speak TRUTH and that is what we are called to do. May the Lord continue to give you strength and peace- a peace that only He can provide!

    What a blessing you are (already) to this community! 🙂

  2. 152
    Carolyn Stutz says:

    I had the privilege of ministering to a friend this morning and told her that her two words for 2012 need to be “surrender” and “freedom”…then I log on to read your story, Gay…oh my… thank you for giving us the privilege of hearing your story and praising God with you.
    Beth, thanks for sharing your sister with us :). I can only imagine how you must be rejoicing!

  3. 153
    Erin says:

    This is amazing! God is so faithful.
    Can’t wait to hear more!

  4. 154
    Susan says:

    Wow! Thanks for your courage and honesty! It gives hope to all who are praying for someone to come to Jesus! Praise God!

  5. 155
    Mindy says:

    Thrilled to praise God for you and with you!

  6. 156

    Gay, your bravery blesses us and your story shines His light into the darkest corners. Thank you for stepping out here. *YOU* are so loved!

  7. 157
    Andrea Hill says:

    Beth, I am so choked up right. We just started your bible study “Mercy Triumphs”. Last Wednesday was the first week and literally the whole class was in tears as you told your story of Gay and your family and how all these miracles started to happen as you were writing your study.

    Gay, I am already in awe with you and I can’t wait to read more of your story. You are so amazing and thank you so much for telling your testimony. God is using you in a mighty way.

  8. 158
    Kim says:

    Thank you! I needed this and I have a friend who needs it even more today. So I am sending her your story that she might not give up hope for the sister she loves.

    Welcome. We are so glad you are here. 🙂

  9. 159
    Heather says:

    Gay and Beth…thank you. A thousand thank yous…If you only knew where my world is today. We don’t share same struggle, but were are in the same boat,sailing on the same ol’ stormy sea.I’m sitting at my computer weeping. Thank you for this first glimpse into your heart and life. God has used you this day, to bring me hope.

  10. 160
    Michelle says:

    Oh, Gay, how I love you! Thank you for your transparency and for encouraging me today! God is so faithful and what is so amazing is how much He loves us and will not leave us to ourselves! God is using you mightily and will bring much beauty for your ashes and mine, I am PRAISING HIM WITH YOU!

  11. 161
    Lauren says:

    I am a college student who came to Christ and has been growing in a saving, life-transforming, world-rocking relationship with Jesus just over 3 years ago as a freshman. Since then, I have been praying desperately for my alcoholic father to come to know the Lord; to flee from darkness and come in to the light. I have been praying that the loss of his job, wife, children, driving privileges and dignity would drive him to find hope in Christ and Christ alone. I have been praying that through his numerous trips to rehab that God would continually reveal Himself to my dad, that he would accept the gift that Christ gave us on the cross and possess eternal life.
    I say all of these things because I want you to know I think your story is already beautiful. Your testimony is powerful and God has used it to shine a glimmer of hope in my heart and to motivate me to keep praying for my dad. I know nothing is impossible with God, no one too far from his saving power and reach. You are an example of this amazing truth. Thank you for being obedient to Christ, for sharing your life and the gospel with others and for letting God use you to impact the world for his glory!

  12. 162

    WOW! WOW! WOW! I can not wait to hear the rest of this story!! God bless you, Gay. We love you.

  13. 163
    Pat from Kansas says:

    Hello Gay. Thank you for sharing. I can never read too much about God’s abiding love redemption. May you be blessed and used mightily for Him!
    Here’s to 1001, 1002, 1003…….

  14. 164
    Michelle says:

    Beth and Gay,
    Thanks to both of you for sharing this. I can’t wait to hear more. Alcoholism and addiction are rampant on both sides of my family. Of particular heartbreak to me is one of my brothers. I am looking forward to more of your/God’s story to give me hope and a renewed boldness in prayer. God will certainly use your courage and obedience to speak to many people and give them hope! I pray God’s continued blessings for you!!!

  15. 165
    Amy Christina says:

    It’s a pleasure to meet you, Gay! Welcome! Thank you for sharing. What courage! Stand strong in HIS strength!! Thank you, God for your great mercy!!

  16. 166
    Sarah says:

    Welcome Gay! Congratulations on your 1000 days of sobriety! I have never been addicted to alcohol but I have been (and am) addicted to food and other things. Thank you for sharing with us. I look forward to hearing your story. We can all use hope. We can all gain encouragement from how God works in a sister’s life. Because, that same mighty God that took you from that to you now is the same faithful God – and He can do mighty things for me and all the other siestas – no matter where we find ourselves. You are so welcome here, Gay! Thank you for joining us! 🙂

  17. 167
    Mandy McLean says:

    This is a story WORTH sharing and telling. God as your Author and you as a willing servant. He makes ALL things new and you are a new creation with a new zeal and passion that one who had been in the throes of a 10 year meth addiction and did a 5 year stay in federal prison can totally understand. Believe me, I am a redeemed, forgiven child of THE LIVING KING who is now a pastor’s wife and a women’s ministry leader bY THE GRACE OF GOD alone! Praise Jesus for redemption.
    Thank you for sharing this and know that I will be face down for you in prayer as you share more of your story. You are worthy because you are now clothed in His righteousness and He sees no stain on you, child! REJOICING with you, sister!

  18. 168
    Heather says:

    Thank you for sharing your life with honesty and giving praise for THE ONE who SAVES!

  19. 169
    Praying Paula says:

    Praise God for you!

    When I think of losing hope for my 23 year old son…

    God always sends a message through His Word or by messenger never to give up on that child because He never gave up on me.

    Thank you thank you thank you…

    May God rest upon you and deliver your message loud and clear for those of us who need hope when it seems hopeless – when the deck is stacked against them.

    Help me, to see it from his side. Help me to pray effective prayers for him. Show me, teach me.

    I’m willing to learn and do whatever it is that God has for this time.

  20. 170
    Valerie says:

    I was full-on crying with you, Beth.
    What a sweet introduction! & I love the precious picture of you two.

    Gay, I am SO proud of you. 1000 days is incredible! Your testimony is going to help and bless countless individuals. I can’t wait to hear more. Thanks for sharing.


  21. 171
    Kristen says:

    Gay and Beth,

    I am downright excited to read more of this story and testimony of God’s grace, love, and power! Thank you so much for trusting us with it. Much love and respect to you both!

  22. 172
    Oceanmommy says:


    Thank you. Thank you for echoing what my pastor said to us yesterday. We have HOPE because of Jesus and he said, we can NOT forget what life without Him was like.

    Your words are anointed will impact many!!! I can hardly wait to see what God does through you.

    You are loved!

  23. 173
    Sandy says:

    Dear Beth. . .Thank you for sharing your precious sister iwth us.

    Dear Gay,
    Thank you so much for sharing from your heart. I have not been an alcoholic, but am active in Celebrate Recovery step study classes and in leading a teenage girls’ small group in The Landing, CR for teenagers. Also, I know someone who needs to read your story right now.
    Thank you, again. I look forward to reading all of the rest of how God is working in your life!

    • 173.1
      Alison says:

      Sandy, don’t you just love CR?!!! I’m the CR leadership team at our church. God works through recovery programs to change lives…mine in particular! Just had to reply to a fellow “CR Family Member”!

  24. 174
    Tanya in Alabama says:

    Eyes full of tears and my chest feels as thought my heart has doubled in size. Thank you so much for sharing and so look forward to hearing your story.

  25. 175
    Melissa says:

    This is my first visit to this blog, although I am not new to Beth Moore and her Bible studies. Gay’s story – or the beginning is beautiful and thrilling. Alcoholism is rampant in my family and my Lord must have directed me here for this story for His special purpose. Gay, please feel good about sharing His love, His faithfulness, His deliverance. He wants you to share so that the people may know Him – more of Him. I’ll pray for you!

  26. 176
    Ginger says:

    More than words. More than just any testimony. They are His Words through you. Powerful unto change. Boy am I glad I dropped by and was richly blessed. I hope to read more as your story unfolds.

  27. 177
    Lisa M says:

    Gay, that takes some kind of courage to admit. I remember when I first started attending church I was sooo scared to tell others I was a cured alcoholic. But for the Grace of God I would have been homeless as well.

    I then told the first person my story. Much like you, I drank and drank and drank. One drink was soo good, I’d have two and two were soo good, I’d have ten. I’d drink till I blacked out. It usually averaged out to about a bottle (fifth) per day.

    When I finally hit rock bottom, (March 14th 2010) I was crying in my bed (drunk) and I cried out to God. I told him that if he was trying to get my attention that I would just ask him to give me a sign and I would stop. Praise GOD most high that he showed me what I asked for – and I was able (with HIS support) to stop cold turkey. I’m not at 1000 days (YET) but I’m looking forward to that day. Keep up the great work you BEAUTIFUL WOMAN!! Your story has blessed me and I can not wait to read more.

    God is good. God bless you sweet thing!

  28. 178
    Danaly Payne says:

    I thank our God for you Gay! May your testimony in His power safe lives in Jesus’ name.

  29. 179
    Lori Todd says:

    Thanks you for being vulnerable and sharing your story. You are bringing the Father much glory. I’m so happy for your freedoms. Thanks for sharing.

  30. 180
    Dana says:

    A thousand thank you’s Gay for blessing us today with your honesty and love for Jesus. Praying God rains down blessings on you for your transparency and brings someone hope for their future.

  31. 181
    traci says:

    Your bravery is beautiful Gay~ and YES!! glory was given BIG TIME to our sweet Jesus!!!! Love~ Traci

  32. 182
    Kathie says:

    Clapping my hands in praise to JESUS and with huge respect for you, Gay! Waiting to read more. Thank you, Beth, for trusting us with Gay and her story. Love to you both!

  33. 183
    Jane Godfrey says:

    What an example of hope and courage you are Gay Thank you for sharing your story, I will too look forward to reading more and learning more about your journey with the Lord. Be blessed and be encouraged the Lord will keep you safe. Gay you are a great over comer and I believe the Lord will use you greatly in the days, months and years ahead. Take heart, stay strong in Him, we’re cheering you on and standing by you. God Bless 🙂

  34. 184
    Leslie says:

    t our amazing God and His amazing grace!! Walk boldly, friend, through this journey of sharing. He has gone before you in this and at the same time is right beside you right now and WILL be with you along the way. How incredible is that???? Thank you for NOT wasting the life that God has blessed you with, Gay. I am in awe of your obedience. I am lifting you up to Him in prayer right now and will look eagerly forward to following your story.

  35. 185
    Bob Johnson says:

    Way to go, Gay! Proud of you!

  36. 186
    connie says:

    Gay, I love your story! It builds faith in me- I can only imagine your “hope” knowing how much good is going to come from so much pain. I sat behind you- with my 2 daughters- in James. I’m happy you are sharing….:)He is good and He is strong.

  37. 187
    Amy says:

    You go girl! Can’t wait to hear more of your beautiful story! I was thinking of the term Wounded Healer before I even saw Brennan Mannings name toward the end; and there are many of us right here with you! It leaves me awestruck when I see God work in this way. 🙂

  38. 188
    Sondra says:

    Ohh…Gay, thank you so much for your openness and honesty. I come from a family filled with alcoholics and have lived with the heartbreak. God has truly blessed you with His many blessings. You are wonderful in the way you express yourself. Your writing is much like your baby sisters. That is a true compliment, as Beth expresses herself beautifully. You do too. I’ll be looking for the rest of your story. Thanks for sharing and thanks to Beth for thinking to share with us.

  39. 189
    Ohlookaduck says:

    What a beautiful, encouraging story you have. I am beyond delighted that you are here–many hugs for your courage.

  40. 190
    Leslie says:

    Gay – you are so welcome here. I have a huge lump in my throat over your story so far — I can’t wait to “know” you through this blessed sisterhood!

  41. 191
    Mimi G says:

    Gay, Thank you for sharing your story. My precious daddy was miraculously healed from alcoholism in a hospital where he had been hospitalized on more than one occasion. He cried out to the LORD to save him because he knew if he didn’t change he’d die soon. He says the Holy Spirit came on him like a warm blanket. He left that hospital and never drank another drop of alcohol. That was in the early 1950’s.(I was a small child.) He was a great witness through the years he lived of how we can be delivered from those things trying to tear down our lives when we call out to our LORD and Savior Jesus Christ. May God richly bless you as you share your story with us.

  42. 192

    Gay, you are so brave. Thank you for being honest and telling us your story!!!

  43. 193
    Elizabeth says:

    So happy to meet the sister of our dear Beth, but even more, the sister of our Lord Jesus Christ, and therefore, my sister. Your story is amazing. His grace is amazing. I can’t wait to hear more from you.

  44. 194
    Melody Reid says:

    Gay, I already love you for being so authentic! Thank you for having the courage to share you story and to let God write the rest of it! xxoo

  45. 195
    Heather says:

    Hi Gay,

    I read this blog a lot but don’t ever comment. But I did want to thank you for sharing your story. The best stories are the ones that are honest, esp when you are talking about redemption. Please continue to tell us your story! And may God place a hedge of protection around you, that no unkind, ungodly word may find its mark.

    Best wishes,

  46. 196
    Kathie says:

    Dear Gay,

    How wonderful of our sweet Jesus to bless us with you! I join the other siestas in welcoming you into our hearts. Another sister to love!

    I do care to listen and thank God that you care enough to share your journey with us. How amazing is God’s plan that we join together at this place to share our lives and share our Jesus. Our Pastor preached on Sunday morning about the weariness we can feel as we run this race and how God made us a community to run alongside each other. Thanks for sharing, running with us, and impacting our lives. I need to make your prayer mine!

    God bless you and your dear sister, Beth.

  47. 197
    Kathie says:

    P.S. My mind scares me lately…can I correct the Gail to Gay :>)

  48. 198
    Brenda says:

    Praise God from Whom ALL blessings flow – what a powerful testimony of hope to so many. I look forward to the “rest of His story.”

  49. 199
    Faye Bryant says:

    Beth, WAY to go!

    Gay, press on Sister. You are God’s workmanship, an example He can point to and brag on to prove HIS power and glory. I praise our Savior for the work He is doing in and through you.

  50. 200
    Hanna says:

    I am blessed to come across this story as are others. You are relatable, vulnerable, humble, and brave. Thank you for letting God use your story as a light to us.

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