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CBN.com "At the time with NewSong and movies coming out, I thought really, this is it! This is the big time," Michael O'Brien tells The 700 Club.
Michael O’Brien hit the “big time” as the front man in the award-winning group NewSong. But he was hiding a big secret – one he had kept since childhood. Michael was only six when he got his first look at a pornographic magazine. Then, when he was 11...
"My dad was making some copies for a friend of his of these hard core pornographic movies, and one was laying around the house one day. I just popped that in, and I was hooked."
This fascination with pornography affected his relationships with girls.
"I started acting some of those things out, living a sexually immoral life with girlfriends," he says.
Michael entered college with a mindset that mixed sexual promiscuity with alcohol and drugs.
"I was living a corrupt life. I’d feel guilty and feel regret, so I’d run to church and try to get clean. I’d do well for a week or two and back to the same thing."
After nearly overdosing on cocaine, Michael ran back to church like he’d done so many times before. This time his pastor had a message for him.
"He [pastor] says you need to make a 180 from the life you’re living. We need to receive this gift of salvation and that was like the lights were on. That’s the truth. I knew it, and I was surrendering my life to Christ."
Michael also got clean from the drugs and alcohol. He eventually joined a Christian singing entourage where he met his wife, Heidi. The two quickly fell in love.
Heidi remember, "His voice attracted me, but really it was just his sincere enthusiasm for Christ that made me fall in love with him."
In 1994, Michael’s passion for music and ministry landed him a record deal. Although he was newly married and had given his life to Christ, his old addiction reared its head.
"When I was having a bad time with Heidi or if we were fighting, or if the intimacy just wasn’t there, I’d go somewhere that I knew I wasn’t supposed to go to try and fulfill that. It just got darker and darker," he says.
For seven years, Michael struggled with online pornography. He kept his secret well-hidden, especially from his wife. Then finally, guilt overwhelmed him. He decided it was time to tell Heidi.
"It was absolutely horrible. I know that people think, ‘Well, it’s not really adultery,’ but that’s what it felt like."
Heidi forgave Michael, but when he hit the road again with NewSong, she struggled with depression.
"The whole thing was just sort of messed up. You just hit this rock bottom, and you have a choice... are we going to stay true to our commitment before the Lord and do whatever we have to do?" remembers Heidi.
Michael adds, "The spirit of God convicted me. When you open yourself up to the things of God, and number one, you grieve, you have that repentant heart. You realize, ‘Okay, this sin is not only affecting me, it’s affecting the ones I love, and it’s the thing that nailed Jesus to the cross.' When you realize that, I believe God just opens up your heart, and He shines the light on that sin and He’s like, ‘Okay, I want that out of there.’"
"Something clicked within him, and that was a dramatic turnaround in our relationship, and I think he was really finally convicted about his sin. And then all of a sudden, I was feeling loved for the first time in our marriage," says Heidi.
Today Michael is a committed father and husband. He says his new album, Something About Us is an outpouring of the love God showed him, and it is dedicated to Heidi.
"Because of all that God had done in our relationship and how I had been so beautifully loved for several years, I was able to just openly receive it because it was real, and I knew he meant it," says Heidi.
"The truth is, Jesus saved our marriage. God begins to heal, restore, and redeem," says Michael.
"If you seek Him with all your heart, He promises that you’ll find Him. And He is a deliverer," Heidi adds.
"It’s just an exciting time for our family to be an O’Brien and to say, ‘As for me and my house, we’re going to serve the Lord,' " believes Michael.
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