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Beneath the Surface of Sylvia Lange

By Tim Branson
The 700 Club

CBN.comTo Sylvia Lange, image was everything. As a young girl she believed that no one would love her if they knew who she really was.

“I would introduce myself as someone else ‘cause I really did believe in my heart of hearts that I was not good enough, [and I] would be rejected,” she explains. “It was bad, and so I was always exaggerating my life.”

As a teenager she was popular, the life of the party, and a straight 'A' student. But Sylvia had secrets.

She says, “Almost immediately when I began dating, my behavior was very compromised with boys. We all want love, and in my case, I didn’t know where I could get it. So I would get it wherever I could get it.”

The Lange familyHer secret life continued through high school and into college. She graduated at the top of her class and went on to have tremendous success in the business world. She worked hard to keep a perfect image. In private she slipped into crippling depression.

“I would often times come home from work, go to bed and not be able to get out of bed until I had to get up the next morning.”

She made several attempts at therapy, but each one failed because she lied to her therapists. She joined a church, but that only gave her more reason to keep her private life secret.

“I joined the choir; I got on the worship team. I even had a Bible study in my home for years. I would see people twice, three times a week – a perfect hideout for a fake like me. It was just another place I was going to get an 'A', and I was very good.”

What did Sylvia want more than anything else?

“I just wanted love. I wanted to feel peace. I wanted a family. I wanted children. I wanted a husband. I wanted to get off the treadmill I was on.”

Eventually she found that alcohol helped dull the pain. What started with an occasional glass of wine became her latest secret.

“I would come home from work, and I would sit down with a bottle or two. Most of the time [I] can’t remember how the evening ended. By the time I was 30 years old, I was a full-blown alcoholic, and yet I couldn’t even say the word. I was so ashamed of it.

“I was dying. I was well aware of [what] I had created -- this person who I wanted everybody to believe I was. But I was well aware that that’s not who I was inside.”

Sylvia didn’t believe she would see her 40th birthday.

“I was 39 years old, and I was out of tricks. I had tried everything. The therapy hadn’t worked. The men hadn’t worked. I was still single. The career was not providing any fulfillment anymore. I was burned out. I was tired. I was depressed. I was very aware of the fact that it was over for me, and I was really, really ready to die.”

It seemed that no one could help Sylvia, but there was a neighbor she barely knew who showed her that there was hope.

“I would literally look out my window for long stretches of time, and I would just watch her. What I noticed was that she spoke respectfully to her kids. She spoke lovingly to her husband. She was patient, and she had something I wanted. I wanted so badly to be like her.”

Then late one night Sylvia reached out for help. She got out of bed and went to her neighbor’s house.

“I said, ‘I need to talk.’ Her husband was right on her heels, and they made a strong pot of coffee. Those people stayed up all night long as I sat on their couch, and I poured out stuff to them I’ve never told another living human being.

Sylvia in the '80s“I talked about my insecurities, my fears, and my pain, and I cried. I had been so afraid for my whole life for anybody to know the truth about me. I was absolutely convinced that if they knew the truth, they would judge me and wouldn’t want me in their life. Well, here I was telling the truth to somebody for the first time, and she didn’t even bat an eye. She said, ‘Sylvia, do you have any idea how much Jesus loves you?’

“In that moment, I knew she was talking about God Almighty, and the truth pierced my heart like nothing ever had before. In an instant, I got it. She told me that God loved me, and I believed her.”

That was the last time Sylvia took a drink. With time and God’s grace, Sylvia found healing from her past.

“If not for the grace of God, I know I would be dead. I believe that God saved me, because I finally met His Son. I finally met this guy called Jesus Christ for the first time, and it was tremendous how my life began to change.”

She also met a guy named Wolf and married him.

“Wolf is so different than anything I ever wanted. He’s so different from anything I prayed for, and he is exactly what I need. God knew that I needed this gift to walk this road with me.

“I am a grateful, grateful woman that we serve the God of a second chance -- that He would want me and that He would even use me despite who I’ve been in my past. Despite the turmoil, the bad choices, the pain, and compromises, God would say, ‘You over there, I want you. I’ve got a job for you to do.’ It just doesn’t get any better than that.”

Watch Sylvia Lange's testimony online.

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