Transcript: Thanks Allan. This is David Brower with your 20 minute podcast. Our special guest today is author Conny Jude, her formal name, Cornelia Jude from Williamsburg, Virginia.
David Brower: Hey Conny, how are you today? Good to have you here.
Conny Jude: Hi, thank you so much for having me on.
David Brower: So, Connie is an entrepreneur, wife, mother of six, born and raised in Germany. She moved to the states in 97′, became a citizen in 2010. Congratulations on that.
Conny Jude: Thank you.
David Brower: And your book, Mended Faith, it’s a life of abuse, pain and redemption. You had some serious things going on in your younger life, didn’t you?
Conny Jude: Yes, Sir.
David Brower: From sexual, physical and mental abuse which led to a PTSD diagnosis in 1999 and God bless you for fighting every day, your life as a survivor and not a victim. That’s gotta be an incredible role model for a lot of people who have gone through even small bits of what you’ve been through.
Conny Jude: Yeah and I try, you know, because God just has a plan and this is his plan for me that I’m, you know, able to help other people that have been through what I’ve been through, you know.
David Brower: So, feel free to go through your experiences little or as much as you want, but can you share some pieces of that experience that led you to having God help you get through that and then how you ended up writing the book?
Conny Jude: Yes, I can and so my story basically starts when I was four I was sexually abused the first time and then from the time I was 12 until I was 22. I always turned to drugs, alcohol, you know, self-harm was a big role in my life and when you’re that damaged, of course, you get caught up with bad relationships.
David Brower: Sure.
Conny Jude: Because you don’t have any self-respect and even if you’re still in a bad relationship but if that makes it a little better than what you have been through, it always felt like, okay, this is better than what I had before, so you get stuck in there even if it’s not a good relationship, you know.
Conny Jude: So, that was always hard.
David Brower: Well and I would think, yeah that’s gotta be hard and I would think to a degree the bad relationships are not unlike alcohol and drug abuse during those situations because you’re reaching out for something, anything to help mask the pain, right?
Conny Jude: Yes. Yes, definitely. But the thing was that you try to find those things to help you through the pain, but what you’re doing is you’re just really making it worse. Because you’re now more lost. Because you know that this is wrong and you know that you’re doing damage, but after all the abuse it’s something you’re so used to and at the end of the day you are starting to abuse yourself.
David Brower: Well, yeah. I mean, we all have our “normal” and depending on our experience, of course, everybody’s normal is totally different.
David Brower: How did you find your way from that utterly horrifying, I can’t think of a better word, normal to your new normal of embracing God and writing a book to help others?
Conny Jude: So, I did not grow up in church. I did not grow up reading the bible or anything like that and every day I would drive to work in Williamsburg and I’d drive by this church and I always had this tugging at my heart like you have to go in there and that went on for weeks even months and I really kind of, I refused, you know, I was one of those people that would say, oh, I was gonna catch on fire if I walk in there, right? I was totally one of those people and my husband is a Christian, and but it was really strange for him when I came home and I said, look, I have to go to this church, just go to this church and he was like, wow this is a whole new level of crazy, right?
David Brower: Where’s my wife and what have you done to her?
Conny Jude: Yes and we started going to this church and it got really bad before it got better because I dealt with so much at the church, you know. From different sermons that I listened to and I remember that one Sunday a pastor was talking about stop being a victim and that made me so mad, it made me so upset because I felt like if that is a really a thing, is that even possible to not be a victim? How do I get out of this? You know?
Conny Jude: So, instead of me turning back to crazy stuff I said, okay, I wanna talk to the pastor. I mean, you have to understand I’ve been in therapy for most of my adult life, in-patient, outpatient, Valium, the whole pack and nothing helped. It would help for a little while, but then I crash again.
Conny Jude: So, I was like, okay, so maybe if I speak to the pastor, so we set up an appointment and I went and talked to him and it was very, very hard for me because I just kind of exploded in that office because I’m just not understanding, if I don’t find forgiveness I am going to hell and to me, it was like, so I’ve been in hell basically all this time. I did not ask for this and how am I gonna find forgiveness?
Conny Jude: He told me I needed to be living in faith. That’s what I did, and I said to myself, all day every day, I choose to forgive, and I was in my bible and talked to pastors and lots and lots of prayer instead of drinking I started listening to a lot of worship music and I just pray.
Conny Jude: The second I felt like I needed to do something like cut myself or take hour long showers I will turn to God and I will just keep doing that and there was a crazy shift in my life and I felt that was on Wednesdays, we have service on Wednesdays and it’s called Refuel. I went to that service and for the first time ever after this touched to my heart never felt in my life before.
David Brower: Oh my gosh.
Conny Jude: And at that moment I felt like I’m gonna be okay. I will be okay, it’s all gonna be okay. So, I haven’t had a drink in two years now. In March, it was two years.
David Brower: Congratulations.
Conny Jude: Thank you and I talk to my pastor again and he said, Conny, it’s amazing how God works in you and he said, I think you should share your story and he did not say, go write a book. That was not the case, but-
David Brower: He was thinking about you standing in front of the sanctuary and sharing your story, right?
Conny Jude: Yes, I think so and I came home and I was like I just wanted everybody, everybody that’s going through any kind of pain to know that this is all possible. That we can overcome with the help of Jesus and I was like okay, but how am I gonna do this and so I said to my family, how about I write a book? I asked them for permission, I mean, it’s a pretty deep book and it’s very hard for a lot of people to read the book. People that are emotionally attached to me because nobody knew details of my life until this book came out.
David Brower: Well, you weren’t in a place to share it.
Conny Jude: I’m sorry.
David Brower: You weren’t in a place to share it back then. It wouldn’t have been official. It would have been hurtful to those who you care about so you wouldn’t want to do that, right?
Conny Jude: Yes. So, now I’m on this mission every day all day to tell everybody how good God is and how we can overcome this. It’s all possible.
David Brower: Wow, I’ve got goosebumps first and foremost and then I found myself speechless which never happens, so. Wow, what an amazing, amazing, story.
David Brower: We all talk about from time to time forgiveness in different ways, you know. I can’t forgive that person, I can’t forgive that person. If I understand it right and you’re gonna be able to help me understand this better, you don’t have to forgive the person, you need to forgive what they did. Is that fair?
Conny Jude: Yes that is very fair. Because I also try to explain it like this. Okay, forgiveness, to me, is freedom. Forgiveness is freedom. Because if I wouldn’t have found it in my heart to forgive, I mean, I have a bond or I had a bond with this man for pretty much all my life and he was in my dreams, I mean, he lived in Germany. I live in the U.S. and still he was in my dreams. Certain ways the wind is going, somebody also whatever will bring me back every day and it was to me hating him so much, I had no effect on him. He has all kinds of effects on me and it seemed like I was setting myself on fire in the hopes that he will miraculously die of the smoke inhalation if that makes sense to you.
David Brower: Totally. It makes total sense, yeah.
Conny Jude: And then understood forgiveness, I understood forgiveness. The more I read the bible I understood how important that is and what god really wants for us. God wants the forgiveness for me. He doesn’t want me to suffer and I didn’t understand that for a while and now I get it.
David Brower: Yeah, most people don’t. It’s a hard conversation, yeah.
Conny Jude: It is a very hard conversation and some people and I talk to them about it and they say, I will never do that. I can never do that, like, I pray for my mom and my dad and my brother every day but, for them to find it in their hearts this forgiveness because you’re set free the day you forgive.
Conny Jude: I had to forgive myself too. I did a lot of terrible things.
David Brower: Absolutely you do. I remember my father and I didn’t have the best relationship on the planet. We started getting close when I turned 40 and he died of a heart attack and so I carried a lot of guilt about him, I carried a lot of guilt about myself and I just couldn’t deal with it, didn’t understand forgiveness, didn’t wanna understand forgiveness and so ten years later on the anniversary of his death I decided to drive from Northern California to Idaho where he’s buried and I just stood there in the snow and the sunshine all day long and talked out loud to God and forgave my dad and forgave myself.
David Brower: It was the most freeing experience I’ve ever had in my life and like you were saying, I had no clue what forgiveness was, but I knew I had to do something. ‘Cause, I mean, he’d been gone for ten years and it was still eating me up, you know?
David Brower: That’s part one of our interview with Connie Jude.
Allan: You’re 20 minute podcast with David Brower has been brought to you by Audible. You can listen to any of David’s podcasts anywhere podcasts can be found including iHeart Radio, the Spotify mobile app and the davidbrowervo.com/your20minutepodcast.
Allan: Until next time, thanks for listening.
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