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East County Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2020 6 months ago

Manatee County couple shares their story of faith

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Husband's 37 years of alcoholism ends after having a dream.
by: Pam Eubanks Senior Editor

As they head into a new decade, Christian Retreat parishioners Barbara and Flynn Finner wanted to share their story of faith they hope will provide strength to others trying to make positive changes in their life.

Barbara Finner had asked God many times before to change her husband, Flynn, but without any tangible results.

An alcoholic for nearly 40 years, Flynn Finner had squandered financial resources on beer, argued incessantly, had been in and out of treatment centers and had been jailed.

She was tired of it. So tired.

“I hated him but worried about if I left, he would die,” Barbara Finner said. “I had known this man for more than half my life. I have a covenant with God and a covenant with him. I decided to lay my life down for him.”

She felt like God was telling her to change and that changes to Flynn would follow.

“I had to completely forgive him,” Barbara Finner said. “My flesh wanted to hate and wanted to argue. It was me dying to my flesh.”

She thought if God saved Flynn Finner, great. If he didn’t, she would lay down her life for him anyway.

So five years ago, she exchanged her jabs that he was “good for nothing” with things like, “You’re a man of God,” and “God is going to use you.”

“Flynn did not like that,” Barbara Finner said. “Flynn told me to stop praying for him.”

She refused.

Flynn Finner said he had no intention to change. He’d been an alcoholic since he was 15 years old, aside from the five-year stretch between ages 19 to 24, when he married his wife.

He had walked away from his fourth DUI at 19 years old with no injuries and a vision that something had protected him. However, he said that never translated into a true understanding and trust in God. He stayed sober for a time, but then alcohol became his normal again.

“He had beer for breakfast, lunch and dinner,” Barbara Finner said. “He was a crazy person.”

Flynn Finner became a Christian while in jail in 2002. He stayed sober for 10 months but eventually went back to drinking.

After years of cleaning floors with harsh chemicals, Flynn Finner’s health also declined. About four years ago, he was at only 30% lung capacity. Doctors said his organs were shutting down, and he was so weak and easily winded that he could barely walk.

Then, Oct. 16, 2017, Flynn Finner had a dream. It was as if there was an umbilical chord connecting him to his ancestors. It vaporized, a symbol of freedom from generations of alcoholism.

“The Holy Spirit told me he was doing a metamorphosis on me,” Flynn Finner said.

And when Flynn Finner awoke, he said it was the first time in 37 years he didn’t want to drink. He reached down and touched his toes — something he couldn’t do before — and eagerly went to find his wife.

“He ran into the kitchen, and he said, ‘All I need is a cup of coffee,’” Barbara Finner said. “Then he showed me how he could bend down. It was like he dreamed, and the next day, the dream was manifested.”

Over the next few months, Flynn Finner’s health continued to improve. Even a limp he had for 25 years has gone away. Flynn Finner said he believes God has given him a new body.

He said his blind faith and Barbara Finner’s incessant prayer saved and restored him.

Barbara Finner said Flynn has become more patient and more loving. She loves the man Flynn Finner has become and is looking forward to seeing how God will use him.

“Our marriage is even better than when we just got married,” Barbara Finner said.

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