I had known whom Jesus was as a kid, I went to church, and attended Sunday school. Well sometimes I attended. I even went to Vacation Bible School and I liked it. The sermons as I remember were not bad, the relevant information was presented, most of it anyway. Thinking back though, I never heard an altar call, would not have known what it was!
I never really had a Dad; oh he was there all right, present and accounted for. Dad never spent time with me. Correction, the time he spent with me was to tell me what an idiot I was, and how I was never going to amount to anything. Constant negativity, never any positive affirmations and certainly not the words “I love you”. I never once heard my Dad say I love you to me. Mom was a great Mom…did her best to make up for Dad’s non-involvement, and I loved her for it. But Mom just can’t make up for Dad…that’s his job.
Enter in this surprise after school one day; my brother and I were sat down in the living room so our parents could talk to us…we figured we were in big trouble. Keep in mind here that we (my brother and I) never had any inkling that there were any problems between our parents. Then the bombshell; “boys we are getting a divorce”. Huh?
After that announcement life really changed. First I walked away from God, because as we all know, a loving God would not allow a divorce to happen right? This was of course wrong thinking, but I did not know any better at the time. I was done with God, and blamed Him for this upheaval in my life.
I was soon into trouble at school. Mouthing off to teachers, threatening them, skipping school etc. I was of course failing most subjects as well and did not care either. My Dad handled that by one or two hours of yelling and finger pointing into my chest. That of course did not help at all. I continued to get into trouble, and soon was running with a bad crowd.
I started down the path of drugs, and was also drinking. I ended up in court and could have been sent to a juvenile facility, but received two years probation. I learned from that experience how to be more careful and not get caught.
Time passes and I am married. Still drinking a lot but have stopped using any drugs. My marriage is a disaster and there is blame to go around on both sides. I moved out and filed for divorce. During the time we had been married we lost a child when she was six months pregnant, this was really hard on me.
Time moves once again and I have a girlfriend for a while who was nice but very jealous, I’m as usual drinking a lot, life is a party.
I now meet my second wife in a restaurant we worked in. We were together a total of around eleven years. Life was hard for us both, she did have some serious issues, and so did I. We had some very serious problems with our children, the kind of problems that you watched on your TV on shows like 20/20, or 48 Hours. We had Social Services in our home one or two times a week every week. There was counseling for each child, counseling for all of us. There were many different medications to buy, trouble in the schools. Life was very difficult; through it all I just drank more.
My wife and I wound up filing for bankruptcy, I know many people don’t believe in this, but we had been spending so much on meds and doctors etc. that we couldn’t do it anymore. My wife after a while decided she wanted a new life minus the problems. I thought that her leaving was a good idea. The care of our youngest child wound up on me with little help.
During this period after my wife moved out, I was very depressed and had contemplated suicide many times. My son would come home from visiting Mom and would make life a living hell for me. I also lost my house, as I could not make the payments anymore.
Along the way in this part of the story God stepped in. My wife was a school bus driver, and picked up a special needs child. She became friends with this child’s parents. They were not my friends; I really did not want to have anything to do with them. To make a long story short…I became friends with this couple. This is when things got really interesting.
This couple, well they were some of “those” people; you know those Christian people. Now I began to really like these guys, even though they were Christians. They would talk about God without shoving it down my throat, always had Christian music on. There was just something different about them. They were so nice and always willing to help me out even with my son who was a handful. At this time I was living in a hotel, yes a hotel, it was all I could find. Try living in a hotel with a very angry rebellious teenager.
I also had two other sons, one in a foster home, and one on his own…both in trouble.
One after a while straightened up for the most part, the other was in and out of homes and always in trouble, which continued on into adulthood.
I finally flipped on a Christian radio station and gave it a listen. Some of the music was actually pretty good! I heard Third Day and was hooked…God is so clever! The couple I was now friends with was inviting me to church, which I refused. At this point I was dealing with Social Services, the police, teachers, therapists, and doctors. Next came the painful decision to place my son into a foster home, as I could not control him any longer. What came after that was more trouble then most people can imagine.
I did start going to church and reading the Word. Along the way, God (praise His name), took from me the desire to drink. I was reading the bible one day with beer in hand, and had a revelation; I should not be reading the Word of God and drinking. I was done that moment with drinking…this was awesome as I was an alcoholic. After that God took my desire to smoke away, no patches, no gum…done with smoking just like that. I did have to work at it a little bit, but I was done with smoking. Amazing…if these things were done for me, God must be real.
This couple was of course helping me to learn about God along with our Church. I learned about what a personal relationship with Jesus was all about. I started helping out with a youth group and really enjoyed it. Pretty soon I was into other ministries in the church as well. Then came the day that I was baptized again! (I had been as a child but that did not mean much as I did not even remember it) That was an awesome day; I was scared half to death in front of all (200?) of those people. The Holy Spirit was with me…I could feel Him. I spoke about some of what had happened and led to my decision to accept Christ into my life, but really did not remember what I said.
All this came about after so many bad things in my life. I remember thinking at times when I would go past a church that I should stop in and talk to the pastor, that was without a doubt God trying to get my attention but I was not listening. I had to lose much, so that I could gain more, the gift of eternal life freely given by my Savior Jesus Christ.
God is still at work in my life and will do much more to the Glory of His Name. I was a troubled and in trouble young man. I am now involved in a ministry that targets young adults who are in trouble. I feel I am uniquely qualified to help these kids. I love this ministry and hope that the Lord will allow me to serve Him in this fashion for some time to come. God can and does use all things in our lives to His Glory if we will allow Him to!
End note; two of the boys in this testimony have now received Jesus as Lord, and my current wife of course knows the Lord as well! God is so good!