I grew up in a very loving and Christian family that was always around. My Grandfather was a minister and we attended church every Sunday.
Growing up I was never exposed to drinking or drugs. When I was 15 I was first introduced to marijuana by a friend. During high school I tried playing sports but I was never really good at them, so instead I started hanging out with the kids that were drinking and smoking. It wasn’t long before I was skipping school and joining in on what I thought at the time was fun. I continued to drink and smoke pot all the way through high school.
After graduating from high school I worked a few different jobs, when I was 21 I finally found a job that I loved. I began working as a caregiver for adults and children with disabilities. I really loved the work but to deal with the stress that came with it I continued to turn to drugs and drinking to help cope with the stress that accompanied the work.
When I was 23 I met my first wife, we got married after being together for about 11 months. After we got married we decided to have a baby, and then my son Christian was born. That marriage lasted for about 4 years. During the divorce process I made the decision to escape from the pain and heartache I was feeling by moving to Juneau, Alaska. Not long after arriving in Juneau I was able to find a good job as a caregiver. While working there I met my second wife. We were married for 10 years and had 2 daughters Brynna and Quynn.
During this time my drug use continued and kept spiraling more out of control. It was also during this period of my life that my mother was killed in a car crash while driving home from work. I was devastated I had lost my best friend. I found myself very angry and unable to grieve. I was angry at God. Over the course of the next 3 months I also lost both of my grandmothers, one due to Alzheimer’s and the other due to a stroke. I felt like God was punishing me. My anger toward God got worse and I shut down and pushed away everyone in my life including my wife and children.
~Psalm 34:18 – The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
I continued to smoke more and more pot, I also began taking Valium and other pills to help push away all of the grief and pain I didn’t want to feel. By this point my second marriage had fallen apart. It was during this time that the feelings of hopelessness and feeling worthless got so bad that I attempted suicide this led to a stay in the Mental Health Ward of the hospital. After my second marriage had ended I moved back to Oregon. I was still running from all of the pain and grief. I kept on taking more and more pills isolating myself further from family and friends hoping that I could just go to sleep and not wake up.
Finally I was tired of running away, I knew I needed help. I found myself on my knees crying out to God for help, and he answered me. I truly believe it was God that led me to the Life Change Program [at the Eugene Mission]. During my time in the program I have come to realize that the entire time I was running from God he was always right beside me. And while I was buried under grief and pain God was there wrapping his arms around me and picking me up saying, “I’m not done with you yet.”
~Isaiah 41:10 – So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
I am so amazed at how much God has changed my life. The most notable change has come in my ability to trust people again, and especially to trust in God.
Through everything that has happened I have gained a renewed relationship with Jesus Christ, as well as a restored relationship with my family. I have also gained another family through my church that I am so thankful for. I also now have a desire to help and encourage others who are struggling in the same ways I did, to show them that there is hope through Jesus Christ.
~Jeremiah 29:11 – For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord; they are plans for peace, not disaster, to give you a future filled with hope.
I know that I serve a God who is always faithful.