Have you ever thought to yourself, “I have gone too far, or done too much to change my life now.” This is a scary place to find yourself, and it’s exactly where I found myself in 2012. I was lost, broken, and all out of hope. For you to fully understand where I was, I need to first back up a bit and let you see how I got there.
When I was three my mom passed away in a car accident, and I do not have any memories of her. By all accounts she was amazing, but I will never know that firsthand on this side of Heaven. When I was growing up, I had a lot of “ifs” in my life. If God is good, then why would He take my mom from me at such an early age? If God is real, then why can I not see Him? If I can choose to love God or not, I choose to not. I was angry, bitter, and things would only get worse.
Imagine growing up with a God-sized whole in your heart. It hurts, and there is no over the counter medicine that can treat it; therefore, I tried everything else. From age 13-23 I attempted to conceal and self-medicate my pain at all costs. What began as a weekend escape turned into an everyday addiction by age 20. The opioid pandemic in the 2000’s swept me up and spit me out. For years it was Oxycontin, and then I later turned to Heroin. In 2010 during the middle of my addiction, I met my wife Bridget. There are times in life where God will throw you a lifeline, this one saved my life. However, it would get worse before it got better.
When Bridget found out I was still using everyday she made a brave decision that saved my life. She took our baby and cut off all contact with me. There is a hero in our story, and it is not me. In the final year of my addiction, I overdosed twice; one of those times my heart stopped, and a good Samaritan found me slumped over the steering wheel of my car. He pulled me out and resuscitated me on the side of the road until the paramedics arrived. Another lifeline, ‘thank you Lord.’ I was knocking on death’s door, and the next day I was dropped off at a faith-based rehabilitation center in Birmingham, Alabama called The Foundry. A week in, while coming out of withdrawals, I found myself completely shattered. It was as if a lifetime of pain, and anger at God showed up all in the same moment. I didn’t want to die, but I just couldn’t live any longer. HELP!
I was in the front office of this little rehab, crying, hurting, and all out of hope. In this moment, someone led me in a salvation prayer, and I asked Jesus into my heart. I walked out of the office, and it was as if Jesus breathed fresh hope into my life. I could see clearly for the first time and I made a decision that if I didn’t get this it would not be from a lack of effort. I went to every church service (some church called Highlands up the road ☺ ), was in every small group available, praying each hour, and being consumed by Scripture. It was the next week I read Jeremiah 29:13, “you will seek for Me and find Me when you search for Me with your whole heart.” I up’d my pursuit, and gave my everything, the little I had left, completely to Jesus.
I started filling out every prayer card I could get my hands on. I would write on every one of them, “God please, restore my family.” There are times in life that God heals something much more quickly than it took the enemy to destroy it. God restored my marriage, my family, and healed me from a God sized whole in my heart. I was a college dropout, felon, deadbeat-Dad, and addict. How far is too far? As long as there is breathe in your lungs there is hope in your life. Jesus has fresh hope available for any hurting person. He is a faithful God.
Today, my life looks very different. By the grace of God, I am still married to the love of my life, we have four awesome kids, I am a seminary graduate, we pastor an incredible church (Fresh Hope Church), and are ready to risk everything for changed lives until Colorado looks like Heaven! Don’t ever question if God can, Paul shares with us in Ephesians that Jesus is able to do exceedingly and abundantly more than we can ever ask or imagine; I am living proof that there is no such thing as too far. Thank you Jesus!
To get the full story, check out the believe again podcast with my friend Josh Roberie. To God be the glory!