Someone once said it's not the date that you were born or the day that you die on the gravestone that matters, it's the dash in the middle. So, I would like to write a little bit about my dash to date. This may seem self-condemning for a man who ended up addicted to drugs and in prison, but hear me out.
My father was born in Canada to an alcoholic father and to say the least and loose mother. He was abandoned by his parents at the age of five. He was then picked up and raised by Amish people. Despite their great act of kindness, it was a struggle for my father to fit in. My father devoted his life to Christ and to overcoming everything that had genetically and hereditarily haunted him. Victoriously he became a patriarch and broke that vicious cycle of immortality successfully! God was very good to my father!
My parents raised me in a Christian-Amish home with nine siblings. My childhood was pleasant. My parents loved me dearly, they took great care of me they wanted nothing but the best for me. I reflect on how my father would take me with him on business trips and he would often take me on recreational trips, like fishing and hunting. He loved to teach me new things in life. My father started a foundry as a young man and built it up to a great business while my mother nurtured and cared for us children. They were willing to sacrifice all the good things in life for their children.
As a young boy, I started to feel the same pressures my father did being an outsider. It was very hard for me to fit in. My father was a foundryman while everyone else's dad worked with wood or farming. I didn't think like the other kids, I didn't see things like the other kids did. And the pressures of that became very real. I felt rejected and alone. So, I blamed it on me, I blamed it on them.
So, at 15 as the opportunity presented itself I chose friends that I could connect with, and that would except me. It was fabulous I felt loved for who I was. It wasn't long after that, I was introduced to marijuana. It was such an enhancement. I fell in love with the intoxication, it became all I thought about and lived for. That was followed by cocaine, drinking, and anything else I could get my hands on.
Each step just got me higher and higher and I loved it more and more. Then I was introduced to meth, it was a high like I had never experienced. I had found the remedy, I had conquered the world!
My addiction became very expensive. I had to figure out a way to get my drugs, so I started selling them so I could afford my own habits. I was in over my head and I had no clue how naïve and crazy I was, but life was good it was one big party. I lived to party and I partied to live. Sex drugs and rock n roll were my agenda and nothing was going to stop me. Until...... I started getting tired, life was getting heavy.
I started feeling guilt and shame I started feeling enslaved I started realizing this was bigger than me. I wanted out, but there was no out. I started to see what I had done to my family, I had rejected them, I had abandoned them. Selfishly I had been only thinking about myself. My best thinking got me to a place of despair and regret.
I realized I was useless, I was hopeless, I was helpless, I was broken, I was beaten, I was worn, and it crushed me, it terrified me. There was nothing left to do but to cry out to God for help. I spent many nights crying in my pillow begging God please help please get me out of this mess I got myself into. I didn't deserve God or forgiveness and I knew it. Everyone tells you that God is forgiving and loving but when you've done things that I had done it's hard to imagine the God could still love me. I cried out for a sign, I cried out for help.
And then Jesus came to the rescue, my amazing Savior!!! I was arrested for selling narcotics and it was the best thing that ever happened to me. Not only was it the best thing that ever happened to me in hindsight, it was the best thing that happened to me in that moment. I was overjoyed and I started praising God right there in that jail cell for the opportunity to finally clean up my life. God filled me with his peace!! I went on to get sentenced to three years in prison, fortunately, I only had to serve one. This may sound crazy but when you truly want to help and you finally feel that redemption and you know in that moment that God has rescued you it doesn't matter if you're in prison or in a palace you will praise God! I do not praise God because of what he's given me, I praise God because I don't deserve what He has given me!
While I was in prison God put a burden on my heart for people that struggle with addiction and can't straighten out their life long enough to stay out of prison. The prison was challenging God blessed me with knowledge and wisdom and carried me through that time. I spent my time in prison praying for friends and family for the future. God was exceedingly good to me!
After prison, I got married to my beautiful wife Tillie. We have a beautiful son named Keegan Paul and daughter named Alexandra Cadence! My favorite thing in life is my family, I love being a parent! Seven years after prison we started the organization. And with the community support and good friends helping out, we have been doing well. God is exceedingly good to my family!
So, what made me do all of this? Was it the hereditary genes? was it that I was not fitting in? Was it the friends I chose?....... NO, it was because I wanted to. Everyone has excuses and have had bad things that have happened to them in the past, but It is very important to understand that people choose to sin. I chose to sin.
However, mine is a story of redemption. though I chose to sin, God chose me!!! Though I abandoned him he came close to me! though I was wrong, He made me right! I didn't redeem myself but, Christ dying on the cross for my sins, redeemed me! Praise Jesus!! There is no better redemption than an undeserved one. Happy ever after is depicted in fairy tales as something that only happens to those who do good and work hard, but I would argue that happy ever after is only for the broken and those of us who do not deserve it. Jesus didn't die for people who don't need help he died for me, he died for the addict!