#115 Gaining Confidence

Photo by Erin E Photography

Ten years ago my son died by suicide. He shot himself and I found him. There really are no words to describe the pain, trauma and sadness of this. It was truly horrible. 

Within the year, my husband wanted to sell our house – the house where our children grew up. He wanted to build a big new house. I didn’t want to do this, but we did it anyway and it added to my stress. In fact, I was so stressed that I lost all my hair. The big new house did not heal our sorrow or make us happy. After two years, my husband and I were talking less. And then one day, after not speaking to me for two weeks, my husband told me that he thought I should move out. We had been married for 30 years and this was very hurtful and shocking to me. I learned later that he had found another woman that he wanted to make a new life with and that she had moved into our new house with him. 

I moved into an apartment and one evening I was crying uncontrollably in my room. So much had happened. I was devastated, broken and lost. I was crying so hard I felt like I couldn’t breathe. But then I felt a warmth, like hands hugging my heart. It was a very a physical presence. I had never experienced anything like it before. A tremendous sense of peace came over me. Someone explained to me later that this was the Holy Spirit comforting me. There was a shift in my attitude after this. Whenever I encountered a problem, I felt like I could handle it. 

Not long after this experience, a leader in my church told me about a new shelter for the homeless.  He suggested that I volunteer there. So I began volunteering at the Center and from the start, it felt right. 

After about a year at the Center, I knew in my soul deep down that I was supposed to buy a house and make it into a home for men in recovery from addictions. That was the first time I ever really felt God speaking to me. I was obedient to what I felt God wanted me to do. I bought a house and made it into a recovery home for men with addictions. After I did this, God always provided. There was always enough income to pay the bills. This was confirmation to me that I had done the right thing.

As I have became more confident in my ability, I have been able to connect in deeper, more meaningful ways with those I serve at the Center.  On a practical level, I register new clients and see what services we can connect them with. I help manage a grant that helps homeless clients get into housing. But a lot of what I do is to just LISTEN and care. Many of the homeless clients  I work with are divorced, some have experienced the tragic death of loved ones and many have experienced deep rejection, trauma, and brokenness. All of the tough parts of my life have prepared me for relating, understanding and empathizing. I can connect with clients in a special way because I have experienced some of the same difficulties they have. God put me in a place where I could use the painful experiences of my life to help and encourage others – a place that would also be a great blessing to me.

Throughout this journey there’s been a lot of heartache, but I’ve also learned to trust God. I know that He is always there with me even though sometimes it doesn’t feel like it. But when I stop and breathe…. I just know God is there and that gives me peace.

He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.

2 Corinthians 1:4

A Million God Stories is a Christ-centered ministry which offers a platform for Christians from all streams of Christian faith to give praise for how God has worked in their lives. Christ heals in infinitely creative ways and we acknowledge that His way of helping may differ from person to person.

#114 In Awe of Creation

 Photo by Erin E. Photography

I have always wanted to travel the world—to meet people, learn about different cultures, but most of all to experience the natural beauty of the world: The Great Barrier Reef, Northern Lights, Grand Canyon, Victoria Falls, Mount Everest, beaches of Fiji, and on and on. For years I prayed that God would allow me to stand in awe of His beautiful creation. I haven’t yet been to any of these places, and although I haven’t given up on this dream, I realize now that God answered my prayer without traveling the world. This started to become clear to me when I read a quote from Saint Augustine:

“Men go abroad to wonder at the height of mountains, at the huge waves of the sea, at the long courses of the rivers, at the vast compass of the ocean, at the circular motion of the stars; and they pass by themselves without wondering.”

For years I taught human anatomy to undergraduate, medical, and dental students. This involved both lecturing in the classroom and teaching in the laboratory by dissection of human cadavers. Shortly after I read that quote, I was teaching students about the small intestine. The small intestine is responsible for absorbing nearly all the nutrients in the food we eat. The lining of the small intestine is thrown into many visible folds which increase the surface area significantly. Each fold is covered with little finger-like projections, called villi, which further increase the surface area. Finally, the villi are covered with cells that have bristle-like extensions—a brush border—further increasing the surface area. The whole system is set up for maximum absorption of nutrients. Structure is beautifully related to function. The engineering is magnificent, as is the engineering throughout the whole body.

Another example is that the male pelvis is narrow with a heart-shaped opening, while the female pelvis is much broader with a round opening to allow passage of a baby’s head during birth.

The pupils of our eyes are encircled by tiny muscles that contract and relax at just the right time to dilate and constrict our pupils to let in just the right amount of light so that we can see. 

I could go on and on. There are so many examples. The human body is an exquisite creation and there is a marvelous unseen orchestra underway every minute of every day inside of us.  It is simply amazing the way everything works together, from our organs, to our cells, to the chemicals released, so that we can eat and breathe and laugh and think and walk and love.  Day after day in the gross anatomy lab, I HAD stood in awe of God’s beautiful creation, the human body. God HAD answered my prayer. It just wasn’t the way in which I had anticipated it. David said it best in Psalms 139:13-14: “You created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made: your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”

A Million God Stories is a Christ-centered ministry which offers a platform for Christians from all streams of Christian faith to give praise for how God has worked in their lives. Christ heals in infinitely creative ways and we acknowledge that His way of helping may differ from person to person.

#113. The Toilet Complex School

 Photo by Erin E Photography

I am a Christian in India, a country where only 3 percent of the population is Christian. I was raised by Christian parents in Tamil Nadu in Southern India. In 1981, my husband and I moved with our three children to Delhi in northern India. There I was a professor at the university. After this, I began to pray that God would show me how to serve Him. In December of 1989, it began. At the time, I was living in an apartment not far from a large slum of 25,000 people. One day a little boy knocked on my door and told me he was hungry. At first I wasn’t sure if it was a good idea to give him food. But I felt God urging me to not only feed him but also to love and teach him. Every day he came to our apartment and I would love him and give him something to eat.

One day he brought nearly 25 children with him. I asked them why they had come and a little girl said, “We are hungry.” I thought perhaps I was making all of them beggars and I wasn’t sure I should give them food. I shut the door and walked inside. Then God started speaking to me. “We are hungry.” It grew in volume. Louder and louder, the words were banging in my brain. I began to cry and fell on my knees asking the Lord what I should do. And then I waited for the children to come back. After some time, the little boy came again. I took him in and told him he should not be a beggar. I told him he would learn with me for half an hour in return for a hot breakfast. A week later, several mothers from the slums came to our apartment with their children to admit their children into my school! I was very hesitant at first. I lived in an apartment complex, and I thought I had no right to bring the children into the complex because of the other people living there. But the children pleaded with me, so I agreed to teach them for some time.

One day one little boy was absent for two days; when he came back he didn’t know anything. He had forgotten everything I had taught him. I made him stay back with his sister after the other children left. I asked his sister what happened and she lifted his pants and I could see the marks around his legs. His sister told me that their father suspected he had stolen something and tied both legs with a rope and hung him upside down in their hut for a whole day. That really shook me. This was a real turning point for me. I told the Lord I would not leave the children. I felt like God could use me to help them.

A few months later I was teaching 100 students from the slum in my garage. I realized this wasn’t safe when one of the children was hit by a car waiting to get into my garage for school. He was unconscious and not breathing. I instructed the children to gather around him and we prayed that God would heal him and give him life. Praise God, his eyes opened and he stood up.

I went to the slum commissioner and asked if I could have a place in the slum to teach the children. He said I could use the room in the toilet complex which was meant as a night shelter for the homeless. I was shocked he would say this because it was not a decent place for a school. The man was asking me to do something I could not do. But then as I was looking at him, I didn’t see him anymore, but instead the manger scene came to my mind. I felt God asking me, “If I could come down into this place to save you to give you a hope and a future, will you now refuse to go inside this dirty place to give these children new life and a new hope?”

I said YES to teaching in the toilet complex. The stench was horrible but the children had a place to learn. By and by we used not only the toilet compound but also put tents there to accommodate 600 children in morning and afternoon shifts of school. The volunteer teachers taught them the Word of God and to pray. We also taught English, Math and Science, and Hindi.

More and more children came to the school and we desperately needed a new building. God sent help. In the early ‘90s, a man from the U.S. came to visit me. He was interested to see the work I was doing. When he went back to the U.S. he shared the story of our school at an elementary school in Kentucky. He asked the third graders to pray that God would give the children in the toilet school a new school building. The third graders prayed faithfully at school and also at home with their families. And God answered their prayers.

A father of one of the third graders came with a group to India and the day they were scheduled to visit the Taj Mahal, he said he would rather go to the slum school to see the children his son had been praying for. The whole group went with him. They wanted to help and provided the funds for us to buy the land for a school. Then we needed money for the building. On Saturdays, the teachers, students, and I fasted and prayed for a building.

Meanwhile, another third grader back in the U.S. was praying for our building too. His mother sent a check for $800 from a fundraiser at their church. This was the first money we had received towards the building. We thanked the Lord and asked Him to multiply it. Then other people provided help. A college student came from Kentucky to teach at our school. I asked him to help me write letters to people. His family got involved in funding, and in 2004, with the help of his family, we established a non-profit. Between the help from this family and other ministries, we started building the school. It was completed in 2005.  Shortly thereafter, the government gave approval for graduates of our school to apply to any college or institution. In 2016, 1,500 children were enrolled. To date, hundreds of our students have graduated to become change makers in India.

I was praying to serve the Lord, and He guided me in mysterious ways and showed me the part I should take. He showed me how to help thousands of children who otherwise would not have had a future. The Lord calls but He doesn’t end at a call. He walks alongside or in front of us. He never leaves us alone. And when He calls, His provision is sure. At times, I did not leave matters in the Lord’s hands, but whenever I did, He resolved it in a beautiful manner, in a way in which I couldn’t even have dared to imagine or think of.

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. — Joshua 1:9  

A Million God Stories is a Christ-centered ministry which offers a platform for Christians from all streams of Christian faith to give praise for how God has worked in their lives. Christ heals in infinitely creative ways and we acknowledge that His way of helping may differ from person to person.

#112 Life of Revision

 Photo by Erin E. Photography

God likes to do a little revision.  

This new jolt of confusion, however, was a long-laid plan. It was one that had begun years earlier, while working in garbage-dump living conditions in Peru. He’d fallen in love with those people. And, at that moment, he’d known his life was meant for people of Hispanic descent. To that end, as a young man, he’d pursued degrees in Spanish and international politics. To that end he’d begun teaching ESL. To that end he’d lived his life. It was the right career. It was the right path.

Everyone said this new change would be the worst mistake of his life. But that day, sitting across from a poster of himself as a debt-free college student who had planned to enter missions, he signed papers to pull out of his education. Re-education began—not an erasing of anything but the mysterious pulling of form out of void.

A few weeks earlier, prayer had led to this moment. A touch of intention. A moment of admitted fear. Tension began to grow. It was a decision that more than one person thought was foolish. At the beginning, even he’d thought it’d just been the regular fatigue of college hitting him with thoughts of escape. Quit school?

Who quits school when they have good grades and no debt? But that was the raging message beating in his heart. He didn’t really want to do it. He didn’t. It wasn’t him. He was scholastic; he was cut out for school. He was going to serve God with his degrees. He was. So, they wrestled. They wrestled to see if this unheard of and impractical change really was from God.

To him, though, God was Friend. There was close trust there. But this was asking him to do something not only unconventional, but something seemingly unwise. The words, however, kept coming: “Listen, I have some really cool things for you, and you can have them if you want, but you’re going to have to obey me.”

Suddenly, it felt like a big, enjoyable surprise was waiting for him—like he was already holding it in his hands. He just didn’t know what it was yet. So, there he sat, expelling himself from college, from dreams, from future. Wide-eyed secretaries and advisors stared him down in an office meant to offer education—and there he sat, denying it all. And there God sat, right with him, condoning it all. Staring back at stunned office workers was the God of Future. Dwelling in unknown, the Knower began to rise.

And hope began to grow like a child—full of the not yet, but already present.

The next day, however, was frightening. Had this young man just given up the rest of his life for an unknown vision? Had he given in instead of giving up? And which one of those was really right? Known path was instantly traded for something intangible. Was it really God he’d trusted?  

He realized he’d been sharing his identity with the world’s view for a long time and giving that up made him feel about as tall as a mouse. Now, instead of “successful, debt-free student,” his label was “college dropout.” And it was for no tangible reason—only a prayer: conversation that gave direction from a persevering Friend.

And God was with. God was Best Friend. In that, there was calm trust and excited anticipation.  

He asked God for a small sign. His heart wanted to know again the faithfulness, to know the Carrying Power. He wanted to know he’d obeyed. On that day, however, there was a void of Presence. On that day, there was no sign. On that day, there was vast hope, but hope was not made real.

“Oh, my goodness, I am not prepared for this!” was his first thought on the following evening. And then, seconds later, he remembered the words of the Lord for him, “I have amazing things for you.”  

That night, instead of just a few teens arriving for the youth group he led, over 25 Hispanic youth arrived. Kids whose first language was Spanish. Kids who had absent fathers, not enough food, no sense of safety—they lived with a heartbreaking understanding that they were an afterthought to family and society. Kids who, without having broken any law themselves, were dragged into becoming the product of their parent’s huge and uncaring choices.

He had no degree, yet every class and every experience from Peru to that moment had been in preparation for this. But it hadn’t been him. Of course not. He hadn’t planned this. It was God’s bend in the road, carefully prepared years ago—in fact, eons ago.

Along with attending school and working full-time, he’d never have been able to love those teens the unconditional way they needed. So, quitting school paved the way for this God-given and miraculous ministry. God hadn’t stopped carrying him. God’s friendship had prepared him.

The story, even now, continues to become. Hearts are given to Jesus, baptisms take place, teens choose to drastically change their life’s trajectories. Just a few weeks ago, a youth walked 25 miles in the rain to come to a safe place. And in between the lives of youth and leaders, another Friend lives.

A Million God Stories is a Christ-centered ministry which offers a platform for Christians from all streams of Christian faith to give praise for how God has worked in their lives. Christ heals in infinitely creative ways and we acknowledge that His way of helping may differ from person to person.

#111 Not Medicine, God Did!


Photo by Taylor Wurth

Twenty-two years ago, my wife and I were expecting our first child. When she had her first ultrasound, it showed a large black hole filling the abdomen of our baby. We knew this wasn’t normal. We learned that the black area was fluid. There was a blockage, and urine was not draining out of the baby’s bladder. The bladder was very swollen and urine was backing up into his kidneys. We were referred to a specialist, a perinatologist, that day. This doctor confirmed that our baby had the blockage of his bladder. A procedure was scheduled for the following Saturday in which the doctor would stick a needle through my wife’s belly and uterus into our baby’s bladder to drain the urine and maybe even place a stent to allow drainage.

My wife and I are both Christians and we had started a prayer chain at church. My dad talked to his dearest friend about our situation. His friend was a state senator, a school teacher, and a Christian evangelist. He called us the night before the procedure to pray with us over the phone. We were both on the phone with him and spent a long time talking with him as he felt led to pray for the healing of our baby. After he prayed for our baby, we felt a real peace about it. We realized we weren’t in control. It was really the first time that I felt completely helpless and out of control in a situation. We released the situation to God and continued to pray for a miracle. We knew that whatever the outcome, God would give us what we needed to deal with it.

The next day the doctor did an ultrasound of my wife’s uterus to look at our baby’s bladder. The volume of urine in the bladder had decreased and therefore they didn’t have to do the procedure to drain the urine. For the rest of the pregnancy, my wife continued to have about three ultrasounds a week to monitor his bladder and kidneys. The results of the ultrasounds varied but never were bad enough to need the draining procedure. However, he always had fluid on his kidneys and his bladder wall became thickened through the rest of the pregnancy. My wife was a nurse in the pediatric clinic and knew a pediatric nephrologist (kidney specialist). She asked this specialist what to expect regarding the condition of our son. She said if he survived he would need kidney dialysis and a kidney transplant. My wife responded, “I am going to pray that God heals him.” The doctor said we could pray all we want, but medically speaking that will never happen.

Family and friends and churches continued to pray for the healing of our son. When he was born, he peed on the doctor during the circumcision and everyone cried because this was a sign that his kidneys were working. Shortly after, a radiologist did a kidney test to assess his true kidney function. The results showed that his kidney and bladder functioned normally even though the doctor could see the area where the blockage had been. She saw a narrowing of the urethra (tube that carries urine out from bladder) but she said she did not think this would create any problems for him in the future. After this procedure, we stepped outside of the room with the doctor. She took my wife by the hand and said, “Medicine did not heal your son. God did.” We believed then and we believe now, that God worked a miracle and we are so grateful for this healing for our son. 

A Million God Stories is a Christ-centered ministry which offers a platform for Christians from all streams of Christian faith to give praise for how God has worked in their lives. Christ heals in infinitely creative ways and we acknowledge that His way of helping may differ from person to person.

#110 Let’s Go Get Em’ Champ

Photo by Lang Thomas Photography

Eight years ago I left the corporate world having served as the President of Kentucky Fried Chicken for five years and as a Senior Executive for Yum! Brands, operating Taco Bell, KFC and Pizza Hut. When I left corporate I was coming out of a very dry season – emotionally, physically and spiritually. I didn’t know if my marriage was going to make it.  Thankfully, the Lord led my wife and I to a counselor who helped restore our marriage by teaching us how to pursue one another and rekindle an emotional connection and intimate relationship. Not only is our marriage restored, but we now coach other married couples who are struggling.

But there was also the question of what would I do with the rest of my life after leaving corporate? I wasn’t quite 50 years old, I couldn’t sit still very long and didn’t play golf. I had served as the Executive Pastor for my church but I didn’t want to go back into “ministry” at the church and I didn’t want to go back into business. I prayed “Lord, help me know what to do.”

Around this time the Lord began to show me that I was half-hearted in my love for him. My faith had become more about a set of “guidelines and guardrails”. I had book knowledge and head knowledge of God, but I didn’t really KNOW Him. I didn’t have experiential knowledge of God. Because if I really knew God I couldn’t help but love him.

A turning point occurred when I attended a Faith in the Marketplace workshop and witnessed a man praying an adoration prayer. I had never seen anything like it before. It felt like I was listening in on an intimate conversation with his spouse. It reminded me of some of the ways our marriage was restored. I knew I wanted that kind of love for God, that kind of intimacy. I started praying adoration prayers, prayers about the nature of God, that God is good and faithful, that God is my advocate and my defender, that God has a plan for my life.

My wife and I felt the Lord call us to start adoration prayer and worship nights in our home. The first night we had 22 people. We held these worship nights quarterly and more people started coming – around 60-70 people– so many that we needed to move our furniture out to accommodate the people. The Lord led us to buy a barn, Iron Bell, and we began to host worship nights there every month, gathering together to adore God in a time of extended worship and prayer.

The Lord continued to teach us out of intimacy and love. We were learning not only more about God but were also learning about who WE are. The Lord taught me about covenant love and not having to perform, that intimacy requires not only the right view of Him, but also the right view of myself.  You won’t grow intimate unless you know there is no guilt or shame; that we are sons and daughters. We learned to operate FROM value not FOR value. (Romans 8:14-17 “for those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. The spirit you received does not make you slaves so that you live in fear again, rather, the spirit you received brought about your adoption to Sonship. And by him we cry “Abba, Father”. The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are His children then we are heirs – heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ…”)

As time progressed my wife and I realized that these truths needed to be shared, specifically how to fulfill the first commandment “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul and all you mind.” (Deuteronomy 6:5) and that as sons and daughters we work from value, not for value. Also we felt led to teach about how to fulfill our Ephesians 2:10 purpose in life; that His Kingdom can be expressed by partnering with Him in everyday work, everyday life. As God was doing a work “in us”, he then began to do a work “through us”.  A ministry, Iron Bell Ministries, was born out of that journey.

As you partner with God to work out your purposes in life I think this final story can give you great perspective. I used to think that God gave me a game plan and then said, “Go get em champ!” Now, I know that instead God holds my hand and says “Let’s go get em champ!” 

#109 God Could and God Did

 Photo by Butch Vernon

I grew up in a home with good parents who loved the Lord. We went regularly to the Primitive Baptist Church, but I never connected. When I was 16, my 14-year-old brother died in a car crash. I felt so guilty and felt that God should have taken me because I had been so disobedient to my parents. Not long after that, I became a coal miner. In 1983, I met my wife. She had a three-year-old daughter whose father was killed when she was two. I loved her as my own daughter and she accepted me as her father. 

I hurt my back in the mines and could no longer go underground. I went into the trucking business. Right before our youngest daughter was born, I was driving the truck and was T-boned by another big truck at an intersection. It was a terrible accident. I was hurt and the other driver was killed. One of the police officers that came to the scene said that I had run a stop sign and I was guilty of manslaughter. But I had stopped at the stop sign and thankfully there was a witness that had seen me stop and said so. 

I was in the trucking business for 20 years, but in 2000 it became clear that we would lose everything because of bankruptcy. We pooled what little resources we had and moved to another city for a fresh start. Because of our credit, we couldn’t rent or buy a home. We were on the verge of being homeless when we found a home that was owner-financed which we could purchase. The owner was such a kind person. This was such a blessing for our family. But the move was hard on my wife and youngest daughter, who was still living at home. My daughter hated her high school, to the point of working extremely hard to graduate a year early. 

She got married her freshman year of college. Then she was rear-ended in a car accident and had back surgery. There were complications and she was in a wheelchair for six months and then had more surgery and more serious complications. Then her husband left her for another woman. She became very depressed and tried to take her own life two times. One night, when my daughter was living by herself, I couldn’t get in touch with her. I felt the Lord urging me to go check on her. Her car was there but she wouldn’t answer her door. I looked in through the window and saw her… I broke down the door and took her to the hospital where they were able to help her.  

Meanwhile, my wife started drinking. She drank every night. I kept thinking that all of this was more than we could bear. But God was at work in our family, and things began to change. My daughter began seeing a therapist. She started going to church and got baptized. My wife and I started going to church with her. My wife checked herself into a recovery program. You could see God working in her life. She continued to go to church and gave her life to Christ. She finished the recovery program and hasn’t had a drink since then. Our oldest daughter and her husband started going to church and were both baptized as well. Our neighbor went to the same church and she would stop by and talk to me when I was outside. She was very encouraging to me about my faith. On September 16, 2012, the sermon spoke to me in a powerful way. That day I gave my life to Christ and was baptized. 

One by one, the members of our family surrendered their lives to Christ. This was the beginning of our new lives and a journey of healing. God healed our daughter’s depression. She went back to college, became a nurse, got married to a Christian man, and now has two children. God healed my wife and gave her the strength to stop drinking. And God delivered me from terrible guilt. For years, I had felt so guilty—guilty about the truck wreck years ago and guilty that I had struggled to provide financially and that led to our moving and the beginning of such hard times for our daughter and my wife. I wanted so badly to “fix” everything, but as hard as I tried, I just couldn’t make things better for anyone in my family. But God could and God did. Years ago, I prayed that God would keep our family together and help us. God answered my prayer. He has been so good to our family. Again and again, I have seen God working in our lives. I am so thankful. 

Praise the Lord; praise God our savior!

For each day he carries us in his arms.

Our God is a God who saves!

Psalm 68:19-20

A Million God Stories is a Christ-centered ministry which offers a platform for Christians from all streams of Christian faith to give praise for how God has worked in their lives. Christ heals in infinitely creative ways and we acknowledge that His way of helping may differ from person to person.

#108 Undeserved Grace


Photo by Lucas Wiman Photography

I was raised in a middle class, church-going family. My dad was a deacon at the church and we were in church three times a week. I was very involved in youth group and loved going to church. I was very involved in sports in high school and lived a clean life. I didn’t get in trouble. When I was 16 a friend offered me a prescription pain pill. I was scared to break the rules—I had never even drank. But for some reason, I took the drug and for the next five years, that was my life. All it took was one time. I went from using every weekend, to every day, to eventually injecting drugs. 

I had made my confession of faith at 10 years old in the church, but from 16–21 I decided God was not for me. I wanted to do my own thing. I was reckless and carefree. When I got to college things got worse. My life was out of control. I was stealing and selling drugs to support my habit. I had no morality. I was obsessed with filling myself with whatever I wanted, not thinking about the consequences. 

My family knew something was wrong but they had no idea it was drugs. They encouraged me to move in with my aunt in another town, and I did. Everyone thought I was still going to college, but every day I was driving to another town to get drugs. One day when I was on the highway, my radio had no reception so I turned it to the AM radio and hit “scan.” It stopped on a gospel station with a man giving a sermon. He said, “If you are addicted to prescription pain pills, there is a way out. It’s Jesus.” It felt like he was right in front of me slamming his fist down and saying “Stop right now!” I kept driving and several miles later a police pulled me over. I had been going 100 mph. I didn’t have drugs with me but I had a suspended license for two previous tickets for not wearing a seat belt. Because I was driving (and speeding!) on a suspended license, I was arrested and thrown in jail. I called my sister and lied about what happened. She got me out of jail. My court date was the next day and they told me NOT to miss it or I would be arrested. I had no intention of making the court date. I got my car and went back on my way to buy the drugs, except this time I decided I would buy a LOT of drugs because it was my birthday weekend. I bought $500–$600 worth of oxycodone and oxycotin. The next day I was going to meet a friend to do drugs and I was stopped at a traffic light. I hit the car in front of me so hard that my roof buckled. A little old lady got out of the car and came back to see if I was okay. I had drugs in my car and knew that if the police came this would be very bad, so I told her we needed to get out of the traffic and to pull into the bank parking lot across the street. She did and I drove right onto the interstate, leaving her there. 

Two days later my mom called and said the insurance company had called her and said I was in a hit and run. I lied to her and told her I was in school. But I knew I was caught. I decided to drive out of state, but as I was driving something in me said, “Turn around. You have to face this.” I drove to the hospital where my aunt worked as a physician’s assistant. She was getting ready to go into surgery but she came out. I said, “I’m a severe drug addict and I’m in a whole lot of trouble.” She said, “Obey the traffic laws and go to my house and wait until someone comes to get you.” 

My mom and dad were so faithful in their prayers for me and their love for me. Two days before I was arrested, my mom had gotten down on her face to pray for me. She asked God to reveal whatever I was doing, to have it come into the open. Two days later I was arrested. Shortly after, I confessed.

My family got me into a hospital where I went through medical detox for six days. After this, I went to a Christian rehab facility. Here I got my relationship back with Christ. Many older homeless men in the rehab center took me under their wing and told me I could overcome it. The first time I was allowed to call home, I found out one of the friends I did drugs with killed himself, the guy who introduced me to drugs when I was 16 had overdosed and had to be brought to life, and then this….

The woman I rear-ended and then tricked and abandoned was a preacher’s wife, and she didn’t want to press charges. Her forgiveness and compassion for me…it was so undeserved, so unexpected. I get emotional even now thinking of it. 

When I think of all the things that happened, I know they could not have been coincidences. God was in it all… saving me. 

I graduated the rehab program in nine months and then felt God call me to ministry. But I didn’t want to do it. I got a job at an electronics store and someone there offered me a pain pill. I took it and got back into using drugs, but only for a short time. I did what I had learned in rehab…I called my mom and dad and told them and they took me into their home so I could detox. I haven’t used drugs since then and that was eight years ago. 

I still felt the call to go into the ministry but I still didn’t want to do it. I wasn’t willing to give up my lifestyle. I was being selfish. I fought this calling for several years and then called my preacher and told him about it. He prayed with me and said, “If God is calling you to go into ministry, then you have to do it.”

Shortly after this meeting, my mom texted me, telling me about an opportunity to volunteer in a Christian homeless shelter. I was working at Cracker Barrel but began volunteering at the shelter once a week. When I began volunteering, the executive director of the shelter was a Harvard educated, Christ-centered man who became a great mentor to me. After a couple of months, he asked me to join the shelter as a full-time employee, and I agreed. For three years, he taught me communication skills, how to manage resources, how to deal with conflict, and many other skills. In 2015 I took over the Executive Director position.

I met my wife at the shelter. She was a nursing student and was assigned to do her clinical course work at the shelter. My wife has a strong faith. She inspires me and challenges me in my relationship with Christ every day. I was on the right path but she helps me be stronger. We now have a small farm together. 

How could I have ever gone from where I was to this?! Only God! God is loving and loves in a way that is beyond our comprehension. God knows everything I did—the worst of it—things no one else knows…but I am blameless before Him because of Christ. God has so much grace. Even though I resisted, God brought me into the ministry. Working at the shelter, I get to tell people who feel hopeless about true hope in Christ. I get to tell them about the peace and joy that God promises, the peace and joy that I experience that comes from my relationship with Jesus. Jesus died to redeem me and transform me; He has done this and He is doing this still today. He saved and transformed me and He can do this for others too!

A Million God Stories is a Christ-centered ministry which offers a platform for Christians from all streams of Christian faith to give praise for how God has worked in their lives. Christ heals in infinitely creative ways and we acknowledge that His way of helping may differ from person to person.