#159 Posture of Dependency

 Photo by Nicole Tarpoff

My wife and I married in December of 1996. Having a family was very important to us and we both desired to have multiple children. I got a new job around the time we got married. Toward the end of 1997 we started trying to have a child. We tried for seven to eight months but couldn’t get pregnant. After several tests the doctor told my wife, “I think you are infertile and won’t be able to get pregnant without some help.” We weren’t sure how we felt about that. We decided to pray and seek the Lord’s counsel. We had received this news from the doctor on Friday, and on Sunday the church elders prayed for us. We prayed and fasted our first meal of the day for a week. The next Sunday the elders prayed with us again. Monday morning my wife took a pregnancy test and it was positive. We got another pregnancy test and it was positive! We called the doctor and he said, “You all need to come in. This is strange.” He pulled out her chart and said in his 20-plus years in practice, my wife was the first person he had not given a pregnancy test to. He did a pregnancy test then and she was seven weeks pregnant! She had actually been pregnant at our last visit with him when he told us he thought she was infertile and needed help getting pregnant! We didn’t see this as the doctor’s error. We saw this as God taking us through a journey of faith. He wanted us to decide if we could trust Him with our decisions.

Around this time, I was starting my work as a minister and we had little funds. During the summer when my wife was pregnant, we had two cars and one broke down. It was not fixable and my job required travel. We knew having just one car was not going to work but we didn’t have the money to buy a car. My mom had access to the Federal Credit Union and we secured a loan there. We had 30 days to get the car. But I was uneasy about it. I felt like we needed to trust God. I asked, “Lord, is this another opportunity to trust you?” On the last day for us to buy the car under the terms of the loan, my mom called and asked if we were going to get the loan. I told her no. This was August.

Our baby was born November 13 and still no car. Three days after she was born, I received a phone call saying there was a car available if I wanted it. The only stipulation was that I had to drive to Birmingham, Alabama and play a round of golf with the man who was donating the car. It was a Ford Taurus, and we had it for years. That was in 1998. We moved in 2003, and one day when I was driving home from work I had a wreck and totaled the car. That car had been used by missionaries and had been used to lead several guys to Christ. I sent a message letting people know the car was totaled and telling the story of the car—how we got it and how the car had been used for ministry. Within 30 minutes we had two offers to replace the car!

Getting the car was another way for us to see God and trust Him. We were starting a new ministry and I think God was fostering in those early experiences a posture of dependency of being able to trust Him. This has helped us to trust Him in other things over the years. Those experiences were foundational for us. We know that God is trustworthy and we are so thankful for His continued care throughout the years.

Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God. Psalm 20:7

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.

#158 Restoring a Sound Mind

 Photo by Nicole Tarpoff

I was raised in a divided home. My dad was a party guy and drank a lot. My mom dragged us to church every Sunday and Wednesday, but was very angry. Her life didn’t end up the way she expected, and there was a very disappointing feel in our home most of the time. Growing up I thought I would much rather be like dad because he was having much more fun. He was eventually hurt at his job in the coal mine and there was no financial help for us after that. My mom worked with a direct sales company to make ends meet, and this meant I spent more time with my dad and we got even closer. After my dad got hurt, he got depressed. My mom began to resent him even more because he wasn’t providing for our family.

I was a good kid and made good grades, but I always compared myself to others. In high school, I pulled away from the good group of girls, and started hanging out with a different crowd. When I was 15 I took my first drink of alcohol and it was like I couldn’t go back to being good. My view of God was that He was harsh and you had to be perfect to come to Him. I felt like I had destroyed being able to be loved by Him, so I began a downhill spiral. When I was 17, I was in a car accident and got my first prescription for pain pills, and things quickly got out of control.

I used the MRI I had from the car accident as the “proof” I needed to get pain pills. I graduated with honors from high school and then went to college. When I was 19, I met a man at a bar and after knowing him nine days I dropped out of college and moved to Columbus to move in with him. I thought I was okay through all of this. I was using drugs daily, even though I had a job as a dental assistant. I lived with the man four years and the relationship was very abusive. His main source of income was selling drugs, and that became a big part of my life too. His mom died and she lived in Kentucky. So, we moved to Kentucky and were living in a car for six months. When it started getting cold out, I went back to my mom’s home. The man died a few months later.


After he died I started getting in a lot more trouble. The next year and a half I worked on and off at a gas station. I became an IV drug user and then could not function. It was then that I realized that I really had a problem. I could no longer hold down a job. I started stealing and getting arrested. In 2010, I was in a really bad car wreck and the money to pay my medical bills came to me and I kept the money. I became worse than I had ever been. I got arrested and then got a DUI and went to court. The prosecutor said, “I’m going to make sure you do a year in jail if you don’t get help for your addiction.” My mom stepped in and talked me into doing drug detox. On December 2, 2010, a residential Christian addiction recovery program opened in my town and I began my journey to recovery there.

I was really scared. I didn’t know if I would ever have a sound mind again. I had racing thoughts. I would read and not recall anything I had read. Things just didn’t click. I had been intelligent in school and it was terrifying to think I may not ever be able to function normally again. But it kept getting better. I can remember the first time I could remember a scripture verse and write it without going back to look at it. I finished the program and was offered and accepted a job at the Christian addiction recovery center I had attended. Eventually, I went back to college and finished my degree in psychology.

Recently, God has helped me discover more about who I really am. I have transitioned from working at the Christian addiction recovery center to a career in business, but there is still a lot of ministry involved in my job which I truly enjoy. I’ve discovered that I thrive in leadership, especially when I am provided opportunities to encourage and inspire people.  

God is so good and so loving and always working things out for good even when we don’ know what He is doing. He never left me through all of the dark days of drug addiction. He was there every step of the way, calling me back to Him. I am so grateful for the changes He has brought about in my life . . . and I am most grateful for His love.

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

2 Timothy 1:7

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.

#157 All Things Are Possible

 Photo by Nicole Tarpoff

One Sunday, I met a new friend after service. He was sitting down waiting to chat, so I didn’t realize anything was wrong with his body. As we prayed, he explained the emptiness in his heart. I shared about the love of Jesus and he gave his life to Christ. Peace, love and joy flooded him! He then told me a story about his health. Five years ago, during back surgery, he had been left with constant pain that was a 10 on a 10 scale. The surgeon had nicked a nerve, making his left foot drag. Due to difficulties with pain meds, he chose not to take them. In the process of adopting two small children, he underwent yet another back surgery and had seven spinal fusions. His mobility was severely limited, but he was still convinced that God was going to heal him. I called my teammates over, and as we prayed, the pain decreased in half, then decreased again, and then was gone! He stood up to walk around, and his foot started coming back to life. As he walked, more motion came back. We stood and talked for a bit, which he had been unable to do without excruciating pain for years!! He wept with gratitude, joy, and relief. There were lots of tears all around. Praise Jesus! He came back to our meeting the next day and shared his testimony. He was able to bend and reach past his knees and had been on the floor playing with his kids all afternoon. He came back the next day and was able to reach down and touch his toes, which, with seven spinal fusions, is impossible. As Jesus said in Matthew 19:26, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” I pray the same way when people are healed as when they aren’t. It’s a mystery to me why sometimes miracles occur and sometimes they take more time. But I’ll keep praying, believing, and celebrating the beauty of what only He can do. Our God is a healer, He is good, and He loves to restore. Yay Jesus!

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.