Like millions of Americans, I entered marriage with a ready-made family—a job for which I wasn’t prepared. My drinking, partying and other self-centered pursuits didn’t blend too well with the demands of marriage and instant fatherhood. Conflict and problems that arose with my stepson brought me to a stark realization: I wasn’t doing such a hot job of running my life.
Our family situation had started deteriorating shortly before we moved from West Virginia to the Denver, Colorado, area. As this turmoil reached a peak, we sought help from a man at the church we attended occasionally. As a reformed drug dealer and motorcycle rider, we figured he would have the answers. When we asked what we could do to help our son, he replied, “You can’t do anything. But God can do everything. And the best thing you can do is get right with God.”
Those words pierced my heart. Two days later, that man and his wife prayed with me in our living room. I admitted I had made a mess of my life and wanted Jesus to forgive me for these mistakes. I asked for His forgiveness and pledged to change the way I was living and follow Him for the rest of my life. A peace filled me and a weight dropped off my shoulders.
To many, “faith” is a cliché for narrow-minded, judgmental bigots. To me, it is a lifeline that brought my wife and me through adversity and tragedy. Setbacks like the death of both sets of parents, my wife’s battle with cancer, the death of our second-oldest daughter in 2005. Once we worked our way through that grief, the Great Recession caused a long decline in my income.
Still, despite life’s uncertainties, we know the joy of a restored family, a long-lasting marriage, and the solutions that God brings into seemingly-impossible dilemmas. We trust in Him to provide for our needs, guide us through life, and answer our prayers. I am still excited about what God has done. At an age when many are looking to retire (or already have), I am looking forward to crafting more stories about the Lord’s work in this world. Without Him, I am nothing.