Thank you to my amazing husband who is allowing me to share his beautiful testimony! I love you with all my heart darling and thank God for you every day! -GM
I didn't grow up in a Christian home and can only remember going to church a handful of times. I'm the oldest of 4. My siblings are 7 yrs (brother), 10 yrs (brother), & 13 yrs (sister) younger. I had a strange relationship with my father, I always felt he treated me just a bit diferrently than my siblings. (I didn't find out until I was an adult that he was not my biological father but had adopted me when he married my mother.) My mom was overly strict on some things, cleaning especially, and very leniant on other things, when, where, & who I hung out with. My parents split when I was a teen (not a great time for a boy) due to my father's infidelity, and I didn't handle it well. I began to start down a dangerous path. I started smoking, drinking, & eventually moved to smoking pot.
At age 17, my first son was born. I was more interested in partying with friends than being a parent, and was not a big part of his life at that time. His mother and I did not stay together long. I was partying more and more, and getting into trouble on a regular basis. At age 19, my second son was born. At this time my mother intervened. She didn't want me to be "that guy" and insisted I marry the mother of son #2. I was so messed up at this point that I just did what I was told and we were married after he was born. Not long after we married, my grandfather passed away. He was one of my biggest heroes and my biggest male role model. I did not take it well. On the day of his funeral, I was absent. That was also the day I moved onto stronger drugs. My wife at the time introduced me to meth to "take the edge off". This began a downward spiral. Our marriage was short lived. She was unwilling to be faithful, and I was unwilling to overlook that fact so we divorced. Thankfully, I was able to get full custody of son #2. And thankfully, my mother was around to help me with him and keep him away from the bad. I was moving a lot but tried to be the best father I could be under the circumstances.
In 2000, something happened that changed the path in which my life was going. I was arrested for drugs and sent to prison. Of course, at that time I could see nothing good coming out of those circumstances, but God had great plans ahead. After a while I was moved to a work release program 3 hours away from my home town. I didn't know anyone (this turned out to be a good thing!) I had a case worker who I didn't particularly care for because I felt like he wasn't working hard for me. (remember this, it's important!) Just before Thanksgiving in 2001, I was hired to work at a Quick Lube, but they were unable to start me until after the holidays. I found another Quick Lube that was able to start me immediately, so I decided to work there instead. (FYI, when you're in prison, you will do anything to leave the facility, even if it's just going to work.) (Oh, and another funny thing, the first job I had lined up is where I'm now working almost 10 years later.) My first day of work, I walked in and saw the most beautiful girl I had ever seen. And she was my boss. (also important)
I was released from prison in February of 2002. Of course I learned my lesson and stayed as far as possible from all illegal activities, right? Wrong. The first thing I did when I was released was go get high. S L O W L E A R N E R!! A few months after I was out, I began talking to the girl from work. She was happy to be my friend, but it was made perfectly clear that she would never date anyone who did drugs of any kind. She had been through all that with her ex. Eventually, I quit the hard stuff, but was still smoking pot. I even made plans with the girl to go on a float trip that summer. The morning we were supposed to go, I was so messed up from the night before and I never showed up or called.
In August 2002, my son went for a scheduled visitation with his mother over the weekend. (He was living with my mother during this time.) She did not show up on the day she was scheduled to bring him home. Without anyone's knowledge, she had moved out of town and enrolled him in the local school. This was my wakeup call. I went "home" to my mother's to get my son back. Thinking there was a possiblity of a routine drug test, I quit smoking pot as well. We showed up at the school, with police in tow, and took him back home (to my mother's.) I stayed a few days then returned to the town of my job. It was nearly a month before I ever heard anything from my ex. She simply called and asked, "where is C?" like she just suddenly realized he never came home from school A MONTH AGO! Needless to say, she lost all visitation rights after that.
A few weeks after that, I called the girl to see if she wanted to get together. The day came for our date (though neither of us was really sure if it was really a date or not) and I had no money to take her out. It looked as if I was going to have to stand her up, AGAIN. My boss, and some fellow employees, said no way. They were not going to allow me to ruin this, so they gathered money together to make the date happen. On September 6, 2002 we went on our first date. Yes, it was definitely a date! We have been inseparable since that time, rarely spending time apart. (On the way to the movies she let out a little secret. Remember that case worker I couldn't stand? Yeah. He was her uncle!! I almost jumped out of the truck. Boy am I glad I didn't.) We were engaged by the end of October and had plans to marry the next summer. We didn't make it that long. On March 24, 2003 we went to the Chapel by the Courthouse and said our vows. Two months after we were married my 2nd son came to live with us.
After we were married, she occasionally dragged me to Church. It was ok, but not something I was used to. I can remember one night we were talking about God and she was crying. She didn't want to be married to someone who she would not be spending eternity with. But I still wasn't ready to make that commitment. In 2004, we were expecting our 1st biological child. Our 2 boys (she had a son as well) talked me into going to a presentation at Church. It scared the hell out of me, and got the wheels turning. She was dragging me to Church more and more often and we were always spending time with her family (who were praying behind my back ;) ) We began working on fixing up an old family house to move into before the baby was born. We were spending a lot of time working with her family and church friends. On August 31, 2004, we were at home getting ready to head over to work on the other house when there was a knock on the door. It was 2 men and a lady. I recognized one of the guys, he and his brother had been helping us work on the house. Turns out the others were the church pastor and one of the sweetest ladies from the church. They were doing church visitation and the man I knew had suggested they stop by our house. They talked a little. Then the pastor asked me a simple question. "If you were to die today, do you know where you would go?" I was a 28 year old man. Statistically it was very unlikely that I would accept salvation at that point in my life. No one expected me to. My response? "Let's do this." While tears streamed down my wife's face, I accepted Christ as my Savior. 7 years ago today I made the most important decision of my life.
It's easy to look back at circumstances and be angry about some of the outcomes, but had any one of those things gone differently, my life may have gone a drastically different direction. I'm thankful for those obstacles. I would not be where I am today or have the life I have without them. God is amazing! Even though we may not always understand why things happen He does.
BTW, that Pastor is now one of my best friends.