I grew up in Iowa in a Christian home. My parents divorced when I was eleven, and I started to rebel against everything. Since my mom was basically raising me and my sister alone, she had to get a job and I was left to do more and more of whatever I wanted. I ended up smoking, drinking, and doing drugs. By age 13, I was smoking pot every day and doing other drugs when I got the chance.
I got into trouble living with my mom so I would move in with my dad. For a couple of years I went back and forth until I decided to run away. I got caught and was ordered to attend Tarkio Academy. I was there for eight months. I got out shortly after my sixteenth birthday and the court emancipated me. I continued to get high and move around a lot. I would stay somewhere until I didn’t like it anymore or until I wore out my welcome, then I would go somewhere else. I supported myself mainly by selling drugs.
In 2001, I met my wife but continued to smoke pot and do drugs. In 2003, my wife and I were arrested for growing pot. I went to rehab and stayed clean for one year thinking I had it whipped. I started smoking pot again which led me into the meth scene more than ever before. I got sent to prison for 120-day drug treatment. Needless to say, it didn’t work. I got out and was worse. My life was more of a mess than ever before. I started cooking meth full-time and got busted a few months later. Now I was in jail thinking that this was the end of my life.
That’s when the jailer, who I had gone to school with, started talking to me about God. She gave me a bible and asked her pastor to come see me. I started reading the Bible and praying. Even with all these negative things happening to me, I had a sense of hope that I never had before. The pastor led me to the Lord while I was in jail and mentioned Teen Challenge. He brought me the rules and the application. I filled them out and was accepted. I went to court facing ten years, but the judge told me that I could go to Teen Challenge. I’m still facing sentencing on two other felonies, but I’m not worried.
God has changed me in a lot of ways and continues to show me areas in my life that need work. I’m learning to trust in God and know that He will do what is right for me…whether I understand it or not. My goal is to complete Teen Challenge and be the best father and husband I can be. I would also like to help others who struggle with drugs and that lifestyle come to Christ.
Well, it all started when I was very young, thirteen years old to be exact. I got into drinking and drugs, and I spent all this time and effort and a lot of money trying to make me happy, and it just never happened.
One scripture that I have found says, “Don’t you realize that you become the slave of whatever you choose to obey? You can be a slave to sin, which leads to death, or you can choose to obey God, which leads to righteous living” (Romans 6:16, NLT). I was a slave to everything I did, but I didn’t realize it or realize the pain I caused.
Now I have given my life to Jesus Christ and guess what. It didn’t cost a thing. All that money I spent on trying to make me happy didn’t work. Romans 6:23 (NLT) says, “For the wages of sin is death but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.” Eternal life doesn’t start after we die; it starts when we give our lives to the Lord so we can do His will instead of ours.
Philippians 4:13 (NLT) says, “I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.” What I’m trying to say is that we don’t have to be slaves to anything anymore. Just trust God. I did. Now I am in His will and have joy that all the money in the world can’t buy.