After 5 years of marriage, my wife and I struggled with infertility. She felt empty and longed for a child while I was relieved that God had not answered our prayer. I came from a broken past. Exposed to drugs at an early age by my uncles, I was smoking marijuana by age 9. By junior high, I was using marijuana laced with cocaine. That led to both cocaine and methamphetamine use.
At age 18, I had a near death experience. The ER doctor described it as anaphylactic shock due to street drugs. My body broke out into hives and my airway closed. In that moment, I saw every opportunity I had ever been given to get my life right with the Lord. I remember calling out to Jesus, begging for one more chance. In that instant, Christ saved me. I began to breathe again.
That experience led me to Teen Challenge, a drug and alcohol recovery program. Upon graduation from Teen Challenge, I began to work on staff there, and I met my beautiful wife. After we married, I attended Southwestern Assemblies of God University and graduated with a degree in Pre-Professional Counseling. Yet here I was, with 9 years of sobriety, afraid my wife’s prayer would actually be answered. As a couple, we had reached an agreement that if we were not pregnant by the new year, we would start the foster to adopt process. I knew my wife’s greatest desire was to be a mom.
In September 2005, we participated in a church-wide fast with Freedom Church for an upcoming revival. The evangelist spoke prophetically in front of the crowd that my wife would be pregnant. The week before Christmas, the doctor confirmed it. For the next nine months, I wrestled with what kind of father I would be. I thought about my personal role models. All I could remember were the gang members, drug dealers, and abusive men that hurt my mom and me. My deepest fear was that I was going to be like them. As a man, I knew how to be tough, but I had no idea how to be a dad or a Christian example. I began to distance myself from my wife in an effort to figure it out.
In August 2006, my precious daughter was born. I knew instantly she was the best gift ever given to me, yet fear I didn’t know how to face ruled my heart. The intimacy of being a father was foreign to me. Instead, I retreated emotionally and became numb. Weeks after she was born, I relapsed. My wife and I separated. My wife refused to let me see my daughter while I was under the influence. One time I remember seeing her, unbeknownst to my wife, while I was high. I had been up for several days. The look on her innocent face and the depth of her beautiful eyes spoke volumes to me without saying a word. I felt she was asking me questions that I couldn’t answer.
At that moment, I wanted to be better. I had to be. She needed me, and I needed her. Through God’s grace, and the love and forgiveness of my wife, our marriage has been restored. Now, we are blessed with 3 children. I strive to be more like Christ because I see they want to be like me. I’m grateful to be at Freedom Church surrounded by men of God that serve as an example and allow me the freedom to grow in Christ.
“Restore to me the joy of your salvation and uphold me with a willing spirit.” (Psalm 51:12)
Scripture verses to meditate and pray:
For those who have fallen back into the world, ask the Lord to restore your soul completely as you pray these scriptures out loud.
“Finally brothers, rejoice. Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agreeing with one another, live in peace, and the God of love and peace will be with you.” (2 Corinthians 13:11)
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10)
“I will give them a heart to know that I am the LORD, and they shall be my people and I will be their God, for they shall return to me with their whole heart.” (Jeremiah 24:7)