Some would say that from the very beginning I have been a survivor. My mother was pregnant with me at the age of 15. Despite being forced to drop out of junior high school and having to walk the aisle with a man 8 years her senior, she made the brave decision to give me a chance at life. She is my hero. Her courageous decision has resulted in two sons and 14 grandchildren! Way to go mom! Look at all you have done!
My dad was a farm kid at heart but somewhere along the way his life decisions led him down a road of self-destruction. Alcohol, wild living and bar fights left him nearly dead on more than one occasion. His life was often out of control as he took his frustrations out on his wife and kids. He was just flat out mean and lacked the basic life skills to be a good husband and dad. It cost him his family and what could have been a life filled with great memories. But all is not lost. There is more to his story.
When I was a teenager my dad bought a handgun, took me to a creek bed and shot at me. I was lucky to have survived. It was crazy and terrifying. He threatened my brother’s life in a hostage, murder-suicide type situation in an attempt to get back at my mother. If not for the bravery and intervention of my favorite uncle, I’m not sure how the story would have ended. On another occasion my dad tried to run my brother and I over with his car. He broke into our house and I held a 12-gauge shotgun on him until the police arrived. To no one’s surprise, my mom eventually divorced him.
Despite growing up in a life of domestic violence, alcohol abuse and plenty of dysfunction, I eventually found hope and a future among a group of friends and leaders who loved me and forever changed the direction of my life as I came to know the Lord in a very personal way.
Yes, it is a story of hardship and pain but it is also one of hope, forgiveness and amazing reconciliation.
I recently sat down on my birthday and reflected on the story in a little video shoot. I hope you will watch it. I pray it inspires you in some small way.