I was raised in a broken home. Drugs, alcohol, and physical abuse were common and expected. It didn’t take long for me to take on some of the same characteristics that I saw on a daily basis.
Before I knew it, I was out drinking late, and stealing drugs from my stepdad’s stash to sell and often consume. I remember walking home at 7:00 one morning to get ready for school after a night of drinking and drug use. I looked in the mirror, unhappy with the person staring back at me. I had become someone I had despised for so long—someone I promised myself I would never be. It didn’t take long for me to justify it and convince myself that this was who I was destined to be. "That’s all small-town living has to offer,” I told myself. "What else is there to do?"
During this same period of time, my grandmother was persistent in inviting me to church. Some weekends I would give in and made sure that I was sober enough or didn’t party as hard the night before. As I said before, I lived in a small town. If you’ve ever lived in one, you know everyone usually knows what you do before you even do it. She was aware of my substance abuse and had been praying God would show me His love and the plans He had for me. They were much more promising and hopeful than I could ever dream or imagine.
Home life was getting worse, and the abuse had turned from moderate to extreme. Looking back, it’s amazing to see how God orchestrated the timeline of events. My grandmother’s love for me and her ability to look past my faults led me to a family who was willing to take me in as their own. They took a chance on a troubled teen. Through their love and acceptance, I was able to see Christ’s love for me. It’s because of that love I am now a changed man. A man with a wonderful marriage and children who will be raised knowing the love that I once was unaware of. I gained all of this because several people were able to love like Jesus.