Penny stood next to her best friend in the world, her Arab mare, looking out over the mountain ranges to the horizon. Her horse stood quietly, ears shifting, as Penny spoke. “God, here’s my deal. I’ll give up everything: my home, my property down in the valley, everything I have, if you’ll only lead me to a safe man.” The words hurt as she spoke them. “And if you do… I promise to spend the rest of my life figuring out Jesus.”
Jesus. Another man. She didn’t trust any of them. Here, deep in the Cascade Mountains, her cabin was the first place she’d ever felt safe. Away from her parents’ physical and mental abuse. Away, most of all from her grandfather. She could never purge the memories of her fifteenth year. Being molested had changed her, twisted her. She hated people.
She left home at 18. Later she found a job in a bar. When the owner learned of Penny’s interest in horses, she made a deal with her to train an Arab mare. The horse was wild. But in that quiet mountain retreat, Penny worked with her, riding miles through the forest every day. The horse became her life. Eventually, the owner sold her the horse.
Penny bought a place of her own in a lovely valley. She cut trees from her own land to build fences. She loved every inch of it. But she didn’t feel loved. She used to watch Little House on the Prairie, amazed that people could love like that. She longed for a man like Pa Ingalls who was strong, and kind, and safe. And so she offered God a deal.
At the age of 13, David was introduced to marijuana by his father. The use of marijuana eventually led to other, harder drugs. By the time David graduated high school, he was addicted to marijuana, cocaine, and alcohol. He was a promising basketball player, but unfortunately, his drug abuse caused him to pass up chances for college scholarships. Straight out of high school, David married his high school sweetheart. She was not an addict and the marriage soon failed. After the divorce, David thought he would leave his troubles behind and moved to Texas. He moved in with his father, who at the time was living in a crank house (crank is one of many slang terms for methamphetamine). David used meth for the first time at age 21.
When David began using meth, he swore he wouldn’t let it control him and end up like the other, older, more hard-core addicts he was around. He was sure he wouldn’t end up sickly, paranoid, crazy, and completely controlled by the drug. It wouldn’t take him long to learn that no one controls meth, it controls the user.
David returned to Tennessee hoping to leave meth behind. At the time, meth was not available in Tennessee. He succeeded for a while, though he continued to use other drugs and alcohol. His life did not improve much. He eventually ended up in prison for attempting to sell a substantial amount of marijuana.
Once released from prison, David remarried and started a new family. However, meth soon re-entered the picture. He became paranoid and psychotic. The physical and emotional abuse towards his wife, Amy, became much worse. His children were neglected. Eventually, Amy began using and any semblance of a stable life for their children completely disappeared.
Depression set in, like with most meth addicts, and David became suicidal. He attempted suicide once by hanging himself, but the rope broke. He quit drugs for several months. But he started hanging around with other users again and he fell back into old habits.
Everything came to a head on February 21, 2003. David returned home high after promising to quit, again. Amy said she was leaving and taking the children. Without a word of warning, David grabbed the SKS assault rifle that was kept loaded beside the bed and put it under his chin and pulled the trigger.
For the amazing story of David’s recovery, visit his website.
There was no evidence of God in Christian’s childhood home.
His mother was only 17 at his birth and his father was 19. Soon two younger brothers followed. His father didn’t want to be a dad, he still wanted to be a kid. He drank and did drugs and saw other women.When he was high, he molested the three boys. What do you do when your father, who is supposed to be your protector, violates you? For years, Christian wanted to be free from the shame. He didn’t tell anyone. Somehow, he felt bound by it. Christian says, “All I ever wanted was to be loved!” He knew that wasn’t love.
His mother finally had enough and divorced his father. When she remarried, life got really bad. For the next ten years they lived with a stepfather who physically, emotionally, and mentally twisted and abused all of them. They couldn’t count on coming home and doing the chores and being ok. Hearing the car door close when Dad got home sent ripples of fear through them in case there was any little thing they hadn’t done just right. Even if they had, they might be violently beaten. Sad, depressed, suicidal, and filled with rage, Christian thought there could not possibly be a God out there.
Watch the story of how God rescued Christian from this life of abuse and brought him to a place where he is celebrating life in recovery.
I was the second child of five, and the first girl. Looking back on my childhood is really hard. My father was both physically and sexually abusive from the time I was in diapers. My dad was a very angry man and everything set him off. He would often pull out some of our hair or twist our bottom lip until it bled for something as silly as spilling water on the floor. Often, he would kick us to the ground or shove us into walls by our throats with the look of death in his eyes. This usually occurred when he felt like we had “talked back” or “disrespected” him. He beat us with his belt almost daily. When two of us kids were fighting my dad would take us by our hair and bash our heads together over and over again.
I was 17 the first time I smoked pot and a few months later I was introduced to crank. I instantly fell in love with this drug. I felt invincible, like I was finally in control of my life. Crank is very seductive and it slowly sucked me in. At first my friends and I only used it on the weekends, then just a couple days out of the week to get us through the work days, then after a few months we quit our jobs and became full time crank addicts. For the next 7 years I alienated myself from everyone who loved and cared about me!
I moved in with my aunt, who had also recently been introduced to meth. She was living with a man who had a son that I started dating and for the next three years the four of us lived in that house and used crank daily. To support our habits we started selling it very early on. I met David during a drug deal at this filthy drug house and we instantly hit it off. We stayed up all night talking. A year later we met again and were soon married. At that time David was selling very large quantities of very “good” crank. Our house was constantly full of drug customers. The weird thing was that David was also really into the Bible. He had a collection of Bibles and read them for hours. I was embarrassed when our “customers” came by and saw him reading.
When I got pregnant I realized I wanted a better life for my baby, but David wasn’t ready to quit the lifestyle he had been living for well over 15 years. Our marriage struggled as I stayed home (in a drug house) pregnant and depressed while Dave ran the streets slinging dope and chasing women. I wanted out of the marriage, but God had other plans.
Five days after our son Kadon was born, David was arrested on some very serious charges. I was terrified, all alone with a newborn baby and no where to go. He was temporarily released while they gathered more evidence against him. Two months later they issued an arrest warrant. Thus began our 3 month run from the law, living in several different drug houses with a newborn baby.
Watch the rest of Amanda’s story of healing:
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