I’m a believer in Jesus Christ whose drug and alcohol addiction brought me to Celebrate Recovery, my name is Mac. Being raised in the church by godly parents is no sure ticket to heaven. There are still choices to make. And my choice was to party! At all costs, I did what made me feel good at the moment, and I would forget all the church talk of living the good life ingrained in me from my first memories. Now I was free to do what made me feel good: drugs, alcohol, and getting my girlfriend, Mary, pregnant at age 15. We married at age 18, and that’s when I really became free to do whatever I wanted. No one was going to tell me how to live. Ironically, by the age of 29, all the things I was doing that were part of my freedom became my master. I was now a slave. My wife had chosen to go back to our church roots and re-engage her relationship with Jesus Christ. My drug addiction became a heavy yoke, while Mary found true freedom in a relationship with Jesus Christ.
Mary desperately wanted me to come alongside her. All her attempts at showing me where true freedom was fell on deaf ears. I wanted no part of it. All I could remember was the legalistic way my parents raised me. They set standards that nobody could live up to…even themselves– one person on Sunday morning and a different person the rest of the week. I wanted nothing to do with that. Mary assured me it was different, that there was real peace in surrendering to Jesus. I wasn’t buying it. Thank God for good, godly women who have questionable taste in men, because my good, godly woman wasn’t giving up. She sought guidance from our pastor, Ray.
Ray was a down-to-earth country preacher with a passion for God’s Word that was unquenchable. He also loved the outdoors, hunting, and fishing– some of the same things I liked to do. I owned a cabinet shop, and Ray started stopping by. He never brought up church. Instead, he started hiring me to do small jobs for him, like building a dog box for his truck that he later admitted was too nice of a cabinet for the back of his old truck. Ray started asking me to go fishing and hunting with him, never pointing out what was missing in my life. Instead, he lived out the peace that he had, and over time, I came to desire that peace with all my heart.
One Sunday morning, I had been awake for a week using meth, and I was just tired, bone-weary tired. I knew Mary would be out of the house soon, and I could go in and rest. I went into the house and found Mary getting our two daughters ready for church. I told them I was going to bed and would see them later. Our daughter, Callie, four years old, stood beside our bed with her little hands on her hips and said to her mother as she looked at me, “Why doesn’t Daddy go to church with us? Why doesn’t Daddy do anything with us anymore!?” Mary hurried her out of the room, telling her I had been working hard and needed to rest.
I heard the door shut as they left and immediately got up. I heard loud and clear every word our little Callie said. And God used her to break my heart. I couldn’t wait for Mary to come home. I felt convicted to talk to her. I wanted what Mary had. When she got home and saw tears in my eyes for the first time in ten years since we had been married, she didn’t know what to expect. I told her I wanted to change, that I had burned all my drugs, and would she please help me? She said, “Yes, will you talk to Ray?” Ray had what I so desperately wanted, too: peace of mind. Maybe he could show me the way.
I realized later that all those trips Pastor Ray made to my shop, all those things he was getting me to build for him, were things he didn’t even need! I came to realize that all those invites to hunt and fish, were really times he was showing me I was worthwhile instead of worthless. He had been pursuing me with the kindness of his Savior, Jesus Christ. Yes, you better believe I would talk to Ray!
From that day forward, Pastor Ray became one of my greatest mentors. Mary and Pastor Ray helped show me the way to the Savior. And by accepting Jesus as my Lord and Savior, Jesus’ sacrifice paid the price for my many sins. Today my name is Redeemed. I am eternally grateful that Mary, Pastor Ray and Jesus Christ never gave up on me.
“The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead, he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”
2 Peter 3:9 (NIV)