This Changes Everything
The Little’s Story
Read Steven’s Story
I grew up never really knowing the love of God. I grew up knowing the fear of God. I was told “God’s gonna get you for that. He’s gonna pay you back for all you’ve done wrong!” My understanding of God was that He was a cosmic killjoy, a cosmic policeman punishing sinners for their sins.
Going into high school I started having flashbacks of childhood and being abused. I got into “the wrong crowd” that introduced me to drugs and alcohol. At the time it was sufficient for numbing the pain, or so I thought, at least for a little while. I used from my early teenage years until my early twentiess. At this time I really defined myself by my earlier years. I was told that “a real man does things. A man works, a man doesn’t cry. A man earns his living, works twenty hours a day, has lots of stuff, things, women.” The typical American dream. I lived out this mentality but it was exhausting and disappointing.
There came a point one morning when I found myself in a car in a field covered with blood and vomit oblivious to how I’d gotten there. I hit bottom and decided to seek treatment.
Coming out of treatment, I met my future bride at UK. We dated, got engaged, got married, got a house and got pregnant. During this time I had initially started going to recovery meetings but after a few years I decided that I was “good enough” and stopped going. Not long after that, I went out drinking one night with some friends, met a girl that showed some interest, and she eventually became my adulteress and dealer.
I was living a double life, living a lie, manipulating, stealing and leaving a path of wreckage behind me. It all came to a head on Labor Day weekend years ago. I don’t even remember everything that happened but I know it was like living a nightmare when my secret, second lifestyle was discovered. I returned to treatment carrying an enormous amount of guilt and shame from the life I’d been living. I realized that I was building my kingdom just to watch it fade away.
Looking back now, I can see the truthfulness behind passages like Psalm 127:1 that says, “unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain.”
I watched my life, everything I’d worked for and everything that meant something to me, just fall away. I was clutching at the air and I was exhausted. So after treatment I was presented with the choice of either facing the facts and truth with my wife, or, continuing in the path of selfish disgrace. And because I didn’t know any other way, I chose the wrong path.
Divorce was now imminent and the downward spiral continued.
My wife and our newborn son had moved out of our house and it was a very dark and lonely time. One night I came home from work, the house was cold, dark and empty and I was utterly and completely broken and in despair. It was in my sorrow and pinnacle of grief that I cried out to God. I hit my knees, eyes flooded with tears, sobbing, my body limp from exhaustion and with everything I had in me, I cried out to Him and said;
“God, if You’re real, If there really is a God in heaven, I need You to save me, save us! I can’t do it anymore and I need Your help.”
And that’s exactly what He did! He reached down in our muck and mire and He saved us. He saved us! I began to face the facts and realized that God shaped void was meant to be filled with God. I prayed and read the Bible and He gave me the strength to say “No” to that old lifestyle.
He reconciled things with my wife and our family. We decided that if we were going to continue down the right path, we needed something bigger than ourselves. That’s when we began attending NorthEast.
The sermons and music really spoke to me. It seemed like every message was directed right at me. We joined the church, got baptized and joined a small group. We were accepted and loved here more so than anywhere else in the world.
There is more purpose, fulfillment and satisfaction in both of our lives now than ever before. The Spirit really illuminated the scriptures as we studied and began applying it in our lives and finding that the difference is in the doing. And we are now 2 Corinthians 5:17 people, new creations, Christians, Christ followers.
God took a beat down drug addict and made a God addict. I can’t get enough of Him! I was dead and living in the despair of darkness but now I am free and alive in Christ! Hallelujah!
And it is in light of all this that we are here at NorthEast! God rescued us from darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of His Son. He has redeemed us, reconciled us, washed us clean and made us new. We love Him because He first loved us and we’re here to tell you about Him. It’s all so that you may know His great love for you, which passes all understanding, and then turn around and make Him known. It is so we can grow in the truth and grace and knowledge and likeness of Christ Jesus.
It is because that while you were at your worst, not your best, not a future you, but at your absolute worst, in rebellion against God, that God gave His Son to pay the price for our sins and impute to us His righteousness that we do not deserve. And that’s good news! We’re passionate about it, passionate and zealous for Him, for our Lord, and we want to see your hunger for Him grow. God knows that void within you and believe me, He knows just how to fill it and there’s absolutely nothing in this world that can compare, satisfy or fulfill like He can.
Read Sara’s Story
I am blessed to come from a great family with happy memories of growing up. I am the middle child of three girls. My parents have been married 35 years. My dad worked hard so that we never wanted for anything. I lived a very comfortable life. I was raised Catholic and went to Catholic school from first through twelfth grade. I made all the sacraments and went to church most Sundays.
I was a straight A student, good athlete and part of the popular crowd.
My junior year of high school, things changed a bit. I started battling depression. It ended up being a significant issue for about four years. I was on a variety of antidepressants, went to counseling and even spent several days in the hospital when I became suicidal. I remember saying on more than one occasion, “I don’t have anything to be depressed about.” I didn’t understand why I was so sad. I am fortunate that I had a strong family support system and the financial resources to help me through this struggle. But even during the years I was depressed I was near the top of my class in both high school and college, I had a boyfriend, played sports and had a job.
I don’t tell you all of this to brag, but I had a pretty charmed, all American life. I never had a sense of need or desperation. I had a good life and didn’t really struggle much. Church was something I did because that is “what you were supposed to do.” It’s what most of my family members did. It’s how I was raised. I don’t regret being raised Catholic, as it gave me a spiritual foundation and good morals. But what I have realized is that I had religion, but not a relationship with Jesus Christ.
So my charmed life continued. I met my husband, Steven, in college and we hit it off. After our first date, we spent nearly every day together. We hardly ever fought. We just clicked. Eventually, we got a dog, got married, bought a house and got pregnant with our first child.
The American dream continued, and it appeared that I “had it all together” on the outside. While our relationship was good, there was a sense that something was missing.
Again, I started thinking “I don’t have anything to be depressed about.” We were living in Lexington and my best friends from college had moved back to their home towns, so I didn’t really have any close friends. I missed being near my extended family that I had a very close relationship with. I attributed the void I was feeling to missing my family and friends in northern Kentucky. I kept telling myself that one day we would move back to northern Kentucky and then things would be okay.
I was eight months pregnant and feeling very lonely, when my world crashed down around me.
I learned that Steven had relapsed into drug use and was having an affair. I didn’t tell anyone because I was scared and ashamed. Things like this didn’t happen in my family. We tried counseling, I tried to “fix him” and make it work because that is what I knew. I had a dream of our family that I couldn’t let go of. Three weeks after our son was born, I learned that despite the counseling, Steven was still living a lie. Thus, we began the divorce process. The birth of our son and the end of our marriage at the same time was an emotional roller coaster. These were some of the darkest months of my life. During all of this, I leaned on my family. This was the first time in my life that I truly felt desperate and in need of help, but I had not yet learned to turn to God.
Ultimately, I went through the motions of the divorce, but in my heart it never felt right. I was doing it because I felt there was no other option. One week before the divorce was final, we decided that this was not what we really wanted. We wanted to be together as a family.
Two things were clear. First, we were either going to be together and stronger or not together at all and second, we couldn’t do this on our own. We went to counseling again, but in the end, it was God alone that transformed our lives and saved us.
We began attending NorthEast and really enjoyed the sermons and music. However, once we made a connection with the Journeys Sunday school class, our experience began to grow exponentially! We felt loved and connected like never before. The void that I now realize was always there to some extent was being filled. I love my family and would never take anything away from the support and strength they have been to me; however, I have found an additional family of brothers and sisters in Christ that mean everything to us. I have a peace in my heart that I have never felt in my life. I finally feel at home! I am eager to grow closer to Jesus each day and share the love that I have found with others.
I was searching, but now I am home.
I was lost and confused, my world had been spinning out of control and I found myself to be in a constant whirlwind. I wasn’t sure why God had allowed me to be born into the family I was in.
I was a victim of circumstance, both of my parents were alcoholics and I had learned to survive but that’s about all I was doing.
My parents would drop me off at Church most Sundays so I was aware of God but just hadn’t ever learned to trust Him. As I look back on my life now, I see that God always had me in the palm of his hand. I knew my parents loved me but it seemed that they always chose the alcohol over me. I tried everything to get them to stop drinking but nothing worked. As a result, my mom passed away due to the alcohol abuse.
Not long after my mom’s passing God sent a special man with a heart for God into my life.
We would be out on a Saturday night and he would tell me that we would have to go home early so we could attend Church the next morning. He helped me grow close to God and showed me how to trust Him.
We got married and had two wonderful girls. Our lives were going along great until my husband was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer.
We were in shock. I honestly thought my days of trials were behind me and there was this. I wish I could tell you that everything turned out okay but we are still undergoing treatments. It’s been over four years and they have been some of hardest years of our lives. We have so many wonderful, supportive people in our lives and our Church has shown us God’s love in ways we had never seen before.
If I’ve learned one thing through these trials it is that prayer works. Trust God and know that;
“God will make a way where there seems to be no way,
He works in ways we cannot see He will make a way for me.
He will be my guide, hold me closely to His side.
With love and strength for each new day,
He will make a way, He will make a way.”