I started this blog for a few reasons. At a recent personal development training event we went to, first in Cleveland and then again in San Diego, we were inspired to work on a few things. To get closer to God, to grow in our marriage, to be better parents, to be healthier, and to just be overall better humans. We have a story that I believe God wants us to use to help others. Better at 40 means a few things to us. We have a goal to be better tomorrow than we are today. Just overall better than we were yesterday. To always be willing to grow, to learn and to never give up on our dreams. We are and always will be a work in progress. But the goal is to be a little better every day.
OK…on to the story. July 23rd was our 18 year anniversary. Most would say that’s a long time to be married these days. But just a couple years ago we thought it was over.
The beginning of March 2014, our world came crashing down. This was the day I discovered Vernon’s drug addiction. He had been taking pills and doing other things for quite some time, but he hid it very well. The few months previous, I had suspicions but never proof. That day in March, it all fell apart. I found the pills. I confronted him about the pills. He left.
There are a lot more details, but I am not going to go into them all here mainly because it would take a book to tell the whole story. Maybe one day. But, anyway, he left and everything went to hell. After leaving he went wild, for real. He was doing harder drugs, more drugs, with no concern for me or the kids. He was heartless. Now, if you know Vernon, you know that is not who he is. He loves his family more than anything and he is a good man. But, drugs do bad things to good people. For the next 5 months, he was out partying and staying high while I was praying along with lots of people, who I am so thankful for. This was the hardest time of my entire life. I felt helpless and in shock and disbelief.
After a few months, I had pretty much given up on our marriage. I felt like it was too far gone. We both by that point had made some very bad choices that makes a marriage even harder to repair. He still was out partying with no intention of repairing anything.
But I am so thankful that God is faithful even when I lost faith and gave up. God gave me three words the week after Vernon first left. They were redeem, renew and restore. I held on to those for a long time believing it would happen. But I lost faith. But God was still faithful, just not necessarily when I wanted it to happen.
So around the end of June of 2014, it all came crashing down. Vernon was breaking. He finally started realizing what he had done but he still was not ready to admit it was because of drugs. He still was in denial that he had a problem. But he was broken nonetheless. A shell of the man he was before. He wanted to come home. I told him he had to get help before I would even consider it. I was not willing to go through that kind of pain again.He didn’t think he had a problem still.
He checked himself into a psych ward a couple days later because he felt like he was out of control and wanted to get his head straight. He felt like he was going crazy, but he still could not see that it was the drugs. After 5 days in the hospital (where he was still able to get drugs and did) he got out but did not come home. He was gone again.
Back to partying it up. Back to getting wasted and drunk. Then a week or two later, he overdosed. Purposely. He was broken. Still in denial. Wanting his family back but not being strong enough to fight the power of the drugs. He woke up in the hospital handcuffed to the bed where he was sent back to the psych ward for a few days.
God used this to finally show him what he had been doing, the damage it had caused and the addiction he had. At that point, he was even more broken. He finally felt guilt, real guilt. He realized he had completely destroyed his family. He wanted to die. He wanted our marriage back, our family back. I was done at this point. I was tired of hurting. He agreed to go to rehab.
We found an amazing rehab in North Carolina called Hebron Colony. It’s a faith based program where the men can reconnect with their God and get clean and begin the restoration process.
He left on a Saturday morning in early August. At this point I was helping him because it was the right thing to do and I did still love him, but I was not really wanting us back because I could not imagine going through this again. I prayed and I told God that if He wanted me to take Vernon back, He would have to put that desire back in me because I was done.
3 months he spent at Hebron Colony up on that mountain in NC. He could not have visitors the first few weeks, but I went to see him as soon as that time was up. He was Vernon again. He was finally clean, he was still broken but starting to heal, and finally for the first time in a long time, I saw my husband again. And God did give me the desire back for our marriage and the desire to restore our family.
He came home 2 years ago this month. I won’t lie and say it has been easy. It has not been easy at all. But it has been worth it. God was true to his promises. He redeemed Vernon back to Him, he renewed Vernon back to the man he was before the drugs, and he began restoring our marriage. 2 years later, we are not 100% healed from that series of events, but we are healing and happy again.
God is faithful, even when we are faithless.
I am so thankful to our Grace Fellowship family who stood with me in prayer, who met me at church to pray just because I needed to, who accepted Vernon back in after all he had done. (That’s a story for another day)
I am so thankful to Heather for praying alongside me many many nights fighting the powers of darkness and telling Satan to go back to hell where he belongs and to get his hands off my family.
To Jenn who gave me specific POWERFUL prayers to pray for my husband and his soul that I used 3 times a day for months. I believe prayer is the only reason he is alive today and our family together.
Everyone else who prayed, who listened to me cry, who put up with my craziness, who never stopped praying, I am forever grateful.
I have never written about this or really talked to many about it other than those close to us, but I feel like God has said that we have a story that needs shared. We are a miracle. Thank you Jesus! It’s all because of God’s grace and love that we have freedom. And as long as we keep our eyes on Jesus, we will not sink.
This opened my eyes to the judgement I had against drug addicts. It feels quite a bit different when it happens to someone you love. Every addict is someone’s son, husband or father. Think before you judge. No one wakes up and decides to be an addict. Yes, they make those choices to take the drugs, but it is a slow fade. One pill at a time. Before they realize it, addiction has them trapped.
If you are an addict or you love an addict, don’t give up. God wants to heal you, God wants to redeem, restore and renew you too. Just ask, believe, and expect. God is bigger than any addiction.
Expect your miracle and don’t stop praying until you get it!