A broken heart leads to Redemption
by Jeff Houdyshelt 7/11/2012 / Testimonies
My life has been filled with extreme peaks and valley's. So goes life, so went my faith. I grew up going to church on and off. As a 16 year old I got involved in the Youth Ministry program at my church. As a matter of fact, I was so involved I was considering a career in the ministry. As a part of that program, we were given the opportunity to deliver a sermon(s) to our members. I took full advantage of that part of the program. My Grandfather was an old backwoods preacher in his younger years before I came along.
Unfortunately, he passed away before I got to this point in my life.
However, I was able to look through his box of sermons which gave me inspiration, and a great sense of pride. I used the knowledge in that box, and prayer to get prepared to deliver my messages to the church. I did preach on several occasions. Which I enjoyed very much.
Even though I considered a life in the Ministry, my Father basically abandoned us when I was a Senior in high school. So my hopes of going to college were dashed. So I ended up going into Corrections, which lead to my Law Enforcement career. That career ended on a snowy, ice filled night. That night I sustained a career ending injury.
By this time, I had my life planned out. Stay in Law Enforcement and the National Guard and retire from both. Well, I lost both of those opportunities. I also had lost my faith in God also. I abandoned God as my Father had abandoned me. It was not as dramatic as my Father leaving, but it was a gradual change in my faith. In 2002, I was a healthy 36 year old man that ran 10 miles a day. That was then and since that year, I have had twelve surgeries, months of agonizing pain and rehabilitation. I also am a skeleton of that man. My confidence was gone, my health was fair at best, I went into a deep dark
Depression, and at a couple points suicidal.
My life was in total disarray, I ended up filing for bankruptcy because I tried to help a friend and cosigned a loan which he left me hanging with. So you can imagine that my life was failing as fast as the sun going down at sunset. I thought of God on occasion, but never reached out to him. If things were not bad enough, in January 2007 all this mess had taken it's toll on my loving life of 23 years.
She had been diagnosed as being bipolar the previous spring. So in January, I got a voice mail from her, she left a frantic message that she was thinking about suicide and she was going to see her doctor. You can imagine my state of mind at hearing that.
Luckily, she did not go through with it and has been doing wonderful the past four years or so. However, that was another issue that just made me turn away from God. I could not understand how God would allow all this stuff to happen to us. What had I done that was so bad? Life at that point life had become unbearable.
After my wife's desperate plea for help in January 2007, I started seeing a therapists. Mary Hock is her name, and I consider her to be one of the major reasons I am still here today. She helped me overcome all of this crap in my life. In 2004, in was retired was the police department and met the friend that would later betray me on the loan I cosigned. I love his family very much, and have forgiven him for his betrayal. One of the best things that he did for me, was to ask me and my wife Brenda to attend church with them.
I was ready to go back, and this was before all the depression had set in. I was depressed, but the real the serious depression would not begin until a little over a year later. We started going to this small church on a hill close to where I live. The people there were friendly and inviting. The Pastor was a God filled holy man of God. Over the next year, I became a regular attendee and the Pastor became my friend. Things were actually looking well from a spiritual standpoint. Then I injured my back and was in such pain I basically was home bound for a long while, and I stopped attending church.
Again, I lost faith in my God and sank into that dark deep depression. This is when all of the crap started to pile on as I mentioned earlier. I was a lost soul in a tailspin to tragedy. My faith was gone, my health was gone, my hope was gone, and my will to live was gone. Pastor Jerry, would reach out to me from time to time but over then next couple years, we just lost contact. My life was in ruins, I had basically disowned everyone and everything in my life. Depression had control over everything I did or said. As I said earlier, Mary intervened and help me get back on track.
So the years go by and I had gotten the depression under control thanks to Mary and Carol my doctor. One day I simply posted a question about God on Facebook. Pastor Barry from my church answered me. That lead to some conversations, which lead us back to my church The River in Nashville. We started attending what was now an expanded church building and a larger congregation. I was baptized, and Brenda and I got involved in several ministries. Our faith grew by leaps and bounds. We have become devout Christians through our faith.
We have still faced some troubled times since our return to God, but this time our faith was strong enough to withstand the attacks from the evil forces that try to get a foothold in our lives. I am starting Graduate school seeking a degree in Counseling. Our lives have improved dramatically, we have experienced a modern day miracle that saved my wife Brenda from death. God reached down and touched me as I prayed in church on a Wednesday night. He touched me and took this awful pain I had in my abdomen. God is alive and well in our lives. I have learned a lot since those dark days. I understand things more clearly, and I stay in constant contact with God through prayer.
I recently had knee surgery and have been stuck at home for several weeks. You would think that this would be the perfect time for the devil to go on the attack. He did, but I went on the offensive by reading the bible. I began a Christian blog, and started writing inspirational articles like this one. The devil tried to get in, but I slammed the door in his face. Yes I came from a broken past, but that past made me the man I am today. Most of all it lead me to redemption though the blood of Jesus Christ.