I grew up hating God and church. My dad was a pastor of a small church in Colorado and my mother was extremely abusive to both my brother and I (mostly physically, but also mentally). I never understood how someone could praise the Lord on Sunday morning, then turn around and beat their children on Monday (all in the name of Jesus).
From Colorado we moved to California where I was enrolled in a private Christian school where both my parents worked. I was constantly bullied by the same people who were given Christian character of the month awards and were considered “lights on campus” and on top of that my pastors constantly put me down and never were up lifting, even when I went and begged for help. They would say things like, “well maybe if you came to church more, then you haven’t these problems” or “maybe you aren’t cut out to be here”…Needless to say, I hated church.
Because of the bullying, by the time I was in the 8th grade I became very suicidal, and even attempted to take my life. When that didn’t work, I turned to drugs and by the time I was 14 I had developed a sever drug addiction, and continued it for 10 years.
Then I met my wife, who was waayyyy too good for me, and I started to see Gods love for me, but because I still addicted to drugs I couldn’t accept it, nor did I want to.
I went to church, heard the same sermons I had heard 1000 times, but was still never moved. I even tried to find ways to prove that there wasn’t a god. So I would read the Bible looking for contradictions, I would listen to sermons only to find the faults in them. I was lying to myself. So I stopped going and for 2 years shut God out completely.
Then my daughter was born, and my whole life changed. After nearly losing my wife in the birthing process I remembered praying and asking God if he is real- and if he loves me- then to save my wife, and daughter, and he did.
Because of that, my wife finally convinced me to go to church, and I went, but I walked through that door with doubts, and shame. But the moment I walked in, I felt something I had never felt before, it was Gods presents, and overwhelming grace. I sat in the pews and cried and cried listening to the worship leader talking about the severity of Christ’s love on the cross. Then pastor Preston went on to talk about how God is so madly in love with us, no matter who we are or what we’ve done, and how he traded places for us on that cross, and I felt love that I had never before… and the rest is history! I rededicated my life put down the drugs, picked up my bible, and have been so madly in love with God ever since!!