Addiction is giving up everything for one thing. Recovery is giving up one thing for everything.
Jesse began the road to addiction when he first smoked marijuana as a young boy. Growing up in an area in Saline County where moonshine was made back in the early 1900s and then became known as a place where drugs and cockfighting were a regular pastime, it was easy to go down that road.
Even though he has good memories of parents who loved and provided for their two sons, he wasn’t taken to church and witnessed their recreational use of alcohol and drugs. As he became a teenager, marijuana served as the onramp to the harder drugs that would take over his life and keep him on the road to destruction. Childhood friends died as a result of drug use, but this only served to make Jesse’s life feel more hopeless.
As a young man in his thirties without a job, he often went without nourishment. On hot summer days a lady who had known him as a youngster would encounter him as he wandered aimlessly. She would offer him food and then tearfully ask her friends and fellow church members to pray for Jesse. Each Wednesday night during the spring and summer of 2018 as the members of the church at the crossroads met to pray, Jesse’s name was lifted in prayer. Later, Jesse would share that he would often sit on the steps of this same church and cry out to God to help him.
God answered those prayers! Jesse was arrested and would read the Bible as he sat in jail, then upon going to a rehabilitation facility. Upon his release, Jesse began attending the church at the crossroads where he had often asked God to deliver him from his addiction.
In March of 2019, Jesse publicly professed Jesus as his Savior and was baptized. God has blessed Jesse and Jesse blesses God with a life that seeks to share the hope that he has found. He goes weekly to check in with his probation officer even though he doesn’t have to, just so he can inspire others. He often takes his wife of less than two years and shares how God has blessed him with a job and a new outlook on life because of Jesus. He has a heart for those in the community whose lives are being destroyed by drugs, inviting and bringing them to Celebrate Recovery or to worship services. When Jesse joins the worship team on stage to sing the song Chain Breaker, it is with such a feeling that those in the congregation cry tears of joy.
There may still be bumps in the road of life such as recently experiencing the death of his dad and his wife’s stepdad within one week of each other. Leaning on his church family for prayer and support gave him the strength to give that pain to Jesus.
Jesse gave up the one thing that had bound him and now experiences everything that a life lived for Jesus can bring. Jesse and his church family want to encourage others to pray and not give up hope because God answers prayer!