Christmas doesn’t mean much when you grow up in a messed-up family. My mom was an alcoholic, and my dad was a drug addict and drug dealer. Our home was filled with violence and weapons, and Christmas was no exception. Most of my memories growing up involve getting beaten or tied to a chair.
I learned early on that I wasn’t worth much. So I determined to make life all about me and whatever I could get. And that involved a lot of drugs and alcohol. Why not? Nothing mattered. I didn’t care about anything. So I was going to do whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. Somehow I knew there had to be more to life than this. But I sure didn’t know what it was.
I spent years in and out of jail or prison. I lived an endless cycle of spiraling to the bottom, but never hitting it. I could always pull myself together just before I hit the jagged edge. I got married once and had a son, but even they couldn’t get me to change.
My wife and I divorced, and I just kept drinking more and more. Last year, I drank so much my liver failed. Doctors gave me a 33% chance of living. But then one of the nurses prayed for me. One week later, I left the hospital completely healed. I knew it was God — and I knew what I had to do.
I came to the Milwaukee Rescue Mission. I spent my life believing there are no good people in the world. No one cares. But now I know it’s not true. The people here led me to God and walked with me every step of the way. They embraced my broken life and showed me they cared. And through the power of Jesus Christ, I’m learning I’m worth a lot more than I thought.
Unlike my childhood, this Christmas means a lot. Thanks to people like you. I’m learning who I truly am and who I could still be because of Christ. There’s no better Christmas gift than that.