I grew up here in Bellingham. My family and I were regular attendees at a Lutheran church. I used to drive my Mustang through the intersection of F and Holly Streets on Friday nights as a teenager and think ridiculously judgmental thoughts about the homeless.
I never thought I would have anything to do with Lighthouse Mission Ministries.
In mid-to-late high school, things began to spin out of control – leading a double life, theft, lust, and experimenting with substances. After a brief time at WSU, I came back to Bellingham with arrests on my record and an even broader drug habit. I had left God back where I found Him – at church.
I began to visit various treatment centers and programs, only to relapse and start the process all over.
I could recount many horror stories of things I did, but suffice it to say I was alone for the most part, and miserable. I will use an AA slogan here to describe myself: I have spent the majority of my life “restless, irritable, and discontented.” I had exhausted just about every option I had. I was far from God. Getting what I thought I wanted gave me a fleeting moment of satisfaction – only to vanish quickly as I was on to the next.
And so it was in July of 2005 that I robbed a bank – further changing the direction of my already broken life.
What I can say, blessedly, is that the cliché came true for me: I found the Lord while incarcerated. And a love for Jesus and for Scripture began to grow in me.
“When all else was stripped away, God let me find Him in a way I never had groing up in the church.”
But the following seven years of my life were tumultuous at best. I was alternately involved in the church and in substance abuse – in fellowship and in manipulation.
Finally surrendering to the fact that trying to do things on my own without a personal relationship with Jesus Christ was never going to bear positive fruit, I came into the New Life Program in July of 2014.
And at that point the trajectory of my life began to drift in a different direction.
Now, I would love to say that my program was smooth sailing from start to finish. It was not. God’s plan has been to allow me to become increasingly accountable for my decisions, both good and bad, under the umbrella of His love for me. This program has stretched me in ways I had no idea I could survive being stretched. I am forever changed because of it.
I don’t know where I would be right now without the vision and grace of Lighthouse Mission Ministries.
I am grateful to have been able to finish the race. I am blessed to say that God is at work in this place.