“There was a God-shaped hole inside.”
James was just 11 years old when his parents divorced and his mother left. “My mom used to beat me, but I’d have taken a beating every day for the rest of my life if she wouldn’t have left,” he says.
He lived with his father after that, but they didn’t see much of each other. “He’d take me to school, pick me up, then go back to work. So I’d be home by myself a lot at 11 years old,” he says.
James began sneaking alcohol to numb the pain of feeling abandoned – the beginning of a decades-long struggle with addiction. “There was a God-shaped hole inside,” he says. “I believed in God. I just never trusted that He wouldn’t leave me, too.”
As an adult, he had four daughters, but aside from financial support, he wasn’t a part of their lives. “I did to them what was done to me,” he says.
Though James completed recovery programs and maintained his sobriety for years at a time, that God-shaped hole remained. “I never found God in those programs,” he says.
He wasn’t expecting anything different when he came to the Mission. But through our New Life Program, Bible studies, chapels and mentoring, he encountered God for the first time in his life and began to trust Him.
“I realize now that God never left me.”
James can’t forgive himself for not being there for his daughters in the past, but he plans to be there for them in the future. “How I handle life from this day forward is what it’s about now,” he says.
Today, James has completed CVRM’s New Life Program. He is working full-time so he can assist his daughters with their college tuition. Best of all, he’s growing in his trust of the Father who will never leave him, who filled the God-shaped hole in his soul.
And he’s grateful to friends like you for your continuing support of the Mission. “God is in this place. I feel it.”
To read our Summer 2019 issue of A New Dawn, click here.
Help other people like James…
James’ story of hope and healing is inspiring. Our New Life Programs exist to help other men and women in the Coachella Valley find healing. Will you help provide this help to others?