The Ripple Effect: Jamie’s Story
“I grew up in a Christian home but we were very poor and I had little time for my family’s beliefs. I was always in trouble. As soon as I turned 18, I joined the Marine Corps and left Kentucky. Over the next 8 years, I served in several combat deployments and this amplified the hate and anger that had built up in me over my life.
I went on to marry a Canadian who was going to university in California and immigrated. We had 2 sons but our marriage quickly fell apart. I was suffering from PTSD. The advice I was given from the medical community was to medicate so that I would not harm myself or others.
I was scared beyond belief from a lifetime of sin and violence. I had pushed everyone away from me and had no desire to be around anyone.
Time passed and I reconnected with Crystal, (a childhood friend whom I met in school) through the Internet. We spent the next few years bouncing back and forth. Crystal and I both grew up in rural Kentucky. She is a registered nurse and at the time, was working at the Veterans Hospital in Kentucky. She was accustomed to dealing with troubled veterans. We married and she moved to Calgary with her 2 children in 2014.
Over the years, she was able to help with many of my PTSD symptoms. One of my older boys refused to even be around me, and unfortunately, still does. We had 4 children and 3 living with us Wyatt, Dillon, and Autumn.
I stayed medicated with drugs and alcohol. And Crystal kept showing me love and compassion.
We had what many would consider ‘a perfect life’. Crystal and I made a good living and our kids were well-adjusted. From the outside, we looked like a great family. But inside our home, my family knew about my issues and often walked on eggshells around me. They felt way more comfortable when I was medicated. The pain of my life had hardened my heart to the point nothing could melt it. However, over the years, I felt that it began to soften.
Then in January 2023, I started to question everything.
I couldn’t understand what was wrong with me. I had a great job, a wife who I had loved since the 8th grade, and wonderful children, yet I was always angry and ready to explode. I began searching; I started to read and research. I kept thinking, ‘There must be more’.
I came to the realization that there had to be a God. And I started to research to see who this God was.
Around June 2023, I realized that Jesus Christ was the son of God. And those Bible stories I always thought were myths were, in reality, all true. This shook me to my very core. The thought of my mother and father telling me about this since I was a child and the way I refused to listen filled me with regret. I was so embarrassed; I had even told my wife and children to stay away from religion and that it was just mere fairytales for weak-minded people.
For years, I refused to speak to my mother and father in Kentucky due to their belief in God. Now, here I was, realizing it was all truth.
I tried to ignore it, I tried to ignore Him, but God refused to leave me where I was. He kept knocking on the door of my heart. On August 13, 2023, I attended my first service at FAC. I was awestruck. I wept and I wept. When service ended, I nearly ran for the door and went home as fast as I could.
I dropped to my knees in my bedroom and I prayed like I never thought possible. I cried out to God because I couldn’t continue living like this anymore. From that moment, my life changed in ways I couldn’t have possibly believed.
The anger, pain, and hatred were gone. I felt a love for myself and everyone that I could not explain. This change dumbfounded my family. My wife who had known me since 8th grade said she didn’t even recognize me anymore. My daughter who was in her 3rd year of psychology, could not believe this change. My son Wyatt was also baffled.
After I got saved, I asked God about the drugs I was using to control my anger. I said, “God, I love you and I trust you but I don’t want to harm my family or anyone else, what do I do?”
And as clear as day I heard, “You don’t need this anymore.”
I cleared the whole house of drugs and medications.* My wife and my children were all concerned. They were saying, “Are you sure you want to do this? Maybe you should keep some things or still do some just a little every day so you are sure? I explained I didn’t need it; God had miraculously healed me.
I started to attend church, pray, and read the Bible regularly. I started to volunteer at the Calgary Food Bank and attend Bible classes. I called my parents and made amends and we have a better relationship than I ever thought possible. I went from not talking to them at all, to talking to them almost every day. I was baptized on October 1, 2023, and my wife Crystal was baptized on November 26, 2023.
While my family was amazed, they were still skeptical. They wanted to understand and had so many questions. My daughter who intends on being a psychologist, had so many questions as she struggled to understand what was happening. She said that was impossible, but I explained it was possible for God.
My wife and family all began to attend church with me, then the Alpha course. My children Wyatt and Autumn were baptized on January 21, 2024. We all volunteer at the church, attend Bible studies, and pray as a family. We began to discuss our hopes and dreams. We have become a true family of God and we love Him together. We have been truly blessed and are doing everything we can to spread His love.
I cannot stress enough how anti-religion I was. We jokingly say in my home I was the modern-day Saul who had the scales removed from my eyes!
*We always advise you to include your doctor in medication-related decisions.
We thank Jamie for sharing his story. Sometimes, transformation begins when we cry out to God – and for Jamie, it sparked a ripple effect of transformation for him and his family. Thank you, Jesus!
You may also be interested in …
- Forgive, December 2023
- God Works Within The Unknown, December 2023
- Jesus, My Saviour Forever! October 2023 Baptism Stories