God Stories...

Jodi

My name is Jodi, I am a believer in Jesus Christ who has struggled with addiction, depression and co-dependency. This is my story…

I grew up in Waterloo, oldest of 4 and our family went to church every Sunday. The only thing I learned from that was how fighting after church was the typical Sunday norm. We fought constantly! It’s no wonder why I never took God seriously.  Our home life was the epitome of dysfunction. I left home at 16, got married and had my first son. I had no idea how to be a mom or a wife at that age, but, we muddled through. Our second son came just 18 months later and by age 20, I had my third child, a daughter.

We didn’t go to church. Our little family was dysfunctional all on its own, why add the Sunday craze? That marriage lasted 10 years. Not bad for a teenager, right?

My mother said that no man would want me with three kids, so I married the first man who paid attention to me.

There were two things that came from this marriage… my fourth son and a drug addiction.

This marriage was toxic and should’ve never happened. He started to control my drug usage so we divorced and I continued to spiral out of control. I was 30 now and had been someone’s wife or mother for 16 years. This is how I justified my partying.

The partying came to an abrupt end on January 6,1997.  As my four kids lay sleeping, the Cedar Falls Police Department came beating on my door. They found what they were looking for and I was arrested for possession of methamphetamine. A week later DHS came and took my kids away from me. Three went to foster homes and my youngest went to live with his grandmother.

That next week I told my mother I didn’t deserve to live. I had failed as a mother, daughter, wife and sister. I had nothing left to live for. My mother urged me to get to church immediately.

I went and guess what… Jesus was there! He heard my cries, forgave me of all my sins, set me free from that bondage of addiction and I never looked back. It was now my mission to be the mom God had intended for me to be.

I had to do everything but run for Governor to get my kids back and prove that I had truly changed. My two oldest boys lived with a woman by the name of Glenda Husome who went to this church where I had found Jesus.  The only way I could see those boys is if I went to this church. This church had maybe 100 people who attended at the time. Nearly all of them knew my story but they loved me right where I was at. For the first time I truly experienced the love of Jesus. No judgment, no condemnation, just pure Jesus!

My youngest son was placed with his grandmother. She was one tough cookie! I knew if I were to try and live up to her expectations, I was only dooming myself for failure. I was changing, but this change was for me and my kids and was coming from the inside, from a very loving God!

Within six months, my boys were home! Brooke, my daughter was taking a little longer. I bought us a cute little house and I found a wonderful job. Life was great. Then, on July 15th, 1999, my oldest son Ashley was the victim of a very violent crime and was given less than a 10% chance to live. I could’ve easily blamed God but why? My son was alive!

Heartland Vineyard Church rallied around me and loved us through this traumatic ordeal.  Ashley is now 35 and is thriving! He has to take seizure meds but he is alive and living a normal life.

In 2008, my youngest son graduated and moved out. I had just started a new job at John Deere. I had a nice home, two beautiful granddaughters and a daughter in law… but something was wrong.

Again my life was starting to spin out of control. Over the course of three years, I lost everything and I do mean everything. I decided to end my life. I woke up 3 days later on life support, only to attempt it again a month later. I SURVIVED AGAIN! Why? What was God telling me? Did I really have purpose? How? All I had done was hurt people and turn my back on him.

I came to church one Sunday shortly after these most recent events and a dear friend stopped me. She said something profound that changed my life. She said that Jesus wanted her to tell me that I was not disqualified because of my past.

After all the hurt and pain I had caused, Jesus still considered me qualified!

Jesus said, I will never leave you nor forsake you. And although I had turned my back on him, he never let me go!

Exodus 9:16
But I have raised you up for this very purpose, that I might show you my power and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.

Romans 8:28
And we know that in ALL things GOD works  for the good of those who love him and are called according to his purpose.

HEARTLAND vINEYARD CHURCH ARE THE HANDS AND FEET OF JESUS. TOgether we are EXTENDING THEN KINGDOM OF GOD BY EQUIPPING AN ARMY OF FULLY DEVOTED DESCIPLES AS we EXPERIENCE AND EXPRESS THE COMPASSION AND TRUTH OF THE LORD JESUS!!!

Folks… if any of you are struggling with addiction, depression, dependency, guilt, YOU ARE IN THE RIGHT PLACE. YOU ARE QUALIFIED! NEVER GIVE UP. GOD NEVER INTENDED FOR ANY OF US TO LIVE IN DARKNESS OR CARRY THE WEIGHT OF OUR SIN and our past. THERE IS HOPE…. YOU HAVE PURPOSE!