Nathan A. French, 2007
About fourteen years ago I was not walking with the Lord (although I accepted Him when I was about seven). I was spending most of my time rebelling against almost everything I was taught was right. I got tired of my dad (who was a pastor for 22 years) and the rest of my family telling me what to do. I decided to move out of Washington State and move to the sunny beach filled state of Florida. I did a lot of drugs, I had a lot of sex, and I burned through a lot of money…but it was never enough. My life was one big ongoing party. I thought that doing whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted, was real freedom. I was so very wrong! No one stood a chance at telling me what to do. I was far too self-centered and prideful. It got to the point where I was smoking pot just about everyday. I experimented with cocaine, ecstasy and enough alcohol to kill a rhino. The more I gave my life over to sin, the more lost and empty I became.
One day I woke up in a very strange place. Everyone was a stranger. I asked why I was there and how I got there, but no one would tell me. I was extremely sad and lonely. After days of not knowing why I was or how I got there, a familiar face entered the room. I began to cry as I looked up into the eyes of my father. He said, “son, do you know what day it is?” I said, “no, dad, I don’t”. He said, “it’s your birthday…the devil tried to take your life, but the Lord intervened and I’ve come to take you home”.
I attempted suicide. The seed was planted when I watched a movie called “The Client”. In the beginning of the movie a high-roller attorney lost all of his money. He drove down an old lonely road and hooked himself up to the exhaust pipe of his car and committed suicide. It looked like such an easy way out. Subconsciously, I began to process this as a way out of my messed up life. So I wrote a suicide note for everyone that cared about me, apologizing for any pain it would cause them. I gathered up a vacuum hose and some big garbage bags. Then I drove until I found a road like the one in the movie. I hooked myself up to the exhaust and inhaled carbon monoxide until I passed out cold. Seconds from death, my van ran out of gas, stopping the flow of carbon monoxide to my lungs. It was’t long before I came to, but my mind was blown. The hot vacuum hose melted away my fingers to the bone on my left hand. I began to wander around on foot until I came to a convenience store. The clerk could see there was something desperately wrong with me, so she called 911. I was picked up and taken to the hospital. They discovered a life threatening amount of carbon monoxide in my blood. I was treated and shipped off to a psych ward (for people who try to harm themselves). That was the strange place I mentioned earlier.
My father met me right where I was…all messed up and broken. Seeing his face that day…the sadness and anguish, I won’t ever forget. My earthly father became an extension of my heavenly father’s hands.
We stopped on our way home at hospitals all across the United States so doctors could cut open my blisters and scrub away infection. I was in excruciating pain for months as I under went extensive skin graphing and rehabilitation. They were able to take skin from my left leg to rebuild my fingers. Doctors and specialists said I would never again be able to drive a car. They said I would no longer be able to function in society. To make matters worse, I had no short term memory. I would ask the same questions over and over again, exhausting whomever had the patience to be around me. My medical bills were well over $100,000.00 and the pain of my reality not’t end there…but it was a turning point for me.
Repentance literally means to turn around or change direction. I had reached brokenness. Like a wild horse, I was no good to my master until I was broken. So I began to turn my life back to the Lord. I received all kinds of prayers and the Lord began healing my mind, rebuilding it with the truth in His word. The hospital decided to write off my $100,000.00 medical bills as charity (kind of like forgiveness).To rebuild my mind and retrain my memory, I memorized scripture and a message from Pastor John Hagee (Hagee Web site) titled, "Battle Cry." I now have a new attitude of gratitude! Now with that same hand that was burned and wounded I’ve written over 100 Christian songs and today I am not the same. That experience has refined me like gold under fire and I know I’m still far from pure. There’s not a day that goes by that I’m not thankful that the Lord allowed that horrible experience into my life. I chose the wrong path and God allowed me to suffer the consequences, but in the end the Lord used my brokenness for good. If I would have known the difficulties my rebellion would have caused, I would have followed Christ and done what was right from the beginning.
Six years after my attempted suicide, during that same week…Danielle became my wife, what a gift. We’ve been married almost 8 years and the Lord has blessed us with two amazing daughters. I’m starting to see the rewards of a surrendered life to Christ…the peace, the love, the joy….that’s real freedom! I know it’s only the beginning of what he wants to do in me and I know he wants to do the same for you…are you willing? My dad always said, “a wise man learns from his own mistakes, but a wiser man learns from the mistakes of others and a fool from neither”. God has placed a special purpose in each one of us and the good news is he likes to finish what he starts!
I know my mom and dad never stopped praying for me even when things seemed hopeless…there is power in prayer.
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