Tuesday, August 6, 2013

The Worst Moment of My Life

I don't even know where to begin this post. I've already written and deleted it twice. I know those of you who are Facebook friends may have figured out that there is something going on in my life right now. And you're right. But let me just put to rest the fear..... I am still cancer free and am staying that way.  But my family is in the midst of a storm. 

I've gone back and forth on whether to go public with this, but those who know me know that secrets are not in my dna. I am the most open person you will ever meet.... Sometimes to my detriment. But it's just how God made me.  And we intend to glorify God in every circumstance. So I hope you'll walk this journey with us and be blessed by it.

On April 12, 2013 I sat next to my pastor and one of my very best friends in a federal courtroom in Sherman, TX and listened as a judge sentenced my husband to 5 years in a federal correction institution.  She gave him the maximum time she was able to and I am convinced that if she could have she would have given him more time. I remember not being able to breathe and then I lost it. I mean really lost it to the point that they removed me from the courtroom.  I couldn't believe that this was happening. The guy who committed those white collar crimes 8 years ago was dead. This man that sat before that judge was a different person. She didn't even look at him.... She just looked at what she saw on paper. And on paper my husband looks like a career criminal with a horrible drug problem. And up until about 2.5 years ago that would have been exactly right.

From the moment I met Kevin he struggled with addiction. For a long time I thought I could help him. I stayed through the most miserable of circumstances. There were times when we were completely broke. Like no gas in the tank and no milk in the fridge broke. And my husband's first priority still was getting high. There were times when  he would get violent towards me. He would be on the brink of insanity.  I would leave him for a few weeks/ months, but he would suck me back in promising changes he had absolutely no intention of following through with. And I fell for it every time.  He would pacify me by going to rehab only to come out stay clean for a few months and then go right back to it.  Or if he would stay clean, he would start gambling, like serious gambling.  He'd drive to the casinos in Oklahoma and I wouldn't hear from him for hours, sometimes days. I got used to being a single mom. Most days I had no clue where he was, what he was doing, or if he was coming home. And honestly most days I didn't care. As long as my kids had the things they needed and we were together we were okay. I did attempt to blog about my life then (www.notsoaveragesuburbanlife.blogspot.com) but it was really difficult. Mainly because it took everything in me to keep it together and there wasn't much left in me at the end of the day.  There were points where I knew he was doing things that were illegal, but it was so much easier to look the other way.  But it ate away at my soul.  I started to find refuge in God at that point in my life.  I remember being at my church in Frisco, TX in 2008 and hearing the Lord for the first time in a long long time.  And I seriously questioned my own sanity when I heard what He said.  He told me that my husband would be a mighty man of God and together we would change lives and help set people free by sharing our story.  I remember laughing internally.  I thought, "Maybe God meant my next husband because there was no way I can continue life like this for much longer".    (I never realized how much this story sounds like that of Sarah when God told her she would have a child.)  But He told me to remain faithful and continue to stand in the gap for my husband and that my faithfulness would be rewarded.  I reluctantly agreed, and my faith began building.  I remember laying hands on him while he was sleeping and praying over him.  When he would start acting crazy I would just start praying.  And he would mock me and tell me that prayer doesn't do anything.  And to be honest, I questioned it a few times myself.  I would start to see a change in him, a step forward, only to watch him give up and take two steps back.  We moved out to the country to live with his dad because we were so broke at one point.  Let me tell you something.......you want to test your faith???  Move out to the middle of nowhere to live in a travel trailer with 3 kids under the age of 6, 5 cats, and a rabbit.

Yeah not going to lie....it shook my faith a little.  It shook it even more when Kevin relapsed again.  I mean we are living in a travel trailer....like an RV! I just got to the point that I was ready to let it all go.  And I prayed and prayed about it.  And I felt peace about leaving.   I was grieved, but knew it was what was best for the kids and I.  I had a cousin offer to let us live with her and I still don't think she has any idea of what that act of kindness has done for my family.  I thought it was the end......the end of our family, the end of my hope for our future.  When I think about this time I always go back to Proverbs 16:9.

God was directing my steps when I thought he had failed me.  I just didn't understand why God didn't "fix" my husband.  I was faithful and I stood in the gap.  If this was the reward I wasn't sure I wanted to follow this God anymore. Little did I know that God was beginning a work that is nothing short of a miracle in Kevin's life.  All of sudden everything he knew was gone.  He didn't have me in the background cleaning up his messes or taking care of the day to day things.  He didn't have his kids.  He didn't even have a place to live.  He was sleeping on his dad's couch driving his dad's car.  And he finally hit a place where he knew that if something didn't change he was going to die.  He hit his knees and cried out to God.  And God showed up in his life in a mighty way.  On April 17, 2011 with the help of his manager of all people (who was a former addict and ended up being his sponsor) Kevin walked into a Narcotics Anonymous  meeting with a sincere desire to change his life.  Even though this was everything I wanted from him, I was a complete skeptic.  I had a right to be that way.  I'd seen this from him so many times only to have my heart crushed when he would relapse.  As I ran further away from God, Kevin ran closer to Him.  He was at church anytime the church doors were open.  The Pastor of that church in Seagoville, TX is like a second father to Kevin.  He never gave up on him when everyone else did.  He showed Kevin what the love of Christ really was and it changed his life.  Kevin began to realize how much of his own kid's lives that he had missed.  He moved to a sober house in Lewisville to be closer to the kids and I let him spend time with them.  He eventually moved out to Roanoke, TX to help "co-parent" our kids.  I remember being relieved when he stayed sober and was able to help with the kids.  I watched him be the kind of Daddy I always wanted for my kids and all of a sudden I started to get angry.  Mainly angry at God.  I remember thinking, "Seriously God?  Now you're going to "fix" him?  Now that we're not together anymore.... That is a bunch of  bull!" (I'm pretty sure there were some curse words added in there, but I figured I'd skip that.) And I let that anger boil and fester and drive me further and further away from God.  I let Kevin have the kids on Wednesday nights because I wanted them to go to church, but I didn't want to take them.  I had them every other Sunday, but we jumped from church to church so I didn't have to really commit.   But I still felt the Lord tugging at my heart every time I walked into His house.  Kevin came with me a few times since we wanted the kids to go to the same church every weekend.  But he knew that's not where he was supposed to be.  He ended up finding this tiny little church in a shopping strip, and he knew right away this was his home.  He kept inviting me to come and in my stubborn anger I kept saying no. At this point divorce papers were filed and ready to be finalized and we had both been dating other people.  It looked hopeless that our family would ever be reunited.  But he finally wore me down and I reluctantly agreed to go to church with him one Wednesday night.  I had ATTITUDE written all over me when I walked in that sanctuary.  It was way too small for me to just blend into the crowd.  Praise and worship started (which has always been "my thing") and this beautiful blonde woman got up and started singing to tracks....like there were no instruments.  I kept thinking, "This place is a joke, this is like karaoke God style."  And then all of a sudden the spirit of God came on me...like smacked me right in the face.  And I fought it with everything I had in me.  I crossed my arms and tried to close it off, but it didn't work.  He was there and I couldn't deny it.  I left that night feeling confused and wondering if I was making the right decisions.  I decided to grab back on to that anger because I'd been here before and the bottom always fell out.  I couldn't go through all that again.  I pushed Kevin to finalize our divorce.  I signed the final divorce decree and left it up to him to file it.  And I made it easy for him to want to.  He went to lunch with a guy from his church who told him a story about his own marriage and how God had restored what he thought was beyond repair.  Kevin was supposed to be filing our final divorce decree that day, but he called me and asked if I would be willing to go see his pastor with him just as a last ditch effort.  I reluctantly agreed.  That was one of the best decisions I've ever made.  We sat in this man's office and I shared with him my anger towards God and how I just didn't get it and he said something to me that I will never forget.  He said, "Nicole, God didn't let you down.  Kevin did.  God can't control the choices of a man."  Tears streamed down my face and right there that anger lifted and I felt a hunger for God like I've never known.  In the next 6 weeks we sat in OUR pastor's office and learned what the Bible says a husband and a wife are supposed to be to each other.  We learned things we'd never known and we fell in love, maybe for the first time.  I met a new person and I realized that the old Kevin I knew was gone.  It wasn't all easy.  We both had to make adjustments and we dealt with some backlash from our families.  They only knew the old Kevin.    In our last counseling session our pastor gave us a warning that was NO JOKE!  He said, "The last thing Satan wants is for your family to be restored.  He will go on attack.  You need to be prepared to go to battle."  We had no idea what we were in store for.

A few months after that day Kevin received a call from his attorney telling him that the federal prosecutor was filing an indictment.  We knew that Kevin had been investigated, but we thought the statute of limitations had expired since the crime (official charge was conspiracy to commit wire fraud, although they never charged anyone else so it was a one man conspiracy) had been committed over 5 years ago.  Apparently President Obama had decided to extend that statute.  And since Kevin had gone in and cooperated with the FBI there was no chance that he would not be sentenced.  And the truth was that he was guilty.   We were told we'd have 6-12 months before his sentencing hearing.  It was quite a blow.  But we were both calm.  We knew we had some time.  We weren't going to let this deter us.  We continued to stay in the word and we continued to go to church.  Two weeks after we got the phone call from Kevin's attorney, I was diagnosed with stage 3c breast cancer.  And well my blog chronicles that story.  We had plenty of time to make a plan and Kevin did a great job of making sure the kids and I are well taken care of while he is gone.

Looking back I see how God moved in so many ways that made no sense at the time.  I know that is what is happening right now.   

Yesterday, August 5th, Kevin reported to FCI Texarkana.  It was by far the hardest thing I have ever had to do in my life and I've beat cancer.  We intended on leaving the kids with a friend, but as soon as we got in the car both of our girls started to break down.  I felt like my heart was being ripped out of my chest.  We asked them if they wanted to go with us and they said yes.  We made the 3 hour drive together laughing and talking.  It was such a sweet time together.  I'll never forget it.  We decided to go to lunch at one of Kevin's favorite places.....Golden Corral.   With full bellies, we asked a stranger to take our last family picture.

Not sure what's going on with Jake's face there, but I still cherish this picture.  We drove him to the facility.  I felt like my heart was being ripped in two as we pulled up and I'm not going to lie... My self ccontrol was hanging by a tiny thread. We got out of the car and he prayed over each of us and the tears flowed.  We said our final goodbyes and watched him walk into a 12 foot double barbed wire fence.  I walked my 3 hysterical children back to the car.  Walking those 40 feet back to my car was the worst moment of my life thus far. I looked up to heaven and I felt the Lord strengthen me.  All I wanted to do was scream and fall apart, but with the help of the Holy Spirit I held each of my kids hands and looked into their tear filled eyes and told them that we are going to be ok.  I told them that we can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens us. And we sat in the car and watched at he finally disappeared behind a door.

Then we made the long drive back home.  I've never had such a quiet car ride with my kids.  I turned on praise music and took turns holding my girls hands as they cried.  I know people were praying for me.  I felt the arms of Jesus wrapped around me.  And I felt peace.  That peace that surpasses all understanding.

I have not heard from Kevin yet, but I do have a address for him.  Feel free to email me if you would like it. The kids and I plan on visiting him at least once a month.  And in the federal system, inmates have access to email.  So we will be able to email him.  But I have no clue how long it takes to set all of that up.  Right now I am just trusting God for favor for him.  God fulfilled the word he gave me back in 2008.  My husband is a mighty man of God.  He has already changed so many lives.  I don't know if it was satan working that put Kevin there or if it was merely a consequence of stupid decisions.  Either way that place that is filled with darkness has no clue the bright light that just walked in.  My husband walked into prison a FREE man! And he is about to set others free.

He spent the last year of his life preparing for this mission trip.  He finished one year of bible school and he started preaching the word of God.

He is ready for this mission trip and so are we.  I'm not even going to pretend that this is easy.  There have been many, many tears shed.  I piled all 3 of my kids into bed with me last night because I couldn't bare the thought of sleeping in that big empty bed by myself. (This will probably go on until school starts)  He's going to miss Jacob's first day of kindergarten and his first t-ball game.  He's going to miss birthdays and Christmases.  This is not going to be easy, but when Kevin walks out those doors no man will ever be able to judge him again.  We do not know how long he will be there.  With good behavior he could be out in 51 months vs 60.  If you would like something to agree with us in prayer for we are praying that Kevin will be accepted into the Residential Drug Abuse Program or Rdap.  If he can get into rdap they will knock 18 months off the 51 months.  He will have to spend 6 months in a halfway house, but he will be close by and able to work.  The only thing that might prevent him from getting into that program is the amount of time he's been clean.  So prayers for favor for that would be appreciated.  It will make a huge difference for our family.  As soon as I hear from him I will post more details about what he can receive and what he needs.  I know he intends to email me blog posts to post on a blog that I will create for him so I will have more details on this as well.  Thank you for all the love and support you've shown us.  It lifts me up more than you will ever know.



***Wow I am floored by the response to my blog!  Thank you for all the love and messages!  There is no need to ask permission to share my blog!  Please share away!  God is so good and I hope that people can see His love through my family!  Add me on facebook, follow me on instagram, follow me on twitter, email me!  I never meet a stranger and would love to hear your stories!***


  1. It is no accident that your blog was placed in my path. I will pray for you and your family. I will be a support for you and a prayer partner.

  2. My dear Nicole and your children, Your story touches my heart in ways even I don't understand. I know God will hear me as I pray for your protection and strength. I also pray for your husband's ministry. I recall that Paul taught others about Jesus while he was in prison. Honey, I will ask for guardian angels to spread their wings about your husband as God fortifies you. Perhaps one day we will understand, but for the present, we must continue to pray and trust in the Lord with all of our hearts, knowing that He will make a path through this dark forest in order to provide love to us.

  3. Nicole, what an incredible story! I'm so sorry to hear what your family is going through, but I have to believe that everything happens for a reason.

    I often compare life and God's plan for it to a golf course. We can see the hole we're on but never further, and sometimes not even the entire hole. But God can see it all.

    I will pray for you and your family. Please let me know if I can ever help you. You're so strong.

  4. Your family is in my prayers! I firmly believe that Things happen for a reason, whether we like it or not! Maybe the mission that he has prepared for is to save the unsavable. What a fine example of encouragement and hope he is to the hopeless he will encounter! May God bless you and your family double time through all of this. What a testimony of Faith!

  5. All I can say that count on us to be in agreement with you and your family. You guys are a huge inspiration to me whether it shows or not. I was listening to a song on the way to work tonight and it was "we won't be shaken" by Building 429 I know God will give you guys the strength to never be shaken. God bless and your family will be in my prayers

  6. Praying for strength for you and your family.

  7. I think I could write a novel in response to your blog - I am familiar with so many parts of your story because I have lived them. It's a wonderful story of how I ended up reading your blog & I will share that with you later, but suffice it to say that I know firmly that God wanted me to read it. You & your family will very much be in my prayers, in my mind & on my heart. God loves you & your family so very much...I know that you are on His mind as well! He's going to grieve with you, walk with you & hold you through every single day of this challenge!

  8. Hi Nicole, found you through Lil Blue Boo's blog! Um, we're practically neighbors and I see that you go (or went to) a church in Roanoke that one of my friends goes to. Such a small, small world. Your story is heartbreaking, but so very inspiring at the same time. My prayers and thoughts are with you, your husband and your precious children!

    1. We still do go to Christian Faith Fellowship in Roanoke. Who do you know there? What a small world huh?? :)

  9. Oh my word.... what timing. I found your blog via Lil Blue Boo. My sweet husband has struggled with addiction for half of his life, though I can't compare my pain to yours! Just a few nights ago, I laid in my bed alone, crying, because I couldn't see God moving in my husband's life. He works on the weekend and won't go to church with me on Wednesday nights. I keep praying, but I just haven't seen much progress. We have so much farther to go in our relationship, and I am believing that God will turn it all around. This blog was such a "God thing" for me... in His perfect, perfect timing. Thank you so much for sharing your heart!!!!

    1. Keep praying over him and stand in that faith! The fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much..... Whether it's tomorrow or 5 years from now.

    2. Hi Nicole......I just read your blog for the first time this morning. Even though we are Facebook friends, I have never met you. I had a major stroke last July 5th, was in a coma for 27 days, moved to another hospital here in Tulsa for 29 days, and then to a nursing home for 64 days where I had physical therapy twice a day. I was not your prime candidate for a stroke, being a non-drinker, non-smoker, and finisher of 12 marathons. But it happened. I came home on October 31st, but my health has worsened greatly since I had to leave the nursing home. They taught me how to walk again at the nusing home, and I will be forever grateful for that. Insurance companies rule the world anymore, and they said I had to leave. I cannot even drive by the nursing home now without breaking out in tears, because inside those walls are people who helped me walk again. How do you thank someone enough for that? I am 60 years old, but I cried like a baby when I read your blog about Kevin. Much good will come out of his time there. He will become stronger, you will become stronger, and your family's life will be absolutely unbreakable. Maybe someday I will have the honor of meeting you, Kevin, and your family. I cry every day since the stroke 8 months ago, so I would likely shed lots of tears just by being in your presence. I send you much love, and may the mercy and grace of our wonderful Lord fulfill every need in your life. Larry Hagan Tulsa, Oklahoma Larrythetanman@aol.com