The Secret to Being Accepted by Your Creator

An abusive childhood traumatizes Rick so much that he runs away from God, when in fact, God is just what Rick needs.
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Article Summary: 
An abusive childhood traumatizes Rick so much that he runs away from God, when in fact, God is just what Rick needs.
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Thanksgiving Day is a time of traditions. For Rick Peters and his family, it’s serving dinner at their church to the homeless and needy. Rick says, in a way, it’s also a birthday celebration – his; because on Thanksgiving Day more than 20 years ago, Rick got a second chance at life. Rick recalls, “Definitely a Thanksgiving miracle. I don't know where I would have been… dead probably.”
 
If not dead, then surely (he would have been) locked up. His life of crime started in his teen years, after divorce and alcohol destroyed his family. He remembers the better times, like holidays and going to church to learn about God. But after the divorce, both parents ended up abusive alcoholics. His dad was prone to violence, while his mom hurled verbal insults. “My mom told me that I was the only mistake God made. To hear that…it was more than I could handle. I wanted nothing to do with church or with anything about God.”

…or anything to do with his family. Rick left home. On the streets he found a way to vent his anger and make a living. “Supplying the drugs was a very easy way to do it.  Cocaine, meth, everybody wanted it. It was just a way of living. You have to do something to survive.” And for years, he did – he spent many nights in jail for dealing and using drugs, getting into fights, and drinking. “I’d get out (of jail) and within just a few hours I'd be arrested again.”

Then he met Terry, someone who believed in him. They married and had a daughter.  Rick wanted to change, but couldn’t break the cycle. Still, she stayed. “Terry would just put up with it because she loved me.”

After their daughter moved out on her own, Rick convinced Terry to move to the Arizona Mountains to start a new life. He bought a large stash of drugs, hoping to kick start a business. But his plan fell through. Soon, they were out of money. They moved to a trailer in the mountains. They had no heat and they could barely afford food. Rick describes those times. “We were eating very little; maybe a half a meal a day. And we're coming into the early parts of winter, Thanksgiving time, and it was cold. It was real cold.”  

Desperate, they sold their plasma just for grocery money. Then Terry became anemic and couldn’t give. Rick felt hopeless. “We had finally hit the point at being at the very bottom. For me, I had given up by this point.”
 
Cold, hungry and desperate – Rick snapped. He decided he would end it all by committing suicide. “I brought the propane bottles inside the trailer with me, and I opened up the valves on them and let the propane start flowing. I’m striking these matches and nothing's happening. And I yell out, ‘God, help me!’ I just wanted this to end. I felt like a total loser.”

Finally, Rick gave up. He couldn’t even kill himself. So the next day they went into town looking for food. It was Thanksgiving and they knew of a church that was serving free dinner. As they ate, a man was sharing about God’s love. Rick thought about what he said in the trailer the day before. “Maybe those words, ‘God help me’ had a little bit more impact than I realized.”

The speaker sat down next to Rick and asked him if he wanted to pray and give his life to Jesus Christ. Rick said ‘Yes.’ It was, “‘Lord, come into my life and Lord, rule my life. Forgive me of my sins.’ From that moment I felt the Lord come in and I knew that it was real in me. There was such a wave that come over me of joy and of freedom. And the only way I can explain it is to say I didn't want no more drugs. All these years of hiding all this anger that I had toward God…all of this anger was gone. There's no anger. And all I could feel was the love, the love of God that was flooding into me.”

Terry also gave her heart to Christ that day. Recalls Rick, “When we walked out God started changing everything in our lives. I was given a whole new life the day that I asked Christ to come into my heart, that day, Thanksgiving.”

With God’s help they started putting their lives back together. Eventually they reunited with their daughter and helped raise their grandkids. Rick is especially thankful that Terry didn’t give up. “When you take into consideration that all the hell that I put her through for years, and here we are 30 years later and the woman's still with me. And I love her dearly.”

And now on Thanksgiving, they share God’s love with others in need in the very church where they found new life in Christ.

“God gave me back my life. And when He did that, He's never let go of me and I'll never let go of Him.”

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