“You need God in your life.” That was the last thing Jeremy’s wife said to him before she left his life for good. “I didn’t think much of it at the time,” Jeremy said. “I do now.”
Jeremy and his wife had it all by the time they were 30. They owned their home in Ventura, as well as a slew of dirt bikes, trucks, and other vehicles. But it wasn’t just Jeremy’s mechanic shop that was paying the bills. After getting involved with drugs, he had started selling them. Attention from the neighbors and the police led to raids and several instances of property seizure.
“I had everything under the sun I could think of, but I guess I didn’t have the one thing that I needed. There was a void. I thought I was on top of the world, but at the same time I just wasn’t satisfied.”
Jeremy and his wife sold the house and he encouraged her to take the money and start a new life. Jeremy, now homeless and depressed, hit the streets. “For five years I ran around causing trouble, stealing to support myself.” He tried starting the program at the mission, but left after 25 days. After more jail, sleeping on the streets and using drugs—Jeremy even had a tent at the river bottom for a time—he was ready to try again.
This time Jeremy excelled at the mission. He graduated, interned, and went to college, staying at the mission for two-and-a-half years. “I really built that relationship with God,” Jeremy said. “He was really working in my life. I had everything.”
But then, Jeremy relapsed again. “I think I lost focus. A lot of the work I was doing was in an effort to bring my family back together. I was trying to contact them and wasn’t getting answers. I felt abandoned. … Within a week of leaving, I fell flat on my face. I dropped out of college, I totaled my car, and I was back on the streets. Sticking a needle in my arm really numbed the pain for a while. ”
After three years, Jeremy had the opportunity to come back to the mission, and he ran to it—literally. “I knew if I could just get here, the love that would be here waiting for me, the chance to get right with God … This time around, my focus is on my relationship with God. My family is not going to be what saves me. I’m the one who’s sick. I’m the one who’s wrong. I need to get right, and only through God can I do that. I’ve never done right in my whole life unless I was under this roof.”