He had a great childhood, the son of a pastor, alcohol and drug-free lifestyle, and heir to the family businesses… How did Nathan ever end up at the Gospel Rescue Mission?
All through his life, Nathan and his family were blessed. His father was a preacher, and they owned a couple of businesses as well, a tax service and a gift store. Nathan played bass guitar in a band in high school which led him astray for a couple years, but by the age of 20, he had rededicated his life and was back on the God Train. He got married, had a daughter who he would become Super Dad to, they weren’t wanting for anything, and things were going great. When he was 37 years old, things came crashing down, and the broken pieces pierced right through Nate’s perfect life.
On December 6th, 2004, just 2 days before Nate’s birthday, cancer took the life of his beautiful mother. And adding blow on top of blow, just 6 days later, he found his father dead, having passed away from a sudden heart attack, no doubt brought on by the grief from the passing of his wife. Nate struggled to deal with his grief and rather than process it, he shoved his feelings deep down. And we all know what happens when we don’t allow ourselves to grieve. It cuts you like fragmented shards of glass, slowly tearing you apart from the inside out. This is what was happening to Nate, but it would take years before the holes started to show.
In 2011, his wife suddenly left him and took their teenage daughter. That was when he snapped. All those years of grief that had been gradually ripping him apart was taking its toll. His marriage, gone. Daughter, gone. Mother and father, gone. Everyone he loves, just gone. Depression started sinking in and the mirror that once reflected a serene life was now shattered to pieces. It was devastating to go to work at the family businesses, so he sold them. He kept his parent’s home but couldn’t live there with their memories, so he decided to rent it, and it’s still being rented to this day. Soon, the money ran out, and with no job, he couldn’t afford to pay his own mortgage and lost his house. Knowing that he couldn’t afford the bills at his parent’s house, he chose to keep the renters so he had some sort of income and the property would be cared for. He found himself jobless, homeless, and hopeless.
Nate’s work history was extensive up till this point, but because of his depression, he couldn’t hold down a job. He had been in management for Walmart, ran a truck route for a major company, and of course worked at the tax service and gift shop that he and his father had built. But none of that experience seemed to matter. He knew how to do the jobs he would get but couldn’t seem to get a grip on his sadness, so he lived on the street. Someone brought him to the John 3:16 Mission in Tulsa, and after some time, he felt ready to pick up the pieces and try again.
He started working for a car auction, bought himself a car, and worked part-time as an Uber and Lyft driver as well. Around Christmas of 2018, 14 years after the deaths of his parents, his birthday and the holiday season brought back all the memories of his family, of his wife, of his daughter, and the happy life he once knew. The mirror then was in mint condition, shining with happiness, but after the mirror had shattered, Nate had picked up each piece and glued it back together. But he knew he could never get the perfect mirror back. This broken, glued, imperfect mess was all he had left. And it wasn’t enough. He decided to end it all.
God wouldn’t allow it though, and Nate made it through one of the scariest times of his life. While he was in the hospital getting treatment for his depression, he lost his job and his car. The mirror had been smashed again, but this time, he himself was the one who had been holding the hammer. How was he going to pick up all these pieces again? He was the son of a preacher, a child of God, and he knew he had to try. He had heard from the hospital staff about Gospel Rescue Mission in Muskogee, and he decided once he was released to walk there. From Tulsa. Now that’s dedication!
Once he arrived, he was not disappointed! He felt closer to God than he had in sometime and before he knew it, he had a job working at the very hospital he had just left. He moved back to Tulsa before he could finish our program and got back to work. There were bullies there though and after just a couple short months, he decided that wasn’t the job for him and that he should’ve stayed and finished the program here. “If people will just work this program and do it right, they will be successful,” he said. So, he came back to the Gospel Rescue Mission, ready to try again and see it through.
Since he’s been back this time, he’s felt the calling from God to go into ministry, just like his father. In fact, he told me the other day that he was about to be ordained! His dreams are starting to come true and with his faith in Jesus, the mirror that he’s rebuilding will be stronger this time. It still won’t be perfect. It will still have the scars in its wood from the pain and grief he experienced, but the mirror will be whole, and it will be different. The scars won’t be gashes, but they will be ornate carvings, remnants of the pain he overcame and the triumph he is achieving.
If you or someone you know suffers from depression, please contact The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or visit their website at https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/.