Stories of Transformation…Mike

by Jonathan Haefs

*On Sunday July the 6th, three stories of transformation were shared within our worship gathering at SVCC. These are true stories that come from the lives of people within our faith family. I will be posting all of these beautiful testimonies of the transforming power of Jesus this week. Below is the third of the three. To hear the story read click here.

I remember the day I knew I had to stop drinking.  I looked in the mirror and hated what I saw.  I was disgusted with myself.  I had sworn as a youngster that I would never end up this way… unable to stop.  Everyone I knew drank.  Everyone.  We drank when we were happy, when we were sad, at the end of the work day, to celebrate the good things in life, to drown out the bad.  It was a way of life, and I enjoyed the ride. But eventually…  the ride wasn’t fun anymore.  Life just stopped working, and I didn’t want to be the person I was with a drink in my hand.

But every day was the same.  I put the same stake in the ground: No more drinking.  But the struggle continued.  Eventually I walked into an AA meeting, trying to find the help I needed.  I tried everything I knew to try, sure that I had it in me to stop this train wreck from happening.  At some point during this struggle, I became aware that I now really believed in God, believed in Someone who could help me.  I cried out to him over and over to help me stop, pleading with Him to show up, to help me….   He did.  He showed up.  I had tried and tried and tried…. and in an instant, it was gone. I woke up with no desire to drink.  How did this happen? How??

Life definitely worked better without the constant struggle of alcohol on my mind.  Life was running like a well oiled machine – everything working as it should.  Things were good at home and at work.  My business was growing, and I knew that God had done something significant in me.  Life was better, and I knew God was real.  There were times that I could feel God so deeply, and He would speak to me.  I knew he was real.  Life was good, but there was something still missing…. I couldn’t put my finger on it…

I walked into the room full of people I didn’t know… looked around and knew something was different here.  These people were mourning the loss of a good friend and member of the family, and yet they had hope.  What they had was enticing…  And then I met David, the man who would lead me into the truth that would turn my world upside down.  This group of people had gathered to honor the life of my brother in law.  My wife and I had traveled to Dallas to be a part of this gathering, but little did I know that in the midst of remembering his life… I would find mine.

It had been seven years since God had miraculously taken away my need to drink.  I know it was God, but that day in Dallas it was literally like scales fell from my eyes.  I saw things I had never seen before!  I understood things I had never understood before! Because David was willing to sit with me, ask questions, learn about my life, and then tell me about Jesus, I found new life that day!  It was like I had discovered a gold mine!  While I had been trying to change my life from the outside, David  talked about how Jesus changes men from the inside out.  I now understood that the Son of God had become a man so that men could become sons of God, and this understanding changed everything!  I left Dallas in love with Jesus Christ.

It was revolutionary, and I went home a new man.  I didn’t know how to tell my family of the changes happening in my heart and mind.  Jesus was all I thought about from the time I woke up to the time I went to bed.  I couldn’t stop thinking about Him… and I wanted my family to experience all of this new life.  I know God’s desire was to capture us all, and that’s exactly what He did.  We were caught up in his love and all the goodness that he had for us. Again, life was good…

But I was not prepared for the coming years… I met Jesus in 2006 and by 2008, things were going downhill – and fast! My business – the one that had been doing so well – just collapsed.  Collapsed.  I was devastated… but with each year, things got worse, until finally in 2012 we lost everything.  The house that we called home – it had been in our family for over 50 years – was a part of that everything.  I was devastated… just wanted to crawl inside a hole and disappear. And the worst part – I just didn’t understand.  When I met Jesus, I turned everything over to him, trusting Him with my life, my livelihood, my family,  my belongings.  My life was different because I had encountered Jesus, and I just didn’t understand why he had taken everything away from us.

I still don’t fully understand why.  But I trust Him.  And I know he’s good.  From the day everything started going downhill, I felt Him with me.  And he’s still here.  He knew I had a tendency to try to do things on my own, to rely on my own ability to figure things out and make my way in this world.  And it seems He’s chosen a path for me that demands my complete reliance on Him.  I believe He’s using this for my good and that he really does have a purpose in this, and I guess that’s what faith is, knowing deep down that God is who he says he is, that he’s good like he tells us he is, and that he sees us.

Fifteen years ago, all I knew to ask for was help with my drinking problem, but He gave me so much more… He has been healing me ever since, in spite of myself.

My name… is Mike Wingo.
Story: Mike Wingo
Writer: Ashley Armistead
Reader: Andy Gotshall