I was born during November 1978 in Inverness and grew up in the Hilton and Culduthel areas of the city.
I have a brother and sister and as far as I can remember things were pretty happy and secure in the early days.
Although our family had no interest in the Church my sister and I would both occasionally attend the school Scripture Union and the ‘Good News’ club. Mind you, the attraction was not Jesus but the football and having a good laugh.
In my teenage years I struck rocky ground as my family began to disintegrate. My father started drinking heavily and my parents would often be at loggerheads. There was lots of anger and strife about the family home.
I left school with no qualifications and started working in a supermarket. In these days I loved taking part in sport particularly football and boxing.
At this same time I started getting mixed up in all sorts of illegal activities, drinking, drugs, fighting and being part of a ‘bad group’. Many of the lads were stealing, involved in serious crime and had done ‘jail time’. It was obvious by living such a lifestyle I could not hold a job down.
My grandmother then died followed by my uncle who committed suicide. I was in my uncle’s company the night before he took his life. This was a traumatic time for all the family and I sank to an all time low.
Things didn’t get better and I found myself on a number of occasions locked up in a police cell for being disorderly or violent or a combination of both.
My abuse of cannabis progressed to the chronic stage and as a result I was becoming more and more aggressive. Don’t let anybody try and tell you that cannabis is a passive drug that will not harm you. As all these things unfolded I slipped into the dark clouds of depression and ended up in hospital for over three months. I was acutely aware that Satan was making every attempt to put a claim on my life but somehow I was also aware that people were praying for me through this experience.
Not all my life was negative during these days.
The one great blessing I had was meeting Joanne Morrison (yes, same surname) with whom I started a relationship. Joanne who was from a church background was so genuine and had such a good heart. For the most part she kept me out of trouble.
The positive didn’t last long and Joanne fell pregnant at sixteen. I thought for certain that this would be the ‘last straw’ for her Mum and Dad and that there would be no way that they would want their daughter to have anything more to do with me.
The opposite happened and Joanne’s parents stood by us both and showed me love, forgiveness and patience, which spoke volumes to me concerning their Christian faith.
The first book Joanne’s dad ever gave to me (and there were many) was a copy of the New Testament Bible issued by the South African Christian Police Association! He is a police officer.
I remember one night been locked up in the police cell but this experience was so different from all the others. I cried and screamed and shouted to God to come into my life and help me. I was in the cell for about twenty hours and humbly called on God on many occasions during that period. When I eventually got home I felt ‘beaten’ and that life was not worth living. I then remember going to bed and picking up the police bible and saying a short prayer. As I lay down I experienced a comforting affectionate presence holding me, which I can only describe as being heavenly. I believe this was God showing His love for me.
On another night I found myself in a flood of tears as I thanked God sensing His overwhelming love and care for me.
I also remember being at the Ross County football ground with Joanne’s dad when I felt such a strong presence of God in every sight, sound and smell so far removed from all the excitement and all the euphoria that was happening around me.
Zoey our daughter was born in 1997 and Joanne and I were married during 2001. We have a lovely family home and I have been in full time employment for a number of years. We are also expecting our second baby on Christmas Eve 2004.
God is good.
My life has changed so much from the days of chaos, emptiness and evil.
I found Jesus.
Over a period of time the Lord in His remarkable grace has completely and utterly transformed my life from one of darkness to one of light and purpose. I can never thank God enough for His mercy and forgiveness.
I started regularly going to church some time ago. When Joanne’s dad first invited me along to church I told him that ‘ I didn’t have a suit!’ I have for some time being attending the East Church in Inverness where I have been greatly blessed by the faithful ministry of God’s word by Mr Macdonald.
I also became a member of a small house group. Three members of our group David, Jan and Stan are all retired people. They have been such an encouragement and positive influence on me. Stan is 88 years of age but what a witness for our Lord! He never allows an opportunity to pass by him to share the gospel with others.
Despite the affliction and separation of the past my family have remained close knit and this has been a tremendous blessing to me.
On 25 June 2004 at the East Church, Inverness I was baptised and accepted into the membership of the Church of Christ.
As it has been said elsewhere, that in God’s eyes and grace there is no such thing as a ‘hopeless case’.
“My chains fell off and I was set free”