Nathan Spencer's Last Chance
By Mindy Pierce
The 700 Club
Drugs stole Nathan Spencer’s money, his health, and his dignity. He was about to lose his family as well. According to his mother, just a few years back, he was every parent’s dream child.
"He was a very, very good child. He was obedient, respectful. He was a straight-A student," his mother, Becky Spencer said. "Teachers loved him. Everybody loved him. Moms loved him and wanted their daughters to marry him when they grew up."
All that changed when a 10-year-old girl abused Nathan.
My whole life was completely turned upside down. I’m 9- years-old, and she’s just outwardly showing this affection that I’d never experienced before. The next thing, she was wanting to touch me. I found myself feeling so guilty, and yet I wasn’t telling anybody about it. I felt so dirty. This innocent life I had before was completely changing," Nathan said. "I remember when I was 14-years-old, I smoked a cigarette with a friend of mine; and it was just a couple of months later and he wanted me to smoke some marijuana. I jumped right in -- no hesitation! And I really liked it! It was taking away all my pain, all my guilt. Marijuana wasn’t the end either. As I got into high school, I started doing some speed. I started doing coke; about anything I could get my hands on to fill the void.
Nathan also began to steal. His run-ins with the law got him kicked out of his Christian high school and out of his home.
"My Senior year, my mom and dad had had enough as well at home; and they said, 'If you’re going to continue like this, you’re going to have to leave.' So I did," he said. "I left. This lifestyle, drug addiction, really escalated. I began to deal, to sell drugs."
In 2001, Nathan met Diana at work; she realized early on that he had a serious problem.
"Whenever we would get together, he would be high – every single time," Diana said. "I knew Nathan couldn’t quit doing drugs on his own, so I encouraged him to go to rehab."
A three-month stint in a Bible-based detox program was short-lived. When Diana became pregnant, the young couple decided to marry. The stress and shame drove Nathan back to drugs.
"So I had this guilt again, just like when I was younger – this guilt hanging over me, stalking," Nathan said. "When I got offered a drug again for the first time, it was just like, there’s my escape. There’s my escape! I downward spiraled fast – I mean really fast after that. I was back doing the same stuff I was before: dealing drugs; and I even got into shooting dope into my arm; doing ecstacy – stuff I’d never done before. When I got back into this addiction, I hid everything. I hid it all. I hid pipes. I hid all the dope that I had. It was a very strategic thing. I kept my addiction a secret. I was really good at it. I was a con of all cons."
But the con was over when Diana found a hidden stash of Nathan’s drugs in their home.
"My heart sank because I couldn’t believe what I was seeing! It just seemed like this was never going to end, and I had to make the decision," she said.
" I couldn’t believe that she would leave me," Nathan said. "I had the whole haughty attitude that it was her fault. But, I chose the drugs."
Diana took their 2-year-old son and left Nathan. She and Nathan’s family intensified their prayers for this young hardcore junkie and dealer.
" I remember during this time coming out on to the porch where we lived and yelling at God," Nathan said. "Yelling, kind of shaking my fist at God, like, 'Why don’t you just come and save me?!'”
Stealing again became another high for this young addict.
"I remember one time, I was all by myself, and I was drinking and drugging," he said. "I saw this house across the street. I walked over there, started roaming around and the garage door was unlocked. So, I walked in. I set my beer can down there on the table and started rummaging their house. When I left there, I forgot my beer can."
When Nathan’s mom heard from a friend that he was the one responsible for the burglary, she called the sheriff and turned her son in.
"October 4, 2004, I went to work just like regular," Nathan said, "and two police officers walked in [to arrest me]."
Nathan Spencer went to jail that day, facing three years in prison. The reality of serving time hit him hard.
"I was just a wreck, because I new what I was facing, and it was serious," he said. "It was that very night; I was in a cell all by myself. I was just thinking in my mind of all the things that were going to happen, all the things that had happened. My mind was strangely clear. I was thinking about my wife, about my son, and everything was so clear. And I heard the voice of the Lord, and He said, 'Nathan, come back now, or else!' Those were words that I’ll never forget because I new what the or else was. So, I hit my knees and I cried out to God. I repented. I turned away from my sin and I was ready to live for God. I remember feeling this addiction and this darkness lift off of me. I remember feeling that -- it was like He just reached down and ripped it out of me."
When I went to visit for the first time in jail, I definitely noticed something different," Diana said. "I sat down and it was kind of like, 'who is this guy?' It looked like a new person. He sounded and acted like a different person. I really couldn’t believe my eyes."
After 62 days in prison, the judge sentenced Nathan to two years probation and 120 hours of community service. He was released in December of 2004. Nathan’s community service so impressed city officials tht they hired him full time a year later. Nathan and Diana are together again along with two additions to the Spencer family.
" I’m free from alcohol; I’m free from drugs. I’m free from guilt. I’m free from shame," Nathan said. "Those chains are gone. I’m not an addict. I’m a child of God. He’s made me free!" Can God change your life?
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