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Filling the Void From an Absent Fatherc

Heather never knew her father, and the effects sent dangerous ripples through her life. After a fatal accident, Heather needed to find wholeness. Read Transcript

- [Narrator] Heather Heck wasraised by a single mother.

When she was 12 years old,

Heather found out who her father was.

Even though he was never around,

Heather longed to know him.

- Although I had a really loving family,

there was a piece of me that was missing.

You know, I wanted to know who my dad was.

I wanted to have a relationship with him.

I remember being a kidand watching other fathers

interact with their daughters

and it was something thatI always wanted for myself.

- [Narrator] Several years later,

Heather finally got achance to meet her father.

- I was 18 years old, very excited

that this man wanted toattempt to have a relationship

with me and so when I knocked on the door,

an aunt answered the door and looked at me

and said, "This isn't a good time."

And about that time, I sawmy father walk behind her

through the hall, look atme, and continue to walk by

and for whatever reason,he didn't want to see me

and after that night, I stopped trying.

And it began to spiral,all of these feelings

that I had bottled up for years.

Just feeling like I wasn't good enough,

that I wasn't worthy to be loved,

this feeling of being rejected.

And for me it was really the turning point

in my own lifestyle, from that point,

I didn't want to feel anything

and I really turned to drugs and alcohol

after that point just to be numb.

- [Narrator] Heather hadgrown up in the church

and learned about God's love for her,

but her drug and alcoholabuse had blinded her

to what she knew to be true.

- So I didn't have to deal with the hurt

or the brokenness or even dealwith all of these emotions

about my father, just feeling inadequate.

I liked the way that drugsand alcohol made me feel

because I didn't have to feel anything.

- [Narrator] Heather gotpregnant and had a son, Jonah.

Even though she was a single mom,

her lifestyle still revolvedaround drugs and alcohol.

One night after smokingpot and excessive drinking,

Heather was riding ina car with her friend.

The driver, also drinking,crashed into another car,

killing those two people instantly.

Heather was charged with DUI by allowance.

- And I remember theinvestigator looks at me

and he says, "Do you have any idea

"what happened here tonight?"

And I said "no" and he tookthe couple that passed away,

he took their driver's licenseand he threw them at me

across the table and he said,

"You murdered these two people."

And that's really when theweight of, the full weight

of what the reality of what had happened,

that's when it hit me andI remember looking down

at this couple's face that I'll never know

and knowing that becauseof me and my actions,

they weren't going hometo see their family.

- [Narrator] The accident threw Heather

into a deep depression.

- I had the audacity to be angry at God

throughout all of itbecause I was angry at him

because he took them and he left me.

And I knew I didn't deserve to live.

- [Narrator] A week later, Heather's mom

asked her to go to church with her.

Heather agreed to go.

- I think that in that moment, I finally

heard the Gospel withmy heart and not my head

and I realized that theweight that I was carrying

was this weight of sin, but you see,

Jesus had come to take thatweight so I could be free.

I walked down to the altarand it was, I was a mess.

And a woman at the front, she stepped out

and met me and brought me back with her

and helped me walk the rest of the way.

That day for the first time in my life,

it was as if I finally got it.

That God loved me with this unending,

never failing, all-consuming love.

No matter how hard I tried torun from him, he pursued me.

He never gave up and reallystarted thinking about

what kind of love would goto those kind of lengths

and then it dawned on me the kind of love

that would die on a cross.

- [Narrator] Heather askedJesus into her heart that day.

Women from the church loved her

and taught her what itmeant to be a Christian.

- I had a woman who was patient with me

and she just began to walk with me

and break things down likerepentance and baptism

and little by little,God was shifting things

and I was changing andI didn't even realize

that he was doing it 'causeit wasn't that I had to try

or strive, just the morethat we got in the Word,

the more he just began to renew me.

- [Narrator] A year after the deadly DUI,

the case finally went to trial.

Heather pled guilty to felony charges

and had to serve one year in prison.

- We began a Bible study there in this

maximum security facility every day

and we grew to almost 30 women

and the entire atmosphere inthat place began to shift.

We saw signs and wonders and miracles

and I saw as one by one these women

began to give their lives to Jesus.

- [Narrator] Heather alsolearned to forgive her father,

who had passed away years before.

- Forgiveness is a hard thing because

it wasn't letting him off the hook.

That it was just really kindof taking back the power.

It was a really healingmoment and the truth is

unless we forgive them,then how can God forgive us?

And who are we to holdanything against anyone?

- [Narrator] Heather neverknew her earthly father,

but her heavenly fatherwas there all along.

- Every little girl wants a hero.

A knight in shining armorthat will rescue her

and it's the beauty of God, you know,

when you begin to understandthe father heart of God

and really, you know, he isthe father to the fatherless.

And he heals all things, all wounds,

and he fills every bit ofemptiness with his love.

- [Narrator] Today, Heather works for

a campus ministry called Every Nation.

She says the leaders of tomorrow are

on the college campuses of today.

Heather loves to sharethe Gospel of Christ

with students wheneverand wherever she can.

- My spiritual journey has been more

of just really the story of restoration.

You know, I know that many times we think

about the cross, we justthink about salvation,

but you see the thing is the cross

doesn't just bring salvation.

It brings restoration andlooking back at my life

and the mess that was there, the one thing

that sums up what Jesus has done

is he has restoredeverything that was broken.

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