The Kunzes: God Never Gives Up
By Aaron Little
The 700 Club
Original Air Date: December 15, 2010
Twenty-four-year-old single father Jeff Kunz thought he was marrying an 18-year-old single mother when he said “I do” to Melissa. She was actually 16 and ill-prepared to be a wife, much less a mother.
“I got pregnant at 14, had my first son Michael when I was 15," Melissa tells The 700 Club. "I made the decision I wasn’t going to adopt out. I was gonna be a mom.”
All that was missing to complete Melissa’s fairy tale was a husband. She says, “Now I need a daddy. I need a family. Here was this 15-, 16-year-old girl with this mentality. So, I met Jeff.”
Jeff says, "It was March 25th, I think, when we first went out and then we were married by May 16th."
After the wedding, the reality of being a wife and mother made Melissa desperate for her teenage independence.
“Instead of being responsible and being a wife and doing what I was supposed to do, I was out partying," she says. "I was sneaking out of the house. I was lying to him. I was stealing his money. I started sleeping around.”
In an attempt to keep Melissa from leaving home for days at a time, Jeff encouraged her to get high and party at home.
"She would still leave, even after I let her start partying at home and she’d be gone for a week. But I’d always find her,” Jeff says.
Melissa recalls, “I did everything under the sun but heroin. Crystal meth was my drug of choice.”
This pattern continued for years. Jeff decided if he couldn’t get Melissa to confront her addiction, he might as well join the party.
“She was doing a whole lot of cocaine and then turned to crack," Jeff says. "Then I was more doing speed.”
Jeff had his own problems. He had battled anger issues all of his life. Mixed with drug use, it was a prescription for violence and Melissa was often the recipient of his rage. Jeff explains, "I guess I was pretty violent. I could go off and just lose it.”
“We fought all the time," Melissa says. "We fought all the time. It was a toxic relationship.”
In a move that sent Jeff to his boiling point, Melissa had an affair with one of Jeff’s close relatives.
“I was so into that other relationship that I moved out," Melissa says. "This other person was a drug addict, so it worked out perfect.”
Jeff says, “I got arrested three times in one week for going after ‘em. I wanted to kill her and I really wanted to kill him.”
After a couple of weeks tempers cooled and Melissa returned to her dysfunctional life with Jeff. She recalls, "I’ve been with Jeff most of my life, and I loved him in a sick, twisted way.”
In no time, the fighting and drug abuse resumed, but the hard living was finally taking a physical toll on Jeff.
“We had been partying very heavy for probably three or four months," Jeff says. "We were doing crystal meth at that time. We would do at least a teen to probably an 8-ball a day and that’s a lot for that stuff. My body just finally couldn’t take it anymore.”
Melissa says, “He almost OD’d and ended up in the hospital. He told me, ‘Melissa, go home and flush everything.’”
"When I was in the hospital, I cried out, ‘Jesus, You just get me through this, just keep me alive and I’ll never do it again. That’s it.' I didn’t do it again," Jeff says.
Jeff says he was instantly delivered from drug addiction. His anger issues seemed to vanish too.
“God had taken the anger out of my husband totally miraculously.”
Jeff had rededicated his childhood commitment to Jesus and even felt called to the ministry. Melissa, however, was having a greater struggle. She was no longer unfaithful to Jeff, but she couldn’t kick her addiction to drugs.
“So finally I just started looking through the house and found paraphernalia that she had hidden," Jeff says. "So then I knew she was doing it and that ended up in a huge fight.”
Melissa says, “I left the house and I went on a two-week drug binge.”
Soon she was out of money and needed a fix. She says, "I came home. Jeff wasn’t there, so I was calling him, demanding him to come home and let me in my house and I wanted money. I proceeded to try to kick in my door. He called the police on me, which he had never done.”
Jeff explains, “She wasn’t arrested for drugs. They actually just arrested her for disorderly conduct.”
"I was so mad at him," Melissa says, "and he looked out and he said, ‘Melissa, I have a call to be a pastor. You have a call. Get clean or get out.'”
While Melissa sat in jail, she lamented the mess her life had become. In her desperation, she recalled the Christian faith she had been raised with and cried out to God.
“I said, 'You’ve gotta take this from me. I can’t do this alone.' I remembered the Scripture, 'Cast all your cares upon Him. He carries all of your yokes and your burdens.' I held God to His Word and said, ‘You get me clean, because I cannot do this.’ I went to sleep, I woke up, and it was gone.”
After ten years of living in a drug-induced haze, Melissa says she experienced a miracle that night in the jail cell. She’s been clean ever since.
Their three oldest boys are now adults, and today Jeff and Melissa live in Los Angeles with their eight-year-old son Alex. The couple help other addicts living on the streets of LA.
Jeff says, “There’s hope. Even if you’re high right now, there’s still hope and there’s still God. He’s still out there.”
Melissa agrees, “God never gives up. No matter what. No matter where you are. Psalm 139 is my favorite. It talks about (how) you can go to the ends of the earth, to the depths of the sea. Wherever we are, God finds us.’”
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