Todd Howerton's Quest for Peace
By Michelle Wilson
The 700 Club
Todd remembers, “My back glass broke and I knew they’re not just trying to scare me, they’re trying to kill me.”
Todd Howerton had robbed his drug dealer and now the man was shooting at Todd.
“I remember thinking, “God, this is how I’m going to die?” And I remember wondering whether or not I was going to feel the gunshot, feel the pain before I heard the shot.”
Todd started using drugs at 13 to escape a shameful secret.
Todd recalls, “There was nobody there to rescue me. And I can remember looking around and just feeling so-so alone.”
When he was 8, Todd had been playing in the woods near his house. He didn’t know that a man had followed him there to molest him.
“I just remember him asking me to do certain things and I felt weird. I felt I guess you’d say dirty. I had to have a confused look on my face. And he said, ‘Well, do you know what I mean?’ or something like that. And I said, ‘No, I don’t.’ And so he said, ‘I’ll show you.’ And so he did, you know,” says Todd.
Todd never saw the man again, but the memory of that day continued to haunt him. He had reoccurring nightmares as a result of the abuse.
“A man that I can never see his face, was taking me out of my house and I was trying to scream for help and I couldn’t. The sound wouldn’t come out.”
Five years later, when Todd was 13, his parents divorced. That same year, he stared experimenting with drugs and sex.
Todd recalls, “And I remember thinking, ‘I’m normal’ because there was that added level of shame, when I was molested, because it was a guy.”
Todd’s drug addiction escalated. He began using cocaine, including crack.
“That was the first time that I had felt good since I could remember. It was like all my problems just disappeared.”
But the high was only temporary. Todd has always been close to his mom. So when she died unexpectantly, Todd decided to end his life too.
Todd remembers, “I took a razor and I slit my wrists. And the next thing you know after they stitched me up and told me how lucky I was to be alive, they put me in a psychiatric ward, and that was another dark time.”
Todd was released two days later from the hospital. He began working at a call center where he met Dana. When she became pregnant, they married six months later. She didn’t realize that Todd continued to do drugs. But when Todd’s son was born he went cold turkey.
Todd recalls, “I saw his little fingers and his little toes and the doctor let me cut the cord. And I remember thinking, ‘if I ever need a reason to stay clean, here it is.’”
But the nagging desire to use cocaine always stayed with him. One night, he gave in, and went on an 8 day drug binge. That’s when his wife Dana realized just how much of a drug problem he had.
Dana remembers, “He explained to me that there was cocaine use. And I’d never been around that. I didn’t know anything about it. But he promised me he never wanted it to happen again.”
But Todd didn’t keep his promise and lost his job and after stealing drugs from his dealer he ended up in a high speed chase where he nearly lost his life.
Todd remembers, “And I think I even prayed that my wife wouldn’t tell my children how their dad, how I really died.”
The drug dealer who shot at him never stopped to see if Todd had been killed. In fact, Todd wasn’t even injured.
“You would think that would be my bottom. You just had a shoot out and God just spared your life, and you need to get on your knees and thank God and go get straightened out. But all I could think about was my next hit,” says Todd.
A few days later, Todd went to a crack house to get high again. The police raided the place and Todd was arrested. The judge sentenced him to time in a Christian rehab facility. While there, he cried out to God to change him.
Todd recalls, “And I just got on my knees and I just started to pray and I just started, you know, begging God to forgive me. Begging God to hear my prayers. Begging him to just take the pain away. And I just felt like he reached down and I just felt like he hugged me. And I felt like sunshine was shining on me like I guess a warm feeling all over.”
Todd asked God to be the savior of his life.
“My life was worthless. But he said, my life was worth his son. So to him, it was the most precious thing on earth. And so it was easy at that point, that’s a deal. You know ‘cash for clunkers.’”
Todd began reading the word every day and asked God to deliver him from his addictions for good.
And it seemed almost like God reached down with some scissors and cut that thing that had been chasing me since I was eight years old.
Then Todd felt that God was asking him to do something he never thought he could do, forgive the man who molested him.
God taught me that forgiveness is not saying what was done was okay. God never said that it was okay what that man did to me. Jesus died for him too. And he knew everything that man was going to do. And he still died for him. And so I’d been forgiven a whole lot, so I needed to forgive.
Todd was in rehab for three months. After he was released, Dana asked him to move back home.
“I see my husband as a man after God’s own heart. And I see him as a father who shows our children the way to go. I’m so proud of him. I’s just we’re incredibly blessed. And I could never have envisioned my life what it is today,” says Dana.
“There is freedom and there’s power in the name of Jesus. And when Jesus died on the cross, he died for all our sins. He didn’t just die for the little ones, he died for all of them. He’s a restoring God and he’s the God of the redeemed and the more impossible it looks the more glory he’s going to get,” says Dana.
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