Battling To Blessings - The Message
03 Oct 2023

Battling To Blessings

Meet our Urban Hero Of The Year, Jamie. After hitting rock bottom, he spent a decade battling addiction and homelessness, until a friend told him about God. Since then, his life has turned around and he’s determined to spend every day telling those he meets about Jesus. Here’s his story.

‘One of my earliest memories is going camping with my dad and brother where we laughed hysterically, chatted and spent time together. Growing up I couldn’t have asked for more. But even though I had everything I needed, I used to get into trouble, and I mean loads of trouble. I was just naughty for the sake of being naughty and ended up getting kicked out of school at 13 for something really stupid. Looking back, it seems that this was the start of things going wrong for me. 

‘Over the next few years, my mum lost a baby late in pregnancy, my brother Scott who I was really close to, and had always shared a bedroom with, died suddenly, then my grandad passed away. Unable to cope any more, my dad took his own life. I didn’t know where to turn and felt dead inside. 

‘I was desperate not to feel numb and empty, so started drinking and taking drugs. What I didn’t know was that this desperation would lead to me battling addiction and homelessness for the next 10 years. In that time, I tried every drug known to man apart from heroin. The only reason I didn’t try that was that people I knew who were taking it told me, ‘you don’t wanna take this. You’ll never get off it.’ 

‘I started thinking, ‘what’s the point in life?’ There was no joy or happiness for me. It felt like the only way out was by ending my life. If my dad, one of the strongest people I’d ever met, could do it, then surely that’s where I was going too. 

‘It was at one of my lowest points that I went round to a friend’s house. As he opened the door, I didn’t recognise him. Instead of seeing someone battling a heroin addiction standing in front of me, there was a guy who was smiling and looked genuinely happy. I didn’t know what to think. He invited me in, and that night told me about Jesus and the forgiveness he offers. 

‘I’d love to say I said ‘hallelujah’ and gave my life to Jesus there and then, but I didn’t. Instead, I decided to try and prove him wrong! This meant I started reading the Bible loads, as I searched for something to trip him up. 

‘After six months I gave up. I knew that what he was telling me was true, so said ‘right God, if you’re real, you need to show me that you’re there.’ I didn’t know what to expect. 

‘About a week later, my friend’s wife came up to me and gave me a letter. Inside there was an application form to join The Oaks. With nothing left to lose, I wondered if this might be the answer to my prayer, so filled it in. 

‘And it was! The Oaks gave me a safe place where I discovered how unconditionally loved I was by Jesus. Every day, started with reading our Bibles and prayer. We put Jesus before everything, and I learnt to give all of my struggles over to him. As I grew, I found that I not only started loving other people again, but also began to love myself too. 

‘I learnt that I wasn’t alone and from that moment, my life started to change. 

‘Over time I was offered a place on The Message’s enterprise programme, getting to train in facilities and maintenance. It was like a dream come true. I got to do something I loved, whilst also continuing to be discipled in my faith. It went so well that, when I graduated from the programme, The Message offered me a full-time job with them.

‘There I met my amazing wife, Danielle. A year after saying ‘I do’, a miracle happened and we found out that we were expecting our beautiful little girl.

‘I’ve gone from being someone who was suicidal with nothing to live for, to now having a house, job, wife and daughter. And above it all, I know I’m loved unconditionally by God. Through The Message, I meet people who are broken and hurting like I used to be. It’s a joy to get alongside them, tell them about Jesus, share my story, and journey with them as they rebuild their lives from the ground up like I did.’ 

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Watch Jamie’s full story at message.org.uk/uha