From the Muck and Mire to a Higher Calling

by Derek Hill · Print Print · Email Email

Growing up in a Christian home was a foundational part of my life which is why I am so committed to God today.  However, I am not the man now that I was in earlier years.  I have dealt with tragedy, ups and downs, and my own personal victories and failures from my own decisions.  Here is my testimony of how God really did pull me up from the muck and mire.

Growing up

When I was a kid, my parents took me to church every Sunday and also to VBS every summer.  I had a great time in church learning about God and playing with friends.  The problem with me was that I focused way too much on friends on way too little on God.  I devoted my free time to activities that involved growing socially and not spiritually.  By the time I reached high school I was basically doing my own thing.  I wasn’t praying.  I wasn’t reading my Bible.  I was 100% pleasing myself.  I thought about other people’s needs, but I never thought about God.

High School

In high school I was devoted to doing things with friends all of the time.  I dated a few girls and I went places with them that I should not have.  I completely disregarded God in most choices that I made.  I was living for my own satisfaction.  I was not faithful to God with my sexual purity.  I smoked marijuana on a few occasions.  I smoked a pack and a half of cigarettes every single day.  I got into drinking alcohol because my best friend’s dad bought it for us when we were 17.  We went camping for a week and he bought each of us a 24 pack of beer.  At the time I thought I was living the good life.  Little did I know that I was far from it.

College

After high school, I started attending a local junior college and I was still smoking cigarettes every chance I could.  I could feel the damage I was doing to my body and I didn’t even care.  It wasn’t until I went to my Sunday school teacher’s house that I felt ashamed.  My teacher never said a word to me, although I know she could smell the cigarette smell on me.  I left her house feeling ashamed of what I was doing to my body and I quit that day and never looked back.  I decided then to attend a Christian college for a while.  While there I met a girl from back home and I decided to drop out to get married.  I then went back to the small secular junior college instead.  I found a job in order to get married that would support us, while I was attending the junior college.  While engaged I was also not sexually pure and it completely took away the beauty of the first night of marriage for me.  It was tainted because of my lack of self-control.  I had enjoyed all parts of our relationship physically and left nothing for the marriage night.  There was nothing new.  I honestly didn’t even care either.  I was still focused on myself.

Marriage

While married, I wasn’t living the life that God had called for me.  I didn’t pray with or over my wife.  We never read the Bible together.  Neither of us read the Bible on our own time.  We were two different people living two different lives for our own satisfaction.  We looked really good on the outside though.  We were in church every Sunday.  We went to small group Bible studies and planned double dates with fellow church friends.  We looked like we had everything together, but we both were falling apart.  I started to drift away from my wife and then tragedy happened.  In the matter of seconds, three dear friends of ours were struck by another vehicle and killed.  The mom died instantly and her two children, ages 3 and 11 months, fought as long as they could but gave up the fight at the hospital.  The period of time following was one of my darkest.  Here I was asking God, “Why would You let this happen?” as if I was a holy man who had been tight with God.  Like I said before, I wasn’t focused on God at all up to this point.  After some time of grieving, I came to a crossroad where I felt an overwhelming sense of shame and guilt for the life that I had been living.  I recommitted my life to God and tried my best every day to be the man that He wanted me to be.  However, I still had disconnection with my wife.  As I tried to draw close to God, she was drifting farther away.  Eventually she left me for another man and we got a divorce.  I tried desperately to make things work with her but she was on her way to make herself happy.  I didn’t know what to do.  I felt like a complete failure!  What would my children think of their daddy?  I was ashamed that my life had come to this.

The Valley

God used this man to show me the love of Jesus and that is where I truly was pulled out of the muck and the mire.

God used this man to show me the love of Jesus and that is where I truly was pulled out of the muck and the mire.

The separation from my wife before the divorce was finalized was tormenting me.  During this time is where I really felt and understood the love of God.  One of my dearest friends from church called me every single day to talk with me and pray with me.  I vented to him about being separated from my children every week.  Not being with my kids was killing me.  Not being with my wife was also killing me because I was trying desperately to reconnect with her so divorce would not happen.  God used this man to show me the love of Jesus and that is where I truly was pulled out of the muck and the mire.  With help from my brother in Christ, I stayed faithful to my wife all of the way until the divorce was finalized and I focused completely on God.  God used the divorce to show me how much I had chosen to “divorce” Him every single time I ignored Him to play the whore with my own sin.  I broke down and wept for a long period of time.  I asked God to forgive me of my sins of spiritual infidelity and I have not looked back.  I am not the same man that I was before that point.  It took me 33 years to hit rock bottom and look up to my precious and gracious redeemer.

Forever Changed

After I hit rock bottom and cried out to God in desperation, I felt His peace that passes all understanding come over me.  I knew in that moment that things were going to be alright.  God uses sin to make things beautiful.  God hates sin, but He can still use it to make things new.  God showed me the sin that was in my heart and He wiped it clean as I cried out to Him.  Now I am a changed man!  I crave Christian fellowship.  I want to know God on a deeper level every single day!  I have an outlook that recognizes all of the many blessings which God has given me, including my children and a job.  As God paralleled my physical divorce with my own spiritual divorce, I became a new creature!  Since that time (late 2011) I recommitted my life to Jesus through baptism at my church on March 10, 2013.

Conclusion

God allowed me:

  • to sin
  • to do my own thing
  • to mess my life up
  • to struggle and hit rock bottom.

He did all of these so that I would recognize how much I truly need Him! I now no longer think of past failures but strive for victories!  Jesus Christ of Nazareth died on a cross at Golgotha for me and He is what I think about every day!  Now I am living for less of me and more of Christ!  Christ is more than enough to keep my soul alive and thriving!  May God bless you as you live a life worthy of the calling!

Want to read some more personal testimonies from our writers? Look at these:

How I was Set Free in Prison

The Bread of Life

God is My Strength

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{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

Kasie May 9, 2013 at 7:25 am

Inspiring! While I’ve never married, I can relate because I was divorced from Christ for many years.

“These are a few of my favorite things” about Christianity, a few of the reasons I chose to be a Christian (well He chose me first, just took me a while to choose back:) These are also the things I remind myself of when I’m being attacked by unbelievers:
1. Christianity is the only major religion you choose for yourself, you aren’t assigned to it through hereditary. (We raise our children to show them the gospel and pray they will embrace it for themselves but it is not- should not- be “forced” on them. Train them while they are young and when they are old they will not depart from it. That’s the hope we hold onto or our children)
2. Christianity is the only religion that turned religion on its head. all the other religions say you must work, do certain activities, follow certain laws, be a good person in order to enter Heaven, Nirvana, be reincarnated, etc. Jesus said Come to Me, have faith in Him, and he will change you through grace over time. (This is why a lot of young and immature Christians give a bad impression. It’s taking time, a series of tiny little decisions to leave our old animalistic self and embrace the Spirit in everything you do or say. We are saved in an instant but changed over a lifetime.)
3. Christianity is the only religion that has freedom in music to reach people where they are. Christian music is just as varied as secular music and most of contemporary music sounds just like secular music except with different words. Lots of reasons for that but it’s a beautiful thing to think about. We don’t have to change our style of music, because all music can glorify Him if we are praising Him in it.
4. Christianity is the only religion whose God still lives. His tomb is empty. He was seen by hundreds and hundreds of people after He resurrected. Jewish scholars that weren’t Christian wrote about His resurrection after witnessing his death. Over half of Jerusalem became Christian AFTER He died and resurrected.
5. Christianity is the only religion where God became man to reveal His power and give people a way to come to Him without having to be perfect. That way meant being killed the in most horrible public execution imaginable. Then being resurrected to show He was truly God, the only God that could defeat death.
6. Christianity is the only religion that allows followers into the presence of the Father. We speak to Him anytime anyplace and preferably at all times. We don’t need to be shielded or prepared or go to a certain place or do certain things.
7.Christianity is the only religion in which it’s leader was born of a virgin, lived a perfect life according to God’s Law, and fulfilled countless Old Testament prophecies. I don’t know how people can read the Old Testament and not be totally convinced Jesus was the messiah the prophets spoke about.
8. Christianity is the only religion that has a Holy Spirit living inside of us directly connecting us to God. I know this to be true because I “tried” almost every other religion before I gave in to Gods calling. All other religions are empty, with a theoretical power you cannot speak too. God through Jesus is a person we can speak too, who is still living. God through the Holy Spirit is the power to do all things. The Holy Spirit enables us to trust Him and live without fear by staying sensitive to His leadings and following His Will. He will take you to places you never imagined for yourself when you give yourself up to Him and love Him with all your body mind and soul. That is the real”secret”: trusting Him more than you trust yourself. And its much more exciting, because we are pretty small minded compared to Him.

8 is a good number, I’ll stop there.

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Derek Hill May 9, 2013 at 4:39 pm

AMEN! Kasie that was a wonderful comment! I couldn’t agree more! God is definitely working through you and I was blessed by your knowledge! God bless you!

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Michael May 9, 2013 at 9:21 am

truly inspiring testimony. May God continue to bless you.

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Derek Hill May 10, 2013 at 6:32 pm

Thank you so much Michael! God is good all of the time! God bless you!

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Jack Wellman May 9, 2013 at 10:02 am

Derek, this is such a moving testimony and I thank God for your transparency my friend. I really feel that this will help others who are still today stuck in the much and mire. I don’t know if I could go thru your walk and still come out victorious but I can see now that God can not really use us until we hit rock bottom…or, God can not fix what is not first broken. I thank God for you and your ministry on this site and for knowing you as a brother and friend in Christ Jesus.

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Derek Hill May 9, 2013 at 4:46 pm

Thank you Jack. Yes, when at rock bottom the only direction is up. If God can take Saul and mold him into Paul then we all can all be used in His hands. Thank you so much for your friendship, Jack. You have been a big role model to me and I appreciate the godly life you live and breathe! God bless you brother!

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Josh May 9, 2013 at 11:08 am

Derek,

Thanks so much for sharing this powerful testimony. I loved reading it and seeing how God brought you to Him. What a blessing your writing has been to so many readers!

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Derek Hill May 9, 2013 at 4:49 pm

Thank you Josh! It has been a privilege to write articles for the glory of God! I pray that He will continue to mold me more into what He wants each and every day! God bless you brother!

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Robert May 9, 2013 at 3:18 pm

Derek,
I thank God for all He’s done, and is doing, in your life. He truly is the Source of our Salvation. Yours is truly an inspiring testimony and I am blessed to travel alongside of you in this ministry. God bless you, brother.
Yours in Christ,
Robert

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Derek Hill May 9, 2013 at 4:50 pm

Thank you Robert! I count it a blessing to be involved with such a wonderful group of writers in this ministry, including you sir! I know I have been blessed by everyone who writes for WCWTK and I am blessed to have you as a brother, Robert. God bless you!

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Derek Hill May 9, 2013 at 4:23 pm

Thank you for such kindness Kevin. I can say that God truly is an awesome God! God bless you!

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Njah Gideon May 10, 2013 at 7:38 am

I thank God for your life. The bible says ”Christ died for us while we were yet sinners”, and so, He cannot afford to loose such a precious soul the son’s blood was shed for. I join the heavenly host to rejoice over your soul, for it is never to late to turn to God. God bless you as you remain faithful to Him.
Gideon

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Njah Gideon May 10, 2013 at 7:40 am

Derek,i thank God for your life. The bible says ”Christ died for us while we were yet sinners”, and so, He cannot afford to loose such a precious soul the son’s blood was shed for. I join the heavenly host to rejoice over your soul, for it is never to late to turn to God. God bless you as you remain faithful to Him.
Gideon

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Njah Gideon May 10, 2013 at 7:41 am

Derek,i thank God for your life. The bible says ”Christ died for us while we were yet sinners” Rom.5:8, and so, He cannot afford to loose such a precious soul the son’s blood was shed for. I join the heavenly host to rejoice over your soul, for it is never to late to turn to God. God bless you as you remain faithful to Him.
Gideon

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Derek Hill May 10, 2013 at 6:35 pm

Thank you Gideon! Yes, I am a faithful believer in Christ and I strive my best to live for Him everyday! Thank you for the scripture you quoted. It is such a loving verse because Christ loved us while we were still sinners! God bless you!

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Itasha Smith May 10, 2013 at 11:58 am

This was very inspiring Mr.Hill. I am a 18 yr old christian college student who just finished her freshman year. I went into my first year spiritually equipped but the further I got into the year , the less I used my spiritual weapons to fight off temptations and things that I knew that would distance me from God. It became an on and off battle of me coming back to Him when things started to fall apart and then when everything seemed like it was going great I would stray away again. My last three months were just terrible in that I don’t think I’ve ever been so distanced spiritually with God. I kept saying that over the summer I would get myself back spiritually strong but only God knew how sincere I was because I thought I meant it but maybe I didn’t. Well when I came home from school Tuesday, I realized that I was on the verge of losing HOPE Scholarship. This may sound dramatic but , this was THE WORST FEELING I have ever felt because I knew that I would not be able to pay for school any other way so I would have to sit out a year which would discourage me greatly and work until I got the money. Thinking about how disappointed my family and church would be with me (even if they said they weren’t), and wondering how I could let myself even be put in a situation like this were only a couple of thoughts that took over my mind and emotions. I told my mom that I could possibly be losing it and she did everything she could to make me feel better but what really helped is when she started praying with me . I slowly felt the tension rise off of me and I knew God was working within me. She then gave me one of our church service cds to listen to becaue being in school I hadn’t been to my church in so long. I went to my room ,laid down and listened to it until I fell asleep. I had a dream that I was looking at a computer and my GPA was recorded as a 3.02. When I woke , I told my mom, and she said it was a confirmation dream and to thank God. I did and I continued to pray heavily and claim it and believe it. The next day I opened my facebook page and the first thing I saw was someone from my school’s testimony about making A’s in there hardest classes so I figured grades were posted and went on my account to check. To my surprise I received a 3.06 and I was so relieved and beyond joyful. Throughout this year God told me that if I didn’t want to do things His way then I would stop receiving the blessings and miracles that He has always put in my life. So every promise that I made to Him, when I was down and out will be every promise that I keep to Him now that I am up and about!

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Derek Hill May 10, 2013 at 6:39 pm

That was a wonderful example of prayer in times of trials Itasha! Thank you for sharing your story! It never fails that when we are at the end of our rope Christ can then use us. Stay strong and fervent in prayer! God bless you!

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Dan August 15, 2013 at 9:19 am

Please take a look at this and let me know what you think. I am putting together a team of people to complete and promote it, and I think you should be part of that.

Thanks,

Dan
405-882-7194

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Derek Hill August 15, 2013 at 8:24 pm

Hello Dan. What are you wanting me to look at? What team are you forming together?

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Joel August 21, 2013 at 6:18 am

Thank you sir Derek for sharing your life. It’s so inspring testimony. Your faithfulness to God inspired me more. God bless you sir as always. In Christ…Joel

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Derek Hill August 21, 2013 at 10:40 am

Thank you Joel! God has brought me through many trials for sure, as He does for us all. He is always faithful to us and He loves us all so dearly. Trials are the learning ground of life, and it is so important to always ask God “what do You want me to learn from this?” when going through them. God bless you brother!

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Andrea Guzman November 17, 2015 at 9:33 am

WOW Derek. Minus the smoking and alcohol use, my testimony is the exact same. Divorce, death, discontentment, disconnected. Life was bad for me at a period in my life esp. after my divorce and having to co-parent but God is turning that pain to purpose. He’s repositioning me for His honor and glory. Your testimony is powerful and it reminded me that God cares and in Him we can have peace even when the storms of life are raging. God bless you.

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