Caution: Reading this book may change your life!
Is God real? What about Jesus? Do miracles really happen? This book will help you answer those questions. It will change your thinking and possibly your life. Learn about one man's experiences that changed everything when heaven's light came to earth.
A true account about growing up in a difficult home situation. When he finally forgives his father a door is opened to a different life with his real father. Inspiring and emotional. This book will help anyone to discover their purpose and potential in life.
Read about the amazing miracles that happened to show and prove that God is waiting for you to ask, and come to Him.
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Blessed by the Light
By Todd Thompson
AuthorHouseCopyright © 2011 Todd Thompson
All right reserved.
Chapter OneGrowing Up
One of the earliest memories of growing up was when I was about four years old. I heard screaming and crying upstairs from my mom. I went up there with my older brother and sister, who were about five and six years old at the time. Our dad was trying to drown our mom in the bathtub. I remember it as if it were yesterday. The fear and helplessness was paralyzing. I remember us kids talking about getting help from someone. We were crying and yelling at our dad to stop it. It was like a bad dream. My older brother did go to get help. He ran over to the neighbors and they called the police. Our mom was saved that night by God's grace.
The last memory I have of my dad, which was the last time I saw him, was when I was a junior in high school. We had finally moved out for good to another place. It was an older house, but we didn't care. Man, we were so happy, because he was not around. We didn't care that we lived off of the government cheese (and other government food) and that we had to use food stamps. We loved not having to live in fear. We didn't care that we wore clothes from garage sales. I didn't care as much that his name would still come up on the radio when he would get into trouble with the law, which was embarrassing and humiliating the older I got. It was great: we could have friends over and do normal stuff for once.
However, the last time I had to deal with him physically was this night. It was a very cold night in January in 1982. A friend of mine and I were hanging out and actually doing some homework. My younger brother and sister and mom were home. Suddenly mom yelled out, "He's here," and then crash, he broke down the first door with an ax handle. I told my friend to take the two little ones downstairs and hide. I looked out and he was now breaking in the third door, on the porch. I grabbed my mom and a good-sized knife on the counter while we ran around to the other side of the living room. He came walking in, and I had my mom next to my right side, with the knife ready.
I was praying furiously, God please make it so that he cannot see us. Send your angels. I knew that I would have to confront him and it would not be pretty. I did not want to kill him, but I was ready to do what I had to do. I thought that I would have to injure him for sure by beating him to the punch. I remember being calm. Mom was trying not to cry and I was ready. He walked around the corner and was about seven or eight feet away from us. It was slightly dark, and he stopped. I turned my head slightly and was looking straight at him. We were against the wall and I could swear he was looking not at us, but through us. It was so amazing that he could not see us. This seemed to take forever. I was waiting for him to swing that weapon at us and I was going to use mine on his shoulder area. I just wanted to wait first, while still beating him to the first move.
He walked out of the room and back outside. I waited about a minute or so, then ran out to the kitchen and called the police to come over. It was freezing in the house with the doors off. I looked up; the phone was near the front doors and he was coming back in. I thought, Oh man, and then the cops showed up. They were having a standoff with him and my older brother was outside and tackled him. They also found a gun on him.
The more I thought about that night, the more I know that God saved us. The praying my mom and I did worked! If he had seen us it would have been over.
I didn't know he had a gun. I think he had gone back to his car to get it and was coming back to the house. I also thought, What if I had killed him? That would not have been easy to live with. But we had survived—again. Of course everyone found out about it in town and it was on the radio the next day. It was hard dealing with the craziness and/or embarrassment of our dad doing stuff like this. I just tried to do the best I could and work hard at not letting it get to me.
You can probably figure out that most of the years growing up before that were not that great either. They weren't, but we did learn that we could rely on God for protection and help. Growing up was very hard, but we were becoming survivors. We relied on each other, our mom and our grandparents as well. As a little kid I used to pray so hard at night when he would come home drunk and start hitting our mom or one of us, and I would keep praying until it stopped, usually after an hour or two, sometimes more. We would worry, cry, and pray. I think back and wonder how we got through all of that. These are some of the times when God protected us. God saved us well over a hundred times growing up. I was in first grade when he burned our house down. Fortunately, we were staying at our grandparents place at the time. From time to time we would leave and stay with them or with friends when things got really bad. But he would never leave for good and law enforcement never did enough. He might be in jail overnight and that was it. As we were growing up, he left and came back many times. He would also take us all out in his car and say he was going to roll it or run into something. He never actually did wreck the car, but I remember the crying and yelling. He would keep threatening that he was going to do it, and I thought that he would. I also remember that law enforcement was afraid of him. There is no way that today a person could get away with so much. One time the deputy sheriff came over to talk to him about something he had done. After arguing for a couple minutes, R. T. (as I will refer to our dad) hit him so hard he was out cold, lying over the stove. The deputy crawled out to his car and left. He never came back either. R. T. was never arrested for that, unbelievable.
It was the same with social services. Everyone knew what was going on, but there was never any help from the Department of Human Services or anyone else. Maybe nothing was ever reported or those services were not available back then. Things were different in the 70s, I guess. As a kid I just remember hoping that someone would step in and help, but it didn't happen that way. It didn't stop at all.
Not long after that we were at our grandparents' place out in the country. We got a call that R. T. was up on a hill with a high-powered rifle and was going to shoot at us. After a long afternoon, a relative found him up there with his rifle and drinking beer. I don't remember any shots being fired, but it created another big, messed-up deal.
When my brother and I were in upper elementary, around fifth and sixth grade, R. T. had new adventures for us. During the day he would check out old abandoned farms to see what they had. He would then wake us up late in the night and say we were going to hunt rabbits. We would go with him to these spooky places out in the middle of nowhere and take stuff out of these houses. We used to be so scared, staying close to each other as much as we could. We couldn't use flashlights and I remember always grabbing some kind of tool for a weapon and putting it in my back pocket. We also took scrap metal and junk to sell. We would get home and go to bed, but still go to school. One time we were up until morning so that we could go sell the stuff to a guy. A week or two went by and he told us, "Are you guys ready to go rabbit hunting again?" Boy, did I ever dislike this guy. We knew this was wrong, but we had to do what he told us to do. Being scared will certainly make you pray.
In regards to praying, we were Catholic and lived close to the church. I was an altar boy, some weeks attending Mass every day of the week. I always felt safe and peaceful at church. I always thought I could feel the presence of God there the most. We also attended a Catholic elementary and middle school. I did always feel that God was with me, and I prayed to him a lot.
It gave me a sense of peace, and I knew he was present. But why was all this stuff always happening with our dad? Our mom had many meetings with the priest, whom we liked a lot. Every time she said she was going to see him about R. T., I was hopeful. We saw the priest as being close to God, and God would probably do what he asked for. Things pretty much stayed the same, though. We would continue to hope and pray. I knew we really couldn't rely on anyone but God himself. At an early age, I had a relationship with God. I always felt that I could never be hurt with him at my side. This was really my only hope I had, even at a young age. Nobody else could help us.
We moved out to another place to rent for a while. I was now in middle school and started to engage in juvenile delinquent behaviors. I would drink, smoke, and do stupid stuff with some friends we didn't care about anything and just wanted to have fun. I learned these behaviors and was now trying them out. I finally came to my senses; this wasn't right and it wasn't me. I got involved in sports and that helped me to set some goals and to focus on positive things. I quit doing that stupid stuff and concentrated on sports for the most part.
When my brother and I were in junior high, our dad had a new job for us. He would take us to load scrap and junk metal. Over the summers we would take turns, going out with R. T. all day. Was this fun or what? He would pay us a few bucks a day and all the water we wanted, from morning until dark. I usually didn't say anything to him all day, I just did what he told me and made sure I didn't make him mad. I would just throw the junk in and made sure it was stacked right. These were the longest days of my life. We couldn't wait for school to start just to get away from him. On some of the worst nights, he would stop in a bar and I would have to sit there all dirty, waiting for him to finish. I had never disliked anyone like this. By the time we would get home most nights, it was too late to do anything. But I was helping to provide for our family—that was the only good thing about it.
Starting high school proved to be a good thing. Throwing this junk metal around all day got me into pretty good shape. This proved to be helpful in sports, and that's all I thought about, and practicing whenever I could. It was something positive and fun too. But at the same time, R. T. was not changing at all. He seemed to be getting even worse. One night he was hitting my mom and I was there. I wish I had grabbed him or something, but I stood there, and he kept saying, "Come on. I'll put you in the hospital." I kept staring at him. I was a freshman and it still bothers me today. I just kind of froze there. He stopped, did a few things to me, and left. Mom had to go to the hospital that night. I could have done a lot more. It bothers me writing about it. It's hard not to cry thinking about this stuff again. By God's grace she was all right and things were back to being okay for a while that year.
Our family never talked about anything when he was around. We always had to be quiet. We couldn't have any friends over, and most were too scared to come over anyways. We never talked to anyone about what was going on, knowing they would hear about it anyways. I just went on trying to be as normal a kid as possible and separating myself from this stuff. I started to resent the authorities, who refused to step in and help. I also was not proud of my relatives on his side, who would not intervene. They would all stay out of it and stay away. Nobody had any courage to help, except our grandpa and grandma, and all this was very stressful on them. People sure liked talking about what R.T. was doing, but nobody ever did anything about it.
Some other things happened and we moved out to our grandparents' place in the country. We really liked it there, but it was hard on them. They got us an older place back in town to move into and we were in heaven. I was still mad at myself for not doing enough the year before, when he was hitting mom. One weekend, I was drinking some beer with my friends and planned to go over to where he lived and fight him, one on one, for everything he had done to us. I was pretty pumped up as I walked up to the door. I pounded on the door and it was locked. I was planning on punching him as many times as I could when he opened the door. He never came to the door. I don't think he was there. We left, but I would be ready for the next opportunity.
There was a court hearing that we kids had to go to and testify. R. T. told all kinds of lies and said very hurtful things about some of us. He was put in jail for a while after he got caught stealing crates of gunpowder from some abandoned farm. The news on the radio was embarrassing, but at least we didn't have to live with him. I couldn't separate myself from this guy. The next and last time I saw him was when he broke in. Like I mentioned earlier, I was ready and willing that night to do whatever I had to do. God had a plan for my life. He was waiting for me to commit to him totally. I thought a little here and a little there for God was good enough. It wasn't. You have to surrender your life to God and commit to him totally. I wasn't doing that. I was relying mostly on myself, and I would pray only when I needed Him to help me. I didn't have a true relationship with God. Perhaps I had when I was younger, but now I felt as if I didn't need him as much anymore. R. T. was gone and I was older.
The church I grew up in did not focus on developing a relationship with God and giving your life to Jesus. It was based on what you did, your works, and God was viewed as someone far away. He might hear your prayers or he might not. You could pray to the saints for intervention or go to the priest. I did that, but it wasn't the right way for me. I wanted more and needed more. But I would put that off for the time being.
Chapter TwoMoving On
I devoted my time and energy to playing sports at this point. That's all that mattered to me. My friends and I would lift weights, run, or play basketball. If we were not playing it, we were watching games on TV. It was a good outlet and a great way to learn self-discipline, teamwork, hard work, and sportsmanship. I would even shovel the snow at night at the park to shoot hoops, no matter how cold it was. This was all good and all for the time being. Even though R. T. was out of the picture, I was still dealing with some emotional scar tissue. It was all emotional stuff now. I wasn't relying on God nearly as much anymore, although he was holding on to me. The sports stuff was going well, until I broke a bone in my leg during a football game. I didn't know it was broken even though the pain was excruciating. For about a week, I tried to tape it and play. Then I went to the doctor. I had some problems with that injury for a long time. It healed, but I had constant pain. This brought me back to God again, because all I could do was pray about the pain and practice and play through it. I thought I was cursed or something now.
This went on for a couple of years and several more surgeries. I could relate to Job in the Bible somewhat. I thought it had to be some kind of test of faith. I would become one of the team captains in several sports and homecoming king. Sports proved to be a good thing as long as I did not rely totally on it for my happiness and success, as it would soon pass, as most things do.
I went on to college and pretty much did everything on my own. I majored in teaching and coaching. I wanted to have a positive impact on kids' lives. I also liked the idea of having summers off. During college I participated in some sports, but it was hard and I didn't play that much. It was still worth it. At this time in my life, I had become much removed from God, from praying and thinking about him and talking to him as I did when I was younger. I was not living as a Christian should and I was not relying on God whatsoever. I was only focused on achieving and only looking out for myself. I could not have been more selfish. I always thought I had a good heart and was a caring person even then, but I really didn't feel obligated to anyone.
I had some anger issues from the past. I would not take guff from anyone. I would put people in their place and it wouldn't even bother me. I would also fight anyone at any time if there was a reason to. I wasn't afraid of anyone. I wouldn't back down from anyone, even if he was twice my size. This isn't a good or healthy way to live. I finally got over this, but it was not of my own doing. I had moved from God, but He didn't move from me, He was still working in my life and He still loved me as much as ever. He had too, that is His nature. Mercy and grace and love is what God is. I didn't realize this at the time, but looking back I certainly do now.
Excerpted from Blessed by the Light by Todd Thompson Copyright © 2011 by Todd Thompson. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Table of Contents
Chapter 1: Growing Up....................1
Chapter 2: Moving On....................9
Chapter 3: My Real Father....................14
Chapter 4: Miracles....................20
Chapter 5: Bringing God Back into the Public Schools....................33
Chapter 6: The Enemy....................39
Chapter 7 School Number One....................45
Chapter 8 School Number Two....................53
Chapter 9 Lessons Learned....................59
Chapter 10: Go For It!....................64
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Awesome with great true stories about God's love and miracles. It is very motivating and great for anyone to read. This book will make your faith stronger. Just an ordinary guy that we