Hello, Noah’s friend here.
My name is Mike Gardipee.
I am 45 years old.
I have 11 beautiful children, three grandchildren, and one more on the way.
Today I am blessed and have a relationship with six of my children, and I hope one day to have a loving relationship with all of my children.
I know in my heart that this day will come.
I work hard every day on self-improvement and building my relationship with my loving God, who has never lost faith in me.
I was lost in the darkest parts of this world, suffering in addiction and causing pain to everyone in my path.
Today my loving God has filled my heart with love and has guided me into his loving light. I want to share my journey from the darkest depths of addiction to the loving light of God. I am sharing this with the world in hopes that it will help another before they step into the same darkness that I have personally experienced.
There have been two life-changing moments in my life.
One led me into the darkness of addiction and one that led me into the loving light of God.
My journey into the darkness started when I was seven years old. My mother and father went out, drinking one night, and came home fighting. My little brother and I went to our rooms as we always did when they fought. As we laid in our beds that night, the last words that I would ever hear come from my mother’s mouth were shouts at my father as she screamed, “I will fucking show you!” I heard my mother slam her bedroom door. I don’t remember if I opened the door or if she did, but I will never forget what came next…
My mother starred at me with eyes filled with a mixture of rage and confusion. I could not say a word to her, as if I was paralyzed by fear. Then I heard the sound of the gun, and my mother fell to the ground. I could not move or quite understand at the moment what was happening. Then I saw the blood coming from my mother. All was lost at that moment; any light in my life was gone. My mom was gone.
I still didn’t want to believe that my mother killed herself.
She loved me. Why would she leave my brother and me alone with my father?
The day of her funeral, I knew it was all real.
I remember walking that long path to her casket and stepping up to view my mother. I reached out to touch her, and she was as cold as ice.
Once again, I was paralyzed, lost in fear and despair.
I blamed myself for my mother’s death because weeks before she found the courage to leave my father, but I was too scared to leave with her.
In the end, she would not leave without me, and now she is gone forever.
Anger and guilt engulfed me at the age of seven.
I was drowning in the darkness and found comfort only in a bottle of whiskey.
The same rage and confusion that was in my mother’s eyes that night filled and led me down the path of destruction.
The life-changing moment that led me into the loving light of God was when I was being led into a federal courtroom for sentencing on conspiracy for the distribution of methamphetamines. The only two people in that courtroom for me that day was Kara, my kids’ mom, and my daughter Makenzie.
I remember looking into their eyes and seeing only sadness and pain as they told me they loved me.
The judge told me to stand as he handed down my sentence, and as soon as he said, “I sentence you to 188 months,” all I heard behind me was my daughter’s screams as she yelled, “God, no please.”
That scream reached me so deep.
I don’t even know how to put it into words.
As I turned to look at my daughter, I saw her mother holding her while she cried. For the first time, I felt the pain I was causing my children.
I tried to tell my daughter that I was sorry and that I loved her, but as I opened my mouth, no words would come out. I was choking on the words that I wanted to say. And as I tried to walk over to her, they grabbed me and told me I could have no contact, and they led me out of the courtroom.
When I got back into my cell, I fell to my knees and asked God to take away the pain that my daughter was experiencing, and for the first time, I meant it.
I pleaded for God to give it all to me, “please don’t let my children suffer from this pain any longer.”
I knew I was the cause of their pain, and I surrendered that day. Because I finally realized I was lost, and my heart was filled with anger and guilt.
There was much more in this prayer, and boy did God answer, and this is the journey I intend to share.
First, you must know and understand who I was before you can see who I have become.