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How a family’s deepest pain was healed

A work injury ruined Dan Fletcher’s life. Then he and his family got a way to start over. Watch the baptism and read the story.

Two weeks after my 28th birthday, I was at work unloading a truck of mattresses, like I did every day.

I was lifting a bed up onto a stack for processing, and I felt a sharp pain in my lower back, and my left leg began to give out on me.

I went to the doctor and found out I had three bulging discs and one ruptured one. I had something called degenerative disc disease, which, in combination with the heavy lifting, led to my injury.

I had a severely pinched nerve, which was killing my leg slowly, and unimaginable back pain.

The emptiness and depression that once consumed my life have been replaced.

Angry at God

For the next two years, I suffered through surgery, physical therapy, spinal injection. I tried countless medications to get better.

From day one I was different. I was angry. I was depressed. I cried all the time. I was changed. I hated myself and who I had become.

I was so strong and powerful before, and now felt like I was weak, vulnerable and would never amount to anything.

I was already angry at God for taking my father six years after a massive heart attack left him brain-damaged and on a feeding tube. He required constant care from me and my brothers.

I felt guilty for subjecting my wife and children to the ugliness that was now me.

Now I was angry at God for destroying who I was; who I thought I was supposed to be. I was depressed because I couldn’t ever go back to the man and father I once was.

I felt guilty for subjecting my wife and children to the ugliness that was now me; guilty for yelling at them for no real reason. I was ashamed of myself for not being able to provide for them like I once did.

I thought many times that they would be happier and better off without me. Spiritually and emotionally I never felt whole.

An Invite to Start Over

It’s been 4 years since I was injured. But I no longer feel lost.

In November 2016, a friend suggested we come to church with them at this new place called NewSpring.

I was reluctant because I had turned my back on God, and I thought he had abandoned me, but my children really wanted to go back to church, and so we went for them.

After New Years, the series “Start Over” was exactly what I needed.

I longed for joy. I realized that’s what I was missing. I felt my hard heart begin to soften again.

We realized that longing we were feeling was for Jesus.

And like a slap to the face, my eyes were opened. God didn’t abandon me. He wasn’t punishing me. I had a small glance at His plan.

Without those tragedies, I wouldn’t be who I am. I wouldn’t have been put on a path back into God’s grace, so he could build me into the man He always intended me to be.

I needed to start over so I could play the part He needed in His master plan.

In February, I went to Connect to see what it was about and see what next step I could take, and I was led to a men’s bible study group — exactly what I needed to help me on my journey.

The next month, I took my wife, Erica, and daughter, Alysa, with me to Connect. Afterwards, we took a huge step together: We all got saved.

My wife had felt the same longing and feeling of being lost that I did. We realized that longing we were feeling was for Jesus.

Our whole family got baptized together in April 2017.

Renewed and Restored

The emptiness and depression that once consumed my life have been replaced with a new sense of self and a love that I had been missing for so long.

Since we have started at NewSpring, my wife and I have grown closer; my children are happier. We’re experiencing more joy and more confidence and less anxiety on a day-to-day basis.

The kids are open to come talk with me to discuss issues that they are having. Before, a lot of times, it was, let’s avoid dad and avoid the problems.

I now can’t wait to see what God has in store for us.

I’ve learned to be a lot more open with my wife. A lot of times I’ve kept my problems and concerns to myself and suffered in silence. It’s helped me realize she is there as a partner and not just a bystander.

I had another surgery a few months ago, and I’m on the verge of recovery, where I should be able to return to an absolutely normal life that I didn’t think was possible.

I completely attribute the success of my surgery to Christ. He afforded me the opportunity for healing.

A lot of the pain has gone away, and it has allowed us to do more things as a family, like go on walks together.

I work in real estate part time, but I’m searching for a full-time position again.

Instead of fearing what troubles the future will bring, I now can’t wait to see what God has in store for us.

Press the play button at the top of the page to watch the baptism.

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