Sunday, July7, 2021, I went public for Jesus. Having felt the depths of despair and hopelessness, and having found His hand reaching down to me, I climbed the steps of the baptismal and put my feet in. A video played beforehand recounting the last almost year bringing me from darkness to light. On Sunday I put a death to my old, sinful life and instead was reborn in Christ. My book definitely illustrates the level of stress that I had allowed myself to fall victim to and control me. I did things my way for years with no better outcome. Today, I have Jesus. When something comes my way that I can’t handle, it goes straight up to Him to deal with. I’m not a preacher by any means. I’m not a perfect person by any means, but having a church gives me the resources to get through pretty much anything. If you haven’t found your way there, I would encourage you to do so. If it’s not your thing, don’t worry it wasn’t mine either. I just pray that you find your way there before you let yourself go too far. Self-neglect is painful and leads to some wicked darkness. Jesus Christ is the light of the world and the source of salvation.

The Song That Got Me

My journey to Christ was not easy. It was not joyous. There was a lot of pain and suffering that I kept hidden from a lot of people. When I heard a particular rap song on the radio that was anatomically offensive, I turned off the mainstream radio and began listening to KLOVE. There was a song that played when I needed it most in my life. It hit me like a ton of bricks and made so much sense. This has been the song that drew tears while I was driving for the first several times that I heard it. I began learning it and singing it at the top of my lungs until it hurt. I love this song, and Matthew West has a very strong message in it. I could not believe the relevancy of this song in my life. Then months later I discovered this music video and cried it out again. I knew this song long before I ever heard it, but hearing it broke me of so much pride. I was tired of burying my feelings. It was time for the truth to be told.

Thank You, Viewer

Also wanted to share a message we received from a viewer on Facebook. Thank you again for coming on Good Day PA! 
Name Removed : How can I get a copy of The Double edge sword. That gentleman had me tearing up listening to his an other struggles these special people go through everyday. I always wondered how they function each day doin what they do.. Kudos to this man for his book. Please send this message to this Author.💖💖

Thank you, Ma’am. I hope you enjoy the content you are about to read. For me it isn’t about the book itself, but rather the experience the readers are having and their reactions to it. God bless you, and thank you for your support.

Getting it All Out There

I just concluded my first interview pertaining to my book just minutes ago. I am so grateful to have had this conversation that lasted over an hour with another EMS provider who “gets it.” I am blown away by the very encouraging things he had to say about the book itself. He remarked that there are “so many amazing quotes.” One of the things we discussed was about the fear of putting myself out there to anyone who might pick up the book, but when a fellow paramedic has that much positive feedback, I feel almost selfish for holding as much in as I have over the last 2 decades.

I have never met the host before, nor had the opportunity to work with him or alongside him. And yet over the course of the last hour plus, we just hit some really raw, deep topics that just always seem to linger and get swept under the rug. I cannot begin to express my gratitude for him having me on the show, and I am certainly humbled to be able to speak on the work that was accomplished.

It’s easy for us to operate as human beings with our own plans, our own motivations, and our own personal limits; but this really pulled me out of my comfort zone in such a profound way. This interview is my first of several this month, and I am so grateful that this was the first. I feel so much greater prepared for the others to come.

When we accept God into our lives and turn over our hearts to Him to clean out the debris, the heartache, the past, the false idols, He takes it, He breaks it, He blesses it, and He gives it back to you in a way that is going to open you up to His plan for you. Recently at church, our pastor was explaining this as it pertained to Jesus feeding the 5000. There were 5 loaves and 2 fish, and yet Jesus took it and fed them all, and there were plenty of leftovers.

It’s like He took the stuff that was inside of me weighing me down, He gave me the medium to get it out, He realized that somebody else needed to know what He is capable of, so He gave this book wings.

Rich, thanks for having me on tonight. I really enjoyed the conversation. To those of you who have purchased, read, reviewed, reached out, and shared the book, you all have a very special place in my heart, and I want you to know that. I want you to continue to reach out, continue the talks. Together, we’re going to get this message to the person who needs it at the moment they need it, and we’re going to change their life. We’re going to feed them the spiritual loaves and fish that is going to bless them for the rest of their life. God bless you all.

You’re Not Broken, You Are Chosen

I think the absolute most rewarding part of writing this book has been the ability to reach out to people on a personal level and put my ability to minister to the test (unintentional consequence of the book, but maybe God sees something that I need to explore). This one in particular has absolutely floored me. We have a very similar history in the locations that we worked, but our paths never crossed. She feels damaged, bullied, lost, and is looking for something greater. She has not been afraid to take a break when things got tough, but then what was the price of that? To be chastised and made uncomfortable by the employer? She has pulled so hard on my heart strings, and she has challenged me to reach deeper and minister to her in a way that connects to her, music. I told her she was not allowed to message me again until she heard the song “Truth be Told” by Matthew West. When she responded, this is what I received (used with permission, edited to remain anonymous):

“Thank you so much. I needed to hear that even though I cried. The message is so powerful. I wish I could find a church that embraces that. Every church I’ve ever been to has been about keeping appearances up and keeping up with the Jones. It’s why I’m so disenchanted by organized religion. I feel spiritually broken and have been for a long time. I believe in Jesus but I haven’t connected with him and God in a very long time. That’s the truth. I feel incomplete and often lonely. Over the years I’ve turned to men to try to fill that hole I thought was from being single. I’ve allowed men to use me for money and sex just to try to feel close to someone and feel accepted and loved, and it always leaves me feeling more empty inside. I’ve tried using my career to fill that emptiness and let my professional success and acceptance in the workplace fill that void for me. That works until things go wrong professionally and then I’m back to feeling empty and lost. Things going wrong at work and workplace bullying have preceded both of my residential psychiatric stays in the past two years. I don’t know what to do to feel whole again. Maybe going back and giving church another try would help. Perhaps finding a local celebrate recovery would help to find Christians that also struggle with chronic mental health issues.

I grew up with an emotionally abusive alcoholic father and co-dependent mother and I don’t know if I even know what a normal relationship looks like. I was molested as a child and I’ve been sexually assaulted as an adult. I’ve always felt like damaged goods. I was abused by other kids and bullied all throughout school and told I was ugly and fat. The boys in school used to bark at me like a dog. I had a teacher in elementary school that would make the boys sit with me as punishment if they misbehaved. I was in a constant state of worry and panic as a child due to undiagnosed OCD from age 4-14. I can’t begin to describe the mental anguish of always feeling like you or a loved one will die if you don’t perform compulsive tasks over and over again. Then the depression hit at age 14 and in college my dad’s drinking escalated. My first EMS chief was my only stable father figure through most of college. In EMS I’ve always felt like part of a family and part of something greater. The adrenaline has been the only thing I can feel at times when I can’t feel my emotions. This bullying in the EMS workplace I’ve experienced at two different organizations now hurts really badly. When you aren’t accepted as part of that team, where else do you belong? When your family is so frustrated by your chronic depression that they distance from you, who is left?

Seeing a local school teacher and coach my age, struggling with the same depression I was, hang herself on a call preceded the 2nd inpatient psych stay. Back then, I had nightmares that I was the one hanging in her basement. I couldn’t tell my employer because they found out about the 1st psych stay and were already shunning me. How could I tell them I was having nightmares after a call.”

How can a provider struggling with the emotions of this line of work be left out to dry? Chiefs, take care of your people. Here is a provider whose life could be changed with just some simple kindness. Instead, she is completely ostracized by her coworkers through her employer. I’ve met a lot of managers in my life and it was made clear to me how important they are, but I’ve also met more leaders who have made it clear how important I am.

Somebody else I know suffered a whole lot of persecution. No matter how hard he loved and no matter how many lives he reached out to change, the only thing he got in return was hate. Imagine what that must be like to love until it physically hurts and not receive that kind of love back. It’s hard to imagine until you look at the cross. Jesus saved us from worldly death. If you want His love, all you have to do is ask and accept Him. It’s that easy. His plan for us isn’t always easy. He chooses very interesting people to do his work. If you don’t think you are worthy of a relationship with God, just remember. Noah’s Ark was built by a faithful amateur. The Titanic was built by professionals.