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Grit & Glory, Songs & Stories

Oct 11, 2022

Most people think of “Imagine Beautiful” as a wedding song. However, for one man, it’s become the soundtrack to his life of recovery. Stay tuned for some interesting twists and turns as the story unfolds as well as a listening challenge.

To hear the song, read the show notes or email Mark, visit the episode webpage.

Welcome to Grit & Glory, Songs & Stories. I'm so glad that you have decided to join us today.

I’m here with a long-time friend of mine, Mike Foote.

Mike has some amazing God-stories that should inspire faith and hope – for your own life or for a person you’ve been praying for during a difficult time in their life.

Mike, welcome to the show. To start us off, would you tell us about a time you thought it was all over and how you were able to overcome.

(Mike) Oh, it's great to be here. Thanks for having me.

(Mike) Oh, well, unfortunately, I mean, for me, I guess I've got a couple of times I, I could choose from. But for me, the one that comes to mind the most, because it was the time that everything really changed was about, well, when we met almost 10 years ago now, I struggled with depression and anxiety my whole life due to some abuse that I suffered when I was a kid. There's some other issues, you know. My father left when I was about a year old, never to be seen again. And I think that when, you know, when a parent who you know, the people in the world who are supposed to love you the most, abandon you, I think that's pretty catastrophic. So there was that. Over the years, you know, I made a lot bad decisions. I got involved in drugs and alcohol, lots of other things, and tended to medicate quite a lot with whatever I could get my hands on. An equal opportunity abuser is how I used to describe myself. And over the years you just kind of go down a spiral. And there have been a couple of times where I, you know, it was a point where I didn't think I would make it past that, but then I would, and then I would. But then about nine and a half, 10 years ago, I was in the worst period of depression and anxiety of my life, which was really saying a lot beause I've been through some pretty, pretty rough times and I was planning my suicide. And just for some context, I’m married. I have a wife and two daughters. My daughters at the time were one and five years old. And I had convinced myself basically that they would be better off without me, or what I actually convinced myself was, I'm gonna die sometime and they're going to be mourning me. What difference does it make when that happens?

You know, in hindsight, obviously that's extremely foolish. I mean, they're, especially at that age, they need a dad. But, so that's just kind of a lead up to I'm planning my suicide, I'm, I'm ready to do it. I'm thinking about how do I make it look like an accident, trying to think of a place, things like that. And I'm working all of that out. And at that time we hadn't been going to church for a while and we had gone to a couple of churches that had some really big issues. They had both split very acrimonious, and we kind of swore off Christians. And we started going to the church that we go to now here in Minnesota. And the second week I was there, met someone who told me about a recovery program that the church sponsors and went to the recovery program the following Monday night. This story about how that happened is also kind of crazy, but, and then I met you and it just, the first thing that happened was I finally was able to humble myself before God. I was, and that's kind what I had been missing all along was I had gotten to a point where I know I can't do this without God. I can't move forward on my own. I don't have the strength to do it. I'm ready to just give up. But God, at the last possible moment, as He likes to do, rescued me by introducing me to someone who told me about the recovery program and then walking in the door that night, I met you, who immediately grabbed me up and, Hey, what's your name? How are you? What's going on? We did the meeting and we chatted afterwards. And, you know, looking back on that, my life didn't change in that moment, in as much as everything's different, oh my gosh, you know, everything's gonna be, you know, peaches and roses from here on out. But what happened was, I got just enough hope to put things off. And that was from me finally giving up what I thought was control and just handing it over to God. And when that happened, He just connected me immediately with a bunch of different people you included, who were able to help me to help me get through that. And it's been a, it's been a long process, I can tell you that I'm completely different now in so many ways. And I think you can attest to that.

(Mark) Absolutely.

(Mike) Than I was, you know, when I walked in there. I still struggle. I mean, don't get me wrong, it's not like I, I don't struggle at all. I still do, but it's to me more normal struggles rather than this awful crushing weight of anxiety and depression. I will say that everything, every good thing that's ever happened to me in life happened because of a relationship. And the first relationship is with Jesus. And out of that has sprung so many others and He just has tended to show up, you know, when I need Him. And like, it just happened again recently. I won't go into that story, but it's at the last possible minute, God showed up and saved me from what might have been a pretty, pretty awful set of circumstances. So I guess for me it, it was all about giving up control, humbling myself and just realizing and admitting that I can't do it, and God, I need you. I'm done without you. And I think that was how II got through that time and that was, that was a watershed moment. It was a game changer because I think once you do that, you, at least for me, I find it extremely difficult to back to the old way of just trying to be, not that I don't from time to time, but I never go back to completely, I can do this, I'm fine. I can white knuckle this because I know I can't. I know where that road leads and God's been faithful ever since.

(Mark) I love your story so much. I think I, I would like to rabbit trail just a little bit. It's more than a rabbit trail really, because the story of how you ran into this person that told you about this recovery ministry is worth talking about just for a couple of minutes here. I think it's, actually key to your story honestly. So if you don't mind, would you tell us a little bit about that?

(Mike) Sure. So as I said, we, we hadn't even really been looking for a church, but we had been encouraged by some family members who were really getting frustrated with us, to be honest. And you guys need to get to a church, you haven't gone in a long time. And I said, fine, okay. So I went to our church, what has been our church home ever since. And by myself one weekend. Didn't like it, thought, I don't know, the music's not that great and the preaching's not that great. And I wasn't in the mood to like anything at that point.

Well the following week I decided to bring my family, my wife and daughters, and we went to the service and afterwards they were having what they called a meet the pastor Sunday, basically saying, you know, hey, if you haven't met the pastor here, come on out and get in line and he would love to chat with you for a couple of minutes. So we said, Oh, well yeah, we'll go meet the pastor. So we go up and we're standing in line and there's a woman there named Lori and she said, you know he's chatting with this other couple, if you don't mind, can you just wait a moment, you know, while you're here, can you please fill out this form just so we can kind of get to know you and maybe contact you and pray for you and things like that.

So I'm filling out this form and I give it to her and she saw my last name and she said, Oh, that's an interesting last name. You know, my sister dated someone with this last name all through high school and I don't have a super common last name. And I said, Well that's really only applicable to me if you're from eastern Iowa. Now, keep in mind that we're hundreds and hundreds of miles away from there right now. And I said, you know, a little town called Dewitt. And she said, I am from Dewitt. And I said, Oh, When we found out that yes, her sister had dated my brother all through high school, I know her sister very well, and I had, I had never met her because she had, I don't know why I hadn't met her, I left to join the Army. But anyway, it was just one of those wild "coincidences" that God throws at you. And so the following week was the week that things were kind of coming to a head for me. And I was walking through the foyer, coming back from getting coffee or something and I saw her and she's like, Hey Mike, how are you? And I said, Oh, you know, I'm actually not doing that great. And I don't know why I was honest at that point. And she said, Oh, what's going on? And I just kind of told her briefly, you know, I've been struggling. And she goes, you know, we have this thing called Celebrate Recovery and it meets on Monday nights and it's tomorrow night because it was Sunday, obviously we're at church. And she said, You should go. So I did. And that was the beginning. You know, it's just amazing to me the way God weaves our lives together. Because one of the reasons, there's no doubt in my mind that that Lori came to Minnesota was to meet me. There's no doubt about it. I mean, many other reasons. Certainly she's an amazing person, but that was certainly one of them. And God meant it to save my life and it did. So I don't know, I mean, I've got, there's so many things that have happened to me that are just like that, that are impossible really without God's intervention. And you can say yes, coincidence, but I mean, at that moment, at that time, picking that church, it's just, it's an awful lot of coincidences if you ask me.

(Mark) It really is. And you know, that, the interesting thing about that too is because--I was on staff too, I was the worship pastor at the time--and, we bounced from campus to campus. So the fact that she was there the day that you ran into her was kind of a critical thing because she bounced from campus to campus as well. And so that's what, you know, there's that such a time as this, you know, it was that moment and I've loved the transformation that's gone on in your life. It's, it's been something else to behold and to walk alongside you and, and to see your family. And, and it's been a beautiful, beautiful piece. I'm so happy about that, Mike.

OK, now that we’ve heard the backdrop of Mike’s Imagine Beautiful story, we’re gonna hit pause for time-sake.

But next week, Mike will be back to share a couple gold nuggets that you don’t want to miss. You’ll see why Imagine Beautiful truly is Mike’s story and how it can be yours as well.

In the meantime, I have a challenge for you as a GGSSPodcast listener – a “What’s Different” challenge.

Go find the song Imagine Beautiful on Spotify, YouTube, Apple or on if that’s easier and see if you can hear the 3 differences within the song.

Let me give you a hint…it’s in the chorus. Shoot me and email and let me know what you discover.

I’ll reveal the answer next week when we dig a little deeper into Mike’s story.