Everything Fell Apart
I'd like to tell you that what youíre about to read is really
important and is going to impact your life. The truth is, I'm probably not
going to tell you anything you haven't heard before, but let me encourage
you to read it anyway.
Raised in a Christian Home
I was raised on a dairy farm in the Fraser Valley along with six
sisters and one brother. It was a beautiful, quiet place. As a preschooler, I
often took our dog along the creek to fish over the hill at the back of
our property. My parents always taught me about God and his Son Jesus,
so as I walked, I would often think about God. Was He bigger than my
dad? How long was forever - longer than a Sunday morning service?
I also did all the things that children do in a Christian home: Sunday
school, choir practice, young peopleís groups, and so forth. I did
them all without complaining Ė until I was 15. It was Sunday morning
and Dad and I had just finished chores. I was slow coming in from the
barn and Dad told me to hurry up because I was going to be late for
church. It was that morning that I told him I wouldn't be going to church
anymore. My dad was a big guy - very strong and with a fuse so short it
couldn't be measured - so, I was expecting the worst. Instead, he looked
at me with the most hurtful look on his face. I had to leave the room.
I just couldn't look at him.
My Heart Was Hardened
Something happened to me that day. I started to get hard inside. Before
long, I was drinking on weekends and dropped out of school. By the time
I was seventeen, my behavior was such that Mom and Dad asked me to
leave home. There is a lot of security in an orderly Christian home and
when I was on my own, I was lost. I continued to drink heavily, and many
nights I slept in my car in some gravel pit or behind somebody's barn,
because I was too drunk to drive home. I couldn't find a job good enough
to support myself, so, out of desperation, I joined the army.
After six months of basic training, I was posted to Germany. When
youíre in your late teens or early twenties and youíre living in a place
where anything goes, that's how you live. Cheap booze and lots of
pretty girls became my lifestyle. After three years, I came home. The first
thing I did was visit my Dad, who happened to be clearing land with his
bulldozer. When he saw me, he shut off the machine and came over. It
was a long time before he could speak; he was so glad to see me.
However, it didn't take long before my life was right back where it had
been before I left. About a year later, I met a gal whose father was
also a heavy drinker, so my behavior didn't surprise her. We were soon
married soon and eventually had two daughters.
One of the things my Dad taught me was how to work hard. I started my
first business when I was in my mid-twenties, and it went quite well. A
few years later, I bought a large poultry farm, which also did well.
Even with this success, though, my drinking was always a problem. It
affected my marriage and family so much that I knew I had to do something.
So I went to my first Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meeting. To my
disappointment, all I heard that evening was these guys talking about God. What
a disappointment. I thought they were actually going to teach me
something about how to quit drinking.
A Brief Attempt at Change
Even so, I made up my mind I was not going to drink anymore and I
actually started taking my kids to church. I got so religious I think even
God couldn't stand me! But two years later, I began drinking again.
I don't know why, but the evening I started drinking, I stopped in to
see my Dad, who was widowed by now (Mom had passed away ten years
earlier). I told him I couldn't keep up this lifestyle anymore and I was
going back to drinking. Again, Dad had the wisdom not to say much, although
I could tell he was very sad. He was a reactionary, so for him not to
react to the things I was doing was a gift from God.
When I was in my mid-thirties, I had the chance to sell both of my
businesses, so I did. By then I had built up enough equity that if I were
wise with my money, I wouldn't have to work any more. So I bought the
big house on the hill. I had everything that was supposed to make me
happy, but was the most miserable I had ever been.
One Sunday morning I was in bed sick and hung over. For the first time
in years I prayed: "God, I have everything I want, and I'm still
unhappy. There has to be more to life than this. I ask that you do whatever
it takes to get me right with you. If you have to take all of this away,
then do it."
I'm here to tell you - God answers prayer!
Everything Fell Apart
Not long after I prayed that prayer, I sold our big house on the hill
and bought a large acreage, where I built a new house. It was just about
that time that things started to come apart. Our marriage was a mess,
and my finances were going down the drain. Even though lots of good
deals came my way, I couldn't seem to keep any of the money I made. Things
got to the point, that for the first time in many years, I had to go to
work for someone as an employee. That was very hard on my pride. I took
a job as a heavy equipment operator in a road building camp. It was
very much like the army: the tougher and cruder you were, the more respect
you got from the other men. Letís just say I had a lot of respect.
When I was home, I would stop in to see my Dad. He was always glad to
see me, and I always knew he cared about me. I also knew he loved the
Lord and that he had something I thought I would never have. You see, by
this time I thought I was doomed to hell and there wasn't anything I
could do about it. One Sunday afternoon, I visited Dad prior to him going
for some exploratory surgery. After our visit, I headed back to camp.
That Wednesday, I got a call telling me Dad had passed away. By this
time I was so hard, I told my wife I wouldn't be coming home. I didn't
want to see her or my Christian brothers and sisters. I knew going home
wouldn't bring back the one person I knew who loved me. But once again,
Without my knowing, Dad had changed his will two days before he passed
away, naming me executor of his estate. My sister Katherine had her
son-in-law drive her out to the camp to tell me. In spite of how dirty I
was, she gave me a big hug, and I nearly cried. And so, I had to go
My Fatherís Legacy
It took me a week to take care of Dad's business. When everything was
completed, there were only two things left: his bedside Bible and a book
by Hal Lindsey called The Late Great Planet Earth. I threw both of them
in my bag, went on a two-day drunk, and then headed back to camp.
Over the next two weeks, I started to read some of the verses Dad had
underlined in his Bible, more out of curiosity than anything. I also
began to read Hal Lindsey's book. I remember reading a particular passage
where it said that when Jesus died on the cross, He died for all of my
sins: past, present, and future. I stopped. I had never heard that
before. It must be a misprint, I thought. I must have read it five or six
times before the lights came on and I realized that Christianity had
everything to do with Christ dying for me and very little to do with Frank
being good enough.
Talk about excited! I got down on my knees and accepted Christ's
forgiveness for my past sins and asked him to be my Savior now and in the
future. For the first time in my life I felt free. I got up off my knees
and was jumping up and down on my bed yelling, I'm free! I'm free!
That was ten years ago. I'd like to tell you that since that time
everything has been great. The truth is, my marriage still came apart, my
kids still had to go through our divorce and I still lost all of my
money. But for the first time I could turn to God and have peace through all
I also faced the fact that I was an alcoholic. Through AA, I was able
to clean up the wreckage of my past and become free to get on with the
rest of my life. Nearly a year later, I met my childhood sweetheart,
June, who had also given her life to Christ. We were married not long
afterwards and God has continued to do great things in my life. My kids
have learned to trust me again and I have two stepchildren that love me
and four grandchildren who love to see me. Each one of our children and
their spouse has made a commitment to Christ.
One-and-a-half years ago, I prayed that God would give us opportunities
to share what He has done for us. A month later, June and I found
ourselves in the Amazon with a JESUS film project, where we saw hundreds of
people come to know Jesus for the first time.Then, last October, my
brother Don and I traveled to the Ukraine with Campus Crusade for Christ.
We got to see the house where Dad and his family lived. We also shared
Christ with many people including those living on a military base.
Again, hundreds of people heard and responded to the good news of Jesus for
the first time.
A Fatal Diagnosis
Before I left for the Ukraine, June and I knew there was something
wrong with me physically. I had been very fatigued and was stumbling and
tripping a lot. I went to see a specialist, and on December 16, 1994, I
was diagnosed with ALS, more commonly known as Lou Gehrig's disease.
People with ALS have a life expectancy of between two to five years after
symptoms appear. I've probably had this for one-and-a-half years
already, so I don't know how much time I have left. I asked God to remove the
fear of death, and he has done that. I also asked Him to make my life
count for whatever time I have left.
Shortly after my diagnosis, a friend of mine at work died of cancer. He
was a Christian, and he asked me to do his funeral service. I had the
opportunity to share my faith with about 150 people, a number of them
non-churched construction workers. I don't know if any one of their lives
were changed as a result of my story. My job is simply to share what
God has done in my life and let Him use me where He can. When you know
you haven't got long to live, the fear of man is gone, because you have
nothing to prove. But youíre all in my shoes, really, because whether
we have a terminal illness or not, each day, weíre all one step
closer to meeting Jesus than we were yesterday.
What Will it be Like?
I sometimes wonder what it will be like to be all alone with Jesus Ė
to sit beside a quiet stream in the mountains and ask Him all the
questions I have; to stand and look into the face of the One who died for me
and tell Him how much I love Him. Isn't it great that He isn't some al
being but rather a real and living God we all get to spend eternity
with? Can you imagine touching the Christ who died on the cross and rose
again? To never wonder again: Was that God talking or was it just me?
I know there have been very few changes in my life that Frank has made.
Everything that has changed in my life has come about when I've
surrendered to God by the power of His Holy Spirit. He has made the changes,
and Heís still doing it. I'm so thankful for a Christian Mom and Dad
that never gave up on me. When I want to judge my own children, Iím
often reminded of my Dad and how he loved me unconditionally. The Bible
"If you who are evil know how to give good gifts to your children, how
much more will your father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask
him?" (Matthew 7:11, emphasis mine).
Where this journey leads me is truly in the hands of God. I just ask
for His mercy and grace to accept all He has for me.
You Can Have it Too!
If youíre reading this and have yet to invite Jesus to be your avior,
there will never be a better day than today. It's just as easy and as
free as it was for me back in that road camp. There's no magic in any
particular words, but if God is speaking to you, don't wait. Don't harden
your heart one more time.
If there's unforgiveness in your heart, deal with it. Don't wait. You
can walk in freedom and itís wonderful. Ask God to show you if there's
anything you need to deal with and then ask Him for the courage to deal
with it. Heíll give it to you. He is always faithful.
If you use Frank's story would you mind using a link to his story on
our website: http://www.thoughts-about-god.com/stories/krause_f.htm
I am Frank's niece Pat Kehler.
Testimony submitted to the Breadsite. To submit yours click here.