I hope you’ll welcome Joe Chastain as my guest blogger this week. What follows is really a very abbreviated autobiography, one that I hope you’ll find inspiring, especially as we prepare to celebrate Easter in a few weeks. I’ve read Joe’s book and recommend it to you. I believe you can purchase it via the link toward the end of the blog.
Joe, thank you for taking time to pen a guest blog post for me. I’m very appreciative!
When Rebecca asked me to be a guest blogger, I was a bit surprised and honored to do so. I have known Rebecca since we started our sophomore year at Science Hill High School in Johnson City, Tennessee (many years ago!) We reconnected like many of us do, with friends on social media a few years ago. I am impressed by her blog, and really enjoy reading many of her Facebook posts and articles regarding the history of Johnson City, and much more. I am looking forward to reading her book, “Serving with Significance”. She is a great writer.
After graduating from Science Hill in 1975 (the best class ever!), I joined the Air Force where I served in various administrative capacities for 5 years. The last three years of my time in the service, I was stationed at RAF Upper Heyford AFB in Oxfordshire, England. I had the opportunity to travel and visit much of Great Britain and several countries on the European continent. I also studied business management and accounting through the Community College of the Air Force.
After leaving the USAF, I began working in the financial services industry and was working in Knoxville, where I met my first wife. We had two beautiful daughters and I am so proud of both of them. I received a job offer in Johnson City and I relocated our family back home and worked for Heritage Federal Savings and Loan. Over time, our marriage began to struggle, and a large part of that was due to my battle with drinking which eventually led to full blown alcoholism.
During this time, I had a couple of serious car wrecks and by God’s grace, walked away from both of those with just minor injuries when it could have been much worse. I also received a couple of DUIs during this time and as many others do that follow the path of addiction and/or alcoholism, I felt worthless and that I was a complete failure. Divorce was imminent and not being involved as much with my kids just added to my problems and downward spiral towards depression.
I am currently married to my second wife of 20 years and between us, we have four children and four grandkids! I love them all so much and am very proud of them as well. I enjoy many types of sports, and am an avid Tennessee Volunteer fan. I also love the outdoors and going to a family cabin my wife’s dad and brothers built back in the 1980s! It’s a very special place in the mountains of North Georgia.
I am a Christian in faith, and I hope you will be encouraged by a mini version of my testimony and find hope in a way that only God can provide.
When I met my second wife, I knew she was an answer to my prayers. She was a very devout Christian and accepted me as I was; with all the struggles and baggage I carried. As our marriage evolved, I continued to struggle with alcoholism and depression. I had another DUI and spent 8 months in jail. My daughter had just had her first son and the baby had serious medical problems and was in NICU for quite some time. Being in jail, I had no idea what had happened with my first grandson and if my daughters were doing ok as well. My wife was unsure if she was going to continue the marriage or divorce me, which I well deserved; and this was when I hit my rock bottom. My wife had been told by many family and friends that she was crazy if she took me back, and my daughters did not initially want anything to do with me as well, which was understandable.
Fast forward….. Upon my release from jail, my wife, was waiting for me and accepted me back into her life. She is my rock. From this point forward, many amazing and miraculous “coincidences” have happened in our lives as I began to devote myself to studying God’s word and being involved in our church. I began researching information for a book I was writing about God’s mercy and grace in my life, and also about growing up without a father. Until I wrote the book, I had no idea that I had issues with never knowing my earthly father. After the book was published, many events began to take place and I have seen many miracles in my life. By surrendering all my “stuff” to God, I have begun a new journey and have new purpose that I have found through the word of God and by following the teachings of Jesus.
The book is about my failures as a husband and father, reaching my rock bottom, surrendering all to God, and the miraculous events in my life since. If you know of anyone struggling with anything I have mentioned, or believe I could be a witness to them of God’s mercy and grace, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. In addition to my personal facebook page, I have also another page I originally called “I AM my Father’s son” (which is the name of the book). I have recently changed the name of the page to “Joe’s journey and God’s grace”, and am in the processing of updating it to share testimonies, pray for one another, and all things related to living for Christ. Also, if you are interested in reading the book I wrote, it can be found here:
The story is basically a biography of my life, but the book is about God’s grace and mercy, given to me, a sinner. It’s not about me, as the book will indicate: Without Christ I can do nothing.
To God be the Glory!
God bless you all.
Copyright, November 20, 2020 and March 5, 2021 by Joe Chastain and Rebecca Henderson