David Holmes

So lets get down to it

I was born on the 20th of August 1961, the third of four children, all boys, so life was pretty competitive and interesting at times, but we got on pretty well considering. I was four when I broke my thigh while playing on a hay stack with my brothers. I spent seven weeks in hospital and whilst there caught Polio. This left me with no muscle in my right calf.

My older brothers were both good at football, in fact my eldest played professionally for Huddersfield Town. My leg left me with a disadvantage, but I have never seen it as a disability, just something to get over. I wasn’t the greatest at football; my plan was simple, if the ball got by me the man never would. I think I would get a red card or two today!

At school I was more bothered about messing around with my mates than working. I had a great time. I’m not sure my teachers did, they never gave me much hope. One of them said to me “Holmes you have something missing between your ears” they were very supportive that way! My Dad said “son, the only way you will pass your exams is by what you have learned from TV.”

What happened next was to shape the rest of my life. I was 15 and had been invited to a youth meeting where two guys were singing and talking about having a relationship with God. A relationship with God? Why should He care about me? They talked about someone who had changed their lives. That night I found something… no, not something… someone that gave me hope and a future; I found that God loved me just as I was.

My life changed from being a no hoper at school to finishing 5th in my year. Now that was transformation!

Down under

I left school and became a mechanical apprentice working down the coal mines. My faith was real in the midst of a hard, dark environment. People would ridicule me for my faith, but interestingly they would always find me when they wanted someone to talk to when they had a problem.

One day we were repairing a machine and the whole roof collapsed around us. The guy next to me was buried under the roof that had fallen and we had to dig him out and carry him to the surface on a stretcher – thankfully he just suffered a few broken bones. The only bit of roof left was where I was standing! One guy said “I don’t believe in God but that must have been God looking after you, that was impossible.” Over the years I’ve seen God do lots of impossible things, but more about that later.

Even in the dark depths of the earth and the darkest places of life God is with you.

Let down

I had been going out with a girl for three years, when we got engaged to be married. We even bought a house together and were busy doing it up ready for the wedding; it needed a lot of work doing, and a lot of money to do it up. I would be working overtime and when I wasn’t doing overtime I was working on the house. In the busyness I didn’t realise the girl I was to marry had been spending time with a guy she had met at work. One day just a few months before the wedding she told me she didn’t love me any more, and called off the wedding. To say I was devastated would be an understatement. I lost about 4 stone/26kgs (some would say that it was a fringe benefit). My heart ached with a pain so deep. Yes it felt like my heart had been broken.

I got some interesting advice at that time from many different people, some wanting to take me out and give me a good time so I could forget it all, drown my sorrows you may say. I would wake up the next morning still with my sorrows, still with my heart breaking and broken. You know who healed my heart? Not the booze, not time, not another girl. It was God, He says He can heal the broken hearted and He did. As I asked Him to, He began to bring healing to my life.

About 15 months later I was married to Ali, she was and still is great! We’ve been married over 30 years! She is my best friend, my soul mate and the mother of our two great children Bridie and Sam. You know what, I’m sure glad I married Ali, sometimes things work out better than you had ever planned.

Down but not out

I remember when I left British Coal. I had a good job, good pay and on the whole things were going well. The only downside was getting up at 4am every morning and being as black as coal by the end of my shift.

I was approached by another company to work for them and even though it meant turning my back on a sizeable redundancy payment when my pit closed, it felt the right thing to do, so off I went. Six months after joining them they went bust! What a mess! I was the last one to join the company, so I thought I would be the first out. I was angry with myself, angry with them and angry with God! This was not what was supposed to happen; talk about “out of the frying pan into the fire”.

There didn’t seem a way forward and there was no way back. I was not happy – this was not how I had planned it. We had prayed about it and put our trust in God. What we didn’t know was Castrol Oils, a blue chip company, wanted this company’s technology and to get it they had to buy the company. Castrol only kept two people on out of the existing workforce and I was one of them. God made a way forward!

Later I was to realise that the training I received at Castrol, would be invaluable to my future. I learned so much that was to equip me in other parts of my life. I guess God knew what it was all about!

Down south

One thing we had believed for a number of years was that we would spend some time overseas. That would be our next move – Zimbabwe. I can hear some of you saying where is that? It borders the north of South Africa. We had been asked by a couple who lived out there to help them in the work they did as missionaries.

We worked with them in feeding the poor, looking after orphans from families where the parents had died from Aids (33% of the adult population were HIV positive). We fed well over 100 families each week from our gate and each week someone in the families died from Aids. It couldn’t help but affect your life. What we experienced there was challenging, enlightening and life changing. We saw God do things that you could only put down to what we would call a miracle. You may think I’ve lost it now, but keep reading.

Water is life in Africa, no rain, no food; it’s as simple as that! We were in the middle of several years of drought where people were starving and dying, we needed rain. So we gathered Christians from around the nation and prayed for rain. That next season the rains were the best for 20 years, dams that had never filled, filled and began to flow over. We prayed over dry wells and the next day they started to pump thousands of gallons of water a day. I could tell you of so much. Of course you could alway ask me.

I love to sing (not just in the shower) and one night I was going to sing at a conference. No one ever put their seat belt on in Zimbabwe because that’s how it was. I set off for the conference and suddenly I just heard the words “seat belt” in my head, so I grabbed the belt and put it on. 2 minutes later after getting up to speed (75mph/120km) a large antelope called a Kudu (about the size of a cow) ran across the road, I hit it and it came crashing onto the wind screen and wrote the car off and nearly me. I blacked out for a few seconds and came to rest at the side of the road. My head pinned between the roof and the door pillar, I had broken my neck in two places blood everywhere from the broken window. If I had not listened to those two words I would have been dead! That’s not the end, we had no money to buy a new car, and the insurance would get us a bicycle at best. Ali just simply said “you hear about people being given cars, we could do with that happening to us now”. Do you know what? I think God knew what she said, within the next week someone knocked on the door and said they would like to give us a car and it was better than the one which had been written off! And yes I’m still here to tell you my story.

Down to the nitty gritty

I could keep going on about our lives but you would get bored, so here’s my closing thought. Life doesn’t always go the way you expect it, you can moan and blame everyone else, or blame the stuff that happens, and let’s face it, we do! Making that decision when I was 15 changed my life. God gave me a purpose, a future, an assurance when I put Him in charge of my life. It has been and still is a great adventure. Have things always gone the way I expected? No! But He has always been there to help me, He’s not a crutch, He’s my Friend, my Helper, and my Saviour – His name is Jesus!

What about it? What about asking Jesus to be your Friend, your Helper, your Saviour. He is calling to you today asking you to invite Him into your life. He can meet you right were you are, right now and you can go on a journey together, only believe in Him.

I can tell you the end of my story. When God says it’s time, one day I will die. Then what? I know one thing for sure I’m not going down, I will spend my eternity in Heaven.

There are some decisions we make in life that are more important than others, more important than life itself, they affect our eternal destiny. Mine happened when I was 15!

I guess there are three different types of responses from reading my story:

  1. You could say, ‘That was interesting, but not for me.’ If that’s you it’s fine, you can throw it away. Thank you for reading my story.
  2. You could be saying, ‘There could be something in this.’ If this is the case, you owe it to yourself to discover more about having a relationship with God through His son Jesus.
  3. Or you might say, ‘Well actually I’m ready to receive Jesus into my life now, and to trust Him with my future and eternal destiny.’

You can do this by saying a simple prayer, which you can find on the page titled Knowing Jesus.

I’d love to hear from you and help you on your journey. You can contact me either on email or phone me on 07970 563559.

We all have a story – what’s yours?
Dave

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