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A Mother's Fight For A Young Marine's Freedom

Following the attacks of 9/11, over 2 million U.S. troops would be deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan in the War on Terror.  Jeremy was one of them.

He remembers thinking, “You've prepared for this, the best that you can.  You either learn or-or you die.”

The Marine served two tours on the front lines.  Each time he came home safely to his wife Danielle and daughter Alyssa, thankful for the training that kept him alive.

He explains, “You’re taught that you are the most fierce weapon on the battlefield - which is true because of the mentality.  Your mind can make your body do so many things.”

But no amount of training could prepare him for the battle to come.  Months after coming home from his second tour, Jeremy still couldn’t escape the horrific memories of war.  

He recalls, “You're not sleeping.  You're wondering what the guy out there is doing right now.  And you're hearing the air go over and you're hearing the bombs drop.  You're hearing the vehicles and the tanks leave and you're hearing people come in with the casualties.  You can't not just think that way, it doesn't just go away.  And it's like it's forever burnt in your heart and your mind.”  

He went on to become an infantry instructor at Camp Lejeune.  By now, he was drinking heavily, and paranoia was beginning to set in.

His wife Danielle says, “I had noticed he scared easier.  He was very jumpy.   I turned on the light and he went to jump to find his gun.  That was really, really hard on me.”

Jeremy says, “I couldn't go upstairs with people behind me.  I didn't like having my eyes closed in the shower, where I didn't know what was around me.”  

From there, it only got worse, as even the smallest things sent him into a fit of rage.

Danielle says, “Alcohol made him a really mean man.  I didn't want to be around it anymore.”

Often, Danielle took their daughter and stayed with family in Georgia.

She remembers, “He would, you know, say, ‘I'm sorry,’ and, you know, ‘I’m-I will do better.’  And then things would be good, and then they'd just go right back.  So it was really a rollercoaster.”

Jeremy says, “‘Cause I was never wrong.  And as long as you're not wrong, you can just keep going with whatever it is that you're doing, you know?”  

The one person Jeremy did reach out to was his mom Sue - a Christian who always took him to church when he was young.  She says, “When he would really be telling me about hard times and how he felt at the time, then I would remind him, but Jesus came to give us abundant life.  When God would give me a Bible verse I would send it to him.  Anything to help encourage him.”  

But as he’d done for years, Jeremy still refused to admit he had a problem – even after he was denied re-enlistment in 2009, because of being overweight.

He says, “I didn't want to change.  I had convinced myself that people were against me, and the bar life is where I belong, you know, this is where I need to be.  I had an excuse probably for everything.”  

After the marines, he started working as a government contractor.  Then one day in 2012, he ended up in the ER with severe chest pains.  But it wasn’t a heart attack...it was a panic attack.

Jeremy says he was told, “‘You probably have a bad case of PTSD.’  I was like, ‘No, I don't. I don't have that.’  I was in denial, and I put blame everywhere but myself.  So as long as you can keep that game going, then you don't have a problem.”

But with the panic attacks coming more frequently - and his family looking like another casualty - Jeremy began to realize he needed help.

He shares, “I wanted to change my life, I wanted to turn things around, I wanted to start over.  No you’re not.  You know, if-if you think you're going to somehow, the next day you're going to quit, you're not going to quit.  It owns you.”  

Then in 2016, a year after being legally separated, Danielle filed for divorce.  She says, “It was going to be the hardest decision I ever had to make was to divorce him.”  

Jeremy says, “I remember just feeling extremely worthless.  Hopeless.  There was nothing that I could do.”

Even then, Jeremy’s mom refused to give up on her son.  Sue says, “I spent a lot of time praying and fasting for him.  And God revealed to me and said, ‘I will heal him.’”

So when Jeremy went home for Christmas that year, his mom convinced him to go to a church healing service.  He says, “I don't think even I'd made it two days without drinking at that point.  Maybe this could be what turns it around.”

There, Jeremy and his Mom went up to the pastor for prayer.

Jeremy says, “He asked me if I was saved. And I said no.  And he said, ‘did I want to be healed?’   Yeah!  I had to look down.  I couldn’t even look at him.   And, ‘do I believe in Jesus Christ?’  I said, ‘Yes, I believe in Jesus Christ.’  And ‘do I want him in my heart.’ I said, ‘Yeah.’  And he said, ‘Well you have to ask him in your heart,’ you know.  And when he was praying for me, you know, it was like I was like another person.”      

Jeremy says immediately he lost all desire for alcohol and was delivered from his paranoia and PTSD.

He shares, “It's Christ. It's all divine.  I knew at that very moment I was free.  You can't explain the weight that just comes off you.  So whatever that was, was gone.”

Now putting their focus on God, Jeremy and Danielle rebuilt their marriage.  He now runs a barbeque business and still works with the Marine Corps as a contractor.     

Danielle says, “I think we were doomed.  If God had not come into our lives, I mean it would have been done.  We would have been done.”  

Jeremy adds, “I don't see this life the same anymore.  I turn to God before I turn to man.  He has made me new; I have faith in that.” 

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