Carl Parks lost both of his parents at a young age. By the time he was 19, he was knee-deep in addiction.  He was drinking and doing drugs every day.

“I was a wreck. I knew I wouldn’t live to be 30. And I was trying to prove that. I was determined that I was going to poison myself. I didn’t care about me or anybody else.”

When Carl met Heather, he had lost everything. He could fit all of his possessions in a garbage bag. He was living a wild life, going out every night, and sleeping on friends’ couches. But then Heather did something he will never forget.

“When I was staying with my sister, I had a mattress for a bed.  Heather, as a 17-year-old girl, comes over and brings me a pillow and some new sheets.  It made me feel like she was actually caring for my needs.  It was kind of motherly. My mother was gone, and it made me think she actually cared about me.  I hadn’t had that in a long time.  I knew she was special at that moment.”

That simple act of love began a change in Carl.  When Heather was 18, they found out she was pregnant. They made a plan to have an abortion. It was clear to Carl that Heather was sad, scared and unsure about their decision. They had just celebrated Christmas, so Heather and her mother returned their Christmas presents to come up with the money they needed. On the day before the appointment, something came over Carl.  The man who had not cared about anyone, now felt real concern and care for Heather.

“Something came over me.  Now, looking back, I believe it was God saying “Everything is going to be okay.  Call her up and tell her to forget it. You’re going to be a man for the first time, you’re going to get a job, and everything is going to be okay.”

Carl says he didn’t know it was God at the time, but he knew it was a voice different than his own. Up to that point, his life had been all about himself.

“I think what she did for me, in buying those sheets and the pillow, she showed me love. And I felt compelled to reciprocate.”

The choice to have their daughter Chelsea, turned out to be life-changing for Carl and Heather. Eventually they married, and at 5 years old, Chelsea asked her mother,

“Why don’t I know about God?”

Her simple question led Carl and Heather to church, and eventually they met Jesus. And their lives radically changed. You can hear Carl’s incredible story in Chapter 3 of Epic.

Carl Parks - a fisher of men