One80 Podcast Transcript
46: Heather King, Delivered from Death’s Door
This transcript may have errors that veer from the actual audio found here: https://one80podcast.com/listen/
Margaret Ereneta: If you’re a Christ follower, you went from death to life. But for Heather King, she literally went from death to life. She was so filled with alcohol that she died on her way to prison and medical personnel brought her back. But while she was incarcerated, it was Jesus who revived Heather and delivered her from her alcohol addiction.
Hear Heather’s story today on 180.
friends, we’re so excited to have Heather King with us here today. Heather, thanks so much for joining us today to share your awesome 180.
Heather King: Thank you for inviting me.
Margaret Ereneta: we like to start our shows with a randomquestion. So my random question for you is, what would be your favorite road trip?
Heather King: my goodness. I would say, to go to probably Colorado, I used to ski when I was younger, so you always dream about seeing the mountains like that, so. I would love to do that.
Margaret Ereneta: Wonderful. All right, well, let’s get into your story. Tell us where you’re from.
Heather King: I was born in New Brunswick, Canada, which is the east coast, right above Maine,
Margaret Ereneta: What was it like growing up there
Heather King: Um, well there’s a lot of farms and actually where I lived, both sides of my family, my mom and my father’s side, they’re all there. And it’s very, very rural, lot of farms, And, actually, we lived in a bible belt,
So there was a lot of, People of, charismatic, faith, which is what I grew up, um, living as well. So not a lot going on. No big city at all, So you just kind of make your own fun and a lot of church,
Margaret Ereneta: So you said your family grew up in this church, so did your family have a pretty um, sincere religious beliefs?
Heather King: I do remember going to a lot of different churches
My dad didn’t really live with us a lot. I don’t know so much if he really did. And my mother, I know that she really, really tried and she did have her beliefs. I just know she battled depression a lot, So there were many times when, um, she wouldn’t go but us kids did go.
Margaret Ereneta: And that was kind of like our social life and, so even though your dad wasn’t around so much and your mom. Didn’t seem like she was practicing her faith. What did you feel about the faith that was around you at these churches you would go to? Did you understand it? Did you want to follow it?
Heather King: really didn’t until I was in the sixth grade and the church that we started going there, I would say that’s where the basis of the Trinity of God, the Holy Spirit in Jesus.
That’s where we were really taught that. And from that point on until I graduated high school, that was pretty grounded in me. as far as like who Jesus was and God was that he died on the cross. And, and I knew about what sin was and, um, even though we had kind of a different perspective on some things, because there was a lot of legalism in where we were going.
We didn’t know a lot about grace at all. I felt like I really did at that time have a relationship with Jesus Christ. Even though, like I said, there was a lot of stress in sense of doing right and making sure you were doing this and repentance constantly it seemed like,
Margaret Ereneta: so you had a relationship with Jesus, but you also had a burden for keeping the rules in this church.
Heather King: Right. it was one of those kind of places where you girls could not wear pants. You could not cut your hair, you could not wear makeup, you had to wear dresses, just a lot of standards we would call it.
And, the men the same way. Like you had to part your hair on a certain side there was just those kind of things, and you felt like if you didn’t do those things it was a sin and you’d always feel like you had to repent, which we do have to repent.
But at that point, it was almost like if, God came back at that moment and you hadn’t repented, you would not go. It wasn’t like something where you could relax and have that kind of a relationship, it was a lot of rules, when I say I had a relationship with him, like I did feel like when I would go to school, because obviously we looked different. the females did. We had wore long dresses and long hair and no makeup, no jewelry, nothing.
But I felt, okay with that because I felt like he was with me.
Margaret Ereneta: Okay. It sounds like a lot of pressure.
Heather King: Yeah. And, and at the time you don’t know any different and you know, you want to go to heaven.
Margaret Ereneta: So you felt like you had a personal relationship with God that was difficult for you, but then you also have home life where that’s not being practiced. So how did that work out?
Heather King: my dad wasn’t around a lot as far as that goes, so it was It was really just my mother and like I said, she battled depression so sometimes, you know, there was a lot of, verbal abuse and physical abuse.
It’s very difficult being a child, that way, but I do know some of my mother’s background and it was one of those things where it just, it would go from generation to generation because you weren’t taught, how to be a parent there was also a lot of times when, mom having like, no, no father there or whatever, like she’d have to leave us someplace else and there would be sexual abuse.
And that’s nothing that I would even talk to her about.
This would happen from a very young age until about, eight was the last time that I can really remember. So, and like I said, my mother never knew and I think back then it was different now I know we’re so much more protective of our children because you, it’s talked about more.
But back then people didn’t talk about it. this one gentleman I found out had passed away and I was 14. And I remember telling my mother what he had done at that point, and here it is, I was eight and now I’m 14.
And she had no clue cuz these people were good friends of hers. So she obviously felt that I was safe there.
Margaret Ereneta: Hmm. Okay. So how did you cope with it?
Heather King: My pastor’s wife and I, several years ago, signed up to be sexual, assault hotline advocates and there was one other person there that had gone through the same thing, and she and I both just didn’t feel anything.
I don’t remember when I was younger, it being an issue, but, I do remember from the time I was 15 being kind of promiscuous. Like it didn’t seem such a big deal for me to sleep with somebody, even though that was completely against what we believed in my church.
Margaret Ereneta: okay.
Heather King: and. like I said, I didn’t see any of this as being abnormal, except I knew I was sinning. But as far as sleeping with somebody, it didn’t really seem like such a big thing. Like it didn’t seem like, oh my gosh, I’m giving my body away.
I didn’t feel that way at all. And I’ve often wondered as I’ve gotten older, if that might be just because stuff would happen when I was so young.
Margaret Ereneta: Okay.
Heather King: I think people handle it differently. Some people, it just, it affects them and they realize it. For me, I think I just kind of pushed it and, but then I think it came out in some of my, disrespect for my body .
Margaret Ereneta: Did it play out in any other ways that, looking back now, you can see?
Heather King: when I started sneaking out of my bedroom window and I was seeing this guy that was, I think 15, 16, 17 years older than me.
Margaret Ereneta: oh,
Heather King: Oh yeah. I never had a a boyfriend, my age. so I would sneak out, and being, he’s so much older and wiser, to me that was so exciting. I felt like I was chosen or picked, cuz here I am a kid and this guy wants to be with me, this is in my mind. And we would drink because I would always be so anxious and so nervous.
That was like, my first experience with alcohol I don’t think I really ever cared for the taste, but I never really drank for the taste. It was, I liked the way it it would make you feel.
At that point it made me feel good. It didn’t have like any bad effects at all on me. It was just a really good feeling.
Margaret Ereneta: So from what I understand of your story, you started to like alcohol a lot. So can you take us to how that progression happened for you?
Heather King: After I was 18, I graduated high school in Canada and we were all gonna move to New Hampshire where my dad was living.
So I moved into the US Now here’s a girl that only wore dresses, longer sleeves, no makeup. And I remember thinking, I wanna be like everybody else.
So, when I went to New Hampshire, I was like, I’m gonna start wearing pants and I don’t know how I got my first pair of pants. but I remember wearing ’em.
Heather King: And I’ll tell you, it was very difficult. I first wore those kind of harem pants, which were out back in 85 because it didn’t show so much. Cause I did feel like I was showing everything. But I started wearing pants and then I, I started working at a pizza place. I met this, kid that was my age and we started dating. And California wine coolers were big back then. and that’s what we would drink. And now I’m feeling okay, I can actually be like all the other kids that were in my school that I couldn’t do those things.
And I was almost like cramming all that up into these next few years cuz he was still in high school. He was a senior, so he was like a year younger than me.
And, and that. was normal because that’s what kids do and we would drink. and I wasn’t drinking every day.
It wasn’t like one of those kind of things where I felt like I had to,
And then we ended up moving to the White Mountain region, which is where I stayed until I moved to Chicago. That’s when I started really kind of, getting into the alcohol a lot more.
I was starting to work at, this dental practice when I was 21 and one of the dental hygienists and I, and one of the dental assistants and I, we all became really close friends and so we were like 21, 22, 23. And we would go out and drink. and we would act crazy and get drunk on the weekends.
And it started coming back to the doctor that we worked for and he kind of took us aside and said, you know, you guys are representing this practice and we’re hearing things about how you guys are acting over the weekend. my friends were able to curb the drinking and stop, I. actually kept going in the same level I would come home from work and I would have a white Russian or a bottle of champagne cuz I could literally drink a couple of bottles of champagne.
Yeah. I wasn’t doing anything at work.
But I still wanted to come home and do those things. Like that was what I would be thinking about. But I still was working like 60 hours a week at the dental practice over the few years that I worked there, my friends kind of separated a little bit from me cuz and they weren’t drinking like I was wanting to still drink.
It did have a hold on them like it did me. And I remember one time when I got my first DUI, and I actually blacked out and rolled my car and totaled it.
Thankfully I had my seatbelt on So I was about, I think 23, 24 And you would think that would stop. But I do know at that time, my, my mental health was not well at all.
Cause like I said, I had walked away from the Lord, When I moved to New Hampshire at 18, I literally said, I’m not. Going to do that anymore, I wanna be like everybody else.
So I literally walked and then my life from that point on just kept getting worse and worse.
Margaret Ereneta: So Heather, it sounds like it was getting really out of control. Did anybody notice?
Heather King: Well, I remember the doctors actually that I worked for, they were husband and wife team, so there was a large practice and they did, but I mean, I wasn’t drinking at work and they didn’t know what I was doing when I got home.
So, I was living with this guy And he, he would call me because I was working 12 hour days and I would just be so mean to him. And I never really paid attention and noticed that I was like that. But the doctor, Paul that was listening, he asked him and I hung up. Like he couldn’t believe how I was speaking to him for no reason.
And it made me remember, I’m just like, How my, my mother was, this is all she knew. My mother wasn’t taught, I’m protective of my mom, of course. But I recognized that I was doing the same thing. And there was this one dental patient of ours that would come in and talk about this great psychotherapist that she was seeing.
And so I got the name, I started seeing her God was outta my life completely. So this was the only way I knew for help and being on medication and stuff like that.
My psychotherapist, after a three years, referred me to a psychologist and I did start having an eating disorder. It was bulimia that’s what I was dealing with. And so they actually ended up having me in a a psych hospital for it’s two to three weeks.
Margaret Ereneta: So did things improve after that?
Heather King: Well, I was on medication, so I felt different. but, um, I still was working on myself and I will say with those three, four years that I went through therapy in my mid twenties, it really helped me. And I, I’m not that verbal, abusive person at all anymore. And as far as the eating disorder too, that’s pretty much has been under control.
Margaret Ereneta: I’m glad that that helped. Well, it still got a little harder though before it truly got better.
Heather King: Right. Many, several years. I’m now moved to Chicago now and I have a daughter and my husband, my daughter’s dad we ended up getting divorced after only being maybe a year or two years in Chicago, I ended up moving into my own place. Now, I’ve never, lived on my own. I’ve always lived with a guy. and when I was gonna break up with a guy, I had another guy.
Already there. I never was alone. So here I am in 2001 or two and I’m completely alone with my daughter that’s like about five years old and she sees her dad every other weekend. So I’m really by myself and I don’t know anybody. I have no family. They’re all in Canada. So there’s a pool in the apartment complex that I lived at, and that’s what I would go do because it was free and I would bring alcohol with me because it’s a sunny day and that’s what people do.
So, um, that’s really where the day drinking started and it at this point now I’m working for a neurologist and I started drinking alcohol with me to work so, I would start drinking about two o’clock.
I would go to work at eight and I would be thinking, looking at the clock, okay, when one or two o’clock comes, I can start drinking because I’ll be leaving in a couple hours and I can get home. so you were constantly thinking about when you were going to get your next drink.
Margaret Ereneta: At this point, so it had gotten that bad and that you started while you were at work too.
Heather King: Right, because eventually it started when I get home, I’m gonna start drinking, but then it became a where I could just bring it in like a coffee cup. Nobody would know and I would make myself a plan.
I, I mean obviously I couldn’t start at eight. I would never get through the day, but I could start at one or two knowing I’m leaving around four or five. so three and a half years and I was doing that,
Margaret Ereneta: Did it get worse?
Heather King: Yeah, I ended up leaving that job because they needed my hours, to change and being a single mom, I couldn’t do those I ended up working for a plumbing company.
Probably from the very beginning I would bring alcohol with me every day, it got to the point where I have to wake up at 4:00 AM I had vodka hidden in my closet and I would have to guzzle like two to three big guzzles because my body wouldn’t work.
Heather King: while you’re sleeping, your body is actually starting to detox and it’s, craving that because it’s so used to having this alcohol in my system all the time. So I would have to go and drink before I could take a shower. Cuz otherwise I wouldn’t have total control of my limbs
Margaret Ereneta: Wow. Really?
Heather King: and I was hiding alcohol all over the house. My daughter came up to me once I don’t remember doing this, but I guess I hid a bottle of wine in her hamper in her bedroom. cuz I don’t remember. I mean, I would find bottles that I’d hid underneath the bathroom and stuff that I forgot even putting there.
So now it’s a 24 7.
Margaret Ereneta: Okay. how else did that affect you?
Heather King: Well, during this time I also ended up having some more DUIs I had got one DUI coming back from a church that I started going to with my daughter I was almost home. I could see the driveway to the apartment complex and I get pulled over and my daughter and her friend were in the backseat. So that was really horrifying.
Jail did let me go out that night on an ibond. So I was able to leave, but I still had to work. And even when my license was suspended, I still drove, but I’m still drinking. overall, I ended up getting three more DUIs. Each time I would go to jail at DuPage County Jail, I’d be there between 18 to, 30 days until my case would get called. The first two DUIs, I ended up going on probation for two years and my license is revoked. I just would have to go once a month. Do 30 hours of D U I classes, But I’m driving to these classes cuz I have to get there.
And the month before, Getting off probation. I got a third DUI, so this time the judge puts me on, it’s like a high risk, probation for two more years. And they considered me to be dual diagnosis mental health as well as addiction. So they have me going to the behavioral health department. I had to see a psychiatrist and I was required to take the medicine they gave me because they would test my blood and if my levels weren’t where they should be than I was violating my probation.
Margaret Ereneta: Wow.
Heather King: . And here I am drinking this whole time and whenever I’d have D U I classes, they would breathalyze me.
So, I found a secret that if I did something I could blow and it wouldn’t show traces of the alcohol. This is what you do in the craziness of everything. I mean, everything is centered around drinking everything.
Margaret Ereneta: Oh my gosh.
Heather King: Yeah. it’s actually during this time of my, the intense probation, I was actually still going to this church I would go to Bible study and I was doing all these things, but I was drinking in church, unfortunately in a water bottle vodka in it, because I, can’t stop.
If I did, I would. Literally being capacitated and they were doing communion now. And I did know enough from my years back, I would not take communion. I knew enough not to do that, but I was passing the communion plate. my hands are shaking from the alcohol and I spilled the plate.
And wouldn’t we be the second row from the front? So everybody saw it.
Margaret Ereneta: Okay.
Heather King: Now I think I’m being smart, but people were recognizing that there was an issue they could tell.
And, the pastor that I had, pastor Steve, he was so gracious, never embarrassed me in and they, they really tried witnessing and ministering to me at home, but I was never able to stop. Long enough to be able to, you know, really hear what they were trying to say.
But I, one thing I wanna say, I remember, and this was something that’s so phenomenal. before I got married to my current husband at this time, I was going out on a date and I put my hand on the doorknob and before I touched it, it wasn’t audible, but it felt it to me, and the Lord was calling me.
It shocked me. Literally. It was that real. And I was like, Lord, go away. Go away. Because I felt to myself, I was just too, too bad. Like I was too far gone to even go back.
Margaret Ereneta: Well, what did you think the Lord said?
Heather King: Basically he was calling me to, to stop, I mean, what I was doing and to come back to him.
but at that point I think I’m so far gone. I’m divorced. I had been promiscuous.
Margaret Ereneta: So you didn’t think you were worthy for God’s redemption?
Heather King: No. I had gone so far.
Margaret Ereneta: At this point you realized you had a problem, but you, what did you think about the problem that you had with alcohol?
Heather King: When I started realizing I had a problem with alcohol was when I was at work and I couldn’t write my call slip.
My penmanship looked like a second grader and I kept ripping him up and trying to do it again and my hand wouldn’t work I couldn’t write. And I started thinking, oh my gosh.
Because at first I was thinking this was a medical thing. Then I realized, this is the alcohol I. too, I’m driving to work every day with a revoked license on probation.
Margaret Ereneta: Hmm.
Heather King: And one of the times I did actually go to see my probation officer and I failed my test and the judge said that he wanted me to go to rehab, now of course I didn’t wanna stop drinking at that point cuz I couldn’t imagine my life not drinking.
I was like, oh, no, no, no. And, and I went and called my pastor they told me about this place called Pacific Garden Mission and that they had a Bible program there. And I had no idea what PGM was but I’m thinking well, this will be a piece of cake compared to going where all these other sick people are.
They can teach the Bible because they don’t, accept, um, the state’s, funding. They’re all on their own so they can preach the Bible in God’s word.
but the judge actually with my pastor pleading, said I could.
And I actually stayed there for 62 days. And I will tell you one thing, the Lord was working. I found out about Reformers Unanimous which is an addiction program, which is biblical. I would go to, on Friday nights, I was going to Moody Bible Church on Sundays. I was talking to my daughter on the phone because at that point she’s with her dad. I had lost that custody and I’m telling her, I’m doing well, I’m getting better and I get outta there after 62 days but the alcohol was calling. I’d go in the grocery store, the drug store, the gas station, anywhere there’s alcohol, and it was a pull..
My husband at the time asked me, do you think you could just have a glass of wine? Oh, yeah. That’s exactly what I said. And he’s like, do you think you could just stick with that? Oh yeah, I think I can. What happened? We left at that point, went to the Jewel bought a box of wine cuz it’s cheap And wouldn’t, you know what I started doing, filling up water bottles with it. And it was from that January to May, I’m driving stone cold drunk at 7:00 AM revoked license.
I’ve already got three DUIs now in Illinois
going to work. And I start crying. I remember so clearly in May saying, God, please help me. I can’t do this. I don’t wanna die, I didn’t wanna hurt anybody. I said, but please, because if this is the rest of my life, this is no way to live.
that was in May. And that July, as I’m pulling into the parking lot of my job and there’s 12 plumbing trucks, all the guys loading up the trucks the police are right behind me. They handcuffed me
Margaret Ereneta: Because you were drunk and they knew?
Heather King: yeah. I, I guess I was swerving.
So he was driving me to the, the station I had a water bottle that he had in the front with him and I said, can I have my water bottle? And he handed it to me in the back seat and I, drank it all. It was vodka. Of course he didn’t know that. So I drank the whole bottle cuz it’s like first thing in the morning that was supposed to last me all day,
Margaret Ereneta: Wow.
Heather King: I drank the whole thing cuz I knew I didn’t wanna feel whatever was gonna happen.
Margaret Ereneta: Okay.
Heather King: And when I got to the, jail, I mean obviously I’m passed out and he couldn’t. Get me to wake up. And the correctional officers, there, said, oh, just bring her in. You know, she’ll detox here.
Heather King: But from what the officer told me later, he said that he just didn’t feel comfortable leaving me like that. So he called the ambulance. And they took me to Central DuPage Hospital and I woke up two days later.
Margaret Ereneta: Two days later?
Oh my gosh. You, you were like not awake for two days? Like you were so drunk?
Heather King: No. I was out because I actually died on the table.
Margaret Ereneta: Oh my gosh.
Heather King: I found this out from the officer because he had to be in the emergency room with me and they were getting ready. They, they were doing a tracheotomy and they were doing the paddles because I died and my blood alcohol level was 0.54, which was death basically, because I drank all that vodka one time.
I don’t know if it was a coma or what, but I woke up two days later and,
Margaret Ereneta: Whoa!
Heather King: That was the beginning of the Lord redeeming
Margaret Ereneta: Wow. at your lowest. Like Heather is hitting rock bottom for the world to see. This is where God’s about to do his best work.
Heather King: Mm-hmm.
Margaret Ereneta: They took me back to DuPage County Jail. I ended up being there for 48 days fighting my case when I went before the judge unfortunately, I kept having the same judge that saw me through all of this.
Heather King: And he saw me there again and he said, you know what? I’m gonna make sure that you stop because everything I’ve done is not working.
I’m gonna make sure you quit. you’re gonna spend, 18 months in I D O C. Now I had no idea what I D O C meant.Well, they took me right then And they got me ready to actually go to prison cuz that’s what Illinois Department of Corrections is.Prison.
This time I’m going to prison where I am now custody of Illinois Department of Corrections.
Heather King: December 18th, 2010, they actually came and I went to Dwight,
Margaret Ereneta: And Dwight is a prison.
Heather King: yeah. I was rooming with a lady that was from Columbia that didn’t speak any English at all.
Heather King: That’s who I was with 18 hours a day in a tiny little room. And I’m like, I can’t even talk to this lady. what am I gonna do? it is so boring. So, um, my husband would send me in his Bible study notes from church and he would send me these bible studies that I had done. I don’t even remember doing them because I’d be at Bible study and I would be drinking and he would send me my old Bible study books.
And one of them was Seeking Him by Nancy Lee de Moss.
So I’m kind of pulling this stuff out and I’m thinking to myself like, I might as well read something because I can’t get any books and this is what he decides to send me. So, I’m, kind of doing the Bible study and well actually.Wwhen I would have a chance to get out, I would get a book from the table in the day room. And I always loved romances. And I would be reading these romance stories.
But I’m starting to now do Seeking Him and reading because I gotta read something else.
And I started thinking to myself like, you know what? I am married and all this is doing is making me so discontent of what I have. this is not doing me any good So I decided to stop that. So I found a book on the table in the day room, one hour that we were out.
And it was a Christian romance is what it said.
So I started reading this book about it, this guy liking this girl. He was a Christian. She’s not, I don’t remember the whole story, but the one part I remember they’re on a train and he’s still talking to her about Jesus.
And she says to him, I really don’t have a desire to know who this Jesus is, but I wish I did. That right there was like a light bulb.
Margaret Ereneta: Hmm
Heather King: That was one of the biggest things out of my, my beginning with the Lord.
I was reading this book and I’m thinking, I never thought you could pray for the desire to want to know God. I always thought, okay, you’ve got to decide. I want to do this who would’ve thought I could actually ask him to give me that desire to want to do these things?
Before when I was a kid, it was legalism. Like I had to make a choice to not cut my hair, not wear makeup. all these things was I had to, because if I failed to do those things, then I was sinning and I didn’t love the Lord.
I had to repent. so I said, God, I, I remember laying on my bed and I would say like, God give me the desire to want to serve you and to not want to drink. It was so simple. Now the thing is, I still had like five months to go. and I still didn’t know obviously what was gonna happen, but I remember praying that, and then I started thinking, you know what? I’m going to start using this time for the Lord. So I started reading my Bible.
Margaret Ereneta: That’s really cool. I mean you just decided right, right here, to actually use this time productively to grow your relationship, which is really cool.
Heather King: right. right.
The Lord uses the craziest things. He used this romance Christian novel, those few words, and it changed my life.
Margaret Ereneta: and tho those few words were what?
Heather King: The lady on the train saying, I don’t really have a desire to know Jesus, but I wish I did. So that’s when I realized I can pray to want to have the desire to know him.
Like it’s not like I have to get this outta myself.
I wanted to have the desire, God give this to me. I wanna be like that. so I started doing the seeking Him. And I remember when I would talk to my husband, I would, tell him what was going on in my, my relationship with the Lord and what’s happening.
And he’d send me more Bible studies or books
Margaret Ereneta: So God actually gives you this desire to want to know him. You’re spending a lot with him.
Heather King: right.
Margaret Ereneta: So are you in the word at this point?
Heather King: Yes, I am.
I decided that since I’m there, I’m gonna read the Bible from the start to the end, that’s gonna be something I’m gonna do instead of just reading anything else.
And all the other books that I read from that point on was I biblical books like, books actually that were helping me to study who God was.
So now I’m like, okay, Lord, I’m going to use this time to get to know you, and I want I wanted God to to start purging these things about myself that maybe we’re not godly.
And the first one that, that he pointed out to me was my tongue. I had always had this thing about retaliation and so I thought, well, okay, here I am in prison with people I’ve seen fights break out.
I’ve seen what they can turn into. So I’m like, why not be using this time and praying each day for the Lord to shut my mouth before I say anything? and the Lord started working on that.
Somebody would say something to me sometimes they’d be very nasty, and, I would learn to just be quiet just have a calm Godly spirit because I know a lot of about our testimony is, not all of it is by what we say and what we tell people about the Lord. It’s by what they see us doing every day.
So I just kept and, started realizing thatI can trust on him that he’s there, that he, he has a plan.As long, I’m in his will and I’m serving him and I started looking at how I got myself there. And I started saying, you know what, this is really an issue with my lack of relationship with the Lord.
And so When I got out, I took, uh, biblical counseling for three and a half years
Margaret Ereneta: So you said that your view of God was skewed growing up because you didn’t see any grace. Now that you’re in the word, how did you see it differently now that you are. Studying the word and, and living this almost monastic life in prison. How did you see it as it really is in the Bible?
Heather King: Well, those few years on the outside when I was drinking still, but I was going to church. there were some things I was picking up, I just never felt it was for me because I knew I’m drinking and I didn’t wanna be a hypocrite.
But I was picking things up and I started realizing, as I’m reading the word myself, sober, that that this was a gift that Jesus died on the cross.
and when you think about the, thief on the cross at the very last minute. the Lord brought him with him immediate to paradise when he died. It’s like there was no living a certain way. He didn’t have to do all these things. I mean, he literally repented and the Lord Jesus forgave him.
at that moment, and I started realizing that, can start now as a brand new person, at this point on I’m forgiven. And I started believing it. And, the thing is, the Lord, would speak to me, and this is why I knew my relationship with him.
There was joy in the middle of prison, in the middle of somebody maybe giving me a hard time about something, somebody stealing from my commissary box. That I still had this joy because I knew I was one of his children and that nothing can touch me unless he allows
it. And I felt that power of that too. eventually, um, February 14th, I get transferred to Lincoln Correctional a female prison,
Margaret Ereneta: cool that it’s like Valentine’s Day too. It’s like this romance novel with Jesus is, you know, kind of courting you, you’re chosen.
Heather King: Yes. and from that point it really just started, I started going to the church services and I’m not now thinking about when I get out, I can’t wait to have alcohol.
That wasn’t what I was thinking about. My pastor came and visited me my pastor’s wife, Bobby. They stayed with me all those years and they came to visit me and they could see.
Something changing in me and it just happened. It wasn’t like I’m having to try to be any certain way. every book that I read, everything that I was studying was to do with the Lord. And during those months, if it wasn’t for wanting to reconcile with my daughter, I could have stayed there cuz I was so. Free, I could feel the Lord’s presence all the time and everything that I did, I had joy.
The Lord really did do transformation.
Margaret Ereneta: That’s amazing. So was there a point in here when you prayed a prayer or like was there anything to solidify that you were now like a Jesus follower
Heather King: Yeah, I remember being on my bunk back at Dwight and each day I was committed to doing the lesson, Nancy DeMoss Seeking Him.
And because it asks you about that. I remember praying I wanted to follow him. I wanted to commit my life to doing this, even though I didn’t know what it was gonna be like.
Cuz there’s always that little bit of a fear, like when I get out, Is this gonna really stick? because all the other four times I was locked up for those two, three weeks at the county jail. Soon as I got out I’m drinking again. but I did see my life changing and when my husband would come visit, he could see the change cuz we would actually pray.
we’d get the Bible in the visiting room and we’d be looking at that and talking about, the church, what’s gonna happen when I get out. And of course at that time I told him we have to go to a different church because I was too embarrassed to go back But, when I did get released I knew that the Lord was like, no, you have to go back. It’s pride that was wanting me to just ignore it and start someplace else where somebody didn’t know me and I wasn’t thinking that this is part of my testimony, which you have to give the Lord credit for.
Margaret Ereneta: Yeah.
Heather King: So I pretend none of that happened and go to someplace else that’s hiding it.
Margaret Ereneta: Wow. So what happened when you got out? Did you have a desire again?
Heather King: The couple of days before I was being released, I remember praying and I started saying, I’m not gonna doubt, I’m gonna believe that this is real.
So, I actually, I remember going into the grocery store, it was actually Walmart and I’m like, it’s just gone.
It wasn’t there. I remember the tears because I’m like, it is gone. and I know unfortunately this doesn’t happen for everybody. but this one particular thing he did deliver me from, and to this day, it’s not there at all.
Margaret Ereneta: That’s so awesome.
Heather King: Yeah.
Margaret Ereneta: so, your parole officer is now with you and you’re in the real world. How did you cope with that?
Heather King: Well, I never really saw him.
I actually moved in with our pastor, my husband and I did for three years.
So I’m living with him and his wife and we’re going to church Wednesday, Sunday morning, Sunday night, reformers, unanimous on Friday nights and whatever else we can do, we were involved in ministry work. and then eventually we we were invited to the Koinonia House to what’s called RTO Radical
Timeout. my husband was wanting us to go, because he said it’s a prison ministry. And I was just like, we’re involved with too much stuff. We can’t add one more thing.
And finally we went and I was like, I had no idea there was anything like this, even the person preaching, Manny Mill, has been incarcerated he’s now ordained, he has his master’s. And I’m thinking to myself, There’s people that have been to prison all over the place and they’re living for the Lord. And this is where you almost feel celebrated that you went to prison. Like you feel that, like there’s no shame in it because that’s what this ministry is surrounded by and is what they focus on.
The ministry goes into the prison, they minister inside, but when you come out, you come there on Thursday nights, you get ministered to you fellowship, you get connections. they help you with finding a bible, believing teaching church. so it, wonderful.
And I’m actually looking for a job because now I’m a, felon, so getting a job is not easy, They asked me to come and work part-time in the ministry just two days a week, a few hours each time.
And so they gave me a job and I did that. They hired me full-time. So I’ve been working for them full-time now for six years and just started going into the jails myself, twice a month.
Margaret Ereneta: That’s awesome.
Heather King: The Lord he’s taken care of me. All these things, he has kept me grounded. He’s never let me hit bottom again.
Heather King: Never.
Margaret Ereneta: It’s amazing to see that you can influence so many people now who are struggling or who used to struggle the same way you did and, went to prison and can see redemption living out in you and, how you’re serving the Lord.
It’s really cool.
Heather King: Yeah. And, and you know, the thing is, is like I said, I never, when I was sitting in prison, I mean, you can easily feel anybody that’s done time, easily feel dirty, shame and everything else. And, and one thing I did learn also while I was incarcerated because is that we know shame is not of God. If you’re, if you are one of his children, if you’ve been born again, that that shame is gone and you’re forgiven.
As I’ve been working in this ministry, it’s been wonderful being able to share like my experience being in there and use your time, and that sometimes it’s, it’s a blessing honestly, that God took me from being free in the world because I would’ve been dead.
Margaret Ereneta: Hmm.
Heather King: I mean, he loved me because he took me out of the sickness that I was in and he took me to prison for the purpose of getting me well and getting me to have a relationship with him. It wouldn’t have happened if I had my own free will. I would’ve kept buying, vodkaAnd I will also wanna say God has put me around these people, this family I have now, from Radical timeout, the Koinonia House Ministry,
God gave me the best family. when you are in Christ in this family, in with him, he only has the best
So yeah, it’s, it’s just absolutely more than what I could have ever imagined.
Margaret Ereneta: And thankful for the, rock bottom Yeah, it’s really profound.
Heather King: Mm-hmm.
Margaret Ereneta: And it’s amazing what the Lord did in your life,
you literally died and, God redeemed you in every way. It’s so powerful. Thank you so much for sharing your story, Heather.
Heather King: Well, thank you for having me. this is something that I, pray would help others. It and it can happen with anybody. It doesn’t matter what you’ve done in the past
I mean anything. when I see what the Lord has done with me I mean, I lost everything, my child, and he’s brought it all back. My daughter lives with me now. My grandson lives with me now. And so he can do this with anybody.
Margaret Ereneta: That’s awesome. Thanks so much for your time, Heather. Bless you.