Many of us face difficulties, but how do you hold out hope when life continues to push you back down, leaving you broken? Shea Watson has seen some of the worst that life can bring. From times of brokenness and not being able to see any hope at all, he's now able to offer lasting hope to others, a hope that transcends it all.

 

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Email Shea Watson: hey@thepantrypodcast.com or swatson@ggcf.info

 

 

(Transcript is a guide only and may not be 100% correct.)

 Emily Olsen

Wherever there are shadows, there are people ready to kick at the darkness until it bleeds daylight. This is Bleeding Daylight with your host Rodney Olsen.

 

Rodney Olsen 

Welcome to a really inspiring episode of Bleeding Daylight. I’m so glad you’ve joined me.

 

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Many of us face difficulties, but how do you hold out hope when life continues to push you back down, leaving you broken? It took many years, but today’s guest finally found that hope.

My guest today has seen some of the worst that life can bring. From times of brokenness and not being able to see any hope at all, he's now able to offer lasting hope to others, a hope that transcends it all. He co-hosts The Pantry Podcast with his wife, Michelle. His name is Shea Watson, and I'm thrilled to be able to welcome him to Bleeding Daylight. Shea thank you for your time.

 

Shea Watson 

Hey, Rodney. It's good to be on today. Man, I've been actually following you on Instagram, listening to your stories, listening to your podcasts. I love Bleeding Daylight episodes and how people have been broken, but then they come out of that darkness and then they get to experience something much better.

 

Rodney Olsen 

Well, thank you and I'm really looking forward to delving into your story today. So let's start really early. Go back to the very early years of your life. How do you remember that early childhood?

 

Shea Watson 

Wow, let's let's just be honest on that. Before 10 years old, I don't remember a whole lot and I think that's because of the traumatic experiences that I had gone through. I grew up In a broken home, divorced parents. Probably not the best timing on telling us about this. They actually broke the news on Christmas Day and that kind of set a tone on how things would end up going in our lives. My sister and I grew up so basically with our mother, and our father moved away. And so we kind of just grew up in that one mother home. And it kind of left my sister and I vulnerable as my mom tried to come to grips with the separation from my dad, you know, that led to some some things that really had an impact. You know, if I had a word or a couple words to say it was like, my mold became broken, my identity became cracked. I lost my innocence at 12 years old. My mom was dating and, you know, back in the 70s and 80s, late 70s 80s. The thought of child predators weren't really in the minds of people back then. It was some a concept that people just I don't know if they didn't want to grasp it or just I didn't understand it, but they would give me money these, these boyfriends would give me money to go into the video arcade. And that is where I met a man who manipulated me, took advantage of me and actually ended up molesting me on several occasions. From that, because I would continually go back I was looking for something I was looking for love. I was looking for attention. I was looking to be accepted. And you know, I never even told my parents what had happened. I just kept going back. That was a summer and then the school year started. And it kind of faded away. It was like a season. And I never told anyone about this too later in life,

 

Rodney Olsen 

There must have been an enormous amount of shame within your own life. We know now that this obviously was not your fault, but did you feel that it was at that time? Did you feel guilt?

 

Shea Watson 

Oh, absolutely. Rodney. It was a destroyer of what I would called my identity who I was, I blamed myself. I never even looked at the the person that did it as being at fault, I looked at myself as being the one to blame because I just kept going. I felt like it was my choice and that actually created identity issues within my own sexuality.

 

Rodney Olsen 

I'm looking at all of that and thinking, the people that you should have been able to trust, the adults in your life, there's your parents, then there's the the men that come to visit with your mom and they just want you out of the picture. So they paying you to go off, and then there's this guy that you're talking about, as you're going off to play these games and he's manipulating and molesting you. What does that do to someone's trust at such a young age?

 

Shea Watson 

Wow, what a great question. Trust at that age. I became volatile. I pretty much came into my own self thinking that I was the one that had to take care of myself. I had to be the one that would forge my way forward, I was the one that would have to make something out of myself or do something. I didn't really have the the trust or actually respect that most kids would have for a normal set of parents. I kind of lost that and I started forging my own future and moving forward in my own shame.

 

Rodney Olsen 

So you're not able to trust any adults because they've proven that. But what about the other kids around you? So for instance, at school, were their friends there.

 

Shea Watson 

I had a few friends. I think that I had a lot of relational struggles, making friends trusting people. You're right. It was tough. It was tough to become a part of because you wanted to be so much more. I remember in elementary school, man, I just had just gone through this. And I wanted to just be accepted by all the other kids and you know, I was the little scrawny kid. Believe it or not, you If you looked at me now, you'd be like, Ah, no, but I was I was a little scrawny kid. I got picked on a lot. I got bullied a lot. And what's amazing in that whole thing is how sometimes the world wants to hold you down. And I had a young boy who called himself my friend, and my nickname that he gave me was 'Shea gay'. Now imagine the impact of this. I've been molested. Nobody knows about this. Next thing, you know, Shea gay becomes the nickname for for Shea and I honestly kind of withdrew back and just didn't make good friends. I tried to be a part of all of the kids around the neighborhood like I had to be accepted. But because the acceptance wasn't always there, I just withdrew.

 

Rodney Olsen 

And what were some of the things that you were doing at that stage to to gain acceptance? We hear often of people who try to gain acceptance and they go about it all the wrong ways. Was that your story too?

 

Shea Watson 

Oh, absolutely. I remember Our next door neighbor, they had two boys. And you know, that was, you know, when you live next door to people, they become your friends, whether they're always great to you or not great to you, that's just you know, that's just the way it works. That's how, you know, childhood is. And I remember that I experienced marijuana, I drank alcohol, because why? They had it, they were doing it. I wanted to be a part of them. So pretty much I ran with the crowd. I remember getting arrested for shoplifting because another one of my friends wanted to go into a store and steal. And they caught both of us. Of course, I had nothing on me at that time. But I was with him. I was blocking, so he could take other things. So yeah, I definitely would do things. It didn't matter good, bad or indifferent to fit in with those around me

 

Rodney Olsen 

And did that risky behavior that you're engaging in, did that give you a sense of life or fitting in? Or was it just something that you felt you had to do to fit in? I felt like it was just a motion. Just I was just moving with the tides are moving with with with life. It didn't really fulfill me. If anything, it just added to the shame. So you're living this life of shame that no one seems to know about. At this stage, you've been still living with your mom, your dad's far away. What happened to the relationship between you and your father,

 

Shea Watson 

My father loves me. I would never destroy that love that He has for me but he also was raised in a home where the father wasn't as communicative as loving or caring. He just was there. And so I kind of grew up in that same environment. He was there. He took care of us. He paid for school stuff, he paid for clothes, but as far as the building of a relationship and the communication that a young man like myself really wanted in a father, that never transpired. I just didn't have that.

 

Rodney Olsen 

So you've been through elementary school, you've been experiencing all these amazing things. I guess you move up the ladder continue your schooling and and what happens there?

 

Shea Watson 

I moved in with my dad in high school and that was kind of one of those moments you look at your mom and you're like, I don't like you. I want to live with dad. Now you're not really thinking about this. You know, with my mom, I had so much freedom. I pretty much ran myself. I would do what I wanted to do when I wanted to do it, sleep when I wanted to, get up when I wanted to. Yes, I went to school, my middle school years, my grades weren't that great. I just kind of just did what I wanted. And then I made that statement. I want to go live with my father. And you know what, they talked about it and they decided that that would probably be the best move being the direction that I was going. So I moved in with my dad and you know by this time, it's amazing. You know how God works as the divorce from the divorce point, now my dad has has found God. He's going to church. He's remarried to a Christian lady and I stepped into the picture. And one of the requirements was that, hey, you will go to Christian school, and you will attend church with us on Sundays and Wednesdays, I was down. I wanted to be away from my mom. And I think a lot of that was because of the brokenness that had happened. And so I moved into high school and of course, I'm always seeking I'm always looking for I'm always trying to be accepted. I'm always trying to be a part of a group or a thing and, you know, high school to me in my mind, at that point, I wanted to transition and I actually went with my middle name in high school. So I got rid of Shea because the Shea gay was so traumatic to me, then that I turned my name over. And so when I introduced myself at my new school, it was Scott Watson. And you know, I succeeded. I man, I loved sports. I always loved sports. Now, I had a little bit of discipline in my life, actually a lot of discipline. My dad was a cop and so He, he laid down a law he laid down a rule he laid down things that I had to do. And so I grew up in that. And so I did athletics, show choir Student Council. I mean, you name it from the high school newspaper, I always got involved. My Grades came up. It was a small school, they had time to focus on me. I had people constantly tell me, oh, great job, good job. You know, you're awesome, right? Actually graduating high school with what in America, we'd say 3.8 GPA, 4.0 being the best. And I had all of these awards and all of these championships under my belt, and I just felt like I was going somewhere, but I still was lacking relationship. I was still lacking my identity. I was still a broken pot, not knowing who I was, at that point in my life. You know, I knew that God and and Jesus existed, and I knew that they were they were real to me, but I didn't know how to have that relationship because I'd never known how to have that relationship with my own father.

 

Rodney Olsen 

It sounds like things are turning around and you still haven't reached that moment where you're feeling fulfilled. But obviously life is on a better track. And it would be wonderful if it just continued to go from strength to strength. But that's not necessarily the story of your life, is it?

 

Shea Watson 

No, it's not, not at all. With the shame of childhood, weighing, or actually just hovering over me. I really believed that I could never stand in front of God and be accepted. I mean, that's how deep this wound was on me. And so I always thought that until I could stand before God, I was worthless. And so when I graduated here I am trying to think of the future and what creeps back in the acceptance what creeps back in, you know, hanging out with the wrong people. Yeah, they accepted me, but they were doing the wrong things between my my graduation and the following year, I found myself in that summer hanging out with people who were selling drugs, who were just running the wrong kind of life. So I started to run with them and I actually ended up getting arrested after high school so after all of this beautiful buildup, you know, man acceptance and doing good, but just being crushed, not having an identity not having, not knowing who I am. I went to find it again in the world, when again to find it and other people, and it ended up getting me in trouble again. And that is actually where one of the greater turning points of my life started, is after I got arrested, so my dad being a police officer, they dropped the drug charges and they ended up charging me for just carrying a concealed weapon, a pistol, which by the way, happened to be my dad's service revolver for his job. They worked out a deal and we ended up signing me up for the army. And that is where another part of my life started.

 

Rodney Olsen 

It seems that you go through stages of, of this shame, trying to find acceptance, then going into this disciplined life and I guess trying to get acceptance in a very different way by conforming, then that fell apart. And now you're going back to this conforming again, going into the military. How did that work for you?

 

Shea Watson 

Again, like you said, Man, you work. We're working through levels. It's like It's like a wave, right? I joined the military. I'm good at it. I'm athletic. I listen to orders because why I want to please people, right? So all of the the leadership just was like, Man, this this is good soldier. He's awesome. He does what we want him to do. He works hard. He he doesn't break down. He just keeps going. And so military with the discipline became another one of those pedestals or another one of those Portions of life where I'm living by others complements, I'm living by others acceptance. Basically, they're forming my life and telling me who I am. And it was going good. It was it was good. And then I met my first wife. And I'm and I'm saying that wasn't the greatest meeting of my life actually. It was rushed. We had met briefly, I was supposed to be deployed, to go overseas to battle to war. And I told her, we should get married and I think we had known each other for six months. So I just jumped into that relationship. And that brought back see I think it's always like, you start to feel like you're moving up, you're starting to, to move forward, you're starting to get away from those feelings of, of inadequacy of mistrust of just pain and the shame that goes with you know, what you've been through in life. You know all the mistakes that you've made? The woman that I married, believe it or not abused me. She was into drugs, drinking, you know, when we would argue things might be thrown. I remember one time we were in an argument and as I walked away all of a sudden I felt a stabbing pain in my back. I had scissors lodged into my back. Did she come up and stab me? No, she threw them from across the room and they hit perfectly. I ended up in the hospital with staples with a deep gash about two inches deep an inch off my spine. And of course, when I went to the hospital, I did the thing that most abuse people would do. I lied. How did this happen? I fell on the couch, the scissors were there. Another time she was hitting and punching. And I grabbed ahold her not to hurt her but to just stop her and she kicked me so hard in the nose. That I ended up in the emergency room again. And they had to put my nose back in place through surgery. And of course, I said, I got hit by softball. So it was a little abusive in that time, but you know what army? So yeah, my home was horrible. My army life was awesome. Always going forward. But you know, we went to war and war has its tolls.

 

Rodney Olsen 

I want to look at some of the tolls that war does have but first, just touching on again, there's the abuse from this wife, obviously very different from the abuse you suffered as a child. Again, we see the same pattern of lying and trying to hide what has happened then. And I don't think you're alone in that. I think there's probably a lot of people listening who things have happened in the past that have not been their fault. And yet, they feel the need to cover it up. This can't come out. There's too much shame.

 

Shea Watson 

Yeah, I definitely think that there are a lot of people that fall into this pattern. We don't want to admit things sometimes. I know in my own circumstance, pride, pride became my silence. Pride became that shutting of my mouth and not not allowing other people's in to see what I was going through because I thought I could hold it all myself. I thought I could carry it all myself, I thought that I could deal with it. And I would be okay. You know, the whole your whole life, the army, you know, I mean, you get an army, there's like, you fall down, you sprained something, you gotta get up, boy get ups on, you got this. We got this. And it's just it's constantly building up, but you're not really addressing the issue. Like I said, we went to battle right? And again, you know, in this thought, it's like the bill job, you're good, you're good, you're good, you're good, you're good, you're good, but you're seeing things. you're experiencing things. Man, the battlefield is an ugly place. And I think because of all of the other trauma all of the other impacts. This just became another layer of impact. And I know in 1997, I had come to a point in my life in the military where I felt like I was out of control, where fear no longer played a role. And if anyone knows anything about combat, if anyone knows anything about war, there always needs to be a little bit of fear in war, without fear becomes recklessness. So without that control without, you know, thinking of outcomes without thinking of the responsibilities and what might or might not transpire, in other words, putting the whole picture together when you start to go without that, and you start to just go reckless, you start to endanger other people's lives. And so I put myself in front of a psychiatric doctor because I knew something was wrong. I was starting to have flashbacks. I was starting to have delusions. I was starting to have nightmares, and I needed to talk to somebody.

 

Rodney Olsen 

Do you feel that somehow that recklessness, that lack of fear was a sense of, of almost self destruction of not caring what happened to you?

 

Shea Watson 

I would say that would be 100%. accurate, sir.

 

Rodney Olsen 

So how do you come out of this? I mean, you say you've put yourself in front of medical help, what was the prognosis and what happened from there?

 

Shea Watson 

So I was diagnosed with PTSD. And I think that at the time, it felt like a horrible decision because they said, I couldn't go back to the military. The diagnosis was Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. I want to just go back at that point, I was like, Okay, I'm fine. I've talked to somebody let me just go on, you know, it was a Shay fix. It was like, Okay, okay, let me let me just go, let me get back into pattern. You know, they kept me there. And they're like, no, you're not fit to go back. Now, that had its own impact, because I'd always been fit. In my own mind. I'd always been okay. In my own mind. I'd always been able to pull myself out of it. And now I had somebody telling me, no, we're going to keep you back. But it was a good thing. When you look back at it. Now you look back and you say why Wow, that was my god taking control and saying no, it's time to move forward. It's trying time to fix this. And so in, in care in the psychiatric care that I was that I went through the admission of being molested of a child was brought out for the first time to anyone. I had never talked to anyone and I was, what 2027 28 years old. And one of the first questions my doctor asked me was, have you told your parents about this? And I looked at her and I said, No, I've never told them. So one of the first things that we had done as part of the treatment and healing was to bring our my parents in and let them know that hey, during this time, during this period, you know, I experienced these things.

 

Rodney Olsen 

And I imagine that that was incredibly tough on them. Because they're thinking, well, we didn't really help the situation. Our relationship was breaking down and these things were happening around us. So did they feel a sense of guilt and shame as if they'd let you down at that time?

 

Shea Watson 

I would say that they did. Especially my mother, my father responded like most fathers would. He said, Man, I'm glad I didn't know then, you know how we, you know, we always stand up for our kids. I'm a father and it's like, if I would have known, I would have done something. And you know, I'm kind of glad that he didn't know because at that time, he wasn't with Christ, or he wasn't with God. He wasn't, you know, in a mind frame that probably was healthy. My mother, of course, felt extremely guilty. And it took her a lot of years to find peace in that later in life. She also came and started to believe in Jesus Christ. And so now I have two parents to this day that believe in Jesus Christ. And so through that process, we have continued to heal. They were there. My dad, you know, again, not the greatest communicator in the world. But I know he loves me. I know it had an effect on them. And I know that it also answered a lot of questions. Why was Shea so broken? Why was shave so angry? Why was Shea toxic and kind of helped them understand that you know what there was a lot more going on.

 

Rodney Olsen 

As we listen to the story. We're hearing that familiar theme of coming to a better place and at this stage, you're getting some of the help that you need. But after you come out of the military, what happened then?

 

Shea Watson 

So I lost what I considered my love. I'm very pedestal. In my past my past I would put items or people on pedestals, they became my everything. I had really no foundation in myself. I had really low self esteem. Even with all of the achievements, I still never looked at myself as worthy or or good. So I lost the love. I lost the army. I didn't know what to do. I'm trained in Combat Arms, and now they're telling me you can't have that job. During that time at the hospital, I actually met my future boss. And he was an ex Green Beret. So he understood who I was what I was. And he actually was working in the medical maintenance field for the army. So that's working on medical equipment. So anything from x ray machine down to a simple microscope, and he said, Look, if you ever have to leave the army, you just give me a call. Army day came it was it I was done. They medically retired me, shattered, didn't didn't understand what's going on. But watch this. I had this great job. But still with that great job because it wasn't what I strived to be just became another job. I never looked at the blessing that was behind that job. I moved forward. My sister happened to live in the area. And she was like, Hey, why don't you move in with me because this is where the job was. And so post military, you know, I'm feeling but I'm still feeling lost. I'm still filling this Dark Void. I'm still filling all of these shames in this turmoil. That always was Inside of me, I'm feeling like I'm nothing. And I have this job. But what did I do? I went out again and I met the wrong people and I got myself into drugs. And this time instead of selling the drugs, I started doing the drugs. And that list of drugs is quite extensive. To be honest, I didn't even want to live. I didn't care if I lived. Here. I had this good job. I had a sister who loved me, who was a believer in Jesus Christ, who really threw everything through the drug addiction. And just this this two years that I stayed with her, where people were like, just kick him out, get rid of him. She kept me she helped me. I lived in that darkness. I lived in that shame and that pain. I felt I didn't finish the army. I wanted to retire. I told everybody I would retire in 20 years, you know, normally, I'd have this job that I loved that I went forward in that, you know, people always told me I'm good at now. I'm starting a whole new job and it's like, yeah, you're okay, but you're learning. So you're not Great. So again, I'm back at the bottom. And I'm trying to find a way to pull myself out.

 

Rodney Olsen 

And still trying to find that acceptance that even as a young child on that Christmas day when, when your life was broken apart on on a day, that should be one of the happiest days of the year, you find out that your parents are splitting your life will never be the same again. And you're still trying to find that acceptance as as what now about a 27, 28 year old man?

 

Shea Watson 

Yeah, and you know what? I've found that acceptance. Again, you know, it's here we go through that pattern. I found that acceptance I I met my second wife, so I had to divorce my first wife. We were actually married nine years. I think that whole nine years we spent three years together. The rest of the time we were separated or away from each other. She was doing her things. Another traumatic story there, but we'll save that for another time. So I divorced her and married my second wife idolized her. I put her on a pedestal. I put All of my focus into her. And you know what, in some ways, it had a great outcome. I stopped doing the drugs because my wife had told me she said, Look, if you're going to do drugs, I don't want to be with you, you have to stop doing drugs. So I stopped doing that drug and then she became my drug. She became my everything she became my my lift my boosts my, my high. And of course, when that would fall apart, I would feel empty and alone. And I would react that way. I would really react. scared, I would read, I'd have this elephant on my chest. I mean, the elephant on my chest was in my whole life. I don't know if you've ever heard that expression. But it's just that heaviness like your heart aches. when things don't go right. Your heart just is just pounded it just like it feels like you're being crushed. And every time that we'd have an issue, I'd feel crushed because I didn't have me. I always had it in someone else. This whole time work is going great, by the way. Work. She's going great. You know, I'm moving Moving up here and my my relationship honestly was beautiful. A lot of people would say, Hey, we want to be like you guys we want to have that friendship like you guys have but you know when we fell apart, we would fall apart because we were alone when we fell apart. We went through some tough times we went through eight miscarriages we went through you know, the the normal wife and husband fights probably more intensified because we only had each other and when that fell apart, we we felt alone. But the eight miscarriages started to have its toll on her. It started to have its toll on me. We went through some serious miscarriages while we're talking fifth and six month miscarriages. And so you're sitting there and you're adding more to the pressure more to the life more of these things that you have to handle together and we were failing at handling them together. We did attempt to be a part of that lifestyle of Christianity, that we got baptized together. In fact, it was like I was like yes, maybe We're moving forward here. You know, we're gonna get through these miscarriages. We're gonna get this. I mean, I think God was starting to call on me. God was saying, No, no, no, we can't You can't live this way. I started to decrease my alcohol. And God just kept saying, Come on, come on, come on, I could just feel it, I felt that there was a directional change that had to happen. But see, we were on different levels. And she and my wife just kept going deeper and deeper and deeper into darkness. And when I say that, I only mean that in the most loving way. She was in pain, and she didn't know how to deal with that pain. One day she came home, and she was like, you know, I just want to I just want to hang out with my friends. Because the younger crowd and I just want to go to the bar, just want to party just want to have fun. And I told her, this is just me being loving. I said, Look, just be home more than you're away. And she went and did what she did. And one day she came home again and she's like, I just want to start smoking weed and actually I smelled it on her I knew drugs. And she was I want to start smoking weed. I just want to, you know, start doing these other things. And I looked at her that day and I said, we can't bring that into this house. You know, my past, I stopped drugs because of you. And I told her, I said, we can't do that. And that is the starting point of when she started to move away from me. It started out with just weeks apart in our own home to where one day she just decided that she was going to leave and move in with a friend. And that kind of finalized my my second marriage, she never wanted reconciliation. We were fighting, you know, over the reconciliation we tried a couple times. And she just ended up leaving. And so I was again alone.

 

Rodney Olsen 

I mentioned at the start that you were someone who really at many times had not seen hope. And even the hope that was coming especially through those those miscarriages of seeing a baby develop and maybe there's hope there to be dashed again. And again, it's hard to understand what that does to push So what finally was the trigger to start turning things around for you?

 

Shea Watson 

New Year's Eve 2013. I was home alone. And you know, I'd been in this position before. I remember another year way back in my military days with the first wife where I was sitting in a hotel room alone on New Year's Eve. Of course, that time I turned to drugs. This time, again, although much milder, I just wanted to sleep. And so I drank a couple beers took an Ambien, which is a sleeping pill, and I just wanted to go to bed. And when I woke up, I was sitting in front of my my good friend, he lived about an hour away. And I'm just mystified. I'm sitting in a chair. As you know, I wake up in a chair from asleep, and I look across at my friend first. How did I get here? I don't even remember driving. Number two, he was sitting across from me. He had a pistol, a gun sitting on his chair. And I looked at him and he looked at me and I said Why do you have a gun and he said, reach inside of your your pocket. And I reached inside of my own pocket and I had a one of my pistols on me. I think that was a wake up call. That was one of those moments where you sit there and say, I don't want to turn to drugs, I don't want to turn to alcohol. I don't want to turn to anything that's going to be destructive in my life I need to change and I remembered back to high school. I remembered back to learning about Jesus learning about God. I'd never discredited God or Jesus through my whole life. In fact, if anything, I was just too shameful to approach him or talk to him, or have a relationship with Him. And so that morning, I went home on New Year's Day of 2014 and I opened up my laptop and I said, You know what, I need to be in church. I need to be in church and I looked at To God in a very defiant way, almost, if I look back at it now and said, Fine, I'm done trying to do it myself, show me something. Prove it to me. Prove to me that I'm worthy, prove to me that you love me the way that I'd always been told. And so I looked up the church that I'm actually in now, Greater Grace Christian Fellowship, it was close. I could walk to it if necessary. I wanted a place where I had no excuses. And so I went to church,

 

Rodney Olsen 

And what happened at that church to change because you'd known about Jesus, you've known about God all this time. And the sense I get is that you've been trying to please Him, just as you've been trying to please everyone else. You've already said that you felt that you needed to shape up before God before he would accept you. So what was different this time?

 

Shea Watson 

In one word, Grace. And I know that that term doesn't always fall on every one the same way. But really, when I went to church that day I learned about his unfailing love. I learned that no matter what position that I was in, he still loved me. He loves me. No matter, the brokenness, the the shame, the pain, the things that I had done. He was standing there willing, Lee opening his arms and saying, Come to me, son, come to me, I will give you the rest that you need. And that grace that that just is a healing grace, and what he's done to ensure that we could have that grace when we accept him and receive him. When we say that, yeah, you know what I want to trust in you. And it was the first time that I'd ever heard something other than what I had been used to or in my head, thought The past that you know, if you send you, you know, it's the it's the big ad of everybody, here's this if you send you go to hell, you know, and that was kind of in my mind that like I was I had this destiny to hell. And in that first church service, it's amazing how God works. He broke down a message he gave a message through my pastor to me personally, about how you're okay. Just come to me.

 

Rodney Olsen 

How did you manage to change your thinking of forever trying to please people and forever trying to please a God who, in your mind could not be pleased, to just accepting the love from a God who said, it's all free, it's all grace?

 

Shea Watson 

I think what I had to stop putting in my mind was me going to God and allowing God to come to me. I simply reached out to God So show me if you're if people are going through something right now and they don't feel like there's a way out. Sometimes it's just easier. Maybe Maybe you don't believe it. 100% maybe you're like, but is it real? Or is this What's going on? Because I mean, I lived in the in the world of I knew it was real. But I didn't feel worthy enough. I would always find myself coming up short. But I sat there that day, and I said, Show me. Show me. And let me tell you something. When you put a request to God like that, God shows you like he showed me. Was I perfect? No, I mean, I went to church for one month. You know, it has like, yeah, I'm succeeding. Now. I traveled to Africa a lot. Now I'm all in into the mission side of it. But before that, I was traveling to Africa and I was on the party scene, the club scene the do it wrong. Seeing is how I would see it. And I went back to Africa in that February and you know what, I stumbled again, it was a big stumble. The one thing that I had against my wife coming back into the home was drugs. I ended up finding in Africa which is very unusual. And I found myself going back to the drugs. So again, back into that pattern. But you know, as I flew home, after the month of being in Africa, and realizing that, you know what, that really isn't the lifestyle that I wanted. That's not what I wanted. I had experienced something better in that January as I was going to church and Bible studies and, and I was starting to feel like I was being filled with something that was good. As I flew back from Africa, I made a promise on that plane. I said, God, I will serve you.

 

Rodney Olsen 

We can all turn over a new leaf and and several points along your story. You've turned over a new leaf, things have started to look good. But you can only fake it for so long, right? This was back in 2014. And this seems to be something that has stuck. So what's actually happened since 2014, when you made that concrete decision?

 

Shea Watson 

So 2014 there was one more little story that that really made the difference in me. And I think this is what solidifies the reality to to the relationship that God wants to have with his people. I was at church, I was broken. I mean, you know, when you start to realize that the way that your life was, isn't necessarily the way it should be, that the things that you invested in the things that you put your heart and mind and soul into, were things that didn't build build you up. They actually brought you down. You start to go through this phase of brokenness and you start to really seek to be different. And I remember going to church and I can came home. And I'm I'm listening to actually it's a pretty cool song. It's called a Sweetly Broken by Jeremy Riddle. So if anyone out there I'm pumping them up a little bit I think that's allowed, but you should listen to this song. You should listen to this song because it just says that you know what, even in my brokenness, even in my brokenness, God says I'm okay. And I fall down in my entryway and yeah, I'm gonna admit it as a man I laid there crying, because I was like, You know what, it's okay to be broken. It's okay. Because God is gonna be there for me. You know, I'm starting to solidify in my mind that I don't need anything else. I just need God. And I kind of shake it all off. I'm listening to that song in my headphones, and I stand up and I walk around to my kitchen. And to this day, I don't understand how but all of my cabinets were open and the dishes were on the floor broken. And I'm looking at this and I sit down and I have this overwhelming feeling right? of like, Ah, man. I'm trying To get better, and I'm just keep running into stuff. And I had this feeling and it said, Get up, clean up all that brokenness. And then when I cleaned it up, the floor was completely clean. There was no more dishes, no more broken, no more anything. And I had that feeling that that understanding that God was saying, that is how I cleaned you. You're okay. The funny behind that I had one bowl, one plate, one cup left, and it would kind of solidify the idea that it's me and you got it's nothing else. We're gonna build this you're gonna teach me how to love myself. And on that day, he started to teach me how to love myself something that I had never done my entire life. And so from 2014 to now that has been the building process that has been what's been going on, when things start to fall apart. I don't fall apart the way that I used to fall apart. Yes, you like you said there are times you know You go through challenges you go through, man, I got remarried, I'm on my third wife. But this is my final life. And I can say that wholeheartedly. Because both of us have a different foundation that we live by. We don't live by our own foundations, our own self, what we believe we believe in a core value that comes from the Bible, and how to forgive and how to give grace and how to give mercy, all of these things that I struggled with my whole life. So now even when we have an argument, we don't fall away and fall apart, we fall into the Word of God. That has been so healing when things come up in our path COVID right now in the United States, all of the you know, the the riots, the protests, the things that are going on the things that bring instability to our hearts and our minds because we just don't know the direction and I'm not signing either way. I'm just saying that, you know, these things come at you but you know, he continually take Those stressors away that elephant that was on my chest in 2014. I have not felt that since the PTSD that I experienced has now been taken away. I no longer experience delusions, nightmares and flashbacks. God is doing a work in my life God is has lifted me up. And I have never felt this alive in my entire life through everything that I've been through.

 

Rodney Olsen 

There's not just a set of beliefs that you now follow. But there's actually real healing that has happened in your mind and in your body.

 

Shea Watson 

Absolutely, absolutely. Beliefs are one thing, but actually feeling the change is another thing. I don't look back at my past and think, oh, how horrible I was. I actually look back at my past, and I think, how can I help people. They're going through the same things that bring me to where I am today. Healthy, satisfied, joyful, at peace. Full of comfort. because my whole life was anarchy, twisted, broken. And now I feel like I'm part of something greater. And it's not just a set of rules. It's so much deeper than that. It's acceptance.

 

Rodney Olsen 

What does life look like for you in the present day?

 

Shea Watson 

Very busy, Rodney. No, my my life today. here's here's a beautiful what I hold daughter number nine. In my arms. I have a beautiful wife that is a believer in Jesus Christ the same way I am. More importantly, we are ministers in the Word of God. I also I lead men's ministry, I attend Bible College. leader in our church, we do a podcast, the pantry podcast, as you mentioned earlier, I still work for the army, although now that's become my second job. And you know what's amazing about that? When God became my first job, my second job became more fulfilling. I've linked up with churches in Africa. I've linked up with churches in the Republic of Georgia. My life is just completely different. Do we move a lot? Do we go a lot? Absolutely. But you know, this is a message that I think more people need to hear. This is a message of hope. This is a message that heals people, and that healing. I can't even describe the healing. But I know that it's there. And I know that it's real and it hasn't gone away. I've been in doing ministry work for seven years now and it doesn't go away. But that relationship with Jesus, that wanting to know about Jesus wanting to know the love that he truly has, is what guides our steps and gets us through every day.

 

Rodney Olsen 

If people want to To get in touch with you maybe explore a bit more of your story and how that can become their story, what's the best way for them to contact you?

 

Shea Watson 

I have a couple different ways. First of all, we have our Pantry Podcast. So you can always get ahold of both my wife or I through this. It's hey@thepantrypodcast.com or you can reach out to my personal email. It's swatson@ggcf.info Either one of those would be a great way to reach out to us.

 

Rodney Olsen 

And I'll pop links to that and to to the podcast for sure  in our show notes are bleedingdaylight.net. Shae, it has been remarkable time to spend with you to hear some of the stories, some of the brokenness but the hope that continues to break through. Thank you so much for your time.

 

Shea Watson 

Thank you, Rodney. Appreciate it. Hey, keep up the good work brother. Love you.

 

Emily Olsen

Thank you for listening to Bleeding Daylight. Please help us to shine more light into the darkness by sharing this episode with others. For further details and more episodes, please visit BleedingDaylight.net

 

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