Love For the Unloveable
Hello. My name is Jason Phillips. I’m 42 years old and I am a follower of Jesus Christ. It was one day, this was in January of 2021, I was driving and I was working, and Jesus just spoke to me, just out of the blue.
He apologized to me. He said, “Jason, My son, it hurt Me. It hurt Me to hear you cry out to take you away, to take you out, out of there. And I’m sorry that I couldn’t do it. I needed you there. I needed you there, to be the man that I have intended you to be, but I was always there with you. It hurt Me to hear you cry out. It hurt Me to hear you cry out back when you were a kid.”
“Take me out of here please, Jesus. Make this go away. Take me away!”
I pulled over and started bawling just because it, just my entire life made sense finally. He was always with me. He was always, He always had me, even when I didn’t want Him, even when I didn’t know it. Everything I’ve done, He’s always been there with me.
I had a pretty, pretty different upbringing. My parents got divorced when I was three. My mom took us to go live with her in the town that my grandfather lived in–her dad. It was really hard at first. You know, to make that adjustment. My dad would come, came to come see us and they wouldn’t, they wouldn’t let us around him.
My mom, she was a loving woman. She loved us. She was such a protector. We lived in government apartments there in the town and they were a little, little rougher, you know? And I remember the older kids would corner my brother and I – We were really fast but they would catch up with us. – and I just remember I’d yell, “Mom!,” scream, “Mom!” and she was a bigger woman, just broad, and you’d just hear that screen door shut, just slam shut and here was my mom who was trucking it, just running barefoot – she never had shoes on or anything. You know, it’s like, I just remember this like it was yesterday. You know, protection.
I had a reputation as the bad kid. You know, just a heathen pretty much. You know, it’s like as soon as I got out of anywhere that it didn’t have to have a shirt and shoes on. I had them off no matter what, running around. Always everywhere, never inside. Just because I knew that if I was inside, I was guaranteed to get a spanking. If I was outside, chances got a lot slimmer.
We moved out of the government apartments when I was still in kindergarten. I was like five or six and moved into this old house that my mom had bought. On this particular day, in the middle of summer, I got woken up to her window getting busted out. And I remember my brother running, but it was my mom that broke her window out and she was screaming for us to get out of the house because it was on fire. We lost everything we had. I remember the town, you know, like at church and stuff like that, people would always talk about, like, I would hear them talking, saying that my mom did it on purpose, you know, like, she wasn’t accepted at all there.
But when I was eight, my brother and I were hanging out in our living room, and he was reading a book called Action Jackson. I couldn’t read; I’m dyslexic, and got held back in second grade and made me feel really dumb growing up, and I went in to go sleep with my mom for some reason, which I never did. I remember getting woken up. I jumped up and turned the light on, I saw my mom just flailing in the bed, just shaking. I ran to get my brother. We came back and by that time she had stopped shaking, and she was laying on her back and just gasping for air. My grandfather came and picked us up and took us to our great grandmother’s house and then came and picked us up shortly after we’d fallen back asleep and told us that our mother was dead. She had taken her own life. My mom, she felt like she was such a failure that she was ruining our life, or that she would ruin our lives if she continued to raise us and the only way to to save us was to take herself out, in her head, you know?
But the churches and stuff we would go to, you know, we were always judged. She was always you know…I remember, like a group of women would be over talking and my mom would walk up and they would all get quiet and just wouldn’t talk and then she would walk away and then they would start talking again. You know, like after our house fire, they thought my mother did it on purpose to get attention or insurance money or something. But I would hear this stuff even as a kid in this town, you know?
She would have us in Vacation Bible school because it was like a free babysitter during the summer. There were so many churches in this small town, this town had like 600-700 people in it, but there was probably 10 churches there. Each one of them did their vacation bible school different. But we already had a reputation as “the bad kids.” We’d get kicked out of every one of the vacation bible schools, you know. But, I always took that as, like, absorbed that as maybe that’s why my mom did what she did, you know, as a kid growing up with that, just that feeling of just abandonment and just not being loved, everybody looking down on you. It just validated that unlovable part that I had inside of me.
I remember we went to go live with my dad. Which, you know, I hadn’t seen him in five years, didn’t know who he was, you know, really. Like even my dad would tell me, he’s like, “You know, you ever stop to think that maybe you’re the reason? You made life so hard on your mom that she did what she did.” That would set in, I was unlovable, you know, never knew what love was. My mom loved me, oh God did she love me and I knew it! But to be, like go from a rainforest tree or plant that has all the water and everything to be just taken and uprooted and moved out to the desert, where it would kill most plants…Because my dad didn’t know how to show love. He was a very closed off man. He just, he would just pretty much ignore us, neglect us, you know.
But I always knew that it was going to get better. I don’t know how, or why, but I just knew like this, it’s gonna get better. It’s gonna get better, it’s gonna get better. It’s gonna be different one day. When I get older I can move out of here, you know. And just, that just kind of kept me going.
I remember, I was like 28 and lived with my roommate, both of us were just degenerates, just, you know, always at the bar drinking and just, you know, running from everything. I remember this particular day, my roommate just got arrested, and I was getting evicted from my apartment. The cops were actually looking for me because of traffic tickets that I owed. They came to my house, they came to where I did work, but I just got fired right before that. So I lost my job and my vehicle. The tow truck drivers were coming to repo it, you know, and I remember feeling all that, all at the same time. There was a gas station that I would always go into, and I literally had like 10 bucks. I went in to buy a bottle of water, get myself some Copenhagen, and put the rest in gas in my car with just like, with this stress and pressure on me. And I went there all the time. And there was a Middle Eastern guy that was there a lot. He was a younger man. And when I went up to pay for it, he asked me, “What is so great in your life?” And I looked at him like, what do you mean? He’s like, “Every time I see you, you always have a big smile on your face. You always are polite and respectful. You hold the door open for people and you just bring a presence with you. What is so great in your life that makes you that way? Is it your God?”
That moment was kind of my rock bottom and for him to tell me that, for me to actually start processing and thinking how far in the hole I was, and he noticed that I was still carrying joy. Like, I knew I didn’t feel it, but evidently, it shined through me. And I know that was the Lord and tried to deny it even then, you know. But that day, like it did change me. I didn’t want to live like that. I wound up getting another apartment before the eviction showed up on my record. I started my business and I was able to pay off what I owed on my car, so the repo man stopped chasing me and I was able to come up with all that and actually started progressing as an adult in my life. But I carried that hurt inside, that abandonment. Just always took it personal and always, like a sadness inside that I would try to cover up.
I’d grown a business, had it operational, you know, since ‘08. I encountered a lot of people, you know, I always had an interest in everybody. One of my, one of my strong suits was, I could have a customer that was really upset at one of my employees or you know, just in a really bad mood and I would show up and I could defuse it. Like, not necessarily being there to defuse it, but, you know, just talking to him, speaking with him, and interacting with him. It was just like a gift that I had. And I’d met a lot of people through this, you know, running my business. And there was one particular guy that I met, you know, the Lord just put us on the same job.
I was doing startups for a large pool builder and he was in the landscaping company and he was there doing the backyards, around the pools and stuff and I met him on this particular job and we just started talking. I mean, the conversation went from like everything in life, you know. So him and I would communicate and talk and I’d go over there and drink a beer with him and you know, we’d always talk about the Lord. But I wasn’t, I wasn’t able to receive that you know, and I believed it, but I wasn’t able to receive it and I continued on my path and I carried all this stuff, all this guilt and shame on myself. I was, it was a point to where I was tired of carrying it all, this brokenness. I was feeling like…
I was supposed to do a job for Cliff, put in some lights and meet up with him, but I was avoiding him because I didn’t want to talk about God. I didn’t want to talk about Jesus, you know. It was a Sunday, November 1st of 2020. I got really drunk the night before, picked an argument with my wife and everybody around me, it was very destructive. And it wasn’t an out of the blue thing that I would do that. But it had progressively gotten more and more. I was pushing my wife away, I was pushing everybody away. And I just remember feeling really really low and just sad.
I would have visions. Sometimes I would see things and I had a vision of me walking on my back patio with a 1911 45 in my hand, and I put it to the side of my head and pulled the trigger. The vision was so real it’s almost like it happened. I went the next couple days just kind of carrying that with me, just that brokenness and seeing different things. I was in my office, I was by myself, and this is in 2020 after the pandemic hit, like no one came to my office you know. Like, my staff and everything started working from home or what staff I had left you know. My business had gone from 10 employees down to five you know, and I mean, the enemy was just just running amuck on me. I picked up my phone and I called Cliff. I expected him to be angry at me for avoiding him as long as I had, you know. And he answered the phone! But the first thing he said was, “Hey, what type of shit are you in right now?”
I kind of started telling him, talking to him a bit about it and he said, he invited me, you know, like, “Later on this afternoon, a buddy of mine and I are gonna be at the pool. Why don’t you come by?” He’s like, “You need to check out my lights anyway.” But he said, “I have a friend named John. He comes over sometimes. He may be in the pool. If he’s there, just introduce yourself to him and let him know that I’m on my way.” And so I walked back there and sure enough, John was in the pool. I just started talking to him and just kind of telling him, you know, what I was going through, what I’ve, what I’ve gone through, what I was carrying, and just, you know, broke down. I was weeping, just that sadness, that brokenness that I’ve carried for so long.
He told me that, he was like, “The Lord gives me pictures, sometimes, for people.” He said, “I don’t know what they mean. So I can’t tell you. I can’t give you detail on it.” He’s like, “But the Lord gave me a picture and wants me to share it with you.” He’s like, “Would you like it?” And I said, “Yes, please.” And he told me, he said, “The picture that I received from the Lord for you is, you’re turning playgrounds into obstacle courses.” I’m like, “That’s really weird. What does that mean?” He said, “Like I said, I don’t have the definition behind it. Just ask the Lord.” He’s like, “But I do know that obstacle courses aren’t always there to distract you; they’re there to prepare you, to train you.”
When I was a kid, I would always make obstacle courses out of everything. I was always outside and you know, we’d always make our own obstacle courses: swing from the tree, jump over the ditch, you know, crawl through this…And just started thinking about how much I liked them, you know?
And we were sitting there and Cliff looked at me and he’s like, “Jason,” he’s like, “the Lord’s telling me you need to reset.” And I’m like, “Reset what?” Like, “Yeah, I agree, I need to reset. I need to do something different, but I don’t know what it is.” And I was getting ready to leave and John’s like, “Do you mind if we pray for you?” And they’re in the pool, I’m out of the pool – I’ve got my feet in the water – and they’re praying, I couldn’t even tell you, but I just felt the Holy Spirit and like, His presence. And I had a picture that was given to me. And it was just a quick vision of me getting baptized, during this prayer.
After the prayer, I stood up and put on my shoes and I just remember I was weeping. I was putting on my boots and John looked at me and he said, “Jason, just so you know, whenever you’re ready to be saved and baptized, I’ll do it anyplace, anytime, anyplace.” And instead of putting my boots on, I stripped down my underwear, took my clothes off – My boxers, let me rephrase that. (chuckles) – and I received the Lord that day, received Jesus.
The pain that I carried with me for so long, just went away and through the baptism there in the swimming pool, in my underwear. (chuckles) I didn’t open my eyes. I just stayed there in His presence because I felt His presence. And with my eyes closed, when I came out of the water I stood there. I don’t know how long, how long it was–how much time it was, but I got to see, not only did I feel it, but I got to witness it in the Spirit of what it truly represented to have everything washed away.
The vision that I had, it was just solid, total blackness. That blackness just got took over by red. And then that red dissipated to clarity and purity. I became a new creation that day. I was able to truly receive it. The love that I’ve always had for others, I never could have for myself. And to feel that unconditional love, that same love that I witnessed when my children were born. The love, that unconditional love that He has for us is just so amazing, just so overwhelming (deep exhale) and I’m worthy of it. For the first time in my life I felt that I was worthy.