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He Believed the Lies that He was Unloved

Shannon Woodland


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“The police officer looked him in his face and said, 'You could do what you want with that boy in that home, as long as I don't see a bruise on him.' And he came in my room and he, he...he shut the door behind him. And he had a belt in his hand. And he smiled at me and said, 'You know, the police just told me, they said do as you please, just don't leave a mark.'” 

Niko Winguay had run away again. It was the only way he knew to escape his stepfather, Dean’s, beatings. “That was my retaliation because I didn’t know what else to do. Yeah. I would try to commit suicide. They would admit me to the hospital. And then when I would go back home, I would do it again,” recalled Niko. 

The police weren’t the only ones Niko felt turned a blind eye to the abuse. “I think out of all of it, I grew to hate my mother more than anyone, to be honest with you. I, for a period there, I, almost hated my mother more than I hated him because she was supposed to be the one that loved me and protect me. He's just a stranger that is evil.”  

While his mom and two sisters were also victims, Niko took the brunt of it. He was always in trouble, in and out of juvenile detention. “By the time I got into seventh grade, I was untamable,” said Niko. "I hated the police. I hated the, the correctional facility. I hated the government. I hated. I hated everyone.”   

By high school, Niko, now bigger and stronger, decided the abuse had to stop. One day he pulled a knife on his stepfather. “I told him I was going to murder him. I told him I was going to kill him,” said Niko. 

His stepfather called the police, Niko was back in juvenile detention. By the time he got out after three months, his mother had divorced Dean and Niko had nowhere to live. So, he lived out of his truck doing odd jobs and abused drugs.

“You know the people that run the streets, right? That's where I was at. I mean, the guy that comes up and asks you for some money, riding around with a bunch of other druggies, figuring out our next fix.”

One day, he reached out to a man named John, a counselor he’d met years before at a wilderness program for troubled youth.  

Niko said, “I think he truly was the first person ever in my life that literally looked at me and heard what I said and saw me and believed me and said, 'You know what? I think what he's going through is wrong.'”
John, who had also given Niko a Bible, tried again to help the now 20-year-old find hope through Christ.

“I'm still in the same situation doing the same stuff. So, I've got this new thing where I'm like trying to understand Christ and understand what His purpose is for me while still living in the world and what's going on.”

One day, Niko and his mom got into a heated argument. Then, the truth came out. He said, “I was trying to convey to her that I know, I know in the end of all this, when it's all said, and it's because you've never loved me.”  

At that moment, Niko realized what John and the Bible had been saying all along.

“In that moment, Christ, let me know, 'I love you though,'” said Niko. “And, I had broken through. Something had just broken through. I can't explain it. It's supernatural. Something had broken through in my life. And I got in the shower. And when I got in the shower, I got down on my knees, and when the water hit my face, I closed my eyes. And I cried out to Him, and I said, 'Forgive me, please.' And I was never the same since.” 

Niko says he lost all desire for drugs. Between counseling, church, and diving into the Bible, he began to embrace the love of Christ. 

“He personally touched me. And I just remember feeling like everything I knew was a lie and that I was actually loved. And a lot of the forgiveness and healing came through that.” 

Eventually Niko forgave his stepdad and his mom. In a couple years, he married Danielle and became an instant dad to three kids. The couple also recently had a son. Niko said, “I’ve never been more loved or felt more loved in my entire life."    

Today, Niko owns and operates a construction business which is thriving – he’s beyond grateful for the love of Christ that shapes him each day and gives hope.

“It’s so true but you have to find a relationship with Christ,” said Niko. “Open your Bible, grow to know Him. I promise you; He will miraculously deliver you out of anything you're in and heal you. He can heal you. I do not believe for a moment you're irreparably damaged forever. I believe Christ can. And He’s willing, He’s willing.”

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