What His Earthly Father Could Not Give, God Did
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“I didn't really care about anybody else, but myself,” Todd Clanton said while thinking back on his youth. “I wanted to be famous. In my household, rock and roll was God. The drinking was nonstop. It was continuous. I honestly thought that I was going to die, and I even accepted that.”
Todd grew up with everything a child could need: food, clothes, toys, a roof over his head. He had it all, except for the love of his parents.
“I didn't know what it was like to be loved,” Todd said. “Was I being paid attention to? No. My dad, he was a financial provider. That means nothing if you're not there emotionally, if you're not there physically.”
Both of Todd’s parents were heavy into drinking and partying. His mother gave him his first taste of alcohol at the age of five, and he knew from then on what he needed to do to gain her acceptance.
“It was just like hanging out with your friend,” Todd said about spending time with his mother. “It was nonstop partying. Whatever she was doing, I wanted to do. This was a way of fitting in.”
As a child, Todd discovered his talent for singing, which also provided some of the attention he desired. “Music was an outlet for me,” Todd said. My mom, everybody I was around, they were telling me, ‘You got something special, you have a gift.’ Made me feel good. It made me feel accepted. Made me feel like I do have a purpose.”
In his teens going into his twenties, Todd was making a name for himself as an R&B singer and the career paired well with the habits he had developed at home. “I signed my first record deal,” Todd said. “They were drinking in the studio, they were partying. So it was still like, ‘This is life, this is what we do. I want to do this because I love the attention.’”
But the alcohol started to take its toll. “I would tell my mom, ‘I feel sick,’” Todd recalled. “I feel sick because of you know, because of being hung over, you know? And she would tell me, ‘Hey, crack open another one.’ It went from I'm trying to fit in to, okay, now this is just something that is a part of me, it’s my life now. I started to get depressed. Even singing, singing wasn't fun anymore.”
While Todd’s drunkenness and toxic attitude began to burn bridges in the music industry, he also became a father. He tried to provide for his family, but emotionally he was detached.
“I didn't know how to give them the love and the attention that they deserved,” Todd said. “I couldn't hold down a job. As soon as the liquor store opened up I was I was right there. I was just numb, I really was.”
Then one day, he ran into an old friend who he had lost contact with over the years. This friend was now a youth pastor and he shared the love of Jesus with Todd. “He basically was just like God has a plan and a purpose for your life,” Todd said. “But, at the time, I wasn't receiving it because I didn't understand.”
The two exchanged numbers and the friend continued to urge Todd to attend church with him over the coming weeks – he refused. But then he came home one evening to find that his wife and children had left him. His response was to start writing a song, but the words would not come out.
“Something at that moment was breaking,” Todd remembered. “I just said, ‘You know what, God? If you can do what you say you can do, take this from me. I don't want any of this anymore.’ And at that moment, I felt like this peace just came over me I never felt before, and I just cried.”
Todd then contacted his friend, asking to go to church. While there, the pastor called him to the front where he was prayed for – Todd accepted Jesus as his Lord and savior that day.
“I felt this sense of freedom,” Todd said with tears in his eyes. “I felt like this overwhelming love. It was that true, true love that I was always searching for from a young child, not understanding what it was that I was searching for. I finally felt complete. I finally felt like I know who I am now, I know my true identity. If I have the Lord Jesus Christ, I have everything.”
Todd committed himself to reading the Bible and praying and has not reached for a bottle since. He reconciled with his parents, forgiving them for their role in his alcoholism, and now focuses on raising a Christ-centered family. He travels the country with his band using his voice – not to glorify himself anymore, but to honor God.
“Life is so beautiful,” Todd said. “I'm very grateful and thankful that I have a sober mindset. I'm grateful and thankful that I'm not dealing with the depression that I was dealing with. I'm grateful and thankful that I am in a place of just peace, you know? And I'm not saying like life's perfect because it's not. But I tell you this, though, I wouldn't take it back for anything. Because I know God is going to get the glory out of everything that I went through.”
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