Eternity in My Heart

At age four, I was taken from my home by the Children's Aid Society. They placed me in about seven different foster homes in the space of two years because I kept running away, trying to make my way back home.

All the places were very abusive. They used to beat me for speaking my language. I was just a little kid, but full-grown men would punch and kick me. That's when I would cry out for my mom. I was sexually abused by the older boys and men in the foster homes. I was forced to do ungodly things that would affect me for the rest of my life.

My hair was cut really short, and on Sundays, I had to go to church and wear a suit, black shoes, and a tie. I had to be quiet. If not, I would get beaten. I remember getting beaten with lamp cords and belt buckles.

At Sunday school, the leaders talked about this man, Jesus, and at night, I used to cry out to Him. One time, I was lying in bed, and all of a sudden, I saw this really bright light. And there was this platform being lowered by ropes, and there was a man on the platform. He said to me, "Fear not for I am with you always. And one day, I shall use you for My purpose."

Then He went up again. I ran downstairs and told my foster parents, but they accused me of lying, and punished me for it.

My life on the streets of Toronto began at age seventeen, when Children's Aid decided I had reached the age where I was no longer their problem.

I felt such anger, hurt, brokenness, and pain. I tried to numb that pain through drugs and alcohol. But it didn't work. The drugs and alcohol just made everything worse. I felt so alone.

Terri LaMarche from Attawapiskat First Nation first met me in a park in Toronto where she had brought soup and sandwiches. The street people would gather around, and she would feed them. Terri would talk to me about God. I didn't react to what she was saying, I just listened. Then I'd go away and say, "Yeah, whatever."

I didn't find out until much later in my life that she started praying for me then and kept on praying for through the years.

It took me 33 years to quit drinking because I had so much pain in my life, so much suffering and sorrow as a kid. So, when a woman named Ruth at Yonge St Mission said to me, "James, Jesus loves you and so do I," that was the first time I really heard that from someone.

About a month later, I gave my life to Jesus. When I said the words "God, forgive me," I felt a big burden leave my body. The darkness, the gloom, the feeling of death and anger and hate . . . it all left. And I felt the Spirit of God come into me from my head to my toes.

I'd been high all my life. But I tell you, I never as high as I felt that day. It was a different kind of high. I felt loved. I felt forgiven. I felt like I was home. I finally found what I had been seeking all my life.

The Bible says in Ecclesiastes that God has put eternity into person's heart. All my life, I was looking back to the One who had created me and loved me. I just didn't realize it. Even now, it blows me away to think about it how wonderful God is and how much he loves humans. To think that God walked with His creation when He walked in the garden with Adam and Eve. That He loved them that much. That He wanted to restore that broken relationship we humans had with Him. Sin separated us from Him, but He made a way through His Son, Jesus, so that we could have that relationship, that intimacy, with the Creator God. And that's what I found to fill the emptiness.

You can read more of James M. Peters' story in his book, Broken Circle, published by Goldrock Press. He is also featured in First Nation Christian Writers, Volumes 1 and 2 published by Goldrock Press (

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