The Rainbow Baby
Little Alayna Keckler bolts to the playground, her ginger pigtails bouncing side to side. Jennifer and Nick walk behind her, hand in hand, down the covered path to a small lake in a Richland suburb. The wind breezes by as geese call out from the water. Holding their “rainbow baby” Liam, Jennifer looks to her husband and smiles softly as he playfully laughs and calls, “Slow down, Alayna!”.
Before the family walks and Sunday picnics, the Keckler family knew a very different life; a life full of betrayal, shame, and heartbreak. For years Nick struggled with addictions to pornography and alcohol, leaving their marriage in shambles. After months of struggling, Jennifer suffered a miscarriage, and in the midst of grieving discovered that Nick had been unfaithful with a coworker and subsequently lost his job. The week of Nick’s confession, Jennifer found out she was pregnant. Still struggling with depression due to her recent miscarriage as well as being the sole provider for the family and raising a daughter with an unfaithful husband, Jennifer was at a loss.
“To forgive or not to forgive? Stay married or get divorced? Now, deciding to raise a new baby alone or as a family—a broken one at that,” Not knowing what else to do, Jennifer cried out to God.
On September 3, 2016, the Keckler family walked into Radiant Church. God met them in their place of brokenness—clinging to hope—and encountered them. Nick experienced a divine intervention; knowing that the only thing that would save their marriage and growing family would be complete sobriety, Nick surrendered himself to the healing grace of his new-found redeemer.
“It was not want I wanted to hear at the time, but Nick said to me that he was going to fight to be sober for me and our family, but it was the Lord he needed to be sober for.” Jennifer recalls.
While it was hard to hear, and difficult to believe, Jennifer knew he was right. Battling through the trauma of years of addiction and abuse, Nick broke free from bondage that Saturday night and has never looked back. Both Nick and Jennifer found healing and counsel through Care Ministry Groups, and continue to be greatly involved. Jennifer has found support and guidance through the Betrayal and Beyond group at Radiant, while Nick helps other men battle for their lives and marriages against their addictions to pornography.
Jennifer states, “Now with God on his side, there is no stopping him from flourishing and spreading the good news, ultimately bringing more warriors to fight for him.”
Today they watch their daughter swing and play and hold tight to their “rainbow baby” Liam, a fiery red-head, who is a daily reminder of the storm they braved. After years of thunder and lightning rocking their marriage, the Kecklers could finally see the summer sky. They look at each other and smile, knowing their story isn’t finished and God’s promises will be revealed in their lives as they continue to run toward Him—hand in hand.
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