Renewed Life

When he was young, Todd Marshall frequently got into fights with his family, neighbors, and classmates at school. To escape from life’s troubles and to find belonging, Todd started drinking and smoking pot at 15. “I was looking for belonging, common ground. I wanted to meet people and socialize,” Todd said.

His drinking and smoking quickly escalated. “It was wild right away. When I started drinking, I got really crazy. I was arrested once a month for seven months straight when I was 16,” Todd described.

Todd lost his license before he turned 18 and missed over a third of his senior year of high school. He eventually moved in with his dad and finished high school at 19. He then joined the Army National Guard. Until his discharge from the army a few years later, Todd continued to drink and started using cocaine.

That was just the start of a wild lifestyle that would span over the next twenty years.


Todd recalls one night that was particularly out of control. Frequently Todd drank and took pills together, but this night he didn’t have any pills. He was emotional and kept drinking, much more than normal. He remembers cutting his wrist and waking up with a lot of blood around him. “I got stiches [at the hospital] and my wrist healed. I’m so glad I was unsuccessful,” Todd said. God spared his life, but more troubles would be ahead for Todd.

For years, Todd struggled to stay sober. He tried many rehab programs, but each time relapsed and was back on the streets. Todd moved to California, hoping for a change. However, he quickly became bored and began doing meth. When his mother, who owned the house he was staying in, returned from an overseas trip, she discovered his drug habits and kicked him out. For the first time in his life, Todd was homeless.

Eventually, Todd said, it got really bad.

“I was losing my mind. I constantly put myself in dangerous circumstances to push myself and see how far I could take it.”– Todd

“I would hallucinate a lot. I wasn’t sure what was real. Sometimes I would chase people that weren’t real,” Todd shared.


One day last year, Todd called his dad, desperate for a way out. His dad provided him with a bus ticket to Pittsburgh and encouraged Todd to join the CityReach Hope Home in Pittsburgh, a place of hope and freedom for people dealing with life-controlling issues or desperate situations. At the Hope Home, Todd learned how to walk in faith. “I believed in God before, but certainly wasn’t a believer in Christ. I had a lot of questions,” Todd said.

Slowly, God began to teach Todd more about who He was through Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit.

“Being at the Hope Home, I learned how to redirect negativity, emotional pain, and stress. God takes it away and the Holy Spirit gives me guidance.”– Todd

Recently, Todd graduated from the Hope Home.

“Knowing Jesus gives me direction in life,” Todd says. Todd plans to stay connected with the Hope Home in Pittsburgh and wants to eventually run a Home. “Being involved reminds me where I came from, and I want to help people who come from where I came from,” he says. Through Todd, God is reminding others of the hope and renewed life that comes from knowing Christ.

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2018-01-17T00:22:00+00:00 March 31st, 2016|Hope Homes, Stories|