Companies

Neighborhood Restaurant Group
MAG Real Estate

Schools

Indian Hill HS
Arizona State University

My Story

I would say, the most impactful moment or part of my journey took place in late 2008. I had been married for 2 years, and my mom had been battling all kinds of health issues all alone, or so I thought (I will explain later). I was a new father of two beautiful and healthy kids, Piper (2) and Scout, just a newborn. I was also in the 17th year of being in business with my dad and my older brother which had always been tumultuous, even in the early years of its inception. This particular year was exceptionally difficult due to the above-mentioned stressors.

Spring and Mark

On an early evening one night, I most likely picked a fight with my wife. Though neither one of us remember what the fight was about, this one became the Gamechanger in both of our lives. For me, it took me straight to my rock bottom. I had never felt so low and disappointed and could not imagine living a life with so much rage. I never wanted to put my wife and kids through something like that again. For those who might be wondering, I’d like to put everyone’s mind to ease in that I didn’t lay a hand on my wife that night, but my aggression was enough for her to threaten to call the police. Verbal abuse can be just as bad or even worse than physical abuse, so I am not trying to make excuses or trying to make myself look better. I am just being honest. The following morning, I decided! I was done thinking I could fix all my issues with booze, gambling, working out and pornography. I needed to try something else. As I stated earlier, my mom was battling several illnesses in Lebanon, Ohio all by herself while her three sons and ex-husband lived in Arizona. We all had been trying to get my mom to move out to AZ over a 19-year period, but with no success.

Sharon (Mark’s Mom) and Mark

My mom had surrendered to her Lord and Savior when she was 40 years old, and I can only assume it was because she realized there is only one way to live in a flawed world, as a flawed person and still find joy. That way is through Jesus Christ. Can I get an Amen? Sorry, I love saying that. So, the point is, my mom was never alone as she had the most important relationship with the Lord. At this point in my life, the only faith in my life was my mom sending me articles written about God fearing people who she felt I could relate to. She never threw a Bible at me or told me I was going straight to hell because I was a sinner. Instead, she led by example. In other words, she walked the walk instead of just talking the talk. My mom must have prayed for all her children and her ex-husband nonstop even though we did not deserve her prayers. Eventually, her health had taken a turn for the worst and moved out to AZ, which by the way was the same year my life was crumbling right in front of me. Accident? I do not think so! It is all in Gods timing, but he can and will make miracles out of messes. The following morning after my life changing and not so great evening with my wife, I went straight over to my mom’s house which was about a block away. At this point in my mind I was done with how I was living my life and I was willing to try anything in order to get a different feeling. Knowing what my mom had been through as well as what she was going through did, I ever see her feel sorry for herself, get angry or blame anyone. It was quite the contrary. She was always happy and always put others needs in front of hers. So, why wouldn’t I go to her for help? After arriving at my mom’s house, I sat at her kitchen table where I immediately started crying. It seemed like an eternity when I finally could articulate to her how my life was falling apart. With a big smile on her face, she reached over the table and grabbed my hands. She then shared the Good News with me and lead me to Him where I surrendered my old life and became born again. Can I get an Amen? Sorry, I cannot resist. Remember, I grew up with zero faith or religion in my household, so I was scared, nervous and I guess excited too! I remember once we were done, I asked my mom what happens now? Should I have felt something go through my body? She started cracking up. As sad and upset as I was, there was my mom sitting across from me, calm as a cucumber smiling ear to ear. As years went by, I finally knew why that was. God had answered her prayers. God did not want to see me sad or upset nor did He want me to get into a fight with my wife. This was the only way He could get me to my knees and surrender to Him. If that is not love, what is? My life was forever changed after that morning. My mom passed away 3 years later in 2011.
Shortly after, I confessed to my dad that I could not continue trying to be who he wanted me to be. We were running a restaurant business together which I was basically the director of operations over 13 restaurants. For the most part, I was treating our management in a way that would make my dad happy but would make me feel horrible. God gave me the strength to confront him. All things are possible through God. In 2015 after praying a lot and having many discussions with my wife, we decided it was time to leave the family business. We were both very adamant about not wanting to raise our children in Scottsdale AZ. At this time, we were also waiting to be matched with our two kiddos from Haiti. I will describe the process of me leaving the family business as the closest thing to a living hell, though I do not know what hell is like, I can’t imagine it being very pleasant. I left a multimillion-dollar company that was and is continuing to grow and was paid 50% less than what my share was worth. That stung, but I had to remember that all things are possible through Him, which included my situation! Woe is me, right? It took me some time and quite a bit of forgiveness to realize how God has blessed me. It wasn’t just the amount of money I received or my health, but that I also had a family of 4 kids who love the Lord and a woman that loved me for who I was, even with my flaws.

Scout (Scooter), Mark, Spring, Piper (Peanut), Thoudens (T-dog) and in the front row, Magdalie (Hot Sauce)

Nice view of our backyard and most of the kids

Lots of room for the kids and I to play

Lots of land needs a nice red barn and old green truck

We brought our 2 kids from Haiti home with us on March of 2018 to Traverse City, Michigan where we live in a great house with lots of land where all 4 kids and myself can play. My wife runs our real estate business which she hates, so we will be making some changes soon. I currently work at the school where three of my four kids go, as an assistant in the special education department. I love my job by the way. It does not quite pay like my old career did, but I am happy now. Let me be clear. My life is not perfect, nor is my marriage. I am also not always proud of how I father my children either, but one thing I do have is a God who loves me and has a place for me waiting in heaven. Can I get an Amen? 😜

My Advice

First and foremost, you are not alone. Whatever you are going through, many have also gone through in some shape or form, so don’t ever compare. Just because you see others' highlight reel on fb or other social media outlets doesn't always tell the tale. Don’t try to be someone you're not. Just be who God has created you to be. You only have one person to please in your life and that is God. There is so much more to life than what we see on TV, social media, magazines, with our neighbors, etc. Lastly, love isn’t a feeling, it's a decision and make sure to pray.... a lot!

Comments

Mark, I can't thank you enough for humbly sharing your story. It's not easy to share and be that transparent but it's so encouraging that you did that because there are many others who need to hear everything you said. I too was in a similar boat with many of the issues you shared as I was always looking to cover over some of the tough things in life with a high in some form or another. Of course, when we go after these highs, there comes a time of reckoning when we no longer can get that temporary high and we crash. Many times it takes us to crash, be humbled or have our lives rocked in some way in order for us to change. Your Mom Sharon loved you so much and I know is proud of you for sharing this as she's up in Heaven living the BEST LIFE! I'm hopeful that there are others who have tried going through life in such a way that resulted in little or no lasting peace and will be encouraged by what you shared in finding it through a relationship with Jesus. Thanks again Mark, Gary.

Spread the word

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Jennifer Briedis says:

Let’s start with AMEN! AMEN!! AMEN!!! It’s is truly amazing how the Lord is always waiting and ever faithful despite our attempts to go it alone. All we have to do is call on HIS name and surrender. Moments in your journey are similar to some of mine. I thank you for sharing so openly and honestly. It is my hope and my prayer that someone will read this testimony, see the changes God has worked in all aspects of your life, and accept Christ into theirs. You, much like your Mom, are a living example for your children and of what it means to have a personal relationship with Christ and know true love and forgiveness. I pray for continued happiness and blessings on your marriage, your family, and all your ventures. Jennifer

Jean Rogers says:

“Oh Mark!” Hi… This is Gary’s mom.

Thank you so much for sharing from your heart the journey of your real life experiences. You have blessed me so much and brought me to tears as I read about your struggles.

“BUT GOD”…

It is so amazing how much God loves us… and accepts us just as we are….It’s called Agape Love! (with no strings attached).

I am also a born again believer who asked Jesus into my heart…many years ago. Actually back in 1974.
I understand all that you expressed in your testimony for we all have a story to tell.

Accepting Christ is the best decision we can ever make for letting go of self and yielding to our creator. He gives us His joy, peace , patience and so much more. It’s powerful, it’s supernatural.

Mark I am so proud of you for making the decision to turn your life over to the Lord and for sharing from your heart.

All will be blessed who read your powerful testimony. Thank you for your courage and conviction.

Mark I loved watching you grow up as a good friend of Garys. You were always a great kid…and now a good man.

Blessings to you, your beautiful wife and special family.

God is so good and truly works all things together for good”. 👍

Written with love. 💕
Mama Jean Rogers

Tonie Davis Britton says:

Mark,

That was powerful. Your honesty and transparency brought back memories of my past. Unlike yourself, I did grow up with a foundation in the church but somehow lost it as I became a young adult. Fortunately, after a series of events, I found my way back to God. That’s the endless beauty of His love.

I’m so happy for you, your wife and your amazing 4 children. I wish you nothing but continued peace on your spiritual journey.

Thank you for sharing your story.

Love,
Tonie

Chris Ruhm says:

Goldman Family,

Amen!!! I am thankful to be a part of your life through these transformations. I witnessed these struggles, improvements and ultimate redemption. May life continue to bless you all. Mark, many can learn from your story and advice.

As we all know, Sharon is a Saint and always had a peace about her. And, she made killer baked butter bagels! She always led by example.

Love-Chris

Dave says:

I am grateful for you, Mark, and I admire you. Thank you for opening up and being so real. Your story/ journey is powerful and it resonates on multiple levels. Thank you for reminding us that we are not alone. You did a really great job.

Ryan says:

Mark –
It takes a boat load of courage on all fronts; leap of faith, part from the family business, move 2K mikes away, adopt two children, and share your story in a very public way. Spring and you are inspiring. Can I get an Amen? 😉
Love,
Ryan

Melissa Rafford says:

That’s amazing! So glad he’s happy and saved those children from a 3rd world environment! Very brave post!