Coach Jonathan’s Testimony
My name is Jonathan Zuchowski. I am the head coach of the Flood Aquatics Swim Team. I am truly blessed that you have an interest in our team and found your way to this page on our website. I would like to share with you my story on how I was saved and surrendered my life to Jesus Christ.
In the year 2000, one of my best friends was diagnosed with a deadly form of brain cancer. Shortly after his diagnosis, I began to stress out about my health. I can remember a few weeks after his diagnosis getting the worst headache of my life, and I was convinced that I, too, had brain cancer. My doctor examined me, prescribed an MRI and then told me I was fine. He said I was suffering from anxiety. I laughed.
I met the love of my life earlier that year, and her mother had anxiety. Her anxiety prohibited her from driving on the highway. I figured since I could drive on the highway, there was no way I had anxiety. Sadly, we lost my mother in law to a massive heart attack in 2005.
As the years passed, I found myself at different doctor offices more and more. I was looking for a cure for my ailment of the moment. As soon as one went away and I was sure I was ok, then another one would begin. In 2006, I had my first panic attack. I thought it was a heart attack and found myself in the hospital. I wound up having both a stress test and a cardiac catheterization to determine if I was ok. The doctors determined that my heart was healthy and that I suffered from anxiety.
Over the course of the next few years I would suffer from many more ailments. Every time I would visit the doctor to get checked out. Some weeks I could find myself at three different doctors’ appointments. I was becoming a burden to my friends, family and myself. Every conversation would wind up with how I was not feeling great.
In July 2012, I traveled to Hawaii for my 40th birthday. I was very excited, as this was going to be a great, stress-free family trip. I will never forget the call I received the day after my 40th birthday while in Hawaii. My father and stepmother were generous enough to keep the horrible news from me for a few days so I could enjoy my actual birthday. My stepmother was diagnosed with the same deadly brain cancer as my great friend. Soon afterward, in addition to feeling horrible for her and her son, I also began to feel horrible. It was all I could think about now. As soon as I got off the plane from Hawaii, I found myself in the hospital emergency room complaining of headaches and undergoing a CT brain scan. After the scan, I revealed to the doctor more information about why I might have a headache. She yelled at me first, and then told me I had anxiety and would be ok. I was already meeting with a psychologist as well as taking anxiety medication. I asked myself: Was I going to live the rest of my life with the fear of dying?
Through the years, I have made friends with a few people who are Christians. For a year I played tennis each morning with an ex-professional baseball player. On a couple of occasions I went to church with his family, but it did not impact me. My children swam on the Jupiter Dragons Swim Team, and I was friends with a lot of nice people. Many of the friends I made are Christians. For one reason or another I found myself talking about my personal health concerns with them. Now that my stepmother was sick, my anxiety went from bad to worse. A few Christian friends would try to talk to me about the Lord. They told me that going to church and getting to know the Lord could help me with my anxiety. I did not understand – really understand at all – how the Lord could improve my situation.
One day a friend was bold enough to ask me, “do you believe in heaven and do you think you are going there?” Clearly she knew I was not a Christian and therefore not going to heaven. I replied that yes, I do believe in heaven, and I think I am going. I said, “I am a good person who does good things for people and that will get me into heaven.” She told me that my good acts alone would not get me into heaven, and I did all I could not to laugh in her face. I was so sure she was wrong that I texted another Christian friend with my account of the situation. I did not get an immediate reply from her, but the next morning the text read, “you’re not.”
Around the same time, my daughter, Marin, was talking with her swim friend, and she told my daughter she wasn’t going to heaven because she was not a Christian. This made me furious. Who are these Christian people telling me who is and who is not going to heaven? I was very angry and while her parents apologized for their daughter getting Marin upset, they did not apologize for their beliefs.
Sadly in July 2014, I lost my stepmother to cancer. I found myself in a Catholic church with my family in front of a priest talking about how during the past two years she got to know Christ and was in a better place now. I remember riding in the limo to the Catholic cemetery reflecting on my life and my relationship with God.
Shortly before my stepmother died, I began to attend church and learn about Jesus Christ. There were too many people who were now friends that told me that church would help me. I started going to Harvest Bible Chapel on Sundays. I purchased and began reading the Bible. Two months into my spiritual walk and a month after my stepmother was gone, I came across John 3:16 in my Bible. This was the moment everything changed in my family’s life.
I guess I should have known the famous Bible verse John 3:16 since I was raised as a Catholic, but I can honestly say I never read it. I imagine God was saving this for me when it would truly have the greatest impact. When I read the words “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life”, my life would change forever. I read these words on August 19th, 2014, and remember sobbing and wanting the promise of eternal life. I can remember flying down the stairs to share my discovery with my family. The next day when I woke up on August 20th, 2014, I was a changed person.
Almost in an instant, all of my anxiety was gone and I was born again. I had accepted the Lord as my Savior and wanted to be part of his Kingdom. Now that I had accepted Jesus Christ as my savior, I would get to spend eternity in heaven with those who believe. For the first time, I was putting my faith in someone bigger than myself who would control the decisions and direction of my life forever. I am eternally grateful for all those people in my life who never gave up on me. Most of all, I am grateful to a seven year-old girl who was strong in her belief of the Lord and wanted to share that with my daughter.