Updated: Jul 29, 2018
Growing up I wasn’t raised in a Christian home, I didn’t go to church on Sundays and I had no ambition in my life directed to following or knowing anything about God. I was very agnostic, pessimistic, and conservative with my thoughts, feelings, and beliefs. I didn’t place any faith or hope in anything, I only believed that lead to setting myself up for letdowns. The only thing I did strive for at the time was I wanted to be a doctor, make people laugh, and to “get the girl”.
Success to me was defined as getting intellectual, physical, and relational achievements. Where my confidence at the time was only found in getting good grades and the chances of me going to medical school. I didn’t do well in the other categories. Which I found to not be enough for me. I wanted more it wasn’t enough I needed something more fulfilling or at the very least more exciting. I started to find myself at parties and staying out late with friends just doing things that we shouldn’t be. I started to live with a reckless abandonment. No cares of consequences or worries about my life. The near-death experiences, the adrenaline rushes, alcohol, and drugs were the only things that made me feel good feel alive. Otherwise, everything was just the same old thing getting A’s didn’t equate to what my out of school actions did for me.
I had hit rock bottom a few times I nearly stopped breathing twice, but it wasn’t enough to get me to really change. It wasn’t until August of 2013 when I found myself in handcuffs and shackles connected by chains in a caged in van taking me to New River Valley Jail that I knew that if a kept this up I would be ruining my life. I currently thought that I had finally gotten myself into something that I wouldn’t be getting out of. But I came out of it with a slap on the wrist instead of a sentence. From that point, I wanted to make a change beginning with the obvious things. But I found myself with the same lacking feeling as before. Feeling robbed of what used to give me a rush everything just sucked again.
I spent a year like this focusing on community college, my part-time job, and being a lawful person. Then some friends of mine who asked me many times before to come to church brought the subject to me another time again. But this time I was actually looking for something more and willing to give how they did life a chance. I wanted something to be different and thought that this might be it. I went, but at first, I thought it was pointless. But over time I began to enjoy the message, worship, and even going to Wednesday services, too. I started to listen to worship every morning before going to work. It just prepared me for the day. That was the only way how I knew to describe what God was doing in my life back then. But soon became a going through the motions deal. Outside of church besides being a better person I wasn’t doing anything. I didn’t have a prayer life I wasn’t reading any scripture I wasn’t fighting obvious sin in my life.
It wasn’t until I was in college till my faith really grew. I would never have expected that would be my college experience. Entering college, I was planning on continuing on going to church but I had the openness to falling back to the party life. I was wanting to put people in my life and partying was just what people did at Radford. But in the first week, I found myself at a service with people who were my age. I didn’t really have that at church back home. It was mainly families the church was a majority of parents, children, and elderly people. All being nice folks but no one that I could we relate with. I found a ministry but my heart will still towards having a good time at college.
It was at this service that some hipster looking dude named Wes asked me if would be interested in coming to his bible study and asking if I like to get lunch or coffee with him. I gave the guy a chance even though it was mainly me being extremely short with him when I meet with him. I was standoffish I hadn’t warmed up to the guy yet. But this guy really got me to thinking. All he did was ask me what I thought God was telling me lately and what he was doing in my life. My response was simple I said “I don’t know” and I pretty much then just walked off. I wasn’t offended I just honestly had no idea how to answer that. It was the first time someone on the staff of a ministry took time to meet with me and the first time someone wondered that about me. It was at that point I thought why is it that I had no answer to his questions. I have been going to church for like a year but have I made any real progress with this church thing? I wanted to answer this question I wanted to put God in my life.
I began this by going to the bible study, I read the scripture that was in the study and did my best to soak up anything that I learned. If there was something that I could do that I thought would bring me closer to God I was there. Whether it was the large group services, bible study, prayer meetings, or the Friday events I wouldn’t miss anything. Wes investing his time in me was the first time that someone took the time to disciple me. The first time someone taught me how to read the Word, how to pray, what worship was about, and in depth of who Jesus really was.
In that same semester was when I gave my life to the Lord. It was October 2015 at Chi Alpha’s Fall Retreat. I weekend of worship, messages, and community. It was Saturday evening and they were doing baptisms and I had no intentions of being baptized. I had been baptized before, but it was more so because it was offered and I thought that it was what I should do. That day was the first time I knew that God spoke to me, laid something on my heart. To just go, to not to just stand back behind the crowd to step forward. Before I knew it, I was out front asking to be baptized wanting to give my life to Jesus. I finally found what I was looking for what would fill the gap that I felt off and on for so long. This time being for good, I found fulfillment that wouldn’t waiver, I had someone that would leave me, something in my life that was more than temporary.
Jesus changed my life and how I wanted to live it. Without Him, I honestly believe that I would have never of turned things around. Prayer, discipleship, God’s Word, and worship are what I can’t imagine life without now. I have never had such peace such joy such challenge since I gave my life to God. I live now knowing I am fully changed. People don’t even guess or see anything about me that would make them guest my past. Some guest that I was a kid that grew up in the church. I Enjoy knowing how far I have come from who I once was. Now I live not to just follow the Lord, but I live to dedicate my life to seeing students on campus meet Christ. I’ve seen God do so much on the campus of Radford over the last three years, but I believe He is just getting started not just with the campus but with me also. He turned my life around I have done a complete 180 from who I once was. I believe if He can do what He did for me He can do the same for others. My testimony is a little like that saying “you only get out what you put in it”. I can look back now and see how God was fighting for me, but I was just ignoring it back then. At first, I did barely anything to try to see God in my life. He was always giving His all, it just wasn’t until I did the same that I became able to notice God in my life.
It wasn’t till I gave Him all that I had that I was able to receive all that He had for me. The steps he wanted me to take, His words that he wanted me to hear, the healing that He wanted me to feel. Now I can answer what He is saying and doing in my life.
Matthew 19:26 “But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”.
I’ve would have never thought it would be possible for me to be who I am now from who I once was. But God completely changed my thoughts on that. God really can do anything. Out of nothing, He created everything and from dust He created man. It’s amazing to just think what He can do.