Growing up in the church I was always surrounded by the word of God. My parents taught me at young age that without God I am nothing. I am from a small town in Texas, called Paradise. Population less than 400, but on Sundays the population jumps to over 1000 because of Grace Fellowship Church, where I attended while I grew up there.
It’s small town Texas, just like you see in the movies. Football is king, everyone knows everyone, and you will get stuck behind a tractor heading to bail hay. It’s just the way it goes. I always knew what being a Christian meant, I knew that when the time came I was to give my life to Christ, let him take him take over my heart, and was to be baptized as a symbol of being born new with him in my heart.
I did it, more than once. Being a part of the church, having my parents be the leaders of the children’s ministry at the time, I went to church camp after church camp, youth retreat, FCA camps, you name it, I was there. It never failed that I would feel the presence of the Lord and give my heart to him, only to go back to my ways of being disobedient when camp was over.
In high school I was pretty normal, didn’t get into too much trouble, grades were mediocre, was a part of all the sports teams, nothing special. Graduated in 2007, which seems like ages ago now, went and attended Abilene Christian University (Go Cats!) with my best friend Bradley Bryant.
Hated it. My freshman year, was not the best year. I went back home almost every weekend, didn’t get involved with any on campus organizations (first mistake), and was only concentrated on one thing. Girls. (second mistake) I finished my freshman year with a 1.5 gpa. Can you cay ouch? As soon as May came around to mark the end of my freshman year I wanted out. I un-enrolled from the university, and started applying to schools closer to home and in Houston.
Took the summer off, tried to get back into baseball shape so I could walk onto another university, I was set on attending Houston Baptist University in the fall. Had my place to live picked out, classes scheduled, whole 9 yards. Two weeks until classes, I have it put on my heart that I was not suppose to leave ACU. Immediately call the university, and see if I can enroll in classes for the fall. I could, but only if I drove down that day and talked to the Provost and go to the Registrar to make sure that I could get into the classes that I needed. So I did it.
Attending ACU in the fall I had a much better experience, I got to live in a POD (Apartment) with a group of 7 guys, 8th guy being myself. At that point, I knew that those guys would/will be in my life forever, and will mark a huge impact on who I was and what I am going to be. Getting to room with my best friend Bradley again, he was a Math major, but had a passion for learning more about the word and how God was going to use him. He by far made the biggest impact on my life during college, his obedience to stay in the word and to know that he was not here on earth to impress man but to serve our Lord was something that I quickly began to learn for myself.
Always wanting to impress people, my biggest fear was not being liked. I would go out of my way to make sure that people liked me. Wether buying last minute concert tickets, being the driver for a weekend vacation to the mountains, you name it. I wanted to be the guy that people could count on and that people would like.
At this point, I was ahead in school so I was planning to Graduate the next year, (being my junior year) so the summer between my sophomore year and Junior year I decided to go on a mission trip to China. I went for the summer and immediately fell in love with the culture, the people, and the passion for learning that they had. Using the bible as our curriculum that’s how we taught English. I had an incredible time and I knew right then that I will always have a passion for China.
The problem that I had with attending ACU was that because it was a private christian school, where I attended “Chapel” and had “bible classes,” I felt like it wasn’t needed that I had to attend church on Sundays, (third mistake). My walk with God was inexistent, I wasn’t word like I should have been, I partied, I drank, and my grades slipped. Again. Still though, I managed to graduate from ACU in three years, and at the start of spring semester of my last I met a girl, who I thought was the one.
ACU has a phrase, “Ring by Spring, or I want my money back.” Well this girl didn’t attend ACU, but I had full intentions on giving her that ring. I fell hard, I fell fast, and before you know it I was flying to NYC to pick up her new ring. I was set to graduate in May, but I had a maymester class I needed to take for my credits to be complete, so the week between finals and my maymester, I flew to NYC, back to DFW, and drove to Austin at 2 in the morning to ask her to marry me the next day.
She said yes, I was the happiest guy in the world. EVERYTHING was going well at the time, we had our new puppy, we were engaged, I was about to graduate and be done with school, all before I was even 21….yeah think about that. Moving fast is the way I live. Always have, always will.
The way things fell with school, I had to go back to China one more time to finish up my second language credit, (I speak Chinese) so this meant I wasn’t going to be with my fiancé all summer while she planned our wedding. We had a October wedding date set, but we were too anxious and wanted to be together. My parents, at this point in time have moved to Costa Rica, where they have their ministry, so they know all the cool places, and have recommended us just have the wedding there.
You called it. Destination wedding in Costa Rica it is. How exciting right? Well, I’ll give you a little insight, I finished in China the first week of August, flew back, got on a plane the next day, and flew to Costa Rica for our wedding the next weekend. Got married, moved back to Texas and started work. Everything is perfect. I have my wife, I have my dog, we both have nice cars, living in a three story town home, have a good paying job, LIFE IS GOOD!
Well, so I thought. One day while at work I get a text saying she is moving back to her parents house for the weekend and she will see me later, I said okay that’s fine. Thinking she needed to pack up stuff and move it into our place. I was wrong. I went home and never saw her again. She never came back, a month into our marriage, I get divorce papers. No reason, no closure, nothing. All the furniture is gone, the only thing left in our home is my mattress, and clothes.
Devastated. My life has been rocked. I remember crumbling to the ground, tears flowing down my eyes in the middle of my living room, banging my fists against the ground in pain. Screaming, “Why God, Why did you do this to me!?” Weeks went by that I didn’t fall asleep or wake up without having tears in my eyes. Continuing to question why everything that I had going for me was taken away.
I turned to alcohol, I turned to pornography, anything that could dull the pain that my heart was feeling I turned too. At this point, my bank account is drained. All the savings, everything. Gone. Any money that I did make went straight to the bars, I remember walking out with 200-400 dollar tabs to my name, on Tuesday and Wednesday nights.
Making myself throw-up so I could feel pain, I became numb to the world. I didn’t have friends because everyone was still at school since I graduated early, my parents were in Costa Rica, so it wasn’t like I could just go to their house. I was alone. I needed change.
I quit my job, I moved to Costa Rica, feeling like a failure. I had to get back on my feet some how, some way. So the best cure, the beach. Spending two months there I felt like it was time for me to head back to the states. Able to stand, and take baby steps I started relying on God more and more each day.
Since the company I worked for had offices in Houston, I wanted to start new. With some help, I made the move to Houston. Didn’t know anyone, didn’t where to live, nothing, but I was okay with it because God was going to provide, and I believed that.
I knew I wanted to get back into school because that’s where my age people were. I got into Rice and did the professional program for a degree in non-profit leadership for executives. Made connections, and got back into the flow of things. One thing was missing though. Church. Looked around couldn’t find anything until I got lost one Saturday and came across Second Baptist Church, Woodway. Little did I know this was about to be my new home.
Attended church that Sunday, couldn’t even make it into the sanctuary without having tears fill up in my eyes, I made it. I knew this is where I was suppose to be and the presence of God had never been more strong. Got plugged in with a summer softball league with an amazing group of guys, started attending church and started growing closer to God. I felt what love is suppose to be.
To wrap this up, the word Love has been demoralized by todays society. It has been, thrown around without meaning, it’s just turned into a word not an action. Love is a verb.
You can not show someone true love unless you yourself have felt the true, authentic and genuine love that our God has shown you. He pulled me from my darkest days, gave me the answer to why, and has allowed me to share my testimony to make an impact on peoples lives that have not felt or knew who God is. God is love. I end with this.
Psalm 62:2, I have it tattooed on my wrist as a daily reminder that with God, I will never be shaken.
2 Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.
If you have any questions or want to know more please do not hesitate to ask me!