10 Years

Ten Years. It is crazy to think how much has happened in just ten years. Coming up in July will be ten years since my mom left her painful human body for her perfect heavenly one, and As I looked over the past ten years and everything that has happened. I can’t help but see one thing, Jesus. How much I have seen Jesus, His Church, His Grace, His Power, His Strength, His Joy, and above everything else His Love.

On July 17, 2007 I lost my best friend, My mom. Man was I a Momma’s boy. It is a little sad how much of a Momma’s boy I was. I can truthfully with no shame now admit that My mom rocked me to bed till I was 8 (Not a typo). My mom was my absolute best friend, I loved her more then just about anything so when I heard the news that the only way my mom would be able to live is on a breathing machine, being fed through a tube, IT CRUSHED ME. I mean it completely and utterly destroyed me. However me and my family knew that there was no way our mom would of ever wanted to live that way, so we decided to take her off of the breathing machine and that if she was going to make it would be by her own doing. After about an hour, my mom went to be with her heavenly father.

Now talk about confusion, I have never been so confused in my life. Me being as young as I was, I did not understand any of this and why it was happening. My mom was such an amazing person, She had impacted so many people, Why oh why God would you take her away? I was raised in church and I heard about the power of prayer time and time again, and I had prayed with everything that I had. I had prayed, “God heal my mom, God just let her be okay, God please just let her come out of this.” Yet still my mom slipped away and why? It was at this point that I would go through so much confusion. However, what I didn’t realize at the time and what I wouldn’t realize for a long time is that God did answer my prayer. He healed my mom by taking away the pain of this world and giving her the joy of heaven. The worst part of all this was I asked God so many question as to why but yet never once listened or searched for an answer. I wanted answers but was not putting in the time or effort to understand anything. The truth of it was, I just wanted to be mad.

Now fast-forward with me 6 years. Not like these six years weren’t important but they were just an emotional rollercoaster. I would go through stages of just resentment and stage of joy. Just fighting back and forth with God. Times where I was happy and God was ruling my life to times where I would let Satan creep in and destroy me. And Still through these six years I continue to ask God why and I continue to not want to listen for or search for an answer. It was at this point when I was 16 that I start to live my life in rebellion. I was full on mad at God, I was mad that my mom was taken away from me, I was mad that I wasn’t getting answers to my question (however we see the problem as to why), I was just completely angry and I started showing it. My first problem was I started to leave church, Which was the only thing helping and strengthening me because I wasn’t relying on His word or The holy spirit to (Ephesians 3:14-21).My second problem was I started to chase joy in thing that would alway fail me (Jeremiah 2:13). My third problem was I also started telling myself God doesn’t love me, and I was worthless (1 John 3:1, Jeremiah 29:11, Jeremiah 31:3, Isaiah 49:15, Romans 5:8, I could go on for a little while why this one is bad). I went to total rebellion against God I would go to church when my dad made me, I started doing things that I wanted to do. I started to even separate myself from my family because of them being the biblical stronghold they were and still are I didn’t want them to know what I was doing. So I not only started separating myself from God, but from my family, my church-friends, and all people who I knew actually cared about me and my relationship with God. It was in this next year that I would experience the true sadness in letting Satan take over your life. letting Satan tell you that you’re not good enough, that you’re a filthy sinner, that God doesn’t truly love you, that you don’t need the people who were alway there for you, that those people are judgy and don’t need to be in your life. Sadly I let all this come into my mind and let it reflect in my life, and sadly it was going to take something huge to shake me to turn away from everything wrong in my life. BUT Let me tell you all this that while I went through all this, while I lived in sin and turned my back on everyone who loved me, They never once left me, they never once stopped praying for me or caring about me. My church and my youth pastor never once said, “well he is lost cause, or he is gone” but instead they pursued me. My family continued to be there for me to love me and to show me Jesus throughout every situation they could. Let me tell you if had not been for God, Godly people, and God’s Church I would’ve been gone.

On May 5th, 2014 at 5 A.M I was woken up to the news the my dad had passed away in his sleep. TALK ABOUT CRUSHING. I’ll never forget when my brother Brad and Jonny told me I lost it just screaming, “WHAT?” and eventually falling down from crying so hard and saying, “What am I going to do?” it was there in that moment my brothers held me and said, “We got you” and I don’t doubt for a moment that was God saying that He has got me (Isaiah 41:13). I’ll never forget I was so scared of what I was going to do, I was going into my senior year and I no longer had either of my parents and I was so scared of what I was going to do, but God provides. I had about 20 people in my church offer to take me in (they are lucky I didn’t take them on it, they wouldn’t of known what they were getting themselves into) and I had my oldest brother and my oldest sister offer to take me in. So obviously a lot to take in just within the week that your dad has died and I don’t think I talked for 5 day. I remember nothing at all from my dad’s funeral nothing really from in between the days, I was just lost. It was in these moments God would start to build some amazing relationships in my life, He finally softened up my heart enough to let my Youth Pastor step back into my life heavily and walk with me through all of it. He softened my heart to let my whole family take strongholds in my life once again. He also showed me the power of The church. WOW! My church was there and invested and helping me through every step of my dad’s death. They were so evident, so genuine, and I remembered how they helped in my mom’s death, but this time there was something so different to me, I took notice. I would start to see God move more in my life over the next 3 months then He had in the past 7 years. Solely because I started letting Him. Was I still angry and confused, Yes, but I started searching for answers, I started wanting to know more, I started wanting to understand. I no longer just wanted to be angry. Do I understand why both my parents were taking away from me by the age of 17? No not at all but I started to realize everything that God can do with my story. I woke up the the realization that I’m not worthless that my worth is in Jesus, and that I am called according to a great purpose of spreading the name of Jesus (Romans 8:28).

In July of 2014 I was throwing myself a pity party because it was the 7th anniversary of my mom’s death. Having thoughts of I won’t have parents at graduation, my games, or my senior nights, when God put me in my place. It was in that moment that I decided I was going to use my story and everything that has gone on for the advancement of the Gospel and the name of Jesus. That in the weakness of my life, He has been made strong (2 Corinthians 12:9-11). I decided that Yes my hardships have sucked but through the weakness of myself, I have seen the power and strength of God. These past 3 years I have seen the fruit of making the decision to use my story not as a pity party but as the story of the Power of God’s strength through the worst and most miserable times. I thank God so much that He took the scared lost little boy, and filled me with Power of His Holy Spirit to be a vessel for His kingdom. I had plenty of people tell me over that next year of my dad’s death that they were impressed with me and how I have overcome so much, and I can 100% truthfully say I have not overcome anything if not for Jesus. John 16:33 became so true for my life that in life trouble is going to come our way but we need to take heart in that our God has overcome this world. That we can say we have our Power, our Strength, our Joy, our Love through the one who has overcome and is helping us overcome trials and temptations daily.

I want to end with this I have seen God so evident in everything that has happened in my life. I see Him so clearly in the last 10 years of my life, I see a God who always had a plan for me and was always working in and for me. I have had multiple people say to me lately that they feel like they would understand if I doubted God and that they are impressed with my faith, and I don’t say this to toot my own horn, but rather God’s. To anyone that thinks that my story would give me the right or make me want to doubt God, could not be further from the truth. My story has shown me every reason for why I should never in my life doubt my God. He has shown me so much. God has made it evident to me that He loves me, is working for me, Is always there for me, and is moving in this moment as I write this. I have seen His Grace is sufficient, His Love is incomparable, His Power is on display for us, Nothing compares to the Joy in Him, The works of His Church. I HAVE SEEN JESUS. I refuse to ever doubt God because I have seen Him. My story is not the story of A kid who lost his parents to young, but the story of a God who proved to big for any trial. A God who provides, loves, strengthens, and brings hope and joy to everyone who calls upon him. A God who is seated on the throne and has made Satan His footstool and has given us the victory that He has won for us. A God who turned a life that was “worthless” into a life full of worth.