I was never in the church, just for weddings, Easter, Christmas, funerals, stuff like that. I’ve always believed in God and known there was a higher power. Growing up, I dealt with a lot of death with a lot of family members close to me. I struggled with pain pretty much my entire life. Relationships unfolding and falling apart around me; divorce was common in my family. 

I really struggled with trying to numb that pain. Up until recently, I would use alcohol and marijuana to kind of “put myself under” and just wake up the next day and do it all again. It was just a destructive path. It took losing someone that I imagine was gonna be with me for the rest of my life. I lost her and I was at a point and I was like man, I can’t keep doing this. It’s not good for a relationship and it’s not good for me.

After we split I was sitting there and trying to numb the pain. It was raining and thundering, I was listening to the gospel and some worship songs, and I just had a moment with the Lord and I was like,

“I hear you, this is enough. This is enough.”

So then I got connected with Pastor Kevin. The connection card he had for me from Easter was actually filled out by my previous girlfriend. 

So after that split I came to church myself and met with Pastor Kevin. He had asked if we could meet and talk before service. On Mothers Day we meet and he asked if I was ready to give myself to Jesus and I was. I repented and prayed over my sins and asked for forgiveness and gave in.

I was tired of leaning on my own understanding because it didn’t work.

That’s been my biggest thing as a believer, letting go of control. I let myself down way too many times trying to control the outcome and now it’s in His hands and He knows what we need before we need it. It’s giving Him praise in the good times, obviously, and also in the hard times.

Getting connected with the church and meeting brothers and sisters and joining groups has been a blessing in every sense. Loss hurts but we grow from that.

I was tired of failing; of trying to figure everything out. I was trying to control everything in my whole life and it was just time to release and let God control everything. For me, giving myself to the Lord was finally cutting the last strings and saying “I’m yours. Do with me as you see fit, whether that be in hurt right now, the joy coming, the joy I’ve already had, I’m content and I’m ready to serve.”

I signed up for the beach baptism on May 15th. I went under, came out, and, oh my goodness, I literally felt born again. It rushed over me. I can’t explain it. I just felt like everything got brighter.

A couple weeks later I connected with Daniel at Men’s Group and knew serving in Next Steps was for me. The way greeters make you feel when you walk in is electrifying! This is where you’re supposed to be! I can’t wait for you to hear what the Lord has to say through Pastor today!

It’s amazing what the Holy Spirit will do within you… you can watch online and that’s great, but until you step within the building and you’re giving Him praise and then Pastor goes into the message… maybe not every single message resonates within you, but that’s why you need to go every weekend! And you need to dive into the gospel on your own time. It’s right there for you. You need to start now.

As a new believer, sometimes I read the word and get confused. It’s great to sit down with some brothers, especially who have been in the church longer and they can share their knowledge with me. It’s been amazing, the love that has been poured out from the church, the community.

Sometimes I don’t even feel worthy of it. For all the hurt that I’ve caused, the hurt that I’ve gone through, it’s truly a miracle what God has done for me. But that’s really what has pushed me to dive deeper into the church. It’s because it’s not about me. I love that people focus on me sometimes, though I don’t deserve it.

But I know that He wants me to feel that love so that I can help brothers and sisters meet Jesus. I’m not here for myself, I’m here to share the love.