Do you ever feel daily that God has His hands on your life? I DO! Everyday!
I was born into a broken family in a town called Rock Hill, SC. My real dad was only around until I was 3, because he was an alcoholic. From the ages of 3 years to 9 years, I was shuffled around to my grandparents’ house, living there for months to then back with my mother, who remarried when I was 5. She decided at that point that I should live with her and my stepfather permanently. My stepfather was in a motorcycle gang called Hells Angels, so I was always a little scared as a little kid of that, but he worked hard and tried to provide for us. But when I was 10 years old, his involvement in the gang caused a situation where another rival gang came by one night and shot up our house killing 2 men in our front yard. This is the event that made me wonder why I was still alive.
Now I go back to the beginning question that is the theme of my testimony. We moved about a month after that occurrence to a town called Lake Wylie. There, we lived in a trailer park where drugs and alcohol were rampant, but there was this one family down the street that seemed different to me. They went about life in a different way than most in that neighborhood. So I befriended their son, and we played all the time, until one night he invited me to church. I had never even heard of church my whole life, but I was curious and went on a Wednesday night for youth night, as he told me they had basketball and games. I was 13 years old at the time. After going for about 3 months, I began to feel this thing in my heart where I knew that I needed a Savior. On a November night, I accepted Jesus into my heart. When I got home that night, I was so excited and told my parents, but they seemed as though they could care less. They decided when I was 14 that we would move to Matthews NC, but as soon as we moved to the area my mother decided to seek another man. That man took her away from me, so I stayed with my stepfather until I was 18 and moved out. During those 4 years between 14 and 18, I saw endless partying and drug use from my stepfather and all his friends, but I continued to work hard in school and work a full-time job, because I told myself I would never be like them or anyone else in my family. I was so busy during this time that God was on the back burner as I was consumed with everything else.
At this time, I was working at place called Media Play where I met a girl whom I would eventually marry. I thank God for meeting her, because I started back in church because of her and her family.She knew that I had been playing drums since I was 14 in and out of various bands, so when I was 20 she convinced me to play at the church we were attending. We got married there when I was 21. At this age, I built my first house, and in 2008, we had our first baby boy, Gavin. I was working full time as a store manager at Rite Aid and graduated from Johnson and Wales with a Culinary Arts degree. Our first couple years of marriage were rough due of infidelity, but I was forgiving and willing to work this out as I wanted our marriage to honor God. In 2010, we decided we would have another child. His name was to be Beckett, but on the day before his due date we delivered a stillborn child. This was one of the hardest things I have ever had to deal with in my life, but the comfort of knowing Jesus was a peace that passes all understanding. I kept Romans 8:28 flowing through my mind, and it became everything to me. (Now its the name of my business). After going through that pain, we decided that we should try again. On May 25th, 2012, which was 1 year from the due date of Beckett, we had our amazing son, Ellis. But during these years, I had found out there had been more infidelity all the way up until our 10 year anniversary. Thus at that time, I decided that I could not go on anymore in the marriage. I was devastated, but I will not claim to be perfect during the whole marriage or during separation, and I felt it was best for both of us. After much prayer and counseling, I decided we should divorce.
During these years, I was playing at a church where I met Jason Lanier. He left to come to LIFE, but I remained. The leadership of my church decided that since I was going through a separation, that I should not serve any longer until everything was resolved. I was devastated. However, I got a call from Jason during this time to come a fill in some at LIFE when we were at CSD (Community School of Davidson). I was thrilled, but scared at same time, because I thought, “How will they feel about me since I was going through a separation?” Turns out it was the best thing ever. Jason showed me love, compassion and offered support, and I will forever feel grateful to him and my church family here at LIFE.
During all these years, I never had a relationship with my mother. I would see her from time to time, but she was so bad on drugs that I didn’t want to be around her. However, 4 years ago she moved to the area to take care of my grandmother who had dementia. At that time, she found out all her son was doing for the church, how much he loved God and put Jesus first in his life. I invited her to church one Sunday, and that day she went down to the altar and got saved, which was a blessing from God. 3 years ago in February, my mother was diagnosed with Stage 4 pancreatic cancer, which she succumbed to in July 2018.
In April 2017, I met this girl that I just knew was different. I asked her on a date on a Tuesday night, but she declined as she said she had Bible study that night so I knew she was different. We knew it was God that brought us together, because everything felt like His will was on both of our lives. In September of 2017, we got married and have been happily married since.
With all that said, I answer my first question: God has had His hands on my life as far back as I could remember and even before that. I’m here today as living proof that God can pull you out of any situation or any circumstance and use you for the work of His kingdom. His blood covers every sin, and His love and mercy is never ending!