Ever since I was fourteen I knew I was called by God to be a pastor. Honestly, that is not my desire at all. Don’t get me wrong I love people and love to help them; however, the weightiness of such a calling is not appealing to me.
Before I got saved I was living in the world, but I knew about Jesus. Everything I was doing in my life was driving me away from Him, but at the same time I could feel God drawing me to himself.
I can remember being at parties getting drunk and high with my friends and feeling completely out of place. Something inside of me was telling me that I did not belong there. Something inside of me was telling me that I had a greater purpose. I began to feel this burden to help people and change the world. Eventually I got crazy enough to believe I could, but something had to change.
After I got saved at age fourteen I knew that it was God drawing me by the Holy Spirit. The man that prayed for me when I got saved did not know me from Adam. I lived in North Carolina and he lived in Maryland. This was my first time coming to his church. That day when I went to the altar he told me things about my life that he could not have known unless God revealed it to him. He was telling me about the times I was high with my friends and God was pulling on my heart. He was telling me how I was being called by God. That is what showed me God was real.
Immediately I made changes in my life. I stopped hanging out with the same friends. I quit partying, drinking, and smoking weed. However, only for a short period of time.
Eventually I ended up doing those same things periodically. I even got more involved with girls which became my new pet sin. Now all this time I was doing all these wrong things I still new I was called to be a pastor. I was running from that call.
Finally, when I was eighteen I got sick of running and decided to chase after this calling in my life. I was an Ocean Lifeguard in Cocoa Beach, FL and I was a surfer. I was on the surf team at Florida Tech, competitively surfing. Suddenly I decided to give all of that up one day when God laid on my heart to move to Baltimore and go to Bible College.
With no hesitation I was making plans to head to Baltimore, Maryland. My plan was to go for two weeks and visit, then make my final decision and go back to Florida to say bye to all my friends and get all of my belongings.
After my visit to Maryland I was in church two days before my flight back to Florida. That Sunday God spoke to me and said, “If you go back to Florida you will not fulfill the plans and purposes that I have for your life.” That moment I decided I was NOT going back. I canceled my flight and three years later I still have not been back.
I came to Baltimore with one bag of clothes, no job, and no money—just a vision and word from God. I know with confidence that God has been speaking to me ever since I was fourteen years old. He has placed dreams and visions inside of me that I have not seen unfold yet.
Coming to Baltimore was not easy for me. I gave up everything that I ever cared about. Surfing was my absolute passion. When I surfed I always felt closer to God. Out in the waves God revealed to me His glory. Never did I experience something so beautiful. All these years later it brings tears to my eyes when I think of the day I will get to experience that again.
Now that I was in Baltimore I was preparing for Bible College. I started in the Fall of 2011 and finished in the Spring of 2013. During my time in Bible College I learned more about the word of God, worship, prayer, and serving.
Bible College was full of amazing times in God’s presence, growth and maturity, and trials of many kinds. During my second year I was asked to leave my job and come on staff at Rock City Church as an intern. With out hesitation I accepted the offer.
My season as an intern at Rock City Church was bitter sweet. With aspirations of going into full-time ministry I thought that I had arrived and I was on the fast track to success as a young pastor. However, things started to get really rough.
My job at Rock City Church was director of Compassion Commission. Compassion Commission is an inner city youth missions program that RCC has been doing for twelve years. It was actually through that conference that I got saved at and gave my life to Jesus Christ.
As director of CC I faced many challenges. There was so much for me to learn in this position. Right away I learned that I was definitely taking on something huge. I had never done anything like this before.
About half way through the months of preparation before the week long conference I was removed as director. That was a tough season because I felt like such a failure.
My pastor decided to send me over seas as a missionary at our church in Madagascar. Our hopes were that I would go there and be radically changed and come back a fearless man of God.
After my three month trip in Madagascar I came back with confidence that I would be successful at whatever my pastor assigned me to do. I was full of faith and zealous for the Lord. I was reinstated as director of Compassion Commission and I was ready to take on the challenge.
A few months into the months of preparation things were challenging but I thought I was doing well. Suddenly I was taken out of CC again and removed as director. Then I was removed from staff at Rock City Church.
That was in April of 2014. From then until now has been the most challenging times of my life. I have had every emotion you could think of. I have been angry, sad, hurt, offended, but I have also been full of faith, trusting, and full of confidence.
Thoughts have raced through my mind trying to figure out what I did wrong. I have spent countless hours asking God why He would allow this to happen. In all of my efforts to succeed I felt like a complete failure. I felt like I was in fire and I was all alone. In the desert. Dried up and hopeless.
I am so thankful that God is so faithful even in our mess. He is truly our strength in the midst of our weakness. God has slowly been drawing me into his arms and reminding me of his promises. Thankfully we are not defined by our failures.
Even in the moments of wanting to give up and quit God has told me He still loves me, he will never leave nor forsake me. That is so comforting. In the moments that I have wanted to run God has been telling me to just be still and wait on Him. To keep trusting in Him and remember his promises.
I’m not going to lie it has been really hard not to move in this season and to start running, but I know deep in my heart that running in this season would not be wise. Somewhere deep in my heart beyond my understanding I know that I cannot move in this season. I have friends that I confide in that believe I should and probably think I am crazy not to, but something is telling me that I just need to stay still.
There are a couple things I have learned in this season of my life. I hope that these few points will help others who go through difficult seasons in their life.
1.) STOP! Wait and Pray
When everything falls apart the first thing we want to do is react. Sometimes our reactions are based off of fear and uncertainty instead of faith and trust. We find ourselves in a place we should have never been in. Do not move just because things are not going the way you planned, or because you do not understand what God is doing. Sometimes a place of discomfort is the place where God is causing us to grow and we can interrupt that process by thinking we should be comfortable. God wants to stretch us. Be still. Rest in God.
2.) Keep Serving
The last thing you want to do in a season of uncertainty is to stop serving. Continue to serve others and walk in the way of humility. When we stop serving, then we can become self-focused and lose sight of others. This will open up a door of pride. Becoming proud is like a dangerous infection that will only cause you to stumble and fall. Once again in this season you have to remember the promises of God and know there is still a plan and purpose for your life. That purpose is greater than yourself. It isn’t about you. It is about others.
3.) Stand in the fire
In the most difficult seasons of our life we can feel the weight of everything around us pushing us down. These seasons are difficult and painful. Many times it feels like it would be easier just to give up. To roll over and die. However, that is not God’s plan for us as believers. We are winners. We are overcomes. God never promised there would never be storms to go through; however, he has promised to go through them with us. In this season God will cause you to trust in his strength in the midst of your immense weakness. Do not lose heart. Continue to do well because in a due season you will reap a harvest that is plentiful if you do not give up.
I’m learning to trust God even when it isn’t easy. It is in these moments that you learn to press in and really trust God. This is the season to believe in the promises that God said beforehand. Trusting in all he has said to me. This is the season to stand strong and not be moved. I’m learning that in a difficult seasons the first thing we may want to do is move because discomfort, discontentment, and becoming disheartened can set in. The most wise decision we can make is to be still and wait on the Lord. Making flippant decisions based off of emotion is not wisdom. Standing in the fire is not easy, but it is worth it. I’m trusting in God. I’m NOT leaning on my own understanding. In all my ways I am acknowledging God. I know He will keep me upon the right path. Faith is trusting God even when you cannot see the promise. Trust is walking in a difficult season knowing God spoke that promise to you. Do not allow the enemy to say, “Did God say?” The devil is a liar. Every word God has spoken over your life is true. When God says a thing it will not return void. It will accomplish that which it was set out to do. You are a word spoken by God. You are full of purpose and your life has worth. You will apprehend that which God has apprehended you for. Do NOT lose heart. Do NOT give up. Keep trusting. Keep believing. The most glorious triumph is experienced through the pangs of opposition.