If you had known me five years ago, you would not recognize me today. God has brought me through so very much, and done such extraordinary things in my life. Four years ago, I was 19 years old. I was an adult legally, but like many 19 year olds, I was certainly not an adult. At that time in my life, I was severely overweight and terminally obese. I weighed over 400 pounds. Every night, I would play video games for 12-16 hours straight, and I would go to bed around 6 AM. I was addicted to video games, pornography, and food (I mean, who doesn’t love food?).
It was a very dark time in my life; it was a time I am not proud of. I had not grown up in church, and I was doubtful about the existence of a God. But then, something began to happen. God began to move in my life. I was reading an online forum, which was debating whether or not God was real. One of the posters challenged another to “Pray one time, and give God a chance to prove to you that he is real.” I decided to give it a shot, and I asked God for an orange. Three days later, I had my orange. Four months later, a friend invited me to Celebration Church, and I got saved.
Just before I gave my life to Christ, I was linked up with a personal trainer, whom I hit it off with instantly. I began to lift weights four times a week. I cleaned up my diet, and began to shed weight. Two years later, I was 200 pounds lighter, and in the literal sense half the man I used to be. For the first time in my life, I felt things were going right, and I had felt at home in a community of people. God was not finished.
During this strand of events, I got my first job. It was here that I met one of my best friends, who invited me to church, which ultimately got me saved (Shout-out to Matt McCluskey!). I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life, so he told me I should pray and ask God. God made it abundantly clear that he wanted me to be an engineer. Awesome God, I might be a high school drop out, I loathe math and science, and engineering may be one of the most difficult four year degrees, but sure God, why not? And so, I started my journey towards engineering… In elementary algebra. (Elementary algebra is a remedial course for the remedial course “intermediate algebra”.)
Roughly a year after I was saved, God called me to start a children’s ministry in the hood. A pasty white kid, with zero leadership experience, zero experience with kids, leading a kids’ ministry in Jacksonville’s most dangerous neighborhood. By most dangerous, I mean it had the highest murder rate. Great idea, God. As a side note, I have learned that God LOVES ideas that we, in our finite logic, would consider to be really BAD ideas. But I digress; I spent two and a half of the best years of my life leading the Metro Kids Outreach. During my time there, thousands of kids came to our outreaches, thousands of meals were handed out, hundreds of pairs of shoes were given out, and hundreds of backpacks were donated at the beginning of every school year. We even handed out 30 complete Thanksgiving dinners every year. God called me to other things, and He is now working through/on my old co-lead, and the outreach is thriving!
That brings me to today, a 23 year old junior engineering student at UNF. If there is one lesson that all of this has taught me, it is that God LOVES an underdog. He can take anyone, and do anything. My life is not the result of my own efforts, it is the result of God fulfilling His promise and purpose in my life (And me being too innocent and naive to think anything was a bad idea!) Looking back, If there is one thing that is abundantly obvious, it is that God can and will forge us into exactly what he wants us to be. We only have to give Him a chance, and ask for an orange. I look forward to doing life with y’all through this blog!