I wasn’t supposed to be here…
1.2 GPA end of my junior year of high school
Smoking weed every day
Three minor in possessions of alcohol all by the age of 17
40 hours of community service
I had to take an extra class to graduate high school
I had zero basketball/academic scholarships coming out of high school.
Many people didn’t know my story at the time. I hid well. I learned to look the part and play the part while deep down inside I was broken internally. You wouldn’t have known then and you probably wouldn’t have guessed my story now.
Deep inside my internal brokenness was a kid who became a product of his environment. A kid torn between two worlds. A kid desiring God’s best but stuck with believing in lies. A kid wanting to be loved but feeling unloved. A kid wanting to heal but choosing the wrong outlets. A kid knowing right from wrong but struggling to get it right.
I was a kid. Just a kid… trying to follow God’s plans for my life despite the enemy trying to strip me of everything. I always believed God really had big plans for me and He showed me a glimpse of His power.
I vividly remember being at Sugar Brook basketball court by myself saying, I know that I can play Division 1 basketball. I know others didn’t believe it. I mean there is only a 1% chance that anyone will play D1 basketball. However, somewhere deep inside, I saw the dream. But most importantly God saw me and the dream.
I made a decision through His grace at the age of 17, my senior year of High School to follow God. This decision led me to make a 360 in life and to a complete turnaround. Headed in my new direction, I have to admit was extremely hard. The anxiety, depression slash suppression, and doubts did not go away because I now had God and a dream.
In fact, many of my brain health challenges escalated. I did in fact continue to suffer mentally. Everyone has their own story but what I went through from ages 15-17 dramatically impacted my brain. No teenager should smoke weed every day, drink alcohol to the point of blackout, suffer emotional abuse, grow up in a toxic environment, etc. But I did…
The fact that I made a decision and stuck with it says a lot about who God is, His grace to get me through and the character to hang in there despite wanting to give up.
My life has been full of roadblocks but one thing I’ve learned; is that the detour route is always a sight to see. I’ve enjoyed every longer route in life that I’ve had to take no matter how hard or challenging it has been. I mean it really is about His timing anyway…
Insecurity, self-doubt, lack of confidence are some of the few lies I’ve believed in along the way. Even as a basketball player. Although my dreams of being a Division 1 basketball player only lasted for one year, I found my wife, I saw the hand of God answer a dream and I got to continue my education journey for free which eventually led me to become an All American and future hall of fame player for the University of Pikeville.
Lastly, stories are stories, and your story matters. My story matters. No one can take our stories away from us. I believe in God. I believe in myself. I believe in others. I believe my story is not done.
Looking back, do I wish some outcomes could have been different? Most definitely. Do I have some regrets? You bet.
However, I believe in redemption and in restoration. God never wastes a moment or an experience. I can trust Him and I can trust what I went through was meant to help shape me into the person I am today. I can live with that.
I am here today to say:
I am supposed to be here!
I have an Associates Degree.
I have a Bachelor’s degree.
I have a Masters Degree.
I was an All American basketball player.
I am in the Hall of Fame.
I am married.
I own a home.
I am an ordained pastor.
P.S. I’m so grateful fam. Like seriously. I am writing this from my home office. I don’t think you understand. I grew up in a 750 sq ft home with 7 people. I can fill up my gas tank whenever. I don’t have to worry about food not being on the table. Lights/heat/gas being turned off. I count my blessings and then some.
God is not magical and mystical. That is not the point of any of what I am saying throughout this post. He is loving and faithful. That love has allowed my pain to be turned into purpose and my misery to be turned into ministry. He provides every step of the way and that is what I am testifying to in my story.
It is not so much about what I’ve done but it is more about who I’ve become. I celebrate both today.
Question: What are you grateful for and celebrating in your story today?