Photo by Erin E. Photography
My journey with God began when I was 15 and accepted Jesus as my Lord at a Fellowship of Christian Athletes Camp. At that time I thought Christianity was all about rules. I tried to be perfect and quit drinking and cussing, but gave up after six months. I attended FCA camp three more years and each year I did the same thing: committed my life to Jesus, tried to be perfect, and then failed. By the fourth year of this I had pretty much given up that I was ever going to be able to do the Christian thing.
In my twenties, money and power became my god. I was chasing the American dream, making as much money as I could and partying hard. I wanted to become like my father, who was a successful businessman.
By age 28, the wheels had fallen off. I had become an alcoholic and a drug user. I didn’t want to live anymore. I completed a faith-based program to stop drinking and learned that every addiction is a spiritual issue at its core and therefore requires a spiritual solution. A real relationship with God is needed.
In the next few years, I felt Him pulling me in, but I still had a hard time with Jesus because of my early failures with Him. God sent a Christian mentor to help me, and one day when I was talking with him I asked him what was up with the blood sacrifice of Jesus. I didn’t get it. He said I should ask Jesus my questions—and so I did. We were at a restaurant, and in an out-loud conversational prayer, I talked to God saying, “I need to know the real deal. If Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life…if this is true, I need to know it. I don’t want my fear or pride to block me from the truth.”
This was a turning point in my life. Things started changing. Soon after, one day in my quiet time God sparked my imagination and gave me a picture. I saw a fishing boat in the ocean, like a 50-foot Bertram with a fighting chair in the back. There was a fisherman in the fighting chair with a big rod and reel and a fish on the line. The fish was swimming away from the boat, and I knew that Jesus was the fisherman and I was the fish. There was no real anxiety on the boat. Jesus just watched the reel spin and every now and then He’d tighten the drag on the line to make it harder for the fish to swim away. Finally, the fish tuckered out and allowed the Big Fisherman to reel him in. When I realized Jesus had been there all along and never let me go, I felt an overwhelming love for Him. Before this, the verse “for God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son…” just didn’t feel personal to me. But Jesus was showing me how it was personal. He was showing me in a way that I could understand and relate to.
Since then, I have been on a 23-year journey to go deeper with God. I have had visions of Jesus that have taught me more about Him—that He has a spirit of play, but also a spirit of absolute intensity when it comes to bringing His children back to Him. Jesus taught me that He wasn’t trying to mold me into a good little boy scout (that I didn’t want to be) or put me in a jail cell. He was trying to keep me out of jail! He wasn’t trying to take away adventure, but to set me on the greatest adventure of my life.
God showed me that He wanted in on all of my life, including my business and finances. He showed me that my priorities were upside down. Once when I was praying, I saw a man spinning lots of plates on sticks, like the man on the Ed Sullivan Show years ago. I knew that this represented me in my business, always doing multiple deals, spinning many “plates” with little time for God or family or even any serious questions. I came out of that meeting with God somehow knowing that I was no longer to be defined by what I did or how much money I made, and knowing that God wanted me to make some big changes. I made a commitment to start no new business deals for three years. I also knew that what I was giving to God financially was a paltry amount, and that had to change. I thought for sure all these changes would result in me going broke. But I did them anyway, and I did not go broke. Although I’m not much into the “Prosperity Gospel,” I did learn that you can’t out-give God, and in this three-year season I was extremely blessed financially. I was also able to spend more time with God and my family.
Where has God led me now? With His help I am now learning to help others; sometimes it is helping people meet Jesus for the first time, sometimes it is helping someone get sober, sometimes it is telling people how much Jesus loves them. I have been abundantly blessed and I am thankful to God for many things. God helped me get sober. He helped me understand my true identity. He opened my eyes to the truth about Him, crafting a personal and powerful message that spoke uniquely to me. He helped me correct my priorities and live a more fulfilling and joyful life. God has given my life true purpose and meaning.
A Million God Stories is a Christ-centered ministry which offers a platform for Christians from all streams of Christian faith to give praise for how God has worked in their lives. Christ heals in infinitely creative ways and we acknowledge that His way of helping may differ from person to person.