Tuesday, May 5, 2015

From Rebel to Disciple

College. It's been a journey to remember and one that passed by so quickly. When I stepped on campus freshman year - a freaked out little high school graduate who had been homeschooled - I was overwhelmed. I went from a house with just my parents and I to a campus of about 3000 students; not exactly a gentle transition. And I had to live with two complete strangers they call "roommates" (mine ended up being pretty ok people to live with). But here I am four years later and I'm almost a college graduate. Friday, May 8, I'll walk across the stage of the FMA at BJU, shake the presidents hand, and get handed a diploma. Four years of work all on one piece of paper. In many ways that piece of paper is more than just a degree, it's a statement. It means that I finished the race, persevered, and earned a BA in Bible by Gods grace. But I'm getting ahead of myself. 

Every college graduate has stories that he could tell of embarrassing things that happened to him (most were freshman year), heartbreaks, victories, and failures. As a Christian, however, I have something better than memories and embarrassing stories; I have a testimony. You see, freshman year I wasn't just immature. I was also very much a rebel. I jumped head long into a 16 month disaster of a relationship with a girl, completely ignoring any kind of relationship with a God I claimed to follow. That's the problem. I said I was living for God, but reality was quite opposite. I was living for myself, idolizing a woman, and completely ignoring God. I said a prayer when I was little but I realized no real change had taken place. On February 11, 2013 my life changed forever. God finally broke my heart of stone. There behind a curtain, my face drenched with tears, I wondered what I was doing with my life. Where was I going? I had poured so much into a woman that I didn't know what the point of my life was. I had so many regrets, and made so many mistakes, I wondered if God could forgive me. The devil was intensely telling me that I was too far gone - that I should just kill myself and rid the world of an unneeded waste of space. The devil is not exactly kind is he? No. But God is. God tugged on my heart and I did what I should have done so many years before that. I cried out to God, quite literally actually, and he had mercy on a poor wicked sinner. I immediately had peace and confidence I was forgiven. Of course I had to get right with quite a few people, but when you're right with God, getting right with people is a lot simpler. 

A lot has happened since then. I got plugged into a church that has stretched me spiritually, I surrounded myself with godly friends, ditched the ones that had been pulling me down, and grew exponentially. Who knew the kid who nearly got kicked out of college in his first semester would be graduating (possibly with honors) getting a bachelors degree, going into the ministry, and oh yea there's a different girl in my life now - one that's here to stay. During my sophomore year, the darkest year of my college career, there was a stranger who sent me a note that she was praying for me, and it was a note that meant more to me than that stranger will ever know. I still have that note and it's one I'll keep as long as I'm on this earth. This person who was just a friend of a friend cared about me more than my "friends." Well I eventually got to be friends with this person about 5 months after my life changed. She became my best friend over that summer, and she became my girlfriend that December. Then a year later on December 21, 2014 that once complete stranger promised to be my wife. Our wedding is 109 days away now (not that anybody is counting) and I'm looking forward to how God will shape and move our lives in the next four years. This fall I'll return to BJU to start working on an M.A. in biblical counseling, and of course marry the love of my life. 

Yes indeed, God changed my life forever about halfway through my college days. From rebel to disciple of Jesus Christ. This chapter of my life is closing. It's had its ups and downs but I wouldn't change a thing. I love my life, I love my God and I love my future wife. What more could I ask for? God has been good to me and I don't deserve any of this, but I wait in anticipation to see what he does in my life in the next few years. For now, I'll watch him work. I don't have a job or a place to live for the fall but that's nothing my God can't handle. He's proven himself repeatedly and I can't wait to start the next chapter of my life as a married graduate student and future minister of the Gospel.