My Testimony

"The Lord is close to the brokenhearted, and saves those who are crushed in spirit." - Psalm 34:18

Disclaimer
My purpose in writing this is not to try to gain anyone's empathy; or to try to make anyone think that I am better than they. My goal is to show that where you start is not where you have to stay. There is always hope for a better future - no matter how bad things may be at the moment.

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." - Jeremiah 29:11

My life now
God has blessed my life so much. I have a beautiful wife, & three children; who have all committed their lives to serving Jesus. We have traveled many places together, offering hope; singing & sharing the good news of the Gospel through music. What a joy it is to do what God made me to do! There is however, a dark side of years gone by.

In The Beginning
My Father committed His life to Christ while being incarcerated for two and a half years. After his release, he met my mother; the daughter of an evangelist & Church planter. They married the following year, with me being born exactly nine months after. My two younger sisters would follow in the next few years.

In the early years of my life, I would say that we were pretty poor. With my Dad's criminal record, it made it difficult for him to get a good job. My mom had health issues, which prevented her from working. It was in these early years of my life that I committed my life to serving Jesus - following my Dad's example.

When I was four years old, my parents separated for four years. I remember the night that my parents had their huge fight. We were living with my Mom's Mom at the time. I was watching football with my Dad when the fight broke out (maybe that's why I have no interest in football to this day). The next morning I remember waking up, and asking where Dad was. My Nan showed me his empty closet, and told me that he had left.

My Mom, along with us three kids moved into government housing for those four years. I remember praying that My Dad would come home. He would visit from time to time, take me to church - Royal Rangers and such. I remember asking if he would spend the night tonight - to which his reply would always be no.

I guess you could say that Dad had a relapse toward the end of those four years (I don't know the details). I remember sirens going off one night, and praying that Dad was alright. He was indeed in the accident; just a couple miles from where we were living. After totaling his van that night, he ended up in a Christian rehab in Texas.

While in Texas, my Dad began to once again get his life right with God. He started writing songs. I remember him mailing us lyrics to a song that he had written.

Getting Back on Track
When my Dad returned home from rehab, he moved in with us right away. He started teaching me the guitar. We would travel to different Churches with my Pap (the Evangelist); singing & playing guitar. This continued throughout my youth years. It was also at this time that I became involved with Bible quiz at Church (which I continued in faithfully for about eight years). In later years, we would go on several short term missions trips together.

Though Dad came home (and was making things right with God - and everyone else), things were far from perfect. He found a job installing flooring; and worked endlessly (literally), trying to provide for us and keep us kids in Christian School.

Things Get bad
My Mom started homeschooling us as I was going into the third grade. The first couple months were ok; but that is the last I ever remember anything close to "good times" at home.

As I grew older, I did not get along with my Mother at all - and homeschooling made it all the worse (I was with her all the time).

Between the ages of about eight and seventeen, on an average day it was not uncommon for me to get hit anywhere from 80 - 100 times per day (sometimes more); sometimes by Dad - but mostly by Mom. She had a horrific temper. She would use lilac branches, spoons, belts, paddles, or anything that was close to her at the time - including a hand across the face. I remember anytime that I would hear her coming I would flinch - because I knew I was getting hit by something (I still flinch even now when I here my wife coming into the room quickly - even though she has never given me any reason to suspect that she would hit me). We had Children and Youth involved three different times in these years; with my Mom somehow always getting out of the accusations and getting us kids back.

Starting to Become Independent
I began working with my Dad in the summertime when I was twelve; learning the floor covering installation trade. I became very self reliant at this early age. I wanted to save up to buy a motorcycle - so that I could run away.

That first summer that I worked for Dad, I made 1200.00. Man, I had a Yamaha motorcycle that I was gonna buy - and Mom made me buy my own home school curriculum that year; which ended up being 800.00. Needless to say, I didn't get the bike - lol.

This was only the start of my Mother's controlling ways. Her goal was to take everything that I had worked for, so that I would remain dependent on her.

When I turned sixteen, I started working for my Dad full time; signing out of School. This is when my Mom thought that she would start trying to get rent money out of me - which I would not give her. My cousin gave me a car (which needed a new engine), which I was able to get on the road - with my own money.

That Christmas, Mom kicked us out for about two weeks (over Christmas and New Years)- my Dad and us three kids. So we all kinda scattered for a couple of weeks - until Mom changed her mind and wanted us back. Unfortunately, we moved back in.

Finally, when I was seventeen, Mom went away for a weekend; and I moved out. When she got home, she tracked me down. On several occasions she would be found waiting at my house for me to come home - only enforcing my decision to get away from her and NEVER come back.

My Testimony
For years I have struggled with what my testimony is. Lots of other people have these big testimonies of how God has saved them from a drug addiction, or alcoholism. I have never had a desire for anything like that - Praise the Lord! But I have had a hard time pinpointing what exactly my testimony is.

This is it:
God's word was planted inside of me at an early age; and that has ultimately shaped me into the man that I am today. Regardless of things that have happened to me, God is ALWAYS GOOD. His word is ALWAYS TRUE. His LOVE ENDURES FOREVER. HE is a FRIEND that NEVER leaves! HE HAS A PLAN & A PURPOSE FOR MY LIFE! His word has been a firm foundation and a straight line to build my life on.

I have had to learn forgiveness - something that I have to choose to do everyday. Does that mean that I trust my Mother? No. But I have had to put into practice the forgiveness that God has shown to all of us - If I can't forgive her, how can I expect God to forgive me?

And so, these are the things that have shaped who I am. Am I perfect? No - far from it! But this has become my desire: know Jesus better on a daily basis; and to share His love, hope, and forgiveness through the gift that He has given me - music.

This is the untold story behind my song "Secrets".



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