Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! 2 Corinthians 5:17 NIV
I wasn’t always a Christian. In fact, I wasn’t a very good Christian for many years after becoming one in 2012. I jumped from church to church. I had a hard time understanding the Bible. I didn’t know how to pray right. Come to find out, I didn’t even know God that well let alone have a relationship with Him. I struggled through many of those early years fumbling around trying to find my way. People would say, “just keep your eyes on Jesus”, “you just need to have faith”, or “just pray about it, brother!” Ugh! Well, I must admit that I was really discouraged in those early Christian years.
There were some early words of advice, though, that helped me to keep pressing forward but it felt like an uphill battle. I finally turned to a few Christian friends, one now my wife, whom I felt I could be transparent with about my struggles. They mentored (shepherd) me with the staff and rod (Psalm 23:4) in a loving way where I finally began to grow in knowledge and understanding (Jeremiah 3:15). If it were not for these loving Christians, I probably would have fumbled around several more years trying to find my way.
Even as I was maturing as a Christian, things still seemed hard. I didn’t understand why my father had to die of cancer at age 57. I didn’t understand why I had prostate cancer at age 41. I didn’t understand why my previous marriage ended in a bitter divorce and financial hardship. I didn’t understand why I went through depression to the point that it almost took my life. I also struggled with the guilt of past mistakes in my life before becoming a Christian, as I had many.
I finally decided that I was not going to allow my past to hold me back. I pressed in and began healing from those wounds and releasing the guilt. I was letting go of the old and embracing the new. I was renewing my mind (Romans 12:2).
Then the breakthrough finally happened! My life began to change. I now have a loving relationship with God and pray to Him every day. I thank Him and praise Him for loving me through it all – the good and the bad! I read the Bible daily and share His good word with others. I now know nothing can separate me from the love of God (Romans 8:38-39). Even though I still face life challenges, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Philippians 4:13).
Then “the call” came as we Christians say. I felt it in my heart that God wanted to use me to help others through my life experience and training. I prepared myself for the change and left my career in December of 2019 to devote myself to doing His work. I am actively involved at my church helping groups such as Single Parents, Community Evangelism, and the Marriage Care Ministry. I also serve at a local Christian healing ministry that prays for those in need of physical, emotional, or spiritual healing. In January 2020, my wife and I launched The Shepherd and Me, a Christian coaching and discipleship program.
In all these works I am a servant at heart helping others to build or strengthen their relationship with God, understand His word, heal from past wounds, and foster spiritual growth – all for His glory.
In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:16. NIV