This is a story of how God changed my life when and how I least expected Him too. I was blessed to be raised in a Christian home growing up in Pennsylvania and later Virginia. When I turned 19 years I decided, due to certain circumstances to “take control of my life”. This being I put God in my rear view mirror and started on a self-destructing but successful journey. I began to live the excessive party life filled with the standard sex, drugs, and rock and roll, I guess you could say. But doing this I lost a few friends and lost my own salvation. I was also at the same time able to grow in my career and get totally consumed with my job to the point I did not know who I was anymore. I still felt I needed something more, that I was still not complete. I was looking and moving to new places hoping to find, in my mind, that which would complete me.
On July 20, 2009 I didn’t know that my life would change forever. I was at work doing my regular routine when all of a sudden I started to not feel right. I was extremely dizzy, confused, and felt like I was going to lose consciousness.
I called out to my co-workers and they called 911. I was transported to the hospital and could not find anything wrong with me. I went home still not feeling right but I knew life had to go on. I started following up with doctors and a few more tests were done showing all to find nothing abnormal. I was feeling better and shrugged it off and just thought it would be just one of those weird things that no one can ever explain. The following November I started to not feel right again and was getting so fatigued and several other symptoms, that I will not go into detail. I was then so ill that I could not get out of bed. Over the next 3 months I was out of work, I was seen in several hospitals and specialists. All tests were again normal and the doctors just shaking their head. Even stating that it might just be in my head.
During this time I started to question my life and even on Christmas Eve of that year believing that I wasn’t going to make it through the night.
That night I felt the worst that I had felt ever in my life. I with the little strength I had started to write notes to my parents and friends saying goodbye. I obviously made it through the night but the next day I started to read what I had written and looked back in my life thinking that I still felt like I was missing a big piece. The notes or my story to my family and friends was empty feeling.
In the next few days I had a moment that I felt strong enough to get out of bed for a little bit. I decided that I was going to go outside and walk down the driveway to get the mail. For not being able to get out of bed in weeks I was excited about this venture. My roommate walked with me to make sure I was alright. I opened the mail box and saw amongst the dreaded bills and junk mail there was this flyer that had the name Story Church on it. Normally I had always scoffed at the thought of church in my life. Thinking that church is just another social club – remember I grew up in church and was left with a bad taste in my mouth. I then took the flyer and popped my roommate on his head and said “you need to go to church man”. He then took the flyer and said the same to me, then tossed the flyer back at me. I looked down at it about to put it in the junk mail pile in my hand but for some reason I could just stare at the flyer. I couldn’t throw it away so I just put it on my desk in my room that I was held captive to do to my illness.
For the next few days I just kept looking at the flyer from across the room. I decided to go to this churches website and checked them out on facebook.
The church actually hadn’t had their 1st official service yet. At that time I couldn’t stop thinking about Jesus. I started to pray again, something that I had not seriously done in a very long time. I didn’t physically feel better but emotionally and spiritually started to feel alive again. And it just seemed like I started getting phone calls from people in my past telling me that God had brought them back to him and they were turning their lives around and feeling better about their selves. I was telling them about my mystery illness but that I was ok. I believed that God was taking care of me now. I started praying that if I could get better I promised Him that I would go to this Story Church.
Another month went by and I had to temperately move back to Virginia as I could not take care of myself anymore. I would lay there my body shaking and feeling miserable with no energy. But every moment I was praying and getting stronger with my faith in Jesus. I was also listening to the podcasts from Story Church. If I couldn’t be there physically I was at least going to be a part of this place as much as I could. I remember every week waiting in anticipation for the new podcast to come out. I did start to wonder if I was ever going to get to physically be there and meet the people there. But then all of a sudden I started to get my strength back. I was determined to get my life back. But I knew it would never be the same. God had given me enough to get back home and start working again part time.
I was nervously excited I was finally going to be able to go to this church. I remember I walked in and the first person I saw was Jeremy Copeland. I shook his hand I recognized his voice from the podcast. I will admit I was holding back tears.
I told him man I have been listening to you every week. God had started to change my life from your flyer. I then gave him a brief part of my story. I felt like I had made it finally, I was still at the time getting used to walking again but I just knew for some reason I was exactly where I was supposed to be at the right time and place. They gave me a book and I went home and sat outside read the whole thing. Now I still to this day don’t feel normal. I am still seeing many doctors. The current count I have seen over 25 doctors and they have just started to come up with some potential reasons for my illness. But I get a joy out of telling all the doctors and my friends how God has changed my life. I had to in a way die to live again.
I have recently talked to several of old and newer friends and they have given or turned back to God in their lives. My co-workers have seen a big change in my life. I am not scared of tomorrow anymore. I know God has a plan and is actively using me to make a difference. I have finally felt like I am complete in Jesus my lord and savior. Story Church has been my rock, shown me love and acceptance. Story Church had become a family to me. I actually thank God everyday for making me ill so that my life could be changed. I do and will not regret my experience and know I will grow from this.
I may not be promised tomorrow, but I can guarantee I can serve Jesus today while embracing the story I was meant to live.