College: Southwestern Theological Baptist Seminary
Classification: Second Year Master’s Student
Degree: Master of Divinity
Hometown: Little Rock, Arkansas
Role in Glowing Heart: Drummer
We are the sum of our experiences. For each of us, the struggles we face can become a driving force for us or a debilitating crutch. When I was four, I was diagnosed with Tourette’s Syndrome, a disorder characterized by repetitive, involuntary movements and vocalizations called tics. The tics were very severe early on which led to high blood pressure problems and anxiety disorders. I struggled to find my place. I carried a great deal of shame regarding my struggles and felt isolated from my peers. This created in me a lack of self-worth and caused me to struggle to find my identity. I spent years visiting various doctors and physicians, psychologists and therapists. It was a cycle of frustrations and broken hopes. I just wanted to be normal. I wanted to be like my classmates. This cycle continued into my junior year of high school. I reached a state of desperation to identify with my peers. They made fun of my tics while I struggled to keep up academically. I began to form a view of myself that only saw my faults. But, my God is known for using the most unlikely people and circumstances to remind us how much He loves us and that He is working all things to the good of those who are called according to His purpose.
At the age of 17, my life took an unexpected turn. I was at a church camp and finally realized the identity and acceptance I was seeking could be found in my Heavenly Father. From that point forward, God’s approval, not that of my peers, became my focus and the basis of my self-worth. Basically God changed my life from the inside out. I asked God to restore my body to its full capacity and release me from the bonds of my severe Tourette’s and, shortly after that day, God healed me.
Since then, ministry has consumed many aspects of my life. When I was younger, I learned to play the drums as a way of focusing to control my tics. God chose to use that skill learned during my struggle as the avenue to insert myself into ministry. I have been blessed with the opportunity to serve in a full time capacity through worship ministry, and part time ministry teaching youth and college students.
Currently, I am in my second year of the Masters of Divinity program at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Though the program has challenged me, I feel it is preparing me for the complexities of my future ministry. Through my life experiences and God’s grace to see me through the difficulties I have faced, I have learned that not only does my identity have to originate from His love for me, but also that I can trust and rely on Him no matter what I face in my life. My past experiences in service with Glowing Heart ministries have shown me it is a vibrant and essential ministry with a desire to reach many others who need to reclaim or solidify their identities through Christ. I have found that being a part of this ministry has allowed me to learn valuable lessons that I can apply one day to the church at which I will serve.
As I said, we are the sum of our experiences. God has strategically provided many experiences, some exhilarating, some extremely difficult, to mold me into the man He wants me to become. At one point, my circumstances seemed to define me, but God had a plan to create beauty from ashes and to develop my identity to reach others. I am extremely grateful to serve a God who redeems.
“Since by the one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive the overflow of grace and the gift of righteousness reign in the life through the one man, Jesus Christ.” Romans 5:17