I was born on June 5, 1972 in Washington, DC; I lived there for the first 9 years of my life. Within that time, I let a number of things influence me--some great, some not so great. My mother and aunts influenced me positively. They, most of them being single parents, made sure that my sister, cousins and I were trained in the way that we should go. Whether we did or not was up to us. At the time, though, I didn't think that I had that choice...I thought that I was just being bossed around. Come to think of it, I was too smart for my own good, which got me into trouble a number of times. What also influenced me greatly was music. My mother told me once that I knew how to sing before I knew how to talk. (I thank my mother for those many trips to a speech therapist--and the trips to a local café for sweet potato pie afterwards--so that I may be able to talk more effectively. Before that, I used a lot of nonsense words.) I was exposed to a lot of music growing up. As I grew, I gravitated to some artists more than others, the biggest ones being Natalie Cole, Earth, Wind & Fire, Parliament, The Jacksons (as well as Michael's solo career at that point), Stevie Wonder, Prince (and any project he had his hand on), and anything that Quincy Jones produced. On the flip side, I was also influenced by some not-so-great things as well. I was told that I was retarded; I was called a homosexual, when I knew that I wasn't; I would get beat up for fighting back or for no reason at all. However, the biggest thing that influenced me negatively was pornography. Yes, I was exposed to pornography within the first 9 years of my life. It became my drug; I saw and did things that no little kid should even know about. All of these things--the good and the bad--began to mold my character and my view of the world.
After turning 9 in 1981, my mother, sister, and I (my father wasn't in the picture, really) moved to South Carolina. Not only did I pack my clothes and my belongings, but I also packed my influences--every single one of them. While living in South Carolina, I was met with the same issues I had while in DC. My love for music and the fine arts grew, as well as my appetite for pornographic material. What also grew was my anger and frustration. As I grew older, I was getting tired of being disrespected, picked on, and not taken seriously. At one point, I was so malicious that I actually wanted to hire someone to kill a person who was bullying me in college back in 1991. Fortunately for everyone involved, nothing came of it. There was even a time when I wanted to take my own life, because I didn't know how to deal with the frustration and loneliness I was feeling.
This was when my quest for love began. I knew about God, but unfortunately, I tried to shape Him into what I wanted, so I could hold onto the things that I wanted to keep in my life. I had a "girlfriend", but it wasn't necessarily a meaningful relationship. (Side note: A relationship based on lust and selfishness doesn't last.) I "prayed Jesus into my heart"; I sincerely meant it. I realized that I had to get rid of certain things, but it was hard to do, because Jesus truly wasn't Lord of my life yet. It wasn't until April of 1992, when I went to church with a person who invited me, that I found out that praying Jesus into my heart was never a part of God's plan of salvation--it's nowhere in the Bible. This made me more interested in studying the Bible for the first time in my life. (My mother exposed me to the Bible a long time ago; I even knew a few Scriptures while growing up. It didn't mean that I knew God or what His Word said. I was even "baptized" at the age of 6, but even then I knew that I was just getting wet because I didn't know what I was doing.) However, when I started digging into the Bible, I wasn't being real with myself or with the people who loved me enough to take the time to help me. I was too busy trying to put up a front, saying things that would make me look or sound intelligent. I was given a wake-up call by Ceaser Gorman (thank you, my brother). He told me that, if I didn't get serious about myself and who I am before God, and stop trying to please people, then we would stop studying the Bible. I was at a crossroad at that point: either get serious about myself, or risk losing the opportunity to be with God forever. I chose to get serious. Once I did, I finally found real love in my life...I found it in Jesus and what He did for me on my behalf. I found it in the amount of grace and mercy God had--and still has--on me. How could I not respond to this great love? Therefore, on Wednesday, June 17, 1992, at 10:33 pm, I made the decision to believe in the gospel (which is the good news that Jesus is the Son of God, that He died for my sins, that He was buried, and that God resurrected Him on the third day), to repent (to change from a worldly way of thinking to a godly way of thinking), and to be baptized into Christ for the forgiveness of my sins. At that point, I was given an incredible gift: the gift of the Holy Spirit, who guides me and counsels me to live a life worthy of the calling I received, and to live this life according to God's will for me. This is the greatest decision I've ever made in my entire life. It's not an easy life, but it sure is meaningful and purposeful. I don't regret it one bit.
Colossians 3:3 NIV
For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.
1972 was the year I was born; 1992 was the year I was reborn. In 1992, I was no longer being for myself...I was being for God's glory. My entire identity and life are now hidden with Christ in God. Not only do I now know who I am, but I also now know whose I am; nothing and no one can ever take that away from me. I guess you could say that 1992 is more than a milestone in my life...it's a cornerstone, a foundation to build on--and that foundation is Jesus, the Christ, the Messiah. To build on any other foundation is a waste of time and energy (Matthew 7:24-27; 1 Corinthians 3:11).
In order to figure out your purpose for living on this earth, it all starts with laying a strong foundation in Christ. This foundation is available to everyone...yes, even you, who are reading this blog entry. I want to encourage you to get someone to help you get into the Bible and see for yourself what God has done for you. The Word leads to the way to God, which is through Jesus Himself. Afterwards, you will arrive at a crossroad. Will you believe in the gospel, repent, and be baptized into Christ, or will you make like Fleetwood Mac and "Go Your Own Way"? Your decision will make a huge impact on the strength of your foundation and the outcome of your life and the lives of others.