My story begins on August 13, 2005. Sure, I was born before that, I had lived 12 years. My life had looked perfect until that day. The day started out pretty normal, it was a Saturday so my mom, youngest brother, and I went shopping. The difference was that my grandma (my dad’s mom) who never really got along with my mom was with us. My dad and my other brother were on a church float trip. When we got home from shopping, there were multiple messages on the answering machine from pastors at our church. (Cell phones at this time were really only for people with more money than we had.) They said it was urgent, that my mom needed to call them back. She called them and they told her that my dad had been in an accident and it didn’t look good. My mom and grandma were immediately broken. I had no idea what to do, so I took my brother (he was three at the time) into one of our bedrooms and kept him occupied. My mom and grandma headed with a family friend to the hospital 80 miles away where my dad was. That day, my dad died. He had drowned and they had not been able to revive him.
The months following were very interesting. I started seventh grade about a week and a half after everything. My mom was a mess and because of that she told me a lot of things about my dad I probably shouldn’t have ever known. My dad hadn’t been the man everyone thought that he was. He had stolen things, lost jobs, and didn’t pay our bills. Our house was about to be foreclosed on and our other bills were way behind. The church helped us out so much during the following months, but there is only so much other people can do for you.
In July 2006, my mom married my step-dad and we became a blended family with new siblings who were raised the total opposite of how we had been raised. I was exposed to so many worldly things in the next couple of years. I stayed busy, super busy. I threw myself into extracurricular activities at school and at church. I was a part of almost everything. There was a point where my parents stopped going to church but I stuck around. All of my friends were in the youth group, and it kept me more busy than anything. I began to wear a mask. I looked like everything was fine. I had convinced myself everything was fine. Nothing was fine though. I blocked off all of my emotions. I had friends, best friends, but I started to lose them too. My best friend in high school meant the world to me. But not all relationships are good for you even if they are with good people. My family was lost. My mom and stepdad were on and off. My grandma wasn’t someone I enjoyed being around. My siblings drove me crazy.
When I finally graduated high school, my dream was to become a high school music teacher. I was convinced that God had given me this dream and that nothing would be able to stop me. Unfortunately, attending college didn’t fix anything, in fact, it made it worse. I stopped going to church altogether. I became involved with things I never thought that I would be involved in. I quickly approached every moral line I had set for myself, but I never crossed them. So I thought that I was okay, but I was far from okay. I put on more masks. My school situation worsened when money got tighter. It looked like my dream was crushed. But that is exactly what it was- my dream. I had blocked off God’s input for my life and pursued a dream for who I thought I was, but not for who I was supposed to be. I didn’t realize this until I had done horribly in multiple classes, hated myself, was deep in debt, and had to move back home to Owasso, Oklahoma. I was broken. This is where the new chapter of my life has begun.
Through so many people believing in me, supportive Godly friends, and an actual relationship with God, I am changing my life. I realized that sometimes you have to let yourself be broken, even when you think you can't break any more. I have been freed from so many sins. I am feeling emotions and letting myself actually show those emotions. I have been able to take on responsibility I never could have handled before. Approximately two years ago I took over XM Productions to try and grow the ministry. While I wasn’t quite ready for that at the time, Kevin Norwood helped me to realize what I could do. It was hard. Especially because I was still working out things personally. In February, I had a meeting where Kevin asked me to change positions and have Denton and Francyne join me in leading that group. Who I used to be would have been mad because the group had been mine to lead. But the person God has made me has let them come alongside me. While it has been a journey, I couldn’t be happier. Leading with these two has been life changing.
My life has taught me so many things, but one of the biggest is that sometimes your dreams aren't going to be as detailed as you want. My current dream is to be a life changer and to help others let their stories help them positively rather than hold them back. I have no idea what exactly that will entail, but my story of redemption and God’s grace sets me up to share my story, which is a start.