This will be my brief testimony to share how I became a follower in the Lord Jesus Christ and how my life is forever changed.
I was born in a small mid-west town in Arkansas and at age six I asked for forgiveness and was given the gift of Grace to secure my place in Heaven with my Lord Jesus Christ. I was watching a program called the 700 Club. I was in a Christian Academy for a couple years, 1st & 2nd grade then went back to public school. At age 10 we moved to Ohio for a couple years then to Florida. I was now 13 and in 7th grade. We started going to church at a place called 7 Rivers Presbyterian Church at the time this was a startup church about to move into its building. It was here at this church where I would say I got my “roots” and started to actually get depth into who Jesus Christ was and how to develop a relationship with Him. Then my dad lost his job and we left after my sophomore year and moved back to Arkansas. For whatever reason I became extremely rebellious. I challenged everything that was authority, especially my parents. Basically, I was the nightmare teenager. I was the disobedient wide open, though he new everything, teenager who was into sex, drugs and rock -n- roll.
I somehow graduated high school and got a couple jobs here and there but ultimately it was just to give myself beer money so I could party. Still at home, still a nightmare to my parents, and just an all-around idiot. However, neither my parents nor the Lord gave up on me. I was a child of God regardless of my actions, I was still sealed by the blood of Jesus Christ. The Lord spoke to me one night. I was at a party (that I threw while my parents were out of town) he said JACOB what are you doing! I immediately started crying! This changed my life. I then joined the Navy and left Arkansas. I still drank heavily and still did things I am not proud of, but I was on a journey at least to trying to put the Lord first. After I finished my time in the Navy I was stayed in Jacksonville, FL where I was stationed and started a higher education. I was determined to get my degree and start a career. While in school I met my now wife Nicole. However, this is where it really gets to be the most significant and amazing part of how God can and does use all types.
I again, fell back on my worldy ways by still partying every night and doing whatever was the feel-good attitude. My girlfriend Nicole had never heard me talk about to share any type of gospel with her or anyone for that matter. I was not actively involved church. However, where my wife was working she became friends with Mandy and Mandy was a follower of Christ. She came into our lives and invited us to church. I started going to Crossroads UMC not consistently but it was a start. Because of Mandy it was a spark to at least get me to re-think my life at a very disobedient part of my life.
As we continued I graduated and got a job (still in same career since 1999) and I asked my girlfriend to marry me. She said yes, and it was going to be a quick engagement because her grandfather was dying and she wanted him to see her get married, unfortunately he passed away before he could see his granddaughter walk down the aisle.
However, about 2 months before the final date of our wedding the Lord got hold of me again and said. JACOB, you cannot marry when you are not unequally yoked. This biblical and in scripture 2 Corinthians 14.
I was brought to my knees. I went to my parents and my old youth minister back at 7 Rivers (he was a head pastor in Gainesville, FL at the time). I was in deep despair and prayer. However, I had to tell her. I had to explain that I could not marry her and it wasn’t because I didn’t love her. Of course, she didn’t understand because this was the first time I have ever even mentioned anything about Jesus. Her thoughts were that I had cold feet and just didn’t marry. By the grace of God and only the grace of God, my fiancé now wife came to know the Lord prior to us being married.
Not only did my wife (we have been married since 2000) come to the Lord, but almost her entire family came to know Him as well. We have 3 kids together who all have repented, been saved, and baptized in the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
It is amazing to think that even in the midst of my backsliding and disobedient hardened heart, I was still forgiven and not only forgiven, but that my sin was used for good.