I was just thinking this morning about how I’ve been traveling around and sharing my testimony since 2010. I became a CR State Rep for NC in 2010 and pretty quickly folks from around the eastern side of the US realized God had done some pretty amazing things in my life. I remember I traveled around in my little Kia Soul, long before Broken Chains. I had some big poster boards with “before” and “after” pics glued to them that I would set up in the foyer of the church where I was sharing. My car was so little and the boards were so big I devised a system to put hanging close bars above the front and back seats so that I could slide the boards in to the ceiling of the car. I drove to PA, MS, TN, FL, GA and more. I always dreamed of sharing my testimony at the CR Summit however by 2015 I pretty much thought my time had come and gone. I had been a CR State Rep for 5 years, been to every Summit, many One Day Trainings, and had served vigorously. In fact, I had won the contest for the role in the Home Run Movie and thought that if that didn’t bring the attention to my story nothing else would. I assumed if it was going to happen it would have already happened. I was relying on my own understanding and plan!
Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight.”
I was not trusting in the Lord, I was trusting in Jeff. I thought I had worked for it, I’d made smart choices, I’d been sacrificing, serving, and sharing…….however I had not SURRENDERED! That’s right, because surrender means that I would have trusted Him and realized if it was part of His plan it would have happened and if it was never going to happen then that was part of His plan too. If I were surrendered at the time I would have realized that no one can take anything from me that God has for me!
I did come to terms that it was not going to happen for me. But, although I thought this wasn’t going to happen my motive to share was not in order to do it at the Summit. My motive was to reach people with the Good News about how God had pulled me out of the ditch and was using me and blessing me. My reason for traveling and sharing was so that others might realize the same Hope I’d found in Jesus Christ. I continued to be faithful in doing the right thing, Galatians 6:9. God was using me, I knew that, even though it wasn’t working out the way I’d hoped or thought…..not yet!
His timing is always better than mine. In late 2016 we started Broken Chains JC. We weren’t an official part of Celebrate Recovery at the time. They didn’t need a motorcycle group. However the requirement for membership was a commitment to CR. We were CR bikers that wanted a tighter knit community. I felt called to get on my motorcycle, travel around the country to CR’s, Training Conferences, and Churches in order to let other CR bikers know about Broken Chains. God even had a bigger plan than me in these travels. He began to put people in my path, hopeless people, that needed to hear the Good News. The CR founder, Pastor John Baker began to notice that God was at work in Broken Chains and that we were becoming a larger, healthy community of CR people.
In April of 2017 I was scheduled to share at several churches in Canada over a week before heading on to the CR Training Conference in Des Moines Iowa where I was to “patch in” Pastor John. My wife, daughter, and grand daughter were even flying in to meet me there for one of our first trips out of the country. As I pulled in to the border crossing I was asked to pull over. After the border guards had gone through all my possessions and interviewed me extensively, they informed me that because of my criminal background they would not permit me in to the country. I was devastated! The churches I planned to speak at were going to help me with the finances for the entire trip. I didn’t know what I was going to do.
As my plan had ended abruptly I had no idea what to do. It was still 2 weeks before the Des Moines Conference. I had only been on the road for 2 days, 900 miles. My first thought was that I could just turn around and go home. It would cause me to miss the Des Moines Conference however it would save me time and money I didn’t have. After asking God what I should do I decided that since I was right at the Niagara Falls and I might not ever be that close again I’d head over to the falls before turning around towards home.
While at Niagara Falls God spoke to me, in my heart, and said, “keep going. Trust me and keep going.” I immediately made a post on FB letting people know what happened at the border and the route I’d be taking towards Des Moines. People began contacting me to offer help and for me to stop in at their church to share my story. Almost 2 weeks later, as I was on my way to Des Moines I received a call and asked if I’d like to share my testimony at the Des Moines CR Training Conference. I knew there were about 600 attending this conference and I had never shared to a crowd that large. I was so excited! After sharing I was asked by the CR National Team to email them my testimon
y. A couple weeks later I was asked to share at the 2017 Celebrate Recovery Summits!
God’s timing is always better than mine. You see, if my original plan had worked out I would have shared at the Summit sooner than 2017. But because Broken Chains had started in 2016 my sharing in 2017 had a greater impact than it could have ever had any year before. In fact if I would have shared at the Summit in my time they would not have asked me to do it again, after Broken Chains had started. I can’t even imagine the opportunities that would have been missed. I also know that if I would have given up because my plan didn’t work out as I thought it should, God could not have used me to do all that He’s done with me in the years since.
I’ve learned to be faithful in all God gives me. I’ve learned to walk by faith and not by sight. I’ve learned, what God has for me no one can take away. I’ve learned that His timing is always better than mine.
Thanks for letting me share!