My Desperate Need for God

My Desperate Need for God Hero Image My Desperate Need for God Hero Image

“Habakkuk 1:5 says, ‘Look among the nations, and see; wonder and be astounded. For I am doing a work in your days that you would not believe if told.’

“I read these words from a Bible that my friend passed across the row to me as it was announced to my church that our youth pastor was being fired for moral failure. I had no idea what the Lord would do over the next 15 years.

“I excelled in academics and athletics and was heavily involved in my church’s youth group in Oklahoma, but inwardly, I wrestled with anxiety and feelings of being unworthy. It was during this time that I experienced sexual abuse by my youth pastor. He had groomed me for two years, building trust with me and those around me before acting on predatory thoughts. Initially, I relished the feeling of being chosen but eventually grew anxious and ashamed about this secret I was keeping.

“As my burden grew, I felt the Lord leading me to speak up. I shared this with my parents and our lead pastor, and the youth pastor was fired that same day. Still, I felt so much guilt and shame. I was determined to put it all behind me.

“In the Lord’s kindness, a woman from our church began to meet with me weekly to study the Bible before I left for college. God was ushering me back to Himself through the obedience of this faithful servant.

“A fruitful four years of college followed, and I then moved to Dallas and quickly became a member at Watermark. Even though I was involved, I was privately developing a pattern of overspending and seeking comfort in possessions. I started to accumulate thousands of dollars in debt with no real plan of paying it back. At the urging of my community group, I half heartedly attended re:generation, Watermark’s recovery ministry, hoping to get my spending under control and trying to identify some root issues.

“God used this process to grow my understanding of Him, but I still craved my sin more, and I believed I could hold on to both. Control and keeping up appearances outweighed my submission to God and His Word.

“By December 2017, my materialism was all-consuming. I had accrued over $55,000 in credit card debt on top of $20,000 in student loans. I couldn’t see how badly the sin was destroying my life and kept turning back to it.

“I decided to go to Moneywise, a biblical money management course, and the Lord convicted me to start changing my patterns. Progress was made, but within a year, I’d retreated to old spending habits. In moments when I wanted to give up, the Lord taught me the importance of community. I confessed to those around me and sought help before giving in to the temptation to spend. I then began meeting with a one-on-one Moneywise mentor and started to aggressively pay off debt with a new trust that the Lord would take care of me.

“By 2020, I paid down about $20,000 of my debt. But in all of this, I still felt anxious.

Why was I still struggling with anxiety and shame if I was being faithful with my finances?

“I began therapy to process my childhood wounds and sexual abuse. I was also invited to Courageous Hope, a sexual abuse recovery ministry for women, where I was able to fully focus on the pain of sexual abuse and how it had directly impacted my view of God.

“I didn’t realize how much shame and guilt I was still carrying. In this time, I could address the lies I’d been believing, and my trust in the Lord grew. God gave me His Word, His Spirit, and His people to allow me to find true healing and freedom from the pain and addictions that once ruled over me.

“The best part of paying down debt and walking through this with God and my community is that it allowed me to see my desperate need for Him. The Lord changed not only my habits but He changed and renewed my heart. I paid more than half of my debt by July with plans to be free of debt by the following spring.

“After a time of consistency, growth, and faithfulness, I was able to celebrate God’s work publicly by sharing my story on stage at re:gen. A month later, I received a call from a Watermark family who told me they had heard my story and were so encouraged by the life changes I’d made and what God had done in my heart. After asking how much debt I had left, they asked if they could pay the rest in full.

“I was in complete shock. This felt crazy! I was so close to the end of my debt, and God was using this family to help me. Through this generous act, God showed me that He is still working and healing in churches and that the entire world and all of its resources belong to Him.

“With the persistence and generosity of the Lord and His people, I can celebrate that I am debt-free as of 2023! I now have the opportunity to lead in both Moneywise and Courageous Hope and walk with others who have had similar experiences as they find hope in Christ.

“We will all inevitably sin and struggle, but God draws us near to Him in it all. Now, I can share what God is capable of and who He is: a kind, loving, and crazy patient father who doesn’t run away or forsake us.”