I was born and raised in Toledo, Ohio where I grew up in a family that encouraged me to constantly strive for a relationship with Christ. For the first 22 years of my life I lived a life of relative ease. I wasn’t the most popular, the best looking or the most athletic, but nothing major happened in my life to shake my faith in God.
In September of 2003 that all changed. My father passed away and for the first time my faith was tested. It was very hard for me to rely on God when I couldn’t understand what the purpose was for my dad to die at such a young age. Within the next year God led me to Maryland to teach Middle School Science. I was spiritually lower than ever before and I took advantage of that to do whatever I felt like. Mostly this involved not going to church, ignoring God and completely destroying my health.
In 2007 I weighed over 400 lbs. and I started to have some major health issues which resulted in two near-death experiences within four months. In January of that year I went in to have my gall bladder removed and while in surgery they discovered more was wrong with me than was first thought. After a week in ICU they said I had a 50% chance to survive. My health issues didn’t stop there, for the next three months I was in and out of the doctor’s office getting test after test. In April they found that I had a blood clot which was impeding the blood flow to my small intestine. The lack of blood flow resulted in the doctor removing two feet of my small intestine. From that moment on my health improved.
Despite the health issues, during those four months I was filled with a peace that I had never had before. I knew that there was a purpose to all of the pain. I then realized that I am nothing without God and I needed to rely on Him for everything and all that was happening to me was planned to prosper me not to harm me (Jeremiah 29:11). With this new realization, over the next few years I started to get my life together, both physically and spiritually, losing over 125 lbs and seeking God’s will in my life while developing a better personal relationship with Him.