Wonderful Testimony….

Posted: January 1, 2019 by CatholicJules in Life's Journeys

As I awaken to another quiet morning, I smile and say ‘Good Morning Lord’ and I roll myself out of bed. My knees touch the ground as I kneel down in front of my Lord, to give thanks. To thank Him for another day and another chance to do His Will and to be the best I can be. The cool morning refreshes me, as I bow my head to pray.

Not every morning has been like this though. Not all of my mornings have begun in prayer and thanksgiving. Not all of my mornings have been filled with the peace I feel today. In fact, for at least 20 years of my life, most of my mornings were filled with anger, pain and disappointment. Turn back the clock all those years, and you would have found a man without direction and with an ego and pride the size of this worship hall.

I had a happy childhood, was an altar server when I was younger. I was part of the Boy’s Brigade and excelled in sports while I was in school. Martial arts and soccer were 2 of my loves. However, in secondary school, without proper guidance and a lack of role models in my life, I started hanging out with the wrong crowd. I saw these rebellious kids and the influence they had over others and somehow, that appealed to me. Joining a gang and hanging out with these fellow ‘brothers’ showed me what life could be like. God started to have less and less of a place in my life; that spot was taken up by my new-found ‘friends’.

With these friends came many new experiences. I got sloshed for the first time when I was 16 years old. Being a shy guy who hated speaking in public, alcohol magically melted my fears away and provided me this new-found confidence which was addictive. The more alcohol I drank, the more confident I became. I didn’t care what it was doing to me. Being part of a gang was also about standing by your fellow members and showing others who was boss. The company I mixed around with got me into fights, some of which I started on my own lah. I was in an out-of-control spiral and I didn’t even know it. Education wasn’t something I cared about anymore. My family hardly saw me, as I busied myself with worldly pursuits.

This life that I had chosen for myself had almost got me killed a couple of times. It is honestly by the grace of God that I stand before you today, sharing my story. I had to hit absolute rock bottom; losing my then girlfriend, not doing well at my business, contemplating thoughts of suicide. I could have lost everything then.

But God had other plans for me. At the lowest point of my life, God sent me a sign. A sign that showed me that He knew I was suffering and that He was with me. He gave me a chance that I had not given myself. I just had to surrender to him. For a man who has depended on himself all his life, this was not an easy task. But my way had not worked out for me. What if I gave His way a chance?

It has been about 2 and a half years since I made the decision to lift everything to God. And boy, it hasn’t been easy. There was so much I had to work on. I had to stop depending on myself and learn to depend on Him. And in order to do that, I had to open my heart and be vulnerable. I had to learn the word of God, in order to understand Him better. I surrounded myself with like-minded people, all who were seeking to be better Christians.

What has God done for me in this short time? God has given me a new-found love for my fellow brothers and sisters and has given me a ministry so that I may grow and help others to find God as well. God has given me the mentorship of Father Terence, as I came back to the Church , after so many years of being away. God has given me the love of a woman who is also seeking to be a better Christian, so that we may grow together in holiness. God has given me the opportunity to go back to school and to work on getting my Masters; something I thought I would never get the opportunity to do as I was kicked out from university back in the day. God has given me wonderful gifts to connect with people and the confidence to stand up here and to speak to all of you, guided by His spirit.

So, why, you may ask, do I get down on my knees each and every morning, and give thanks to God?

I give thanks to God as He has given me so much, more than I could have ever imagined for myself. More than I feel I am worthy of receiving.

I give thanks to God for loving me, even before I learnt to love myself. Through my years of not taking care of myself, He was there, taking care of me.

I give thanks to God for entrusting me in a family, who have raised me and loved me and showed me how to be supportive.

I give thanks to God for always being present, for His patience and for sending me people who show me, each and every day, what it means to be a brother-in-Christ.

I give thanks to God for blessing me with communities of love and support, be it my church community and my family with Charmaine.

Most of all, I give thanks to God for giving me an opportunity to be an example. An example of how surrendering to the love of Christ and the Will of God, no matter how late in life, can change your life for the better and enrich you. For allowing me to take my past experiences and making them into a tool for the future.

And for all this, I will continue to praise and thank the Lord, every day.

I urge you my sisters and brothers to start the new year giving thanks every single day to remind us how blessed we are. When we start thanking God for the things we usually take for granted, our perspective changes. We will realize that we would not even exist without the merciful blessings of our Heavenly Father.

Tomorrow marks a brand-new year and incidentally my 41st birthday as well. My wish is for everyone to start each new day of the New Year with prayer. Trust God and everything will be good. He has a plan for all of us. And He loves us.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight” Proverbs 3:5-6

Please say a prayer for Patrick the author of this testimony.


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