The world today has forgotten so much about the mercy and passion and power of our true Lord and savior Jesus Christ. I grew up in Montgomery County, Maryland in a small town called Damascus. I was 6 years old when I was first in Damascus, and our governor at the time, Governor Martin O’Malley, had a big job to fix the crime and violence that occurred in the whole county. When you walked around the neighborhood, you hardly saw anybody that looked truly grateful to live there, however, my friends around me saw the effervescent, or joyful, presence that I had from God.For example, I remember how everybody in the city of Damascus knew about me and found my peacefulness and humbleness as something incredibly special for a young kid that lived in the same area that all of his brothers and sisters who loved him for who he really was.
For example, I remember how everybody in the city of Damascus knew about me and found my peacefulness and humbleness as something incredibly special for a young kid that lived in the same area that all of his brothers and sisters who loved him for who he really was.
When I was in Damascus, I loved God so much that people kept on mentioning the effervescence of my presence, not because I was a nice kid, but because of my love for Christ. My friends loved me so much that they literally would always be there through all the pain and suffering of life. My friends wanted to be around me so much because of Christ in me. I remembered when I walked home one day and my parents had told me we were moving to Texas, and at first, I become so depressed, until I was talking with a friend of mine and he told me, “Man, don’t get all upset, I know it’s hard for you, but for me, I know that you’ll make a difference one day, even without us.”
I came to Texas at the age of 12, and I quickly became depressed because I missed the people that were there for me longer than I could remember. God still kept that light inside of me, however, I became so gloomy that I never even realized how much that light was present the whole time. When I was 13, I had left all my friends because I felt like they drained that presence of God inside of myself. I was an outcast, and I became addicted to habitual sin and at the same time, I had two girlfriends that both cheated on me. Adding to the hurt, my best friend that had brain cancer died. I sat in my room one day, and having nobody else to turn to for help, I sat there and prayed for the first time in a long time and asked God to give me that light again in high school.
When I entered high school, I started to hang with the wrong crowd because I didn’t know myself at that point, and I tried to fit in with the “wannabes.” I remember when I went to church one day, and listened to my close friend’s (who is she?) testimony, and felt called by God to talk to her. I sat there and told her everything I had been through, and how when I heard her talk it was the first time I ever felt someone else feel pain like I did. She still sensed my insecurities, and then she said four simple words that reminded me of who I really am, “Are you really happy?”
After that day, I changed my life completely to be like that kid inside of me. Except this time, I remember to not always be childish because the Lord needs me to be a real man. To this day, I still struggle with people hurting me emotionally because of their actions, but I learned not to cling to that pain, because I had told myself one day, “It’s okay to be Christian and have pain, but always remember your pain doesn’t define that bright person you always will be no matter what.” I try my best every day, even when people don’t always see that, but that doesn’t matter to me because I know God is the one who allows me to keep his effervescent presence in me. I also in the people all around me, no matter who they may be and what they have done. Throughout my life, I have always remembered God’s effervescent presence through my favorite verse that I’ve always loved as a kid.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only son, Jesus, that whoever believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.”