My journey as a Christian has been an adventure and a very public and painful journey that has ultimately led me to experience a joy that seemed impossible 5 years ago before I came to know Christ. Looking back at it though, the entire experience has prepared me for my ultimate calling in ministry. I feel so blessed to be able to take my experiences working with complex disabilities for 18 years and 5 years working in entertainment and brand development and apply it to the Lord’s purpose for my life.
I never in my wildest dreams thought that my talk show would turn into a ministry when it started, I just thought I was getting to live out a childhood dream!
I grew up in an upper-middle-class home with a younger brother and 2 half-sisters who lived with my beauty queen turned successful real estate agent mom and a father who was an entrepreneur. We had that picture-perfect, All-American family who had everything we could possibly need! Life was amazing until the day my 2 sisters left. In my childhood brain, they disappeared and I felt abandoned not knowing why they left and I immediately created the belief that I was not worthy of love as I thought they left because of me…. I was 7 years old when that happened and that is when my perfect world began to fall apart.
Shortly after my sisters left I was molested the first time by 2 older guys and then later by a female babysitter only to experience more sexual trauma later in life. To this day, I do not know if being molested and having my sexual innocence taken or the physical abuse from my father was worse. Instead of using my voice to speak out about what was happening I began to act out and the only thing that saved me from my violent temper that was created was sports. Being able to take out my anger on other people in sports worked everywhere but the golf course….
I, for the most part, got by all they way through school being able to hide the monster that stirred inside of me until my freshman year in college after my football career ended. After getting hurt and losing my passion for the sport, I was introduced to cheerleading. You would think cheerleading would have been a healthy outlet however it opened my world to drugs and sexual experimentation.
The horrific nightmares I experienced about this sexual and physical abuse I had experienced became fantasy’s and I did anything and everything I could to make them became reality. If I had sex I wanted drugs, if I did drugs, I wanted sex and it did not matter how I fed this monster as long as it was fed. It did not take long for reality and my fantasy world to blur together and the back and forth battle of understanding my sexuality began.
I had learned to hide in plain sight, with the mask I wore, having other mask. My career at the time allowed me to let people see the good side of me, fighting on behalf of disabled people. It also provided me the income and the good standing publicly to live a double life without anyone that mattered knowing. There are not that many people willing to go that far into the shadow world that I lived and that was exactly how I liked it.
I found out while in college in Florida that I had a 3 year old daughter and that brought me back to Oklahoma where she lived. I sobered up long enough to talk myself into marrying someone who I felt would make me a better person. That marriage only made it harder to hide my dark passenger and the shadow world I found comfort in. A woman loving me, a daughter and now 2 newborn twins where not enough to make me change my life. As much as a tried, my monster just got stronger.
Right as my twins were born, I was arrested seeking to get an escort. Although that should have scare me straight, I went even deeper into the shadows to where finally my first wife left me. She was gone and shortly after my right to see my twins was signed away and now I had lost contact with my daughter too.
Hiding my double life became more difficult and my visits to jail also started to add up. I started seeking women who would serve as a mask to my double life and women who would join me there. That led to another marriage and divorce because I could not contain the demon inside of me no matter how much she tried to love me.
Cocaine was my drug of choice although I experimented with other things but eventually the cocaine quit working for me and I turned to meth. Meth created a new demon inside of me and also brought me into a relationship with someone who enabled me to explore my sexuality and participated in the sexual exploits. She allowed this because she loved me and even though she gave me everything I had asked for, I still could not stop from cheating on her.
I year into our relationship I discovered I had HIV.
Although she stayed with me, she also discovered that I had cheated on her while on a business trip with the skincare line I had at this point in my life. With her newfound trust issues, our fights became violent and very physical. We moved to Los Angeles and that is where our fighting and drug use went to a new level. I went to jail for a 5th time for domestic abuse.
She left and went back to Oklahoma and I ended up homeless for a few weeks. After landing a new job, she came back and to celebrate we got more alcohol and more drugs, quickly landing us both in jail that evening.
In jail, now for a 6th time and high on drugs I decided to tell the person booking me that I had HIV thinking it would give me special treatment. Being put in the psych ward, in a very small cell isolated was not what I had in mind, but it was what I got. Although I could not see other people, the maddening screams from the other people locked up next to me where deafening.
It took over 24 hours for the cocaine and tequila to wear off… Long enough to make the horrific screams and evil taunts coming from the other inmates become more nerve rattling than screeching on a chalkboard. If I thought I had sensory issues before, well, this was a new level. I needed to distract myself.
When I saw the guard I begged for a book, a magazine, anything to distract myself. I was told a firm “no, we do not give out reading material!”
What the heck? I thought to myself.
“Wait! A Bible! Can I please have a Bible?!?!?!”
“Yes, I will be back.”
For some reason I knew they had to give me a Bible and hours later one was delivered.
I started to read it and it made no sense. I tried the Books I knew about and I just did not underdtand. I then remembered a friend of mine I got arrested with in high school that had a church in Yukon, Oklahoma called The Good Fight Ministries named John.
So, I read John.
Jesus started to become more real to me and then I went to Proverbs, then Psalms. After I finished that I went back to Proverbs.
Line, by line I said, I am doing that wrong, that too, and that, and that, yup, definitely doing that wrong” Over and over I went…. A rage built up inside of me and I started screaming at God.
“Why won’t you change me!!!!!!!!!! Why wont you fix me like everyone else! Why, God Why?!!?!?”
“You have to forgive your father.”
“You have to forgive your father” He said again.
“Well, how in the hell am I supposed to do that? After what he did to me, what he did to my sisters, my mom???” How God how?”
“Because it happened to him too”
In that moment I realized I had become just like my father.. No, I became worse. The sex, the drugs, the abuse, the disease, the cheating, all of it.. I became worse than he ever dreamed of being.
In that moment I started to weap and started begging my dad who was now dead to forgive me. Forgive me for showing up to his funeral late, high on cocaine, making a mockery of his funeral, to forgive me for wasting so much time hating him.. “Dad for give me, I am sorry, I love you and I know you did the best you could. Dad I am sorry.”
The Light started to break a hole in my armor.
I went back to the Bible and read John again and all of a sudden it all started to make sense.
Jesus started to make sense and my gratitude for what He did on the cross for me, for all of us became so real.
Father God…. will you forgive me of my sins and make me new? Will you please transform my life and make me new? I know Jesus died the most brutal death for people like me and I believe He can transform me. Father forgive me, make me new. My life is no longer my own and I will no longer run from what you called me to do. I have known it for so long but I did not want the responsibility. I do now Lord. I accept my assignment and I accept you. Even behind bars, I will serve you and serve you boldly.”
In that moment I was knocked down and lifted up at the same time. I started to weep and felt so much joy! I started singing even though I did not know the words to any church songs. “Praise you, Praise you!” Jesus Loves me, I know, I know, I know!”
I was looking at 5 years in jail for domestic assault and when I said my life is not my own I meant it. I would serve Him even behind bars but God had other plans..
5 days later I was released from jail with no charges out onto the streets of downtown LA realizing that serving Him behind bars was a lot easier than o the streets a free man. It did not matter, I was all in.
It has been 5 years since this happened and the journey with Christ these 5 years has had its ups and downs, failures, setbacks and breakthroughs, but one thing is for sure, my relationship with Jesus has gotten stronger and stronger each day. I have learned how even in failure and relapses Jesus can use it all for His glory and to teach us so much.
A childhood dream came true after hearing TD Jake speak at the Rock Church in San Diego giving birth to a talk show shortly after having a TV show fall through for me on Fox Business. I started acting in commercials and movies and even getting TV, radio, podcasts and social media distribution for my talk show that started on a cell phone. I learned how to produce, build personal and product brands, product placement, and so much more working in entertainment using the gifts God gave me.
During this 5 year journey I had people tell me ministry was in my future but I just did not see it fully. It took another relapse several months ago for me to realize that I was not mentally ill, I had a vicious spirit that found a way to latch itself to me and not let go, even after 3 deliverances.
I had been using cannabis to help fight the side affects of my HIV medication and what I did not know was it was allowing the evil spirit to camp out and hide in my body. Once I got completely sober, I was able to have a major breakthrough and get deliverance from this dark passenger that I had wrestled with for most of my life. There was no more coexisting because “I am light” and I who Christ says I am.
I interviewed the founder of Beautiful Restoration out of Edmond, Ok on my talk show Gratitude:UnFiltered and was invited to come do their training to take back to Los Angeles. I laughed at her first and said I was not allowed back in the state, which was not true but I have avoided coming back home since I left.
Well, after a few acts of God, I was back in Oklahoma a week later and God began to move in ways that only He can. Powerful healing that the Father wanted for me began to take place and after experience leadership training with Beautiful Restoration, I could no longer ignore my calling to ministry.
I have been so blessed to become savy with the media, and all things branding while having a rapidly growing fan base with my talk show but I never believed that my talk show would birth a ministry until now. I am building deep deep roots in the Word of God and once it is time to go back home to Los Angeles, I will have the tools I need to show the love of Christ to the very same people who are hiding in the dark shadows I used to live in.
The walk with Christ is a humbling journey yet it has brought me more joy than I have ever known. Setbacks lead to setups and give even more depth to my testimony to who Christ is not just in my life but can be in others. I have such a heart for people from all walks of life. The prostitutes, the mentally ill, the killers, pimps, druggies, abused and abusers, the diseased. The Father has given me the keys and now it is time to set people free through the power of the Lord Jesus Christ.