Growing up, my family often went to church where we were just ordinary members. Through the years I thought that I knew what a relationship with God really was. Into my adult years I carried this same view of God, “He loves me from all the way up there”. This couldn’t have been further from the truth. I used to wonder “If God wants to dwell with me, why is He so far away…”.
Being exposed to perversion and pornography as early as the age of 6 helped to shape my life into that of a grown mess. I loved God but had no fear (reverence) of Him. I would sin and feel bad for it, but never changing what I was doing. I led myself astray and many others as well. The life I learned had a stranglehold on me. I had no regard to anyone except myself when it came to pleasure and fun with attracting the same types of people to me. With an abusive childhood, and abusive relationships, I developed a pattern of trying to please people in order to avoid abuse.
Leading towards my second marriage, we (soon to be wife and I) decided to re-dedicate our lives back to God. This began the first part of the process. We dove headfirst into serving and trying to do everything we could to be “good Christians” and all the while we didn’t know Who we were trying to serve. My issues with my flesh did not just go away because of good works. Most times they got worse! I did not know how or what to do.
I figured if I done good enough it could somehow outweigh all the bad things. The more I acted on impulses, gave in to anger, lusted with my eyes and heart, the angrier I became because the scale was not balanced. I seemed to be dying inside yet looking alive on the outside. One day as I was playing the keyboard at the church I was at; the Lord spoke to me as clear as I’ve ever heard Him speak to me. He told me “Carl, you’ve outgrown where you’re at. It’s time to move”. These words went a shockwave through my very being and I trembled. “Where would I go?” I thought, “what would I do? Or how?” I pondered. He gave me Gen. 12:1 about Abram at that time when he had to leave his father and mother’s house to a land the Lord called him to.
For a small season I went without attending a ministry and would just get up on Sunday’s and play the keyboard and worship with my little family and share with them what I thought the Lord shared with me that morning in my time with Him. Little did I know what He was preparing for me. I still didn’t know a “land” to go to and I had made up in my mind that I was done with church altogether.
Through some friends we knew, we started attending their ministry for a season to heal. We really only felt comfortable because we met them outside of church for business. They were using the building of their parenting ministry on Sunday’s and we would attend often. One day we were introduced to a class called discipleship where we heard Leigh teaching. The teaching had such an impact and it was like walking through a desert only to come upon a fresh spring of clean clear water. She sat with us after the class for three hours when it only seemed like 20 minutes. From that moment I knew my life was changed forever.
We came that following Saturday and have been here ever since. It was so different from every other ministry we had seen. It was so free and so much freedom with no motives or agendas except to love. We were taught to learn the true meaning of relationship where it wasn’t about the amount of works we could do, but that our love for God and communing with Him was the important thing.
I began to change my entire perspective on God as He healed me from things and began to free me from demonic strongholds I didn’t even know I had. I learned that worship wins and that worship is our ministry unto the Lord just like we like to be ministered to. The personal relationship I now have with my Father, my Lord, and the Holy Spirit is the only goal I have in advancing in Him and in life. Nothing is more important to me now. I’ve found my identity in Who created me.
Although I’m still a work in progress, I’m changed, healed, and set free from where I used to be. I have a home and I have a family where I can be me and be love and loved without needing or looking for anything in return. Jesus is truly misrepresented to the world, and we are a remnant that is going to change the perception of Him in the earth.
I began to change my entire perspective on God as He healed me from things and began to free me from demonic strongholds I didn’t even know I had.