6’6”. That’s how tall I wanted to be since the age of six. Every night as my dad tucked me in and turned out the light, he prayed, “Lord, thankyou that my son grows in wisdom and stature and favor with God and men.” I knew what stature meant. It meant height and lots of it. After my dad would leave the room, I would glance at my life size Michael Jordan poster and add, “And help me to be 6’6” like Mike. Goodnight, God.“
My sophomore year in high school, I was well on my way to being 6’6.” At a healthy 6’2,” I was already power dunking with two hands and working on reverse dunks and behind the back passes. After two high school basketball seasons and two Most Improved Player Awards, I knew that I wanted to play basketball for the rest of my life. From the time I was ten to when I was sixteen, I played basketball everyday for four to eight hours, sometimes shooting two thousand shots in an afternoon. Whether I was at the YMCA, basketball camps, or in my neighbor’s cement driveway, I wowed older guys by beating them in free throw competitions and games of one on one.
Basketball became my key to popularity in high school, but it was more than that. It was also my escape from being in a house where my mom yelled curse words at me, my three sisters, and my dad. Although there was never any physical abuse, there was enough verbal abuse for me to contemplate suicide at twelve years old. I hated my mom. I hated to hear her pray. I hated when she would quote verses from the Bible. And I hated when she would yell at us and turn around in a split second to answer a phone call with her “sweet voice.” In my sixteen year old mind, my mom was a sham, and Jesus was a sham because He didn’t change how my parents lived. Everything seemed fake until one Sunday during the summer after my sophomore year.
A little before noon that Sunday, I began to exit the church doors never expecting to return. At sixteen, I had it with religion, and I vowed to never come back. Then I saw a cute girl standing near the doorway, and decided that I’d make an appearance that night just to meet her. God does use hormones. I never saw the girl again, but that night when I strolled into church, God grabbed me. I attended one of those crazy charismatic churches where people fall on the floor like dominoes on a waterbed. I walked to the front for prayer that Sunday evening determined that I would not be one of those dominoes. Ten minutes later, I hit the carpet overwhelmed by the power of God.
While I laid there feeling as awkward as a junior higher with head gear, I felt God say to me, “Give up basketball.” The next day God said to me, “You are a songwriter.” I didn’t know how to respond to the command or the statement that followed. I did know my life began to make a one-eighty. Over the next few months God delivered me from fear and from the hate that I had towards my mom. Over the next few years, He also delivered me from an addiction to pornography. After two years of college basketball, I finally hung up my jersey and started strumming a guitar and writing a ton of songs. Shortly after I began to write, I got the opportunity to write songs for a semester at the Contemporary Music Center, a Christian music business community in Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts.
While I was on the island of Martha’s Vineyard, I remembered a prophecy that I received from my pastor’s wife as a ten year old kid. She stood me up in front of our crazy Charismatic church and said, “You are going to sing and dance like David sang and danced.” I was a polite ten year old, but I hated singing. I thought to myself, “Yeah right. I’m a basketball player.” Now, nineteen years after the prophecy and thirteen years after God told me that I was a songwriter, I am making it as a fulltime singer/songwriter. When God turns your life around, He slaps you awake with desires that you don’t see coming. As a kid I fell asleep dreaming of being a 6’6” NBA star. I never imagined that God would awaken me to new dreams and turn me into a songwriter… a 6’6” songwriter.
While I was in college, God completely restored my family. My dad and mom love each other. In fact, they are my biggest fans and supporters, especially my mom! Sounds like Hollywood ending, right? It kinda is! Except, there’s no kisses or credits at the end of this blog. Just a smile… 🙂 and a hug from my momma!