FullSizeRender-150 1 Corinthians 13:11 is not just a simple verse in the Bible for me, instead, it DEFINES my life 100%. This past year alone is a full-blown testimony/story itself, but let's back track a little. Worryfeardepression & lost are some of the words that has haunted me for years. My name is Ervens, but most people call me Erv.  Growing up, my parents did their best to provide us with everything we desired. I wasn’t home much though. From what I could recall, most of my childhood memories were spent at my cousin’s house laughing, joking around and playing outside. Which was foreign at my house being that we weren’t allowed to play outdoors because of the neighborhood we lived in. But from an early age, my parents knew that I was going to be a rebellious child. In Elementary, I had a really bad stuttering problem and got teased because of it. I hated being called on to read a paragraph in our books. To get the attention off my stuttering problem, I became the class clown, because everyone knows its better to be laughed with, versus being laughed at. The teasing continued though and I decided to bring a gun to school to shoot the assistant principal. I put the gun in my book bag and waited until afterschool to act on my plan. Of course I told all my friends about what I was up to and of course they all supported me and had my back 100%. The bell rung and I spotted her walking and yelling at kids as usual. I took my gun out and pulled the trigger.… BOOM!! Shot her right in the back. Now, I know what you’re thinking, “Erv you brought a gun to school and shot the assistant principal?” Yes, yes I did. My water gun was fully loaded. Who knew bleach stained clothes anyways. The assistant principal turned around and asked “Who did that?” And all my supporters turned around and pointed at me. Of course I was suspended, but that was just the first of many to come.

Growing up, I witnessed my father be with other women that weren’t my mother in their marriage. And even at a young age I knew that him flirting and talking to other women was wrong. Every time I saw him with a different woman I thought to myself, “That’s not mommy.” I guess my father assumed because I was so young, that I couldn’t comprehend, but just like all kids now a days, I was extremely observant. But even though, knowing that it was wrong, I figured because my dad did it, there was no harm in it.

The very first day of middle school, I got my watch stolen, and from that day I quickly realized that I had to toughen up or I’d be a victim to bullying forever. As I watched my dad be with multiple women, I began being with multiple girls. Sending them love letters, flirting every chance I got; it became so easy. I remember skipping class after 2 girls invited me to have sex with them. Little did they know, I was still a virgin. I barely knew what to do with one girl let alone two! I just knew I had to decline the offer without losing my cool kid reputation that I built up all these years. I would stay a virgin all the way up to my junior year in high school. I wanted to lose my virginity so bad that I started faking feelings for girls I cared nothing about just to see if they’d sleep with me. Its not like I was hurting anyone. But that is when I began watching porn. Porn was my safe zone, at one point I can honestly say I was addicted to watching it. . On my 21st birthday, an older friend of mine decided that I needed to be taken to the strip club because it was what every guy my age did. And of course I became hook to the lifestyle of watching naked woman dance for me. I was in there every weekend! I became a regular and started sleeping with the bartenders, waitresses, and even the strippers. That was my regular Saturday night, and I made sure Sunday morning I was in church to play the bass, sleepy and all, with the scent of liquor still on my breath, hung over. I was getting paid well & living the ultimate lifestyle, what could possibly go wrong, right? Wrong. After feeling a burning sensation while I used the bathroom one morning, I went to get tested and discovered I had contracted Chlamydia. “Ahhh F**K” were my exact words. After being cured from it, I thought for sure that I would change my life, but it just got worse from there. I started attending Trinity Church with my sister on & off and I remember Pastor Phil preaching a message about letting go. I went up for the altar call, filled out the VIP form, went home, got on my knees and asked God for forgiveness. We had the longest talk that night & I made a decision to get baptized. For sure things would get easier right? I was a born again Christian now, it had to be easy. BOY WAS I WRONG! I began dating my 1st time girlfriend. Yup, that’s right, my first girlfriend. I never really wanted a girlfriend; I was too busy having fun sleeping with women. Hell, having no commitment was my safe zone. I knew nothing about how to properly love her. I knew absolutely nothing about being a boyfriend or courting a woman, I couldn't define it even if my life depended on it. I just figured that I’d make her laugh, protect her & not cheat and I’ll be good. Wrong again! There were times where the effort was there, but then I’d find myself doing the same things that I was use to doing. Truth is, I never even considered being a husband ever in my life, simply because I watched married women and women with boyfriends who were claiming to be happy in their relationships, in my bed.  Made no sense to me, but I rolled with it. My motto was simple. “Its either I play, or get played.” and I chose to play. Over time I began developing major trust issues, but to be honestly open, those trust issues started from a young age, watching my dad with different women. It's true when people say “Be careful what you do in front of children, for they are very observant.” But I can't put the blame on my father. My decisions were my decisions. My girlfriend and I tried making it work on and off for a while, but we both knew we were not meant to be together, so it ended. As time went on, I began to build a strong friendship with a mutual friend that me and my now ex-girlfriend had. Our friendship prior to my relationship, was a simple hi and bye. But then we became co-workers and over time, I got to see and get to know the women she was. She was such an amazing woman! But I had my eyes on someone else I wanted. This was where the “learned a lesson” period began. One of those lessons were “Looks are not everything.” I was only interested in her because of her physical appearance. I figured, as long she looked good, I can work with everything else no matter if the spark was there or not. With no hesitation, I began trying to force something with this beautiful women I desired after so much; but of course, it ended quick and never worked. I started getting closer to the mutual lady friend of my ex girlfriend and we started having lunch dates, shared our stories with one another, laughed, joked and even cried with each other.. We challenged one another’s weaknesses. This was all new to me. The feelings grew so strong and we ended up sleeping with each other. After a while, we both felt convicted and burdened with such shame, and we decided to come out clean to confess to the ones we knew we’d hurt. We both knew it was the right thing to do. Living in secret does not help any situation at all. We both knew that letting this secret out would mean hurting the pople we cared about the most, but It had to be done. My mentor, Pastor T helped me through the process and taught me the proper way to court a woman, but first take care of my issues. He wasn’t too happy about what I had done but he gave me three simple steps to follow:

  1. Continue to come to church
  2. Surround myself with great male influences
  3. Worry about nothing others have to say.

I buckled up, because I knew what was about to take place. And as soon as what we did hit the air, the judgment began, the stares started and the gossip increased! It was bad! So bad that I even considered leaving the church! I felt like it was the end for me. But I stayed in constant communication with Pastor T because I knew accountability from someone with wisdom and experience was important for me to be disciplined. For 3 months I sat in every Sunday and Tuesday service, I fast, prayed, watched sermon after sermon and stumbled on a sermon by John Gray titled “Beautifully Broken.” Then BAM, it hit me. I wasn’t the mistake I made, my life served a purpose and I wasn’t about to let anyone make me feel differently. I owed no one NOTHING! Everyone has skeletons in their closet, some are just better at hiding it.

After a while, that same worry of fear & depression started to creep up again trying to win its place in my life and for the first time while going through my storm, I realized that I wasn’t alone. No matter who is for me or against me, I know for sure God is ALWAYS with me, my provider and my go to guy. I became very transparent with God and reflecting back, I had to go through it all in order to see Gods mercy and grace over my life. I became the lead account manager at my Job. I became Co- Director of the Armor bearer/ Security team. I now lead the Tuesday night rendezvous services now. I got personally offered and accepted a position by Pastor Rich Sr with Our new PREP grant team as a Educator/ Case manager & will be in school to finish my degree in sports journalism. My perspective through it all is “It is well with my soul!” I had to mature in Christ as His son and as a man. When I was a child, I acted like a child, I reasoned like a child but when I became a man, I put all my childish ways behind me. Through the course of everything I went through, I had to take ownership in order to get my life together. Suddenly, things began to change in my life; I found peace of mind and built mental toughness. I'm a WARRIOR & I'm fighting every single day. Having structure, obedience and consistency in my walk with God is important to guide me through this life. Spending time with God has changed me inside out. I may not have it all figured out, but I'm thankful for the journey & the broken chains that have been broken. I decided to share my testimony to help someone just like me with a rocky past. These events may not have been good to me but they were definitely good for me. None of this is about me though. For each person that is battling a hidden sin, secret or challenge, I encourage you to give it to God and clear up your conscious. You were meant to live free. Not what your parents think you should be, not what people say about you or the gossip talks that makes its way to you. Life isn't meant to worry about what the next person will think of you. NO ONE’s opinion matters over your life. Lose yourself in God. My final thought is this, “Do a self evaluation and be real with yourself, should you really be judging others? We all sin in different ways.  "Your house ain't clean if your closet is dirty. Never under estimate the power of your confession" Signing out...