I was born in Fairfax, Virginia.
And I guess the best word to describe my childhood was "chaos."
It was definitely crazy.
My mom and dad were both alcoholics, and I had two older sisters.
I remember, my first memory as a child,
I'll never forget this.
I was in diapers and I crawled up the stairs and I remember hearing screams.
Looking through the door I watched my dad beat my mom.
And that really defined my life.
They didn't get divorced.
They got separated, but obviously that was the norm in my house.
And I remember once they got separated I saw my dad maybe once every two weeks for a night.
And it was just me, my sisters and my mom.
I didn't understand at the time,
but what I really needed was an adult male in my life.
Somebody who was strong and could give me structure.
And that was just not in the house.
I just remember my mom was so frustrated with her life
and frustrated with my father, that she really took it out on me.
It's kind of like when you come home and you kick your dog.
Well I was the dog.
She really wanted to toughen me up and she wouldn't hug or kiss me ever.
I really needed that attention badly.
And I remember my sisters would beat me up or my mom would beat me up.
And I remember it'd actually feel good cause it was almost like I enjoyed the pain,
because someone was touching me.
It was almost like home.
It just really hurt me.
And just one time I remember I had come home from school,
I was really young, maybe kindergarten and I remember the tree in our backyard.
I was so angry just inside just a ball.
And I remember coming home and there was a shovel
and I'd start just chipping away at this tree.
And like during the summers, I was, you know, just let loose,
and every day I would go outside and for hours just hit that tree.
And I was very lonely and isolated.
And that didn't really help either.
It just really hurt when my dad would come over,
and you know my mom and dad would fight and then he'd say hi and he'd leave and that was it.
And it was just, "Where you been, Dad?"
The other kid's dads, they were there.
It just hurt and um, and that really shaped me.
I remember there was this one kid that we used to fight a lot and we were playing soccer at recess.
He fell and the ball was kicked somewhere else and I remember just looking around
and making sure no one was looking and I ran up to him and I just kicked him in the face.
And I remember, I remember him bleeding everywhere.
I went to public school and from there I wasn't necessarily the bad kid.
There were other crazy kids there, you know all kinds of other problems.
I really just kind of went back into my shell and I remember I'd eat lunch in the library all alone.
I didn't really talk to anyone.
I really was kind of a recluse.
And you know, I'd get beat up sometimes.
Then I got kicked out of school for paintballing the school late one winter night.
And I remember after that, my friend calling me, Ethan, and he said,
"Hey George, you know, there's this Christian camp during the summer.
You should come."
And I was like, "Hey, you know I went to Catholic school.
I know all about the Jesus thing."
And I remember he was on the phone
and he was like, "You know, there's going to be tons of cute Christian girls there."
And I was like, "I'm in!"
The people I met there were genuine.
The Christians I met there were passionate about God and life
and you know they really kept saying they knew Jesus personally
and I was like, "Ok?"
It was kind of weird to me but I could see from their lives that what they said was true.
At night we'd have, I guess a guy would get on and give a sermon.
He was a real down to earth kind of guy.
He was very social.
And he kept talking about Jesus' forgiveness and his healing.
He said a verse.
He said, "Jesus said, 'Come all who are weary and burdened for I will you rest.
The yoke of the world is heavy but my yoke is light.'"
And I was thinking to myself, I'm weary, I'm burdened.
And I couldn't sleep that night,
because I kept repeating that over and over in my mind.
It was almost like God was wooing me.
Just bringing me closer like,
"I'll deal with it. Just give it to me."
And I was just so angry and bitter inside,
and I just hated everything and everybody.
And I remember going, "Alright, Jesus, you deal with this.
You deal with all the junk that's in my life.
This thing you call life.
This terrible experience you call life."
And I remember that night just praying, saying,
"God take my life. Come into my life and deal with this."
And I remember almost instantly, a washing of all the bad that had happened in my life.
And I just felt, the affection and the love that I had constantly been seeking in other places.
I finally felt that from God, and God was very real to me.
When the guy said that Jesus had died for my sins on the cross, I believed it.
I knew it.
I knew what he said was true.
And I felt it. I felt his grace.
I felt his love and it was amazing.
My life changed.
I no longer had angry outbursts.
I no longer was angry at them.
I no longer was just so beat down and limp and couldn't do anything all at the same time.
I really was more beaten than joyful.
You know Jesus' life that he promised, you know he said,
"I have come that they may have life and have it to the fullest."
And I'm a testament to that, because I now have a life.
I wouldn't even call what before I met Jesus, life.
I mean, I just existed, and now I have the life that he promised, and yeah I still have struggles.
Everyone has struggles, trials, and that's not going to change.
But I'll tell you one thing.
I know God has my back and he proved that by sending his Son to die on the cross for me.
And I'm very grateful.
And that's my story.
And if you're watching this and you're thinking, "What if?"
If you relate to my story at all, I want you to think, "What if?"
What if you did give your life to Jesus today?
What if Jesus did die for your sins,
and the healing the he promises, you could have for yourself?
What if there is a God who loves you and wants to have a relationship with you. What if?