The week I turned 18 I moved out of my parents’ house. By no means did I have a hard life. I have a great family. My grandparents are Dave and Joyce Meyer, so I was reared with a strong sense of right and wrong, but I wanted to do things my own way. So I just gathered my belongings and left without returning.

A few years earlier, during my freshman year of high school, I’d started hanging out with a new group of friends, and I wanted to spend all my time with them doing things my family didn’t allow. The more I rebelled against God and my parents, the more my life spiraled out of control.

One night I was feeling pretty down. It had been years since I’d considered talking to God about anything, but I decided to pray, and God told me that if I didn’t go home that night, I would never go home.

I called my mom at 3 a.m. and my dad came to pick me up. I wouldn’t say they were overly excited to have me back. I had issues with honesty and had lied to them many times. Nobody believed in me. I had a younger brother and two younger sisters who were not interested in having anything to do with me.

For a couple of months, I pretty much locked myself in my parents’ house and didn’t come out. After being arrested on earlier drug offenses, I began attending church, acquiring a job, and performing community service.

Even though I’d spent so much of my time and energy running away from God, He showed me that He still cares about me. I’ll never doubt His love again.

Today, I have a great relationship with Him. I can’t imagine making a decision about my life without going to Him first. And I’m extremely grateful He gave me a second chance, and an entirely new life.

It’s amazing what I’ve been able to receive while living my life God’s way. About a year and a half after I moved back home, I met my wife, Tanna, at church. We started dating and got married. Our 3-year-old son, Jeremiah, is the best kid ever. I can’t wait to get home every day and spend time with him. I’ve also earned my family’s trust back—my entire family.

In February 2015, I was asked to share my testimony at the Joyce Meyer Ministries conference in Phoenix, Arizona. I’m not used to speaking in front of groups, so I was a little apprehensive about taking the platform. But the fact that my grandmother requested me to do it made me feel quite honored. My knees were trembling, yet God was with me every step of the way. And I was aware that there were others present who needed to hear what I had to say.

See, I grew up in a family where our whole life was about God, but I never really tried to maintain a relationship with Him personally. Whenever I got into trouble, my mom would always try to drag me back into being obedient. But some kids just need to learn their lesson on their own—and I was one of them.

That day at the conference, I shared Proverbs 22:6. It says, Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it (NKJV). That’s a pretty solid promise.

If you’re trying to teach your child or someone you love to follow God—and they’re doing everything they possibly can to avoid Him—don’t be discouraged. Don’t lose hope. Keep on praying. Do what the Holy Spirit shows you to do, and then leave it in God’s hands. He loves them too. And He’s got their back.

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