“The Prodigal Son at least walked home on his own feet. But who can duly adore that Love which will open the high gates to a prodigal who is brought in kicking, struggling, resentful, and darting his eyes in every direction for a chance of escape? The words “compelle intrare,” compel them to come in, have been so abused be wicked men that we shudder at them; but, properly understood, they plumb the depth of the Divine mercy. The hardness of God is kinder than the softness of men, and His compulsion is our liberation.” — C.S. Lewis
I need to begin by apologizing about the grammatical errors in my last post. I’m not an English major, and honestly, those of you who read these post know God is speaking to you. I read sometimes my past posts and think, “That right there wasn’t me.. Ah shoot, I can’t believe I missed that.” Whatever the case those that need to hear His message bear with my mistakes. His words are intended for you, and know one day I might be on a level to compile a novel or narrative. or both #grace
I’m almost done with a C.S. Lewis biography, A life Observed by Devin Brown,and highly recommend giving it a read. I’m starting to believe: to grasp a work one needs to know the author. Also many people recently have been asking me, “Nikolai, I never knew you were so religious. How did you end up finding this job?” Looking at all my post one can put together my hints to the past, but I think properly you need to read it start to finish. Luke 14: The Prodigal Son sums up my journey leading to working in Asia which is most relevant to this post. I, the wayward son, sought after life in the world and dug my own pit, But we are getting ahead of ourselves. Psalms 9:1 — “I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart; I will recount all of your wonderful deeds.” Ladies and Gents, my testimony:
I was raised Baptist. Being the only son of a single parent, the fact there was a Father who wanted me and sent His son to die for me appealed greatly to me regardless on His location. At age 8 I fully understood Christ, my Father’s Son, was sent for my sins to die in my place and through belief in His resurrection and Truth of Jesus being the fulfillment of the promised Redeemer I am seen holy and righteous in God’s sight. Enter my acceptance of Christ as my Savior. Throughout middle school I began to sway away from community and disciplines of my identity as a child of God like reading the Bible and praying throughout the day. Mix in my earthly Father coming back into my life and will do a enter and exit stage left quite often over the next years in high school. Anger and blame shift went toward my Heavenly Father.
Being at Archbishop Rummel all throughout high school was a curse and blessing. Curse – it moved me further into ideology and putting up walls toward living in relationship with Christ. Blessing – I surrounded myself with good guys and myself didn’t stray too far away. What birth was this continual thought: Look at all the things us guys supposed to be doing with drinking, lighting up whether that be cigarettes or marijuana, and having sex. Graduating high school about to enter LSU I made a choice. Took my middle finger and threw it to the sky and said, “Move over God. I got my life in you when I die but I want to see what life is like all the “cool” kids talk about.”
Begin the ways I looked for escape: Freshman year I became an alcoholic. Midway through I figure why wake up hungover also trying to lose weight the appeal to be high is the “better” escape. Chasing girl after girl finally found one Sophomore year and just like rabbits we rubbed it out often. Junior Year got involved in a Internal Auditing network program trying to set up my future career. In April 2014 my eyes were opened. At the end of the program of intense networking and no prospective job assignment, I broke out in shingles from anxiety about my unknown future. My world was rocked when the girl who I had been dating for a while and was convinced that I would marry, had broken my trust and ultimately ended our relationship in a way that left me completely broken. Final straw was that IA network program would have drug tested me if I got an internship, so I purged myself prior to April for only 2 months and folks…those were the most hardest months of my life. I placed hope, my identity, and faith in career, relationship, and drugs. All 3 led to a pit which revealed I was addicted to weed, and I got to a point where I hated being sober. I needed help. Something had to change, and remembered all the stories of Christians saying God broke addictions figure lets start there to regain control.
When I sought out church I wasn’t looking for God but the formula. I mean I wanted to be free, but you know still be me and have fun. What I found was something I lost long ago as well. My friend told me about Refuge which is a college ministry that reaches out to LSU’s campus and is apart of the Chapel. Met this dude Vick Green. If the Lord wills for me to have a wife she needs to thank God for saving me from my stupidity, and Vick being used to challenge me. Our meeting was completely God ordained, but we got grub and I blah blah blah my life to him. He encouraged and invited me to his community group but said, “You know about God. You have a choice: Keep on with your life and bust Hell wide open. Or you can chase after Jesus, and He will use you in interesting ways.” Vick sent me to another brother and when I found out that he had been 3 years smoke free, I knew he had the formula. Basically, I didn’t want that God thing Vick was talking about. Jon the brother tells me, “Yeah I kinda fell in love with Jesus and the smoking stopped.” My thoughts about Jon was not kind to say the least. Satan must not have been happy with potentially losing a client and opened a new job opportunity to keep me enslaved.
I started working security for music festivals which makes not smoking that ganja pointless. Maybe you never been to a festival, so let me enlighten you. Festivals possess this vibe: escape into the experience whether that be music, drugs, alcohol, and people. This experience is supposed to lead to worldly fun where one leaves with countless stories of hookups, highs, and “life”. At Bonnaroo off the clock I’m lighting up and at this stage in my high career highs tended to amplify my anxiety. I’m seeing some dark shit. Like I heard demons, saw them on people, and felt this overwhelming dark presence. Now I get it you thinking, ” You high and imagined it. This dude must have tripped off some shit”. The following year I would have more run in with demons sober as can be, but that’s a story for another time. I left my friends and went into my tent to pray. I remember saying, “God. I think you there. I am seeing all this darkness. Honestly, I don’t know if you exist, but I need to see you tomorrow. Show me your light side.” Next day, rainbow all day. Relevance: God showed Noah a rainbow to be the sign as a covenant promise to him, us, and me that He is faithful and there for us. Genesis 9:13-15
So that lasted maybe a day or 2. Got back to Nola and maybe went a week and lit up again habitually. God sends me a dream. Basically, dream reiterated Vick’s point, Keep following this path and you going to die. Not like: “Oh, heading in wrong direction with no consequences. NO! Death awaits you at the end of this road son. TURN AROUND.” I was still shocked and maybe that fear stopped the smoking maybe 2 weeks. Start of my Fall semester Senior year I was like alright lets take serious exploring this God route. I attended Community group once a week, church on Sunday evenings, and meeting Vick once a week for discipleship. Slowly not smoking extended from days to weeks to months. As Jon put the formula: Fall in love with Jesus.
Now that might be off putting, so let me explain. I already saw and experienced what hope in career, relationship and drugs offered me. Absolutely nothing. I was still broke when I came back from the moon. No girl was and is going to be perfect. Ultimately, she was never supposed to fulfill everything I need. At the end of the day climbing the professional latter you regret all the moments you missed out on. People at the top live in fear of losing the money. Those were my areas and I’m sure you have your own.
John 14:6 — Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes through to the Father except through me.”
- The Bible/Jesus is the Truth. Jesus is who He says He is, The son of God, Fulfillment of the promised Messiah or Anointed One to redeem all this crap in this world. Not some good moral teacher, because if you actually read the words in red He says it ain’t about morals. It’s about living in obedience and experiencing Joy through His Grace
- Jesus is the Way. Listen, I didn’t stop smoking because I’m disciplined. Honestly, the smell still sends aphrodisiac shocks to my senses, but I was at the level of smoking 18hrs a day. Now writing this, it’s been a year and half since I scraped the remaining keef out my grinder to get a fix. Idols can’t be destroyed through self-will. You got to replace them since our hearts always need to chase after something. Give Jesus a chance
- Jesus is the Life. I love how the things we think give life truly leaves emptiness. Don’t get me wrong having sex is awesome. I’m not going to lie and say the christian thing that it felt shitty having it. It totally fulfills that self gratification, lust, and horny desire a human possess, but it’s design for marriage to create oneness with your wife or husband. Outside the parameters of marriage I was and maybe you are being a selfish beast. That one night stand you created a bond with leaves a connection even if you chalk it up to drunkenness. Ignorance my friend is not the way of life.
“Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” — Galatians 1:3-5
Addiction started to break, but I couldn’t let a new idea go: Weed dispensary. Right. I needed a 3.5gpa that semester to get my overall gpa switched over to a Management degree. I got a 3.48976. No more weed dispensary idea haha Vick and I were making gumbo when we found out my gpa and started to talk about career plans and graduation that May in 2015. I told him as of now nothing set, but you know I got options and will maybe pursue auditing with Southwest Airlines or open a business. He says, “Have you ever thought about serving God in China?” Me: “What’s in China?” Vick grabs his computer, pulls up a video, and hits play. I watch it yall and like *snap* that was it. God said go there for the year. On the drive BR to Nola throughout much prayer, listening to sermons, and christian music I decided someone is moving to China. 2015 was strong hitting that spiritual growth before, during, and now being back. Yet He is not done reforming me, and I have some work to do so He has called me back and finally get to return on February 3rd.
So that’s my journey since leaving the moon. It’s been freaking unbelievable, wild, humble, exhausting, but that’s walking out in faith. Psalm 32:8 says this promise: “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.” Be encouraged my friends, brothers, sisters, and first time readers. There’s a life you are meant to live and it begins with a choice: return to our Heavenly Father who has outstretch arms waiting, looking, and ready to love and heal you.