In 1999, I was in university and at a bad place that year because choices I had made to save my life and future but the fall out was so major I left the circles I used to run with…the ‘Christian’ circles. Most people were certain that I did the wrong thing but thank God life has proven that I was right. However, this was all part of God’s plan. The people who stood by me were seemingly usual people and this made most of the Christians in my circle think I had walked away from the faith. To be honest, I almost did…but grace…
During this time, I met a guy; tall, goofy and totally off the charts. He could laugh at anything and make fun of anything but my God, he could drink. In fact, if you could drink more than him you were an off the charts drunk. It was different to knew someone so real as all my life these were the people I avoided because, ‘bad company corrupts good morals,’ and I wanted to remain ‘pure.’ He was a good friend and I needed to laugh and be happy in life so he became one of the guys I hang with.
I never know how he got into our college and how he lasted as long as he did. I didn’t even realise how far he was behind me as he was in so many of our outings when I was in fourth year I assumed he was a third year student. He was one of those people you just love to be around because they are real, are unashamed of their baggage or their weaknesses, and are totally content to be their real selves. The carefree and joyful way he lived his life was a direct contrast to how I lived mine yet Christ had come to give me freedom.
Fast forward to 2015; I walk into fellowship and there is a familiar guy standing by the tree but I don’t know from where. I go by two more times and it is comical. He says hi and identifies himself and I screamed (*hides*). Just imagine the sedate me, jumping around and screaming. Was this for real? I kept looking at him and looking away just to make sure I hadn’t lost my mind.
Over the months, he shared a story of God’s grace and intervention. He drank, his mother prayed, he drank and got in trouble, she prayed harder and he drank again. His friends panicked and he drank more, he lost work and he drank more, he flourished at work he drank, he woke up in strange places he still went back and drank. His mother prayed harder and he drank more. It was as if he had a death wish as big as his mother’s desire to see her son come to salvation.
One day, tired and desperate his mother asked God what was wrong with her son. The response was mind blowing. This was the fight of his life and destiny! The fight for his destiny you ask? Yes! There was something about this man. What was so important about this life that darkness would do everything in its power to stop it? Who is this man and what is he capable of once connected to God? Despite days when she wanted to give up, his mother now knew that had to keep on praying for her son as his life depended on it and she shared this info with him hoping that the knowledge would help him want change in his life.
The short version is that after several near misses including cooling time in a police cell, God got a lasting hold of him and his life changed. Oh the change was on different scales. Some areas were instant but other weren’t. Some changes were lasting while others were full of battle and falling. Some were instant others were hard fought for.
There were many challenges but it was clear that once God had a hold on him, He didn’t let go and once Reborn understood this he kept fighting to stand on the promises of God. He held on for dear life even as many times he fell flat on his face in the effort. This paid off and he remains a refreshing personality who listens intently, laughs easily, speaks from the heart and cares deeply. At the same time, he’s diametrically different in the ways that matter because the foundation, direction, driving force and purpose of his life have changed. Oh he is such a joy to watch. He is Timothy Reborn formally known as Stima.
He is far from perfect but the very fact that he is in process is exciting. He is walking with God daily, sharing life with others, giving strength to others, defending those he is assigned to and opening opportunities for others to meet God and see what a full transformation looks like. His life is a reminder of several things:
- God has a plan for each of us and it will not be thwarted no matter what.
- God is determined that the plan with work and He will use us for He will.
- No one is a write off where God is concerned He will move to ensure our salvation
- Grace…oh grace…unmerited favour is real
- No one is too far gone for God to reach
- The plans of God can never be thwarted by darkness
I have better understanding that we are all here for a reason and the aggregate of our life experiences are to bring us to the place that we can produce a true expression of who God created us to be. We must not give up just because there are big challenges in and around our lives, rather we must determine to hold onto to the word of God over our lives. Let us hold on because there is proof of grace all around and in us.
Never give up on the grace of God…He is present for all around us.
I met Stima in Uganda a few years ago at a mutual friends birthday party and I sensed a change but I did not ask him. Such an amazing testimony. Thanks for sharing.