Thrill Seeker Tries God In Search of Next High

“I had this ongoing joke I’d tell my friends,” Nate shares. “‘Has anyone ever told you God is always there beside you or behind you to support you?’ And of course the kids are like ‘Yeah, yeah, I’ve heard that.’ And then I would punch the air beside me and behind me. Because He was always there beside you, He was close enough to hit Him and be mad at Him. I should be mad at Him for what happened to me.”

“I had what I felt like was a perfect life,” Nate describes. “My dad was a barber. My mom was a nurse. There was fighting here and there. But to me as a 10-year-old, it seemed like a regular family. One day I came home, and all my dad’s clothes were stacked up on the couch. And I remember my mother telling me that my dad wasn’t going to live in our house anymore.”
He wondered, “Could I have done anything differently to make this not have happened? What is it about me that would make him want to go?”

“I started to be anybody that I needed to be to be liked,” Nate remembers. “Wanting to be everything my friends needed me to be and everything teachers needed me to be and coaches needed me to be, my mom needed me to be. Make sure people have a great time when they’re around you, because nobody can disapprove, nobody cannot like me, because nobody can leave anymore.”

“My grandfather gave me a Bible for high school graduation,” he says. “It was in a box and in plastic. And at the time, I wondered, ‘Why. What was I going to do with that?’ So I put it away. And carried it with my stuff. Anything that felt like family again that was stuff I was keeping. Because that’s what I desperately wanted.”

“I wanted a wife. I wanted kids,” he continues. “The fear was that I wasn’t a person that could do that. I wasn’t worth that. Don’t allow yourself to even dream those things because you can’t have them. So I made a promise to myself that I wasn’t going to do that. I was going to be rich and I was going to be wild and I was going to live an adventure and family wasn’t going to be part of that.”

“Heading to college,” Nate admits, “it was all about thrill seeking and extreme partying and death defying adventure – anything that would make me happy again. I got great new jobs that felt like were going to be the thing I needed. It wasn’t ever this is it.”

He shares that, “We’re into the mid-late 90’s, and I’m investing in the stock market. I was starting to have literally hundreds of thousands of dollars in an account that could feel like I had something and it didn’t work. There was literally no joy in it. All I thought about was losing it. Which was…brought up all the fear I had about losing my dad and losing the people around me.”

“The breaking point for me,” he describes, “was coming home to my mom’s house to stay with her for a couple weeks, and my life being so out of control, she said I couldn’t stay there anymore. That started the real questions, that started the real questions of ‘Where am I going? Where is this all taking me?’”

“I remember a friend of mine at work at that point saying,” he says, “’Why don’t you come to church with me?’ And church had never been an answer, but I think in my brokenness, I said, ‘I’ll go.’”  

There, Nate says, “The guy speaking actually had stuff to say about my life. He said, ‘You can’t be a husband the day you get married. You can’t be a father the day you have a baby. It’s got to start before then.’ That spoke to me. I started thinking about, what would my life start to look like now to start preparing for that? It’s not this. It is not what I’m doing right now. What I’m doing right now does not lead to any of that.”

But, as he shares, “I felt hope. I felt like I could be more than me, more than what I was. I thought there was a chance. Like could I, wow, I mean, could I get married? ‘God, could You heal me enough?’”

“And then, a friend took me out to lunch one day and said, ‘I see you at church all the time. But have you ever given your life to Jesus.’ I said, ‘No, do I need to?’ He said, ‘You should and you can. Let’s do it right now in this restaurant.’”

Nate explains, “I left that restaurant, and all I could think of was, ‘Do I still have the Bible that my grandpa had given me for high school graduation? I’ve been carrying it around for years. Do I still have it?’ I drove home as fast as I could on my motorcycle, found it, opened up the package. It was still wrapped in the plastic seal. Started reading it, couldn’t believe it spoke to my life right where I was at. It was one of those moments where it was just God and I and saying, ‘I’ve got you. You don’t need all that. You don’t need anything but Me.’ And I in that moment realize, I think God really does love me. I think I have hope in Him, and I can trust Him.”

“Having a family of my own,” Nate says, “I’ve seen over and over again that I can trust Him. That He is a good Father. That He was always my Father. I was mad at Him for a long time. Left Him for a long time. Abandoned Him for a long time. Didn’t think of Him for years. Yet when I finally wanted Him, needed Him, turned to Him, right there.”

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