Mike Smith, in his own words tells us about searching for a father, but finding God and community along the way:
Like most young guys I grew up with a completely warped perception of women, love, and sex. In my common, yet sick, teenage mind I looked at women as something to conquer and to have as a trophy. I lost my virginity at age 13 to a 16-year-old girl. I had no clue what love was. I was never around a functional marriage or had seen people in love. I grew up where everyone just slept with everyone and it was no big deal.
I was a handsome young kid and I was athletic and in-shape, so I had no issue of getting and being with whoever I wanted from the time I was 13-20 years old. I’m not proud of that, but I am just speaking from my heart.
My mother used to tell me, “Mike, I know what you are doing and so does God. God thinks you are special and so do I. I know he wants you to serve him and live how he wants you to live.” I used to laugh at my mom and be like “yeah, okay Mom” – one day when I am forty. God has such grace that he stuck with me for so long.
I reached a point when I was twenty, and I felt so burned and hurt and used and crushed from so many of the women I had slept with. I felt worthless, useless. So, I cried out to God one night and in tears he completely saved me. I knew that I had to put what I did to death.
So, I became celibate, and I promised God I would obey him – His word and His will for my life. I’m now seven years celibate. No sex. Nothing. God has put it in my heart to save myself for my future wife. Over the last seven years he completely restored my body and heart to a point where I feel I have so much to offer and give.
I am still learning, but He took me from broken to restored. God is so amazing for that! I now take love so seriously. I apply my heart and soul every day to it. I understand how special touch is, kissing is, hugging is, and how especially special sex is. I believe they are all things to be shared with one special person that God has for you.
As the years go on and I’ve been single, I learn so much about myself and God and how to love through a broken world. It’s been such a blessing! And, I look forward to one day giving all the love God has put in my heart to my wife!
I grew up in a poverty-stricken area of Patterson, New Jersey. At home as a young seven-year-old boy, it was tough. My dad was selling drugs out of the house and he was also a heroin addict. I would come home from school and see needles outside and customers of my dad would ask me where he was to buy drugs. It all eventually caught up with him and he served ten years in prison.
At this point I was confused and angry and sad. Thank God for my mother and grandmother who actually told me that I have a heavenly father that is the greatest father that we could ever have.
Also let me tell you about Steve. I met him about two years ago when I was going through a really tough time in my life. My heart was crushed and in many ways, I was confused and hurt.
I’ve always grown up in a way longing for a physical father here. I had led a life of sin and rebellion; getting in fights and was in and out of street gangs. I was also selling drugs by the time I was fifteen. I was expelled from every school I was in. God eventually saved me when the world had just torn me up so much that by the age of 20 I couldn’t take it anymore. I gave my life to Christ and I never turned back!
One day about two years ago I went to a gym where a whole bunch of athletes were talking about Jesus on a Friday night. Steve came up to me and he instantly took me under his wing. I guess he saw something in me. At the time, I wasn’t sure what. But, over the past two years he’s become a father figure. The type of man I longed for and lacked for most of my life. He’s always checking in on me, and watching out for me.
For me, I looked at most men and I would think “you aren’t going to tell me anything, because how they lived life wasn’t wise.” But this man is a wise man. He’s also loving and gentle and stern when he needs to be. When he introduces me to people he says, “This is Mike, he is like a son to me.” I am overwhelmed with humility and thankfulness. I hope that one day I can be a man that can say the same thing to a kid from the ghetto with a rough past and always felt like a misfit.
But you see, I wasn’t always alone or without a father figure. I always had the ultimate father in God. No matter what I bad I did or do I’m still HIS. He chases after me and He chases after YOU. He wants you, he wants to love you, and make you his child. Just open your heart to him and you’ll see that you gain a mindset that will say “I WILL be a champion. I will overcome. I am forgiven. I am chosen.” BELIEVE it, claim it, and have faith in it!