Written by Rosemary Barnes, MAM Creative Writing Intern
Epiphany: a moment of sudden revelation or insight. These are marvelous things, especially when they are orchestrated by a loving Father God.
Braden’s did not come in an earthquake or by fire or by a mighty wind, but just like the prophet of old, he received the revelation he needed as the result of the still small voice speaking through a note from his younger brother. As a result of the note that gave Daryl the address of the Harbor House Rehab Center, Daryl says God permitted him a moment of clarity. He realized that his lifestyle was not “all on me” but was causing deep pain and hurt to his brother whom he loved dearly.
And as Braden puts it, “I believe God said that that was enough. So, I checked into the Harbor House rehab center ten years ago on September 28th and I have been delivered and clean ever since.” The God of all grace, will Himself strengthen you – seems very appropriate here.
His journey in being established was to begin quickly. Braden talks of his growing closer to God in ways he had not experienced before. He talks of coming into a fuller relationship and knowledge. “Being an ex-drug addict and ex-convict, it is hard to find a job. People do not want to hire you. They do not trust you. This was when I really, really got close to God.”
“I tell people all the time that God created MAM for guys like me.”
The providence of God was working by full measure in Braden’s life. He talks of his journey back into work and basketball. It went from volunteering at St. Andrew’s to part-time work, and then a full time job with MAM. Braden talks about impressing “his kids” at MAM with the formula his parents gave him. (It is obvious that “his kids” are not just words to him, but the expressions of the heart God has given him to father).
“I had been preaching that for so long that God put it on my heart to go back to college and get my degree.” He gives glory to God for obtaining his degree from the University of Alabama at Birmingham in 2008.
“I called Gib Vestal, MAM president, and asked if there was something here at MAM for me.” The door was still open, and so begins the story of his return to MAM to finish the work he began. “I have been rolling ever since from part-time guy, youth coordinator, director to area director.”
Braden says he thanks MAM for giving him a place to belong. He shares his testimony whenever possible, and gives all the glory and praise to God for placing His hands on his life delivering him out of his ordeals.
“We are nothing until we humble ourselves and recognize it is because of Him that we live and breathe and have whatever we have. We were created to give Him praise.”
The ability of God to not only restore the years but to do it exceedingly and abundantly above all Daryl could think is surely settled in his heart. His future goal is to continue to disciple and lead young men to Christ and ultimately help raise up an army of Christian athletes.
One would listen to this Daryl’s testimony and see the makings of a modern day movie with all the formula prerequisites for a best seller or hit movie. There is triumph, adventure, defeat, redemption, and then, restoration of destiny and purpose.
But the Star of Daryl’s testimony is not the man but the Man, Christ Jesus, and He alone receives the glory and admiration as Braden makes very clear.
Amen, Amen, so be it.