Although born and raised in Southern California, in 2001 I moved to Texas to pursue a career as a professional bass fisherman. My life revolved around fishing and in many ways it was my god. I had been raised with a genuine belief in God, but the evidence of His presence in my life was nowhere to be found. I did things my way and if it was good for me then I would try to rationalize it.
When I got to Texas I really didn't know anyone and moved around a lot. I lived in a fifth wheel, a friend's couch, in a living space over a barn and even a warehouse. I was lonely and I had a mountain of debt, so I began to pray. I prayed and asked God to increase my faith.
A friend invited me to co-ed softball and it turned out to be a singles bible study. The people had the love of Jesus and there was a peace and joy that I wanted for myself. I was selfish and what initially drew me to God was my desire to be blessed by Him with success. I had seen the success that many Christians had as professional bass fisherman. They had a genuine joy and peace about them and soon I gave my life to the Lord. God had used my selfishness to draw me to Him and then He began a process of changing me from the inside out.
As I read the bible one key verse continued to stand out to me. Matt. 6:33 "First seek the kingdom of God and all His righteousness and all else will be added unto you." This became my life verse and the beginning of my personal relationship with God. One Sunday our Pastor spoke on tithing. He challenged us to be faithful to God with our finances. He urged us to give God 6 months to show Himself faithful. I was broke and didn't have any money. He said we could live better on 90% then we could on the whole 100% and so I did. I wasn't sure how I was going to do it because I couldn't even make it month to month.
What happened was wonderful. At that time I was working for a lure company, a fishing guide on Lake Fork and competing in small tournaments when I could. I started picking up extra guide trips here and there. Then I started cashing some checks in tournaments. I tithed and God came through! He showed Himself to be faithful. God had become more real to me then ever before in my life. This was the beginning of a real relationship with God. The most important thing wasn't the financial aspect, but how God had shown Himself to be real in my life and I realized then that I could trust Him.
When I look back on my life and where I have come from and where God has taken me, I'm so thankful He didn't leave me to myself. His love is so deep and I can't help but love Him right back.