It was December 24, 2005 that I found myself at the age of 20 and my world was falling apart. I was not sure of what the future held for me. I was OK with my past, but ready to escape from my present troubles. I had graduated Huntington High School just a year earlier in 2004 with dreams and goals of becoming successful. I was ready to tackle this wild ride called life, yet I couldn’t get beyond the thoughts and images that plagued my mind day and night. You’re probably asking yourself, what kind of troubles could this kid possibly have been facing this early in life? I was taking medication for depression and anxiety. I was constantly having panic attacks, and at one point my school principal told me not to come back to school until I could prove that I could pass a drug test. At another point in my life, I believe with all my heart that my dad was convinced I needed help. He had even mentioned to me at one point years later that if I had not moved away, he had considered having me mentally evaluated.
I had been attending church nearly every Sunday and developing quite a good bit of understanding of the scriptures. At the age of 12, I felt that God was calling me to preach the Gospel. I knew it had to be God because I didn’t want to be a preacher. I wanted to be a famous country singer. It was my childhood dream to travel cross country singing in a new town every night! Oh, what I’d have given to be up on stage singing. I could so easily see myself rolling down the interstate each night on that silver eagle. Like all kids, I had my dreams. I just never realized that my life wasn’t mine to live. There was already a plan for my life. That was evident every Sunday as Pastor Ray Williamson would shout Jeremiah 29:11 over the pews at Faith Free Will Baptist Church. “For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future!” I was fine with God having plans to bless my life. I could be a famous country singer and still be God’s messenger on the side. Life was going great! At the time, my cousin Eric Early had been traveling around singing and performing on stages all over the tri-state area. Seeing his success and awards only inspired me more to chase my dreams. Then one Sunday morning while at church, Youth Pastor Charlie Spears asked me, “Have you been studying those Bible verses I told you to learn?” “Yes!” I said proudly and full of confidence. He then asked me, “Nate what do you plan on doing with your life?” I then began to explain that I was going to be a country music singer and travel the United States playing my songs! He told me that very moment that I couldn’t do that because I had been called and chosen by God Himself to carry the message of the Gospel. I was devastated and became very angry with Charlie and I took it out on God!