This is my story.

A lot of people know me by my success, my impact, and my influence. A lot of people see this young, talented individual with a heart for people. A lot of people will even see the passion and angst-filled young adult. Others may see a Godly young man. Some may see a man filled with jokes and joy. Many people ask me why I do what I do, where my passion lies, and what it means to be me. Very few know or see what’s behind the fold of life for me.

This is not to say others don’t have the same or similar life experiences, but rather, many of you do. And that’s why I am going to share this.

I grew up under a single mother of 3 boys. My two other brothers had a father who went to prison for life. My father didn’t want children, so he didn’t even stay. My mother was stuck alone to raise 3 boys. God was by her side every step of the way. We always had food to eat, and even were able to enjoy life — more than what some people might think. She was a hard working mother and still is to this day. With her own business of house cleaning, she was able to provide for us three boys.

Years into my life, my mother met a friend, Dan Weibley. He was a wonderful man of God, he served in the church, he loved my mother, and he loved me. They soon married in the house of my grandmother. I was the ringbearer. It was a romantic and special event.

It was so wonderful. I finally had someone to really look up to, seek to be like, to love, and to be taught by.

Years in their marriage had gone by. In the fourth year of their marriage, we found out that Dan had cancer. This was heartwrenching to its core, but we trusted God endlessly. We prayed for strength. We prayed for healing. We prayed for him to be cancer-free. We prayed a lot.

A year after we found out, he finally went to be with the Lord. I was 14. At this time, I was beyond torn. I looked up to him so much. Going forward, I made a promise to myself that I would be like him. A great man of God, with integrity, selfless love, joy in the midst of the worst. I want to carry his legacy. I want to be all that he was and more.

At this point in my life, I can confidently say God has given me way more than I deserve in the light of friends, a wonderful church, and an ever-wonderful family.

Believe me, thoughts of suicide were often present, even up until recently. But my encouragement for everyone is this: No matter what you’re going through; God has it in His hands. He has you. You are His.

This is my story.