I was the proverbial popular guy in high school during my time. Not because of my looks, but because of what I used to do. I had 2 military designations in our school’s Cadette Advanced Training as: Chief Training and Operations Officer and 1st Battalion Executive Officer. I was also in the Gymnastics team, which was of high esteem in this school. I also happened to be the class vice-president. Everyone knew me; I felt like a celebrity during those days.

I was always in a fight, abusing my authority to the point of bullying and harassing those who were under me. The playground near our school became the hang out place for male students who wanted to witness a real street fight. I was a superstar, getting into fights even when I was sick. Little did my opponents know that fighting while burning with fever is like fighting with steroids injected in your veins. Pain was irrelevant.

Because people looked up to me, making women swoon and fall in love with me was quite easy. My position gave me a head start over other guys. I basked in the attention that women gave me and dated a lot. I even dated sisters at one time and they didn’t mind. I was having fun and didn’t take anyone seriously, moving from one woman to another, leaving a long trail of broken hearts. Guys thought my life was perfect; I thought my life was perfect.

In the summer of 2009, I graduated from High School and met the woman who became my first serious girlfriend. At first, I didn’t value her or the relationship but after leaving her for another woman, I realized that I was in love with her. So I courted her all over again, spent time with her and met the family—doing everything I could to prove that I was serious. We started making plans for the future until something happened.

A group of friends who were part of a fraternity invited me to a have a few drinks. Among them was a woman who wanted to join the brotherhood. I knew right away that it was a disaster and indeed, it was. She was raped while I was on the other side of the door. I was able to hear what was happening and found myself helpless in my seat—in my mind flashed the face of every woman I ever knew. I was traumatized by the experience that I began to withdraw from my friends. It broke my heart to know that this woman lost her virginity just to be accepted by a group of people who didn’t really care about her. And my girlfriend? I couldn’t continue our intimacy so she ended the relationship and found solace in the arms of another woman—that was the punch that knocked me down.

Problems soon came: the fame I enjoyed for a time had disappeared; I finally moved on to College where I became the school’s cartoonist but the publication was discontinued. This got me into drinking heavily and also got me addicted to computer games—resulting in poor grades. My once-perfect life was falling apart.

One morning, during math class, I started crying. A friend approached me and asked what was wrong and I opened up to him. He comforted me and prayed for me, and that led me to start hanging out with him and his friends who called themselves Christians. The acceptance and comfort they provided allowed me to attend church services and bible studies. I learned about Jesus, who He is and what He did, and I asked Him to be Savior and Lord of my life.

Just like the Apostle Paul’s story, life got even more difficult. The day after I repented and turned to Jesus, I went to school and started telling people that I know who God is. Expectedly, they were in shock, saying things like, “He’s not the old Patrick who would pick fights. He’s changed.” I lost my so-called friends and the popularity. Not only that, even my family started persecuting me. I was not discouraged though—I cried out to God, asking Him for help.

Jesus is truly faithful. Paul’s encouragement in Romans 12:12 says, “Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.” And truly, He will see us through anything He brings us to.

With God always there with me, I was able to stand strong. Still a growing Christian, God provided the grace for me to endure the persecution. My first encouragement came when I overheard my mom talking to a friend about how much I’ve changed since I started going to church and even encouraged her friend’s children to come to church with me. I cried tears of joy! Although my parents haven’t been saved—they who at one time persecuted me for my faith—had all of the sudden started supporting me. I continue to lift them up to the Lord in prayer.

I became committed to my local church and started pursuing the passion that God gave me in music and started using my skills for His glory. But like any activity, I got so involved in several ministries in church that it occupied me to the point of neglecting God, Himself, who should be the Object of my attention and worship. It came to the point that I was more concerned about the work than the King.

I had to step back and ask God what He really wanted me to do. That’s when He awakened my passion in purity: to use my past life and what I had experienced to bring people to Him.

That’s when I started writing. I write to bring people an awareness that pursuing the desires of the flesh will eventually destroy their lives. I am still in the process of equipping myself, filling myself with God’s Word, and constantly communing with Him who provides me with everything I need to carry out His work.

To continue my passion for music, God blessed me with a ministry to teach non-Christians in playing the piano. Through this, I get to share the gospel to my students and eventually lead them to serve God.

I now know where God was leading me all those years through all these life experiences. Through all the failures, I see His grace. Through all the pain, I see His mercies. I now dedicate my life in reaching out to the lost through music, studying His Word, and writing because I know that this is what He called me to do.

— J.P. Patricks is a pseudonym upon request of the author.