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August 7, 2019

“I got saved at five years old and grew up in the church but never fully gave my will to God. At 26 years old I was deeply involved in ministry but still had a selfish attitude. My girlfriend started a nine-month discipleship program at Shady Grove Church, where we were both members, and the rule was she couldn’t date during that period. We made plans to get back together after she completed the program, but two weeks in she said, ‘I’m canceling our plans because I want my plan to be wherever God leads me.’ I was upset and had already been feeling like a loser—I didn’t have a good job, nothing was working out for me, and I was down on myself. I asked Levi Smith, one of my best friends and now worship pastor at the Grand Prairie Campus, ‘When will God finally give me what I want?’ Levi said, ‘Never.’ It was difficult to hear but that conversation was a turning point for me. I took my bitterness to God and spent a lot of time talking to Him, reading His Word, and asking Him to speak to me through His Word. I realized He doesn’t give you what you want; you have to seek His kingdom first and then you want what He wants for you. I went through a tough season of laying down my will. Although I was still in love with my girlfriend, I accepted the relationship ending because I wanted God’s will for each of us. When something doesn’t work out you don’t want to hear someone tell you there’s something better for you, but it’s the truth. After she completed her program, we started a friendship, started dating again, and now we’ve been married for almost 11 years. Not only did I end up with the woman I love, God used that difficult time to teach me and knock some of the selfishness out of me. It was a hard lesson, but it was a humbling experience I’m glad I went through.” Daniel and Julie and their three boys attend the Grand Prairie Campus.