Roll Tide, War Eagle and my connection to Alabama.

Roll Tide! Sorry to all of our friends in South Carolina for starting the blog this way. The Clemson Tigers and Alabama Crimson Tide played for the National Championship this past Monday night. I was torn because I have a very close friend who is a HUGE Tiger fan and I have a very close friend who is a former Crimson Tide football player. It was a great game to watch with Alabama winning yet another national title.

But this blog isn’t about football in Alabama. It is about a friendship in Alabama. Even if Clemson would have won, today’s blog post would have been about my friendship with someone who I consider more than a friend. He is a brother to me. Today’s blog is about my dear friend, Trent Davidson. It was exactly one year ago today that I met Trent.

We have defining moments in our lives and January 14th, 2015 was one of those moments that I am forever grateful for.

During the first week of January last year, I was planning a business trip to Alabama. Leading up to my trip, I was put in contact with a guy by the name of Tim Clements. Tim is one of the leaders of a men’s group that gathers once a week in Tuscaloosa. After a short conversation with Tim, he asked me if I would be willing to speak at the men’s gathering the week I was in Alabama. Just like that, I had an opportunity to share my life transformation through the power of Jesus.

So there I was in Tuscaloosa, Alabama at a church that I had never been to, surrounded by people I had never met. I began my message that night by shouting, “War Eagle”! For those of you who do not know, “War Eagle” is the battle cry of Auburn University located in Auburn, Alabama.

The Auburn Tigers and the Alabama Crimson Tide are like water and oil. They just don’t mix if you know what I mean. They are arch rivals.

I, of course, was joking and quickly corrected myself and shouted, “Roll Tide”! The battle cry of the University of Alabama, located in Tuscaloosa where I was speaking. I was trying to get the attention of the men in attendance so at that point; I had all eyes and ears to say the least.

I went on and shared my testimony and challenged the men to take a long look at their own story to determine what the next step was. For some, it was to make a decision to follow Jesus. For others, it was to surrender something that they had been holding onto such as an addiction or secret sin that they were living in. I challenged the rest of the men to share their story of how Jesus has rescued them in their own pit of destruction. After I was finished, many men came up and thanked me for sharing my story and giving hope and encouragement. All in all, it was a great evening. If it would have ended there, I would have been pleased with the night.

But it didn’t end there.

God had a different plan.

Before I left, a man came up to me with tears in his eyes and thanked me for my transparency. Trent made the decision to introduce himself and share just a little bit of his own story and struggles that he was currently dealing with. We have a similar past of addictions and have been healed of those addictions by the blood of Jesus. I often wonder what would have been if he would not have come forward to say hello.

This was a start of an amazing brotherhood that will outlast our days here on earth and continue into eternity.

The most amazing thing about the whole encounter of two random men meeting in a church in Alabama is the fact that the church I was speaking at is not even Trent’s home church. It wasn’t until the day of the event that he decided to go to the men’s group. He had gone the week before and had hoped that they were continuing the study. Once he found out that there was a guest speaker, he was disappointed. He was especially disappointed when this guest speaker was some guy from Missouri without a southern accent who yelled “War Eagle”!

However, Trent has shared with me that once I opened my heart and started sharing my story; his heart softened and realized that it was not by coincidence that he was there that night. It was not by coincidence that I was speaking that night. God had a plan for our two lives to intersect at exactly the moment we both needed it. Trent even had a part in how we named our ministry, Anguished Hearts. You can read that story here.

Do you have relationships like that? Do you have friendships that you consider even closer than family? Are there people in your life that you look back and think, “Wow, I have no idea where I would be without that person?”

To me, that person is Trent.

If you are a man reading this blog, I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to have men in your life that speak truth to you. It is so very vital that you have accountability partners to help you walk a straight and narrow path.

The world is full of sin just waiting for us to fail as men, as husbands, and as fathers, and friends.

Some of you reading this might be thinking, “I don’t need other men in my life. I can do life all on my own. All of this friendship talk is not very manly.”

Trent is 6’6”, 310 lbs. If it wasn’t for an injury, he would probably be playing football in the NFL. Under “manly” in the dictionary, there should be a picture of Trent.

It’s not about being “manly”. It’s about letting down your guard to let others in. It’s about walking with other men to encourage each other.

Life is hard. You do not have to do it alone. You can only live so long in isolation before the walls begin to cave in. Trust me. I have been there. If you are reading this and you are living in this false reality and do not know who to turn to, contact me directly. Email me. Send me a message through our Facebook page. I want to help you.

One final thing and I will wrap this up. As Trent and I were on the phone today talking about how our friendship started one year ago today, he gets a text message from a friend of his who had no idea that he was on the phone with me. This is what it says:

I pray that the men in your life encourage you and that God brings more of these men into your life. “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity”. Proverbs 17:17

I was blown away. It was not a coincidence that he received that text message at the exact moment we were on the phone together.

Listen folks and especially the men who are reading this, God is in control of all of this. It was His plan for Trent and me to meet a year ago. It was His plan for you to read this blog.

I hope it encourages you just as Trent has encouraged me over the past year.

Trent, I love you brother. Let’s keep fighting the good fight together.

You are never alone,