Meet NOTN Crew: Cody Hennings

Pursuing 180 Degrees

A 180 degree turn is something that’s familiar to us, right? When I was younger I always wanted to be a pro skateboarder so that term was a part of my vocabulary. It was something that I combined with my tricks and something that I became accustom to. This will come into play in a little bit.

I was the regular All-American eighth grade boy who did my homework, who followed rules, and who was always on the honor roll. I don’t think I looked like the All-American boy though. I wore skinny jeans, I straightened my hair, and I “dated” a ton of girls. My life was pretty okay as I saw it. I didn’t feel guilty for anything that I did unless my parents found out. And if they found out… well, it got loud.

Nearing the end of my junior high career my mom was getting into a serious relationship with my now step-father. Now don’t get me wrong I love my step-father and he is now a believer in Jesus Christ but at the time he wasn’t. He also loves, and I mean loves, to debate. He’ll bring up random topics to debate on just because he wants to. My mom believes in Christ but a relationship with Him isn’t her biggest priority and knowing His word wasn’t ever close to important. So that meant that any time he’d bring up religion to argue about she wouldn’t know what to say. At the time he was an atheist that wanted so badly to disprove God. It was very frustrating to see my mom being shot down time after time and just taking it.

Could it get worse? Yes.

At that same time my step mom had passed away. This is the woman my dad left my mom for. She was a huge inspiration in my life. I felt more comfortable with her than either of my parents combined. I could tell her things and she would approach them with a loving heart. She had Lupus and doctors didn’t think she’d make it to be 25. She died in her mid-40s. That was a crushing blow to me in my blooming age of 13. Someone who poured into my life was now gone and I watched her deteriorate.

So as a 13 year old I was in a definite pit. I hated my step-dad, I hated my mom for letting my step-dad win, and I hated God for taking away my step-mom. I had multiple thoughts of suicide in such a short timespan that I, myself, even thought it was ridiculous.

Eventually my sister started to go to a youth group called StuCo. It stood for student community. She went for a solid three months before inviting me. But finally, at just the right time, she did. At first I said no. Then the next week rolled around and I finally caved in. Me in all my teenage angst thought youth group sounded stupid but she was my older sister so if she thought it was cool it probably was. Even if I didn’t want to show her that it was.

That’s it. I went. I got saved by Jesus Christ. The end.

No.

I had to go a second time to really soak it in. During the worship there was a specific song that was playing and I had finally tuned in. The lyrics hit my heart like a freaking bus. They are based off of Psalm 73:26 “My flesh and my heart may fail but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” I looked around at everyone there and they were all smiling and happy and they had a cause. They had a purpose. I have never felt so at ease. In that moment I knew that I finally had a purpose.

That being said, me realizing that wasn’t a 180 degree change in my life. It isn’t for anyone. (See I told you it would come back up.) You still deal with the same struggles you dealt with yesterday. But as you pursue God with a purpose you get a little bit closer to that 180 degrees from being a sinner to Jesus. Now let me just clarify no one will ever be Jesus. Nor will anyone come close to being Jesus because we are all sinners and that’s a fact.

All this to say don’t be discouraged if your life doesn’t rapidly change. I’m still gradually growing. But from where I started to where I am now is a major improvement. I now go to a Bible college in Grand Rapids, Michigan and I’m studying to be a Worship Pastor. I never thought in a million years I would end up here but I am and it’s what God wants for me. Be open to the mindset of Him leading you. Just do your best to thirst for a relationship with God, because if you do it will follow. Pursue Him because His arms will always be wide open. Let me warn you though pain and suffering will come tenfold as you pursue Christ but I promise it’s worth every second of it.

Building a relationship is gradual.

Read His Word daily. Pray Continually. Love endlessly.

“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.” James 1:2-3

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