Stories are powerful and when you share the story of how God transformed your life, it can help transform other people’s lives and impact where they spend eternity. That’s why at Candlewood Church in Omaha, Nebraska, we encourage people to write out their personal faith story as a way to share their faith with others. Jesus transformed the life of Rory Whitney in a powerful way. Read his personal faith story below:
When Two Worlds Collide
Insecurity, lack of confidence, invisibility, afraid that people would notice you and that you would never measure up. Do any of these words describe you? As I look back on my life that is who I was. For my story’s sake, let me backup and tell you a little about myself.
I was raised in a small agricultural community in northwest Iowa along with my parents and four brothers. As my life entered into high school, I realized just how fearful and insecure I really was. This was the early 70’s and it was there that I found friends, false courage, and purposeless significance. It was here that drugs first entered my life, and it was here that this journey would travel another twelve years of my life.
My oldest brother came home from college and thought it would be good for his younger seventeen-year-old brother to hear this story about love, redemption, grace, and forgiveness. Out of respect for him and the fact he was older and bigger, I listened to something that I wish I hadn’t heard.
All that he was saying I could sense down deep in my soul was true, yet I did not want to or desire to hear it. I had discovered what I was looking for (an escape of who I was into a person I imagined I could become) through the medium of drugs, music, women and the revolutionary hippy culture I was immersed in.
Let’s Fall in Love
The second part of my story would now begin to revolve around another person that entered my life-a woman! I’m not talking about just any woman, but a woman that I believed was gorgeous, loved to party, willingly immoral and wanted to be with me. Incredible!! We discovered each other, lived together, partied together, and decided the next step would naturally be marriage, which we did on January 8, 1977.
As Kath now became my wife, she too was exposed to this brother and his wife as they would lovingly share with us the greatest love story of all times, the story of Jesus Christ. This story (that I did not want in my life, that I would try to forget, that was incredibly bothersome) became the story that my wife would eventually surrender her life to. Fourteen months after our wedding, she became a Christian.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” II Corinthians 5:17
The woman I married began to change. She wasn’t the same and there was a peace and purpose in her life that I could not deny or avoid. She was my wife and she became the mother of my children. And no matter what I did or where I went, when I got home, there was a new person living in my house.
It’s a funny thing when one is confronted with the reality of truth by observing someone you love turn into a person that you had never met before, let alone choose to spend the rest of your life together with. Which leads me to the third part of my story, “the day in which two worlds would collide.”
I remember the day, December 14, 1985, like it was yesterday; so vivid, so clear, so real and so long ago. My wife had continued on her journey with God for seven years while I had continued to pursue my course in life which did not include her God. The miracle about this loving God that I have come to know is that He is relentless in His love for people.
He allowed pressures: financial, emotional, mental and spiritual to come down one upon the other. It was on this very day that I surrendered, tapped out, threw in the towel, and I yielded my prideful, stubborn, egotistical heart to this God that was loving me all along. I have been amazed to realize after twenty-five years of just how incredibly deceived a person can be. What I thought would make me happy and find life continued (day after day) leaving me empty. What is the definition of insanity? “Doing the same thing over and over again and hoping for different results.”
My journey has had ups and downs, highs and lows, tears and joy, and yet, knowing what I know now I would never go back. Another saying says,
“Your life is like a coin, you can spend it anyway you like but you can only spend it once.”
A final verse that has led me this many years is
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.”
Connect with Rory Whitney
Today, Rory is a Candlewood Church pastor in the Omaha church location. If you have questions about the personal faith story of Rory Whitney or about starting a relationship with God, we’d love to talk more. Connect with us today at Candlewood Church Omaha. Please call us at 402.991.5152 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.