Painful. Change. Love.
Meet David. He lives in Arlington, TX with his wife Rachel and daughter Hadassah. David cofounded Rethink Creative Group, an ad agency that strives to make the world a more beautiful place. He'd love to take you out and chat over your choice of beverage.
In January, I got an email from a guy named David who had commented on a post on my blog. I had no idea who he was or how he found my blog or anything. It started like this: "Alright, First I'm not stalking you. Second this isn't about the website. So...here it goes. Rethink is a group of dudes and we don't want it to just be a bunch of dudes, but it's been that way for a while. Needless to say we REALLY need a female voice on the blog even if it's just guest blogging from time to time." He told me how one of my best friends had reached out to him with my name as a potential guest blogger for Rethink. He said he had read some of my posts and asked if I might be interested in being the first female of the group.
Long story short, I joined the team almost instantly. There was never a bit of hesitation. I was absolutely thrilled, so floored, so humbled, so honored. The more I learned about the Rethink guys, the more I absolutely loved them and was overjoyed to be coming on board with their incredible work.
From the very beginning, David has been like a close friend, a mentor, pastor, brother, and all around life coach to me. He's one of the two co-founders of Rethink and I can't express how thankful I am for all the ways he has poured into all of us on the team, working tirelessly, praying ceaselessly, and leading us selflessly as we grow.
Oh, did I mention I've never met David in real life? He lives in Texas with his wife (also named Rachel-- it's the best name!) and adorable baby girl and their dogs. Even so, we touch base most every day about things with Rethink and The Rising, video chat with the other guys periodically, call often, even though I've never been in the same city as him. It's crazy how God connects us with people over hundreds of miles away, building community that isn't limited by location. I love it.
You can talk to David for two seconds and feel like he's your best friend. He answers the phone enthusiastically, like hearing your voice is the best thing to happen to him all day. He writes honest, raw and compelling posts on his blog but will be the first one to shoot you a message raving about your post and encouraging you. He loves people so well, and I'm pretty sure everyone he meets becomes a friend within minutes.
He dreams big, sees no limits, trusts God completely, and always pushes us to be the best we can be as he points us to truth and the Lord. He's wise and knowledgable, humble and hilarious, talented and trustworthy. He's the kind of leader you want to follow, and on behalf of all of us at Rethink, I think we're pretty blessed to have him lead us.
I'm so excited that David's story is the first one from a male's perspective in this project. I absolutely loved swapping stories with David over emails that were more like novels, and I'm so glad I get to share it with you too.
Here's David's story.
I was born to a teenage mom in Texas in July of 1987. In God's grace my mom and dad were in love. They stuck together and got married about a year after I was born.
I was an artist entrepreneur pastor from an early age (when people try to figure me out I just give them those 3 definitions 'artist, entrepreneur, pastor' or 'poet, prophet, painter' depending on the day). I painted, sang, played toy instruments, entertained large crowds with skits, etc. At the age of 3 I sold a drawing for $40! I also was into romance from the beginning. When I was 4 I asked a girl in my daycare to be my girlfriend. She said yes, #winning.
I grew up in a 'Christian' home and when I was 7 I expressed a desire to follow Jesus. It seemed like a no brainier to me. Follow Jesus and I get to go to heaven with my family. Which was much better than the alternative. There wasn't a whole lot of life change at this point and I don't really see this as my 'conversion' experience, but it's worth noting.
When I was 12 I went to a Disciple Now retreat and Jesus wrecked my life in the best way possible. This was my conversion, my road to Damascus.
Middle school was awkward, but I had some things going for me. I was the quarterback of the football team in a small town in Texas. I had quite a few girlfriends during middle school (something I'm not as proud of now). The big thing though was how God was moving in my life. I started to see Him infiltrating everywhere. In my 8th grade year I found the guy who molested me and forgave him. It was one of the most difficult things I've ever done, and to be fair I had to forgive him many times after that day.
During my senior year of high school I started interning for my student pastor for free. It was a blast, but I was disenfranchised with ‘church.’ People seemed fake and I longed for deep lasting connections with people. Rachel and I had been friends for a year at this time. One of my good friends Sly invited Rachel and I to join his college Bible study. It was on 6 people in September when we started going.
It became a very formative experience. Soon the house we met in was filled to the brim. We crammed 60+ people into the living room for the study every Tuesday. The community was older high school students and college kids. All of us were from different denominations, socio-economic levels, and races. We all had one goal in mind though – find Jesus in community. I’m glad to say we did.
We saw people meet Jesus, addictions overcome, abuse revealed, and lives radically changed. We were changing the world and having a blast doing it.
I graduated high school and the Student Pastor I was interning for offered me a paid position on his staff. So I turned down several four year schools and went to community college.
Unfortunately, I got a laptop for graduation. I now had internet in my room with no accountability. I very innocently found porn. I wasn’t looking for it, but once I saw it I was hooked. My freshman year of college was filled with depression. Porn almost killed me, literally. I was so low, hated myself so much for what I was doing but couldn’t stop I contemplated seriously contemplated suicide. Thank God the guy I was interning for could tell something was up. He gently tested the waters of my soul and I broke into sobs.
Everything came out, and he very graciously loved me. He never threatened my job status or anything else. He just loved me. I was still struggling but I was looking at porn less and less. The depression ended in the early summer of 2007. I finally put porn to death on July 20, 2008. Every year I celebrate my sobriety on that day.
In the summer of 2007 between my freshman and sophomore year of college my parents moved to Michigan. So Sly and I moved in with Rachel’s parents temporarily until we could find another place to live. They let us stay at their house for free, because we were both desperately poor working at the church. Rachel was away working at a summer camp in Maryland (we were not dating at this point; we were just friends, even though she had a crush on me since senior year of high school).
Rachel did a backflip off a stage at camp, and stuck it perfectly (she was a gymnast growing up). Of course she did this barefoot on a concrete floor which left her with two cleanly fractured heels. Needless to say she moved back home for the last 4 weeks of the summer while Sly and I were still living at her house.
Rachel was in a wheelchair and totally dependent on us to take care of her. She was offered an internship with the same Student Pastor Sly and I were working with. She took the position and transferred from Liberty to George Mason (she didn’t like Liberty that much anyway).
Sly found another place to live in August, so I was in a house with Rachel and her family. I started to notice that Rachel had changed a lot in the one year she had been gone. In October I told her I liked her, and then proceeded to tell her parents so that we could find a way to get me into another house. In November I moved out. The day I moved out we had our first date. On our first date I knew I was going to marry her (I didn’t know it yet, but God told Rachel we were going to get married in our senior year of high school).
On June 14, 2008 just 8 months into dating I proposed to Rachel on top of a mountain. She was stunned, and she said yes. By the way there’s a whole back story to our engagement story that’s worth sharing with you at some point. Long story short my best friends almost blew my engagement for Chipotle burritos and beer. Again I’ll tell that story another time, but it’s pretty hilarious.
Rachel’s dad was going to be deployed in October of 2008 so we had to make a decision. Get married in 3 months or wait a year. We chose the 3 month option. It was crazy and perfect timing. On September 13, 2008 Rachel and I got married. Whenever the curtains opened and I saw her for the first time in her wedding dress I sobbed uncontrollably. It was like I was punched in the gut. She was the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen.
I had only been on staff at a church and with FCA for 10 months when I got a phone call from a pastor friend I knew in Dallas. He wanted to talk about the possibility of me working with his mega-church as a junior high pastor. We prayed through it (I didn’t want to take the job and Rachel did want me to take it) and ultimately felt God leading us to Dallas.
My time at Pantego Bible was not good. We agreed theologically, but when it came to philosophy we were on different ends of the spectrum. I fought for change every day I was there. They didn’t like being questioned on a regular basis. After I had been there 13 months I was given the option to be demoted or leave. I left and found a job before my two weeks were up (God is good).
Ultimately I did some boneheaded things while I was at Pantego that justifiably didn’t go over real well, and they didn’t know what to do with a young idealistic leader with lots of passion/influence. Leaving was the right move even though it felt like a step backwards.
I took a desk job at a big company doing A/R work (remember I have a degree in Philosophy and I am working on my Master’s in Seminary so I’m not super qualified for anything other than ministry). In February of 2013 Rachel got pregnant again. We were ecstatic! In March of 2013 I told Mark we should start a company together where we did the kind of work we were so passionate about doing. He agreed and we launched Rethink on May 1, 2013.
My marriage with Rachel only got better from the time we hit rock bottom in February of 2009. We are more crazy in love than we’ve ever been! I love being a daddy to our sweet baby girl. There’s really nothing else in the world to compare it to. Right now Rethink is my dream. I want to grow it and change the world with the group of people whom are a part of it. It’s been my dream since I was 18 though to plant a church. So within the next 10 years I will do that.
Jesus is more alive to me than ever. God is good and it’s evident that He is all over these pages changing me every step of the way.
Thanks for letting me share.