Carlos: My Decision to Change Resulted in Blessings I Never Imagined

Hello friends! Today I’m sharing with you a testimony that is dear and close to my heart, literally. This is a testimony about how Carlos’ decision to change resulted in blessings he never imagined. Sit back, relax and be inspired, encouraged and uplifted.

Carlos, in his own words…

While growing up in the Republic of Panama I attended church services with my family. I went to Sunday school and actively participated in church events. However, after I graduated from High School I strayed away from my Christian upbringing.

It was a difficult decision to change                                                    

When I was 18 years old I immigrated to the U.S. and a few months later joined the U.S. Marine Corps. I found my career to be exciting and rewarding. After 12 years in the military I felt stuck in my career and became frustrated. I felt that I needed to make a change to advance professionally. It was a difficult decision to make. That’s why it took me over a year to go through with it.

I finally made the change

In October 1990 I finally transferred from the U.S. Marine Corps to the U.S. Army. Although it was a difficult decision at the time, the change helped me to advance in my military career and blessed me in ways I never imagined.

My decision to change resulted in blessings I never imagined

Because of my decision to change I was assigned to Panama which would have never happened if I had stayed in the Marine Corps. I was excited to be back home and be able to spend time with my family (my sister and her family, my father and younger brother).

And was blessed to meet my love and soulmate, my wife Debbie and my beloved son Ricky who at the time was one-year and five months old. Debbie and I were previously married; we fell in-love and decided to make a fresh start. We attended the Rio Abajo Methodist Church, my childhood church, and we frequently visited Debbie’s church, the St. Christopher Episcopal Church. During this time we both knew of God but didn’t know God.

I completed graduate school and the best part was that I celebrated this achievement with my family and friends. Then after 21 years of military service I retired on May 1, 1998. It was blessing to end my military career at home and celebrate this significant milestone with family and friends. After I retired I worked for a U.S. government contractor for a year.

My Christian journey

Debbie found a church

On May 31, 1999, my family and I relocated to the United States. In the fall of 1999 Debbie rededicated her life to God. I was not there yet. Everybody’s journey and timing are different. Anyway, Debbie and her mom, Ma Wilson, talked by phone every weekend. Ma Wilson was a devout Christian and every time they talked, she’d say to her daughter, “Have you found a church yet? You all have to belong to a church.”

So Debbie was looking for a local church. One day she was at a Christian gift shop and she mentioned to the owner that she was looking for a church. He invited her to his church and gave her the church pamphlet. When I got home from work Debbie could not wait to tell me that she found us a church. And she couldn’t wait to talk with her mom to tell her that she found a church.

I was baptized

North Stafford Baptist Church was a small church filled with the Holy Spirit. Pastor Gary was an anointed preacher and teacher. I knew Bible stories but I learned the Word under his spiritual leadership. We became members and were actively involved in all church activities and ministries, i.e., Sunday school teachers, Bible Study, Vacation Bible School, church leadership.

As my faith grew, so did my relationship with God. I got to know God in a close and personal way.  My parents christened me when I was a baby and as a teenager I completed confirmation. However, when I rededicated my life to God and Jesus, I wanted to get baptized. On August 13, 2006 I was baptized.

Shortly thereafter the church leadership asked me to be a Deacon. I was totally surprised and overwhelmed. At that time I didn’t feel ready to assume such great responsibility, so I turned it down.

I was ordained as a Deacon

Pastor Gary fell ill and was no longer able to fulfill his pastoral duties, and the church changed. Debbie and I prayed about it and God gave us the okay to leave the church. We visited several churches and in March 2008 we joined First Mount Zion Baptist Church. I was involved in the men’s group and small group. Then I became small group leader.

Thereafter I was nominated to become a Deacon. Again I was surprised and overwhelmed. At first I could not believe this was happening a second time. This made me think that God really wanted me to do this. So, I prayed about this nomination and the Lord confirmed that this was the next step I needed to take in developing my relationship with Him. 

On September 29, 2013 I was ordained as a Deacon. This was one of the highlights of my life.

Looking back… It was all God’s Plan

God knew my heart

Now looking back at the decision I made in 1990, I clearly see now that it was all God’s plan. God knew that this decision would bless me in many ways and most important, would draw me closer to Him. A decision that was solely about my career progression really turned out to be about me re-establishing and developing my relationship with Jesus Christ. This journey all started with being assigned to Panama and my marriage to Debbie.

God knew my heart back then when I was 33 years old. He knew that one day I’d turn my life over to Him. So He patiently waited 15 years on me. God never gave up on me.  And guess what… He’ll never give up on you. God loves me and He loves you too.

Through my life I have been abundantly blessed but I have also faced loss, adversity, challenges, obstacles, disappointments, hurt, pain and tears. For many years I dealt with all bad things on my own. But once I surrendered all to God, that changed because God is with me all the time, in the good and in the bad.

Honor and glory to God

Over the past 11 years I have been blessed to be in leadership positions and I don’t take that lightly or for granted. I honor and glorify God in everything I do and in every decision I make. Every morning the first thing I do is thank God for another day. I pray to Him and ask Him to guide me through the day. Then I read my Bible. Before every meeting, I pray, asking God for wisdom, to put the right words in my mouth and for favorable results.

Keep God first, be thankful and pray

We all have our own road to travel. This was my journey. I always tell my son Ricky to keep God first in his life, no matter what happens; always pray about everything and be thankful. I am always reminded of 1 Thessalonians 5:16-17 NIV, “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

Change is good 

Carlos felt stuck in his career and he made the decision to change so he could advance, and a ripple of blessings followed. Sometimes when you feel stuck, it may be time for a change, to go in a different direction.

Sometimes it’s difficult to leave what you know, what you are accustomed to, your comfort zone. But sometimes feeling stuck is what it takes to advance, move forward, achieve great things, realize your dreams, or reach your goals.

So stuck is a good thing because it might just lead to change that will bring good results. When we are stuck and want to do something about it, then we start exploring options, looking beyond limitations, we’re open to new ideas and ready to take a chance.

Many times we resist change because of fear, doubt, uncertainty, complacency, or laziness. But for the most part change is good. Change helps us grow, makes us do things we thought we couldn’t do, and many times helps us reach our potential.

So if you feel stuck, consider making a change. You may be pleasantly surprised and abundantly blessed.

Remember God because He has not forgotten you

When you are considering making a change, remember God because He has not forgotten you. God loves you, He wants the best for you and He will help you succeed in whatever you decide to do. But for this to happen, you first have to accept His Son Jesus as your Lord and Savior. Are you ready? Go for it! This is a decision that will change your life and your future in ways you never imagined.

One more thing…

Carlos, my husband, has always been a good man but nothing beats being a man of God. I’ve seen the amazing work God has done in him, for him and through him. Too AWESOME!!! God is good!!! And God will do the same for you.

Bible Reflection

“… the Lord will make you the head and not the tail, and you will always be on the top and never at the bottom.” Deuteronomy 28:13 NLT

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”” Jeremiah 29:11 NLT

“For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16 NLT

“The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent.” 2 Peter 3:9 NLT

Say & Believe this powerful message: “Greater is Jesus in Me!

From Deb’s Red Heart to yours…

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