My past relationships were awful. There was lots of abuse and lots of struggle.
I contemplated suicide a lot. I tried to kill myself. I was further and further into drugs. I cut myself all the time because I just couldn’t handle it anymore.
And then I became a Christian. I remember going to church for the first time. I finally felt I was good enough and that I was loved by something so much bigger than anything.
I didn’t really have a solid family structure. I was just running around getting in trouble all the time.
In October 2010, my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer.
I wasn’t a Christian. I remember it was late April. My truck broke down. I had just worked 8 hours at Pizza Hut. My brother hadn’t had a job in a year. I was trying to pay the bills for both of us. And I was completely failing at it. My gas was out. My power was out. My bank account was in the negative. I hadn’t eaten in who knows how long. I didn’t want to go inside my house because it was pitch dark. It was cold. My mom was so sick. I had no one there.
I was trying to control all these things in my life: finances, my relationships, my friendships, everything. I just broke down. I just lost it. “I can’t do this!” I was crying out to God. “God, I am giving you control. I can’t do this anymore. I don’t want to do this anymore. I can’t control anything in my life.” I was depending on myself, and I was just failing.
THEIR STORY BEGINS
I was working at Pizza Hut. Sarah was my manager. I was her favorite employee.
Sarah: He was the worst employee ever. He was always late, and missing work. Of course, I didn’t realize at the time it was because his mom was sick.
Dane: She had begun attending Sandals Church, and she invited me to check it out.
A HUGE BLOW
Dane: Soon after, my mom ended up passing away. That was such a blow. She was the only one who ever raised me. She was my rock. I did not know how to handle it. Sarah and I had started dating three days before. She was there, praying for me, encouraging me. I had my friends from Sandals Church gather around me to show me love. Half of me wanted to drown everything. I just wanted to go drink until I passed out. Then there was the other half pulling from Sarah and my friends, telling me that there’s something better to come from this. And so, luckily I got pulled out of that darkness.
A few months later I started serving in Pipeline, the elementary school program at Sandals Church, which terrified me. I remember thinking, "Talk to kids? I can’t talk to kids! What am I supposed to say? I don’t know anything about the Bible."
I was a little intimidated at first, but it only got better with time. It was so cool to watch kids learn and grow in God. I’ve learned so much about my own faith as well. It's one of the best decisions I've made.
Sarah: Holy smokes! I love serving in Pipeline. Every weekend I am incredibly excited to see youngsters asking questions, making decisions and having deep conversations with our volunteers about Christ. Every service I could see God working through the volunteers. It’s amazing!
Not only do I have a family through Pipeline, but I find myself growing through Christ every weekend I am able to help teach a lesson.
Dane: I felt God’s love. It totally brought me out of that dark place.
Sandals Church saved my life.
DATING WITHOUT SEX
Sarah: For the first time ever, I realized a relationship could be something besides sex. God called us to be pure and to do things differently than we had in the past, to base our relationship on love and God’s Word.
If you would have told me that I was going to be in a relationship for three years without sex, I would have said you were crazy, and that it’s not going to happen.
It is a struggle, but it is so worth it. In the future we are going to be getting married. Marriage has always been something to look forward to. Soon...
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