By Justin Hullman
I was raised by a single mom on the south side of Omaha, Nebraska. Despite not ever meeting my biological father, my mom assured me that I was loved and cared for. My mom’s unconditional and deep-hearted passion for me was radically expressed daily. However, as I entered into middle school, I began to let my “fatherlessness” become my identity. I was insecure, angry, and confused. I couldn’t understand why my real dad couldn’t step up and love me like my mom. In searching for who I was, I was trapped in thinking about who I wasn’t: a boy with a loving father.
Growing up, I knew of God but I never knew Him on a personal level. It wasn’t until my freshman year of high school that I met my real Father. A buddy of mine introduced me to a Christian rap group by the name of “116” and we dove into the lyrics. We talked about passages such as Romans 1:16 and discussed what it meant to be loved by Jesus so much that He took all of our sins to the cross and paid our eternal debt. After a year of asking question after question, my friend invited me to a Christian conference known as “Dare2Share.” After being immersed with the power of the Gospel for two days, my world was rocked. The leader of the conference painted the picture about how God is our Dad. He loves us. He cares for us. He does not become weary of our mistakes. He does run when we call out for his presence. God has adopted into his family and that family is eternal. How cool! I no longer needed to be burdened by not knowing my “real dad.” Why? Because I do know my real Dad!
But let me tell you, even after “Dare2Share,” there wasn’t a specific day that I fully came to Christ. It was a process. God used my analytical mindset and challenged me for about a month after all of the conference’s excitement.. That very same weekend, I plugged into a church that had a passionate youth pastor and brothers and sisters in Christ who were all going through life just like I was. Within the church, God directed me down the path of completely surrendering my life to Him. Through deep conversations with fellow Christians and intimate time in God’s Word, I became passionate about what Jesus had done for me. Everything began to hit me even more. I was in awe of the power of the Gospel—how God sent himself to earth through Jesus Christ, lived a perfect life, payed the ultimate price for my sin upon the cross, suffered an excruciating death, conquered the grave by rising three days later, and then promising that He will be with us always (Matthew 28:20). Wow, my real Dad loves me. He loves me so much that He wants to be with me no matter what—through thick and thin, He is still God and He will always be my heavenly Father.
Wow, powerful! Justin, thank you for sharing. He truly is a good, good Father; this is who He is. And… we’re loved by him; this is who we are.