So instead of holding on to hurt and disappointments I decided to grab hold of hope. I moved forward and just like that God filled in the gaps. The cd began to take a shape of it's own and every thing was centered around the Grow In Pains concept. So there you have it, not the whole story but rather the whole journey in a glimpse. Grow In Pains recorded in 3 studios, 2 years in the making, 2 executive engineers,6 producers, 14 featured artist, 15 songs, no intro, outro or interludes. And I just can't wait for you to push play.
Turns out the break away from the studio was just what the doctor ordered. During this hiatus I focused on the basic disciplines of the faith. I also began to download and listen to great music from other artists. And the most amazing thing took place, I became a fan of the genre again. When you exert so much energy on the creative end you often run the risk of losing your first love. But it was through listening to a variety of gifted artists that my passion was restored. When you love what you do, it makes a great difference. Fully recharged, I now had the strength and resilience required to face the obstacles preventing me from completing the album. I had always struggled with rejection since a child and usually attempted to avoid situations that would exploit this insecurity. In other words, I attempted to avoid pain and disappointment as much as possible. From now on, I had decided to face the worst of fears. I had to trust God plans over my own. Once we make up our minds to wait on God, trust me, He will deliver exceedingly beyond what we could ever imagine.
My initial plan was to have Grow In Pains ready to launch by the spring of 2013 however things just didn't work out that way. For one I had several artists back out of collaboration commitments which cause me to have to shelf some songs. Then there was fellow artist J'son dropped his album with the same title in 2012.(My original title was Growing Pains) I actually contemplated changing the entire title but through the wise council of my friends and prayer decided to stick with what God gave me. Then there was the passing of my brother in the fall of 2011. My personal life was such a roller coaster, emotionally, mentally and physically. I ended up having to take a break away from the music to regroup.
Once back in NC, I reconnected with good friend Quiet Storm, who also was instrumental in ministering to me during my own personal storm. During my tenure in Virginia, he consistently sent me his cd's. Listening to his music inspired me beyond measure spiritually and creatively. Working with him was another learning experience also, as he tutored me in various recording techniques and not to mention that Studio 4013 has an anointing equivalent to a sanctuary. We went straight to work on the Labor Pains Mixtape. Not a mixtape in the classic sense of the word but rather a literal mix of both old and new compositions I had written. I was blessed to have a talented host of features including: Bizzop ,Pastor Todd, Quiet Storm, Lady E, Phil Good Thoughts, and Sk-illz. Anxious to get something out o the public, I rushed to put out "Labor Pains" and made it available as a free download on multiple sites including www.Holyculture.net. "Labor Pains" wasn't the most polished project but it surely was the most passionate. Released in the spring of 2011 as the first of a three series compilation, I gained valuable insight to the music industry inside & out. Armed with this information I begin laying the ground work for the forth coming project, "Grow In Pains".
You can start playing the Rocky theme music now except substitute it with Marvin Sapp's "Never Would've Made It". The words of this song became a source of healing and restoration. And as some the lyrics stated, I too had become wiser, stronger & better. Recharged, my passion for the word of God had taken it's rightful place at the center of my life. At the time I was still uninspired to pursue the music, though, until I had a necessary conversation with Bizzop Latta. It was during one of our many conversations with he stated these words," Stop, it ain't over". Those three powerful words resonated in my spirit and immediately became the inspiration for a song in which we collaborated together on. And just I was led to move to Virginia, the word of God had directed me to move back to NC.
So let me back up a bit. When I first moved to Virginia, I was having trouble sleeping. I was waking up at precisely the same time in the wee hours of the morning. Naturally I began to seek the Lord for understanding. It was during this season of prayer & fasting that God revealed that I was led to Virginia to be sifted. I arrogantly accepted the challenge, assuming my faith had prepared me to face anything. Yet, there I was broken, defeated & discouraged. I had not fully counted the cost. According to my calculations the price was higher than I had expected to pay. I had realized that a family is the most valuable thing in a man's life. As I relayed the sifting revelation to my dad during a phone call, he gave me a priceless jewel of wisdom. His words were:" son during the sifting process, it's not what's loss that counts but rather what's left." These words struck a chord with the passage of scripture I was mediating on in Genesis 32. Like, Jacob, I had reached a place in life where I felt alone and just like that the Lord reveals that He's right by your side. As I considered all that was loss, I was clearly reminded that I still had God. Through my shortcomings, through my failures, the Father had not abandoned me. Suddenly that weight was lifted and the burden was eased. With God came hope, with hope joy and with joy came strength.
The reality of the ending of my marriage didn't sink in until the summer of 2009 as I stood in the door and watched as my wife and kids pull off in a loaded car, moving back to North Carolina. It was one the most painful images to absorb. Then all the weight of this world came crashing down on me. I was broken man and it seemed as if all that was left was the music but even it abandoned me. I was informed that the server crashed at the studio, destroying all the files including the 17 tracks I had laid down. That news right there sealed the deal, I had fo embrace full failure. I had failed as a husband, father, minister and a dreamer. The series of these events had poisoned my heart, mind and soul. I found myself once again in this dark place with know where or nobody to turn to but the Father. But it's hard to talk to God when you're angry and discouraged. Especially when it seems like He's no longer listening to you. So I had to return to the place where I first heard His voice, the bible.
Then in 2008 the roof came off and believe me when it rains it pours. Though I was a flourishing Deans List student, the juggle of home, work and school became overwhelming at the time & eventually I ended up dropping out of the program. But even beneath that was an even more underlying issue with the quickly dissolving state of my marriage. The thread had become loose and neither one of us had the resolve to restore what was clearly broken. So in the fall of 2008, we made the sober decision to separate. It was a decision which left me full of repentance and many nights and mornings filled with tearful prayer requests. But the damage was done and the only choices left was to be healed or be bitter. I chose healing.....
Overall the move to Virginia was a blessing. We were in strange, unfamiliar territory with no friends or family in proximity. As a family we had learned to depend on God and Him alone. We endured the initial hardships of starting over and eventually found the stability needed to sustain. The wife and I were both making more money than we ever had at the time. The kids were in good schools and the future was looking quite promising. On top of that I maintained contact with my co-laborers in the ministry and even was able to complete the recording of the cd through brief visits home.
In the midst of recording my cd with Deacon Authority my life took an unexpected turn. While looking into a different career path, I responded to an add from The Aviation Maintenance Institute. I was promptly contacted & informed that once accepted, I would have to choose between the two campuses closest to me, Atlanta, Ga or Norfolk, Va. That totally threw me off because I expected to stay in state. However it lined up well with a prophetic dream the wife had earlier about a move to Virginia Beach. So just like that I was packing my bags and me and the family were moving to Virginia. It was tough to break ties with the newly founded bonds developed through the music ministry but I believed that this was a move ordained by God.