Everyone says that they knew me… and the honest truth is, i didn’t even know myself. i would wake up in the morning and not know the purpose for my existence in this world, there was no purpose to the life I once lived. I followed the leader instead of being the leader for others to follow.
Growing up was hectic. My parents divorced when i was two and from there, it all started for my brother and i. As many divorced kids, we knew how to manipulate our parents. My dads MO was money, where my mom provided for us emotionally. The anger in our house was as deep as the love in our home, resulting in the brew of violence and rage.
i was the trouble student, the class clown. i utilized my homelife as an excuse for my school life. Any attention was better than no attention and it fueled me. By the third grade i was exposed to the chains of pornography and masturbation. i started watching pornography and masturbating. i thought it was great and had no consequence to it as time went on. i was constantly the outsider, being singled out, craving confirmation and acceptance, but pushing away every possibility. i was removed from school after school and lost all of my friends resulting in me making friends with my brothers crew. By 7th grade getting high and drunk and partying was my norm! My ego was bigger than all 5’3″ of me walking into my freshman year of high school.
i then used my anger in a big way, playing varsity football until my junior year when i broke my back. Around this time, there was a very pretty girl that i wanted to impress and one day she asked me to go to YL (Young Life, a non-profit Christian organization), and trying to win this girl over, of course, i said Yes. i would have never known what this one night would have brought into my life! i was accepted, i was loved, i was wanted.. could this be real ?
That summer i was convinced to go to a camp with YL at Carolinas Point. During the day we could do any and all activities you could think of, then at night we would get a short word. i was petrified to learn about this “God,” especially after all i had done. We would hear the word of God, but at this time i had no idea who this, “God” was. i knew that he was the ruler of our universe, but i didn’t know if He was real or not. i remember one night when the speaker of the camp talked about the bible. i thought the bible was just a bunch of made up stories and fairy tales. i had no idea that the bible was made up of true encounters from when God himself came down in the flesh, known as Jesus Christ. It was the little things like that, that caught my attention and made me really listen and try to understand what God is all about and why so many people are happy with His presence. There was one night when the speaker was speaking about filling your life twith everything that you want, and that even if you fill your life with all of the good things in life, it still will not be good enough. It will not be good enough because the Lord and savior Jesus Christ needs to be included! That really through me for a loop and made me think that i wasn’t even in the slightest way important in this ginormous world!
What happened next wrecked me to the core. We were told to find a place on the compound and sit for 20 minutes. Right then i got hit by a bus, i finally felt so loved and full for the first time in my life! i couldn’t hold it in any longer, i just sobbed. Let me put it this way, if someone told me to stop crying or i would die, i would have died that night. When the 20 minutes was up i still could not stop. The feelings that were inside of me were just so overwhelming in the best way possible. i made my way back to the cabin stunned with emotion and freedom, but no explanation.
The next day, i had no idea what had happened so i asked my leaders. They went on to explain that what i felt the night before was the Holy Spirit. My response was,” the Holy what?!.” It was the best high i have ever been on, i felt free, understood, loved, new, refreshed, and whole for the first time in my life. Whatever this feeling was that i was feeling, i wanted it for the rest of my life! i then bowed my head and started to pray for the first time on my own. i talked to God about still not understanding who He was and asked God to please show me that he was real because whatever he made me feel the night before and all day that day, was totally worth dedicating my life to. The prayer ended and i slowly looked up at the sky and was amazed at what i saw. i saw stars… i saw millions upon trillions of stars, God made every star visible to my eyes! At that moment the biggest smile came across my face and i said, “IGHT BIG DAWG, you got me!” So, the day that we were leaving, i stood up in front of all of my peers and leaders and said, I am Brock Nichols and I have decided to dedicate my life to God and let him give me a new heart!
After i made the best decision of my life, i was radically changed by the amazing grace of God! I went home and just didn’t care to partake in the bad things that i once revolved my life around. Which meant that i lost all of my “friends” at the time and continued in life. As far as football goes, i went from being a normal high school player to a player that started getting recruited by colleges to play for them. i went from being a follower to a leader. i went from being someone that had nothing to look forward to, to having a future! i walked in life with confidence instead of confusion.
Out of high school, i went to a college called Delaware State University on a full athletic scholarship to play football. i grew the most as a person while i was at DSU for multiple reasons. DSU was an HBCU (Historically Black College University) which opened my eyes to other cultures that i would have never been exposed to. i was the minority and life is different when you are the minority. Mainly though, i plugged into a great church in Dover, DE by the name of United Church, the Pastors saw something in me that i did not see in myself.
As I was training one morning i was asked to help lead at a youth camp called Ignite. Now, usually when i train, i only think about training but during Ignite Camp, i could only think about getting back to Ignite to serve these students and most importantly God! The first week went by then the second week came! In the middle of the second week, a pastor was giving a message on callings (purpose in life) and he continued to talk about his calling into full-time ministry. After he was done preaching, he began to say that he was going to do an alter call (going to where the Pastor is preaching to declare your faith publicly). He called all of the Student Pastors and Lead Pastors up to the front of the room. At this time, i am now in the back of the room basically by myself because i was sitting with my Pastors, and my heart starts beating. The pastor speaking then says that he is going to do an alter call for those that feel like they are called to full-time ministry, and my hearts starts beating even faster. At this point, i’m telling myself that there is no way that this is for me because i am here for the students and to serve God. But, then the Pastor continues to speak. He tells us that if you feel like God is telling you to hop into full-time ministry, then on the count of three go find your Student or Lead Pastor. One, my heart starts beating so fast and hard that i thought people could see it from outside my shirt. Two, my heart is beating crazy fast and now i could barely breathe. Three, i just got up without even thinking and started to head towards my Lead Pastor. I get to him and he looks up and the biggest small hits his face and he asked me,” What’s good bro, what are you feeling?!” I just looked at him and said,” i have no idea, my heart is beating so fast and i cannot breathe!” He just smiled at me and starts to pray over me. While he was praying over me, God spoke to me through visions and said ” You are going to become a Pastor and lead a church, a church of all colors and ages, and not just young but also old.” At that moment, I walked to the back of the room and just fell to the ground in disbelief and wholeness. I will become a Pastor…ME! So many things from that point until now have confirmed this calling on my life. It is a huge calling but God has my life, so i go as He goes.
That sophomore season of football went by and this time the coaches were different. The coaching staff that recruited me got fired because we were losing too many games. This new coach came in and told us that no one was safe and that he was going to take scholarships if he did not see you as a fit for the program. I loved that because i have always worked for what i have, and it was once again time to work! Spring came around and i started the whole spring and then it was time to go home for the summer. We had our exit meetings with our head coach. I had my car packed up to go home to Naples, FL from Dover, DE, i pulled up to the coach’s offices with intentions of a quick meeting. I get into the head coach’s office and he tells me to take a seat, then proceeds to tell me that he is taking my scholarship away. His response was that there was no explanation needed and to sign the dotted line. So, i signed the line and left DSU.
So now i’m in Naples, FL with nowhere to finish my college career and am left with the decision of either continuing to play college football or start my career in ministry. I had peace with all of this because my life was truly in God’s hands and even though everything that i had been working for had just been ripped out of my hands, my future was still in God’s hands. About a month went by and i was in the car with a friend of mine jamming to some rap music, and all of a sudden this voice (thought) appeared in my head reminding me of the calling God placed on my life and that He wanted to do more through me and He would use football to do it! That was the nudge that i needed and the word from God that i needed to keep me going at that time. Right then and there, i looked over at my boy and said,” i am going to play big time college football!” Another month went by before i got any sort of confirmation on where i would be playing the rest of my college career at. Then, through a connection of a connection (of a connection), God opened up a spot for me to go play at The University of South Florida in Tampa, FL!
Two years later, i am still fighting every single day of my life to live the best life possible to glorify God! I am currently on student staff with YL (Young Life) the organization that God used to save my life! I am also plugged in to my Local Church here in Tampa, FL called Radiant Church and trying to be obedient to everything God puts in my path. I have one more season left to play for USF and then it’s God’s plan after i graduate! Every day is a day to better myself and to continue to grow into what God has called me to be!
All of this to say, i am redeemed of all my wrong doings by the ultimate redeemer, God! My relationship with my mom is restored and God is even working in her life now! My life now is far from perfect but is an absolute blessing! Drugs and alcohol are no challenge to me anymore because God has lifted those burdens off of my chest. Masturbation and pornography are also not a match for God and i have also stepped on top of those as well, in Jesus’ name! Every single day is a new battle and a new day to surrender everything that i deal with to God, but it is the most rewarding life to live! The sky is the limit because God has my life in His hands! I would not change anything in my life from the time i was born to the time i am writing my testimony, God has used it all and will continue to use it all! And yes, all of my “i” are lowercased because i am nothing without God with a capital G! Lord God, thank you for saving my life for the sake of yours!