The past still lingers in my hometown to this day. Little glimpses of certain buildings, certain smells and follow requests on Facebook send my mind back in time, back to the past. I often look back and think how stupid I was and how awful I was. I’m surprised I am who I am or where I am. My past not only haunts me it now haunts my wife. Any person we come across in town my wife doesn’t know, she automatically asks how I know them or were they from my past. Sometimes yes and sometimes no.

It pains me to know that the version of myself from my past would still have a hold in my new life. I know our past can shape us or break us. We can succumb to it on a daily basis or fight it till the end of our lives. I never want to go back to that world. The life I lead now is far greater. I want to be the good kid from a good family with a dark past but a bright future! I’m reminded of who I was and where I am from but I do not live in the old but look forward to the future.

The big, bad & ugly is in the past, it’s what helped shape me, grow me and helped me to learn. It’s who I want to be or where I want to be is what I strive for. Each new day is a new challenge, a new process, a new season and a chance at Hope. I may be scarred from my past but I am not who I was and only the result of someone who made it out by the grace of God. Each day I have to die to the old me and follow after Christ in order to be the best version of myself which in turn I pray helps others. – K. Neil