After two years, Seth’s mother moved the family to Shreveport, LA – a comfortable and familiar place for his mother who had spent her formative years there. While in Louisiana, Seth and his sisters witnessed their still young mother endure unhealthy and abusive relationships. At times they were homeless, and often wondered where their next meal would come from.
The necessity to survive motivated the children to begin working at a young age so they could help provide for the family. With the attitude that they could financially provide for themselves better outside of the family, both of Seth’s sisters chose to drop out of high school and continue working. At age fourteen, he followed in their footsteps and ended his education early. By fifteen, he had adopted the attitude that he could take care of himself alone and decided to move out.
He joined his sister in Dallas, where he found work as a bag boy at a grocery store. He was young, ambitious, and eager to learn—a recipe for success in the company where he worked. With those qualities and a similar past, the store’s manager (who Seth looked up to for his six-figure salary and a shiny Mercedes) quickly took notice of him and began to mentor him. Seth’s drive to separate himself from his past by achieving as much success as possible had blossomed into a career.
By twenty-four, Seth was the youngest store director in the company, and by twenty-five he had a six-figure salary of his own.
Seth had reached the summit of the mountain he had set out to conquer. He had raised himself from homelessness to having every material possession he desired. Which made it all the more surprising when he found himself completely unhappy with his life, despite having everything he thought he wanted.
“In my twenties I didn’t know who God was and I had no relationship with him. I was kind of an agnostic, really,” Seth says looking back at this time in his life. “What I found was that it didn’t seem like anything was lacking for me from a worldly view, but I wasn’t happy. It didn’t matter that I had success in business, or that I had material things. There was still something that just wasn’t there.”
He had always had a deep love for fitness, and began down the path to become a physical therapy assistant. By this time, the emotional struggle of having achieved success and choosing to go back to school had taken its toll on Seth. He felt that leaving a lucrative paycheck behind to go back to school was a step backward, so he began to bargain with God for security, saying: “If you help me get settled in this new career, I’ll go to church.”
“I went from making money to being poor,” Seth says laughing. “It was devastating! And, it’s funny, I always tell people that was probably the best time in my life where my brain didn’t get in the way. I was so hungry for God.”
Seth held up his end of the deal, and walked into the “prettiest church [he] could find” in 2001.
“It was difficult to even walk through the doors because even after all of my successes, I still felt unworthy because of my childhood,” Seth said. “Like I wasn’t good enough to be there.”
Nevertheless, he found the courage to enter the building and was greeted by an older man who explained he might enjoy the later, more contemporary service, and showed him to a young professionals Sunday school class. There, the people of the group loved him, accepted him, and made him feel comfortable. And so he kept going back.
By this time, Seth was beginning to make amends with his mother, and she began sharing her faith with her son.
“She’s a very strong Christian woman,” Seth says of his mother. “She had a relationship with God early on in life, and then a lot of life stuff happened and she strayed away. Then I think it was just that period of her life where she had gotten into so much stuff that she felt like she was just shameful and unworthy – that whole guilt thing that people get when they have trouble in life and they do stuff that they probably shouldn’t be doing. It took her a long time to realize that He forgives… We have an absolutely great relationship now.”
It was a combination of the acceptance he’d felt at church and reading a book his mom gave him called The Life of Jesus, that helped him begin to understand what following Jesus looked like and eventually led him to give his life to Jesus Christ.
Shortly after accepting Christ into his heart, Seth discovered a new feeling of satisfaction.
“Christ gave me a purpose—a sense of direction,” Seth said. “He healed an empty place in my heart, giving me a sense of worth and a reason why I, or anyone, would go through so much pain and so many challenges. What I found was that no matter what successes I was able to achieve or whatever I put in my life to fill my emptiness, nothing gave me the peace and joy like having a close relationship with Him.”
In the early days of his walk with God, Seth began to feel freedom from his character flaws and lifestyle choices and felt motivated to serve and obey God. “I would go to sleep and pray that God would wake me up the next day so that I could serve him,” Seth said. “And I’d wake up and thank God and ask Him what I could do for Him that day. Now when I reflect on it… that was probably the time in my life that I’ve had the least material wise, but I didn’t want or need for anything.”
A couple from another church in the area heard about Seth and his story and sort of adopted him. The husband was a doctor and so he encouraged Seth to continue to pursue his degree and his newfound career choice. But on top of the encouragement, God provided financially through the couple for Seth.
Periodically, Seth would receive a check for $75 or $100, always at the time he was in need, and never more than he was in need of.
“That was around the time I started learning about tithing,” Seth said. “I was tithing and I had no money! I didn’t know if I’d have enough money to go from week to week, but I was so focused on God, I was like ‘He will provide.’”
A short time later, Seth got a job managing a rehab company. After several years of working there and continuing to attend church and growing in his faith, he found himself surrounded by many unethical circumstances at work—circumstances that he could have participated in for financial gain. But he knew that it wasn’t honoring to God, so despite being at the pinnacle of success, he decided to leave the company.
Thanks to God’s incredible provision, Seth had enough savings to take a year off of work. During that year he participated in triathlons, and after finding more success he traveled to Beijing in 2011 to compete as a part of Team USA in the Men’s 35-39 Age Group International Triathlon Union (ITU) World Championships.
When it was time to return to Dallas, the job market had dwindled. The company Seth was previously working for offered him a great position with incredible pay, but everything about it felt wrong. He sought out godly counsel and determined that the position was not what God was calling him to. He had no idea what he would do for work as he didn’t see any other opportunities, but trusted God and turned down the position.
Two days later, Seth received a call for what turned out to be the perfect opportunity at a hospital in Houston. God honored Seth’s obedience by providing more than he was expecting.
Shortly after arriving in Houston, in early 2013, Seth met his beautiful wife Lucky at a Starbucks coffee shop. She was in Houston to finish her degree, and he describes meeting her as, “upgrading from a flip-phone to an iPhone.” They both are amazed at how God brought them together and how their love for one another continues to grow. In August they will celebrate their first wedding anniversary.
Looking back on his life, Seth says he can clearly see that God was using all of the experiences of his past to prepare him for his future.
Today Seth and Lucky are regular attenders of Clear Creek Community Church, which they discovered in October of 2015. Seth is again a full-time student and is currently pursuing his Doctor of Chiropractic degree at Texas Chiropractic College.
He and his wife are still looking for new ways that God will use them.
“Ultimately as I have gone through my walk, I’ve learned that as long as I stay obedient and my motives stay pure in honoring Him, my mind, body and soul are complete,” Seth said. “I’m not saying there are no challenges, but He has given me the knowledge that I don’t have to complicate life, and I can trust that He is putting me where I need to be.”