I’m David Wood, and this is how I’ve been living deeply.
The Holy Spirit took the drinking away from me. It just took one time of crying, getting on my face. It was the last time I saw my mother, over four years ago. I had flown back because we thought she was going to die soon. She’d taken herself off dialysis thinking she’d die in a few weeks, but she lived for two years, finally passing in March 2020. I told her all these memories I had of her growing up; just how she was always there. Every meal was cooked, all my and my sisters’ needs taken care of. And she just wept. I remember it so clearly. She had just wasted away to nothing, and she said to me, ‘I can die now. I needed to hear this. I’m at peace.’ Then she said, ‘David, your two little girls- are you doing what I did for you in their lives? Will they come and say this to you when you’re dying? Because believe me, you’ll need this.’ And it just broke me- I mean, it absolutely broke me. I went into my old bedroom in my parents’ house here in Knoxville, got down on my face and just wept. I never pray in tongues, I’m not a charismatic Christian, but I was just vomiting in tongues. And I just asked God to take the drinking away. I stood up from that and I’ve never had a sip of alcohol since. I’ve never been tempted again. I wasn’t an alcoholic, but drinking was a crutch for me. It was a way I would deal with PTSD. I wasn’t drinking for enjoyment- I was just a very depressed person who would get up, up, up to get things done. And then drinking was the crash-landing point. So once or twice a month I would just drink myself to sleep with a liter of Jack Daniels, and that was kind of my celebration when I got a deal done or something. I had a lot of friends die early on, before I even went into the Marine Corps. I just had a lot of stuff that I had never really processed. I had done drugs decades ago, and later I thought, ‘Well, alcohol’s legal. I’m not going against God when I drink.’ It was an escape, but it was hurting my walk. I was numbing myself instead of growing. That talk with my mom was part of a process where I started asking, ‘Why? Why am I trying to hide?’
You have to understand, as a teenager, I was the black sheep of my family. I was into fighting and using drugs. I needed the Marine Corps. Actually, it was the Marine Corps or else- a judge basically told me so when I was in court, in trouble for fighting, right after high school. One of my friends had gotten jumped and I cracked the attacker over the head with a Magnum flashlight. I was so wild. My poor dad -the senior pastor of Cedar Springs!- I can’t believe he was able to continue doing ministry at some of these points. There were times when he’d tell me, ‘I didn’t know if you were dead in a ditch. I hadn’t heard from you.’ And then he’d just preach and live out the Gospel. He always accepted me. And he told me something that will always stick with me: Acceptance does not mean approval. Even when guys around town were like ‘You’ve got to let David go’, he never did. My mom always fought for me, too. I was locked up a lot for getting in fights. I lived and partied hard. But deep down, I always knew what was right. Any moment of my life, if I’d have died, I’d have been in Paradise with God. I never doubted Him. I always had faith; I just wasn’t living it. Any parent who’s in that situation can learn from my dad, by the way: Keep loving your kid! As Pastor James said in a sermon recently, if you’re not discipling them, someone else is. My mom would tell me in her later years, ‘You have so much in your head from listening to your dad!’ She was right. Even if it didn’t look like it, well, it just gets in there. I was amazingly blessed to have parents who spoke into their children’s hearts.
My journey of walking more closely with the Lord -and trying to help others by turning my studies into street sermons- really began about five and a half years ago. I was living in Hong Kong, which is where I was running my business from. When I woke up before 5 am, the first light that I saw was Scripture from the Bible apps on my phone. (This is still my daily habit, by the way.) So I read the Scripture, then deciphered how God was speaking to me. I would do this breakdown while I was walking to the gym. I would read the Word and never do any business or read any email until I had prayed, meditated and had my mind following the Spirit. Once God started teaching me how to be metaphysically aligned, I just wanted to share it- to scream it from the mountaintop- because I had been kind of coaxed into this ‘mind, body, spirit’ paradigm since I was a kid. It’s pushed on us everywhere we turn. But if the mind is leading the way and our body’s following and our spirit’s tailing Charlie, our moral compass is going to be derailed. Especially if we don’t have an accountability structure; if we aren’t plugged in and dialed in, which 99 percent of us aren’t. So ‘spirit, mind, body’ is our actual metaphysical alignment, and God was showing me this. One day I was on my way to the gym and on a whim said, ‘I’m going to share this.’ Well, it caught on among a lot of the people connected to me on social media. So I started recording and posting these brief training sessions, street sermons, whatever you want to call them. It helped me to go back and watch them and constantly regurgitate what I’d read. Yes, I was helping other people, but I was also preaching to myself. I’d occasionally do Q and As and of course open my DMs for people to reach out to me. I ended up going through most of the New Testament over a couple years. It really helped guys, especially, understand they don’t need to carry and hold so much baggage in their lives.