pastor John's House is the personal website of Pastor John D. Clark Sr., of Burlington, NC
pastor John's House is the personal website of Pastor John D. Clark Sr., of Burlington, NC

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John Wallace

"It's Not Yours to Carry!"

I just donít know where this story starts. I think it would help to remember that this is a story of God and not of John. With that in mind, Iíll start with the circumstances of my birth. From the start of my motherís pregnancy, doctors told her not to get attached to me. At the time, they didnít know why my motherís immune system was attacking me but they were sure I would die. Since they didnít know why this was happening, my mother was not given the appropriate medicine and her pregnancy suffered. At every doctorís visit she was told, ďDo not get attached to this baby.Ē Well, God had something else in mind. I was born prematurely into this world, and for the first year or so of my life I was attached to machines to monitor my vital signs and to help keep me going. But, I lived.

From what Iím told, my father was an addict since I was born. I have no memories of him any other way. I was always trying to look up to him and to get him sober, but I was always let down. At a very early age, I became known in my family as cold and sarcastic. I never let emotions get the better of me unless it was just sheer anger (and I had a lot of that growing up). This had the effect of making me seem older than I was, and that was always something I took a lot of pride in. As the years passed, I grew very cynical and what would be kindly called pessimistic.

My family was never religious, though it seemed that my parents were always searching for something. (Well, my dad at least; I donít know where my mom stood on the matter.) We went to a couple of different churches, to my knowledge Baptist and Mormon. When they werenít going to church, my parents were getting in to spirituality and Ouija board stuff. I stayed far away from that as it always creeped me out. Besides that, I had no interest in stuff like that. Having an older brother, I just concentrated on not getting beat. (I wasnít very good at that so this activity required constant attention.)

I only went to church a few times with my parents. As a kid, I never really understood church, because it just didnít make any sense to me how there could be so many different churches and just any one of them be right. I was confused, but I never cared enough to search things out for myself. I just figured that if I lived a good life, God would accept me. (Now thatís not to say that this is what I stuck to.) I heard the doctrine that Jesus came and died for all sins past, present, and future, but that just didnít sit right with me.

Throughout my teen years, I was a hypocrite; I would say one thing and do another. Something in me knew that this wasnít right, and in fact terribly wrong. I remember crying and praying and promising God that each time I sinned was the last, and begging and pleading not to die and go to hell. For all my pride and the will power I thought I had, I kept sinning. I couldnít be happy. I talked to as few people as possible because I thought my shame would show through. Itís not to say that I didnít have friends. When I was 13 or 14 years old, I met two of the biggest impacts on my life: two men who, although they were teenagers themselves, seemed so much older than me. They never sat me down and taught me a lesson, but rather taught me how to be strong in morals by how they carried themselves. I had always been told what to do in life, but I had never been shown how to live. These two were a great blessing in my life and they taught me how to not ďgo with the flowĒ if the flow was leading to a place you didnít want to be.

In high school, I was set on joining the military and was just biding my time until I was old enough. I was in a different state now, at a large school, and against my will I became something of popular. Not that I had a lot of friends, but the ones I had seemed to enjoy being around me. I didnít talk much and was trying as best I could to emulate my two friends from my old neighborhood. I found myself thinking a lot about how they would handle a situation and what they would say. But I wasnít as social as they were, so at lunch instead of talking to folks I would sleep. Most times where I was sleeping became a hangout. So, I met a lot of people when I woke up. One of those people I met was a girl named Brittanie, who for some reason I really enjoyed being around. I found myself actually listening to what she had to say, and I thought that she was very sweet and sincere. Later that year, and in keeping with my familyís habit, we moved. I had done this before, and as was my tradition I was expecting to never speak to most folks again. But for some reason this girl wanted to keep in touch with me. I wasnít used to that at all. I gave her my email address and we began to talk more than we ever had. When I could drive, I would drive all the way back to my old neighborhood (about 45 minutes) just to be around her. She became my most trusted friend. And though it took a couple years, I opened my feelings to her and told her of my childhood and eventually my secrets. I was in love with her.

Soon after graduating high school, I joined the military. In the military, my life was the same as it had been: one way to everyone else, but something else inside. I began to do things that I never thought I would do. I went with the flow of those around me and got into a bad place, all the while praying that God would show me mercy. After about 3 years, Brittanieís and my relationship was suffering. I didnít know it at the time, but God had been working on me. He was hitting me in the place where it hurt the most and breaking down my pride. During this time I was talking to Brittanie on the phone. We had been ďdatingĒ for the past 6 months, but she said that she wasnít interested in dating (the Lord had been working on her too). I said thatís fine and that neither was I, and I asked her to marry me. Thatís when she told me about Pastor John Clark, about the holy ghost and about speaking in tongues. She was scared of my reaction because over the years she had never told me about that. But she didnít know that I had gotten into the habit of seeking God when I was down; and over the years leading up to this conversation I was down a lot. I just wanted to have a normal life, and the only way to do that is to do Godís will. I just hadnít known what that was.

I had heard of speaking in tongues when I was younger, and I was so scared of it that I didnít have an opinion. I knew it was from God and I didnít want to anger Him by even having the wrong idea about it. I just logged it away and that was that. So hearing this from Brittanie made me seek an answer. I began reading through scripture and put away all the things I felt were wrong. I didnít want to read what anyone else said on the matter, I wanted to hear from God. Over the summer, Brittanie and I learned and talked and shared what we had learned and our thoughts. It was the first time in my life that I was able to do that. God was really working on us both. We decided that we should go to Pastor Johnís house as soon as we could. When we got to North Carolina, I had no idea what to expect. Brittanie was already there and staying with John and Barbara Clark, and I was to stay Steven and Leah Weber. The next day when I went to Pastor Johnís house, I went into the kitchen and sat down and talked. I donít remember much of what happened, but I looked over at Brittanie at the kitchen table and saw that God was blessing her. I had never seen anything like it. I began to pray, and as I prayed I heard Darren Prater playing my favorite song. I laughed at how God did that and how good it made me feel. I prayed and began to feel a weight that I never knew I was carrying getting lifted from my heart and off my shoulders. I heard, ďItís not yours to carry.Ē Then my heart filled with joy and I began speaking in tongues.

Praise God, thatís how I received the holy ghost. I hope God will bless you with His life.

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