God's Perfect Ingredients for Your Life
By Tim Smith
The 700 Club
CBN.com -“I’m just chasing the world, you know, and I was lost,” says Darnell. “I didn’t know what I was searching for.”
Darnell Ferguson spent much of his life trying to find purpose. As a teenager growing up in Columbus Ohio, he thought it was all about image and money.
“I was brought up in money is key to life. Clothes are key to life. Nice car, key to life. I was selling watches at school. I was trying to make money at school. I was trying to hustle at school. So that was my struggle. Always trying to have more.”
Education was the last thing on Darnell’s mind.
“I was not doing anything in school I was supposed to be doing except for getting off the bus and walking in there. Everything else was just playing around, trying to just have fun, trying to be cool.”
After the 10th grade, Darnell’s mother sent him to a different high school, hoping the change would help. It did. He made honor roll and played football. He also went to vocational school where he found a talent for cooking.
“It was what I needed to get my life in order. I needed something I could be passionate about,” says Darnell.
After graduation he went to Sullivan Culinary Art School. But the only way he could afford it was to work part-time until he found an easier way to make money - selling pot.
“The only reason I sold drugs was to make money. It started off as just, you’ll make $50 here, $60 there. And then increasingly like the whole college was coming to me - everybody at school. At the height I was making probably like $700 a day.
Darnell was chosen to be one of the personal chefs for the USA athletes in the 2004 summer Olympics in China.
“That took me from wanting to sell drugs to like cooking is serious now. I like this a lot. Time to get serious.”
When he returned he planned to open a restaurant and eventually get out of the drug business. But the police got to him first.
“The first time I got pulled over, I had a pound in my car. So therefore I got arrested with my girlfriend actually, because she was in the car with me. And then later on after that they just stayed on me.”
Darnell got arrested eight times within three months for selling drugs. He realized something needed to change.
“I think the biggest thing that hit me was like seeing myself get locked up. Seeing myself, when you get locked up and the people who do your medical know your name before they even see you, you know it’s a problem. And they’re like, ‘You’re back again? You’re back again?’ And that’s when I was like man, am I becoming like the system? Am I in the system now? Am I now the guy that once you’re in the system it’s hard to get out.”
He was charged with multiple counts of drug dealing and possession. But the judge showed leniency, and Darnell was released on probation. He knew he had been given a second chance.
“So once I got back out, I’m like, ‘OK, let’s focus on food again.’ This is my time to get back.”
He also realized he needed to get things right with God. He landed a job in a diner, and also found a church.
“I just remember the preacher saying something man, had me up in the balconies, in the nosebleed section just crying, just crying. And then from that day on i went to church every Sunday.”
It seemed Darnell was back on his feet. By now he had found two investors and was close to his dream of having his own restaurant. Then at the last minute, one of the investors pulled out.
“I’m just like, ‘Why would God do this to me?’ I’m going to church, I’m doing the fellowship, I’m reading like crazy right now. Like I’m learning, I’m in love with God, I’m just at an all time high. I’m like, ‘Why would He do this to me? Why would he take something like this from me?’ That was the biggest shock because my identity at that point was still not in Christ. It was still in being a chef.”
Darnell shared his story at his men’s Bible study group.
“I was spiritually to the point of wanting to find something better. That was at the point where I was searching. I just remember Pastor Chad telling me, ‘Jesus is everything you were meant to be.’ And that changed the whole perspective of life for me, when he said,’That’s who you were created to be like.’”
That night Darnell realized he needed to give his life to Christ.
“I’d say that was the night I became a Christian because that was the night that my agenda went in the drain and I just started to go with what God had planned.”
Darnell eventually opened his own restaurant and today he owns two, with a third one on the way. He says God continues to change his heart.
“My daily structure is not about myself, where everything was about self. ‘Where’s my future going? Where’s my career going?’ People ask me all the time, ‘What’s the plan for your restaurant?’ I’m like, ‘I haven’t made one yet.’ That doesn’t mean I’m not being diligent with what I have. But I’m just working hard every day, and as long as I’m doing His will, He seems to pick me the right path. He seems to direct it. It’s a whole different mindset when you know where you’re going, when you know what you’re living for.”
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