Arizona desert at sunset

My journey to God wasn’t a straight road; it unfolded like a long, winding detour.

I was born in a strong Catholic household and went to faith-based schools growing up. But, in my twenties, I left the faith—or more accurately, faith left me. After getting a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Forensics, I encountered the New Atheist movement, and got deeply engrossed.

It was only years later that I understood what really interested me was just the dopamine hit of discovering something new.

Driven by a thirst to know more, I dove in ever deeper. No longer was I just in a rabbit hole… I was on the precipice of a black hole.

The tipping point came when I learned the concept of determinism – the idea that free will itself isn’t real… that every action, including me writing these words, was predetermined at the moment of the Big Bang.

Believers of New Atheism try to make sense of the idea that our natural feelings, like love, still matter even if we don’t have free choice.

But I couldn’t reconcile it. How could we truly be creatures incapable of expressing free will?

It was then that my black hole revealed its true face—despair.

Longing for something more

During that time, I drove from Toronto to California for a film project. On that road trip, a transformative moment happened in Arizona. I had never seen a desert before. The stark contrast between the brute force with which the rocks had torn through the earth and the tranquil beauty of the landscape filled me with awe.

I remember all I could manage to whisper was, “There is a God.”

“The heavens declare the glory of God;  the skies proclaim the work of his hands.”

Psalm 19:1

By the time we reached California, I felt my dedication to atheism being washed away by the Arizona desert. That experience marked the beginning of my return, but the path still wasn’t straight.

God was still an abstract concept. And in my mind, Christianity just seemed too simplistic.

So instead, I chased the exhilarating experience I had encountered in Arizona. I searched for God in New Ageism, Hermeticism, and even the occult. Each of these religions declared that man is god, and man can create anything he or she wants.

Initially, this idea excited me. But eventually, I realized the horror that would ensue if we all lived as if this were true. There had to be more.

God’s Big Plan

Somewhere deep inside I knew it was time to give up my own desires and way of understanding to the God who was bigger than me.

This inner surrender brought me to the doorsteps of my Christian faith once again.

I wanted so badly to deepen my understanding of Christian theology. So I started reading the Bible, and one day I came across the following passage:

“Go into the village in front of you, where on entering you will find a colt tied on which no one has ever sat. Untie it and bring it here. If anyone asks you, “Why are you untying it?” you shall say this: The Lord has need of it.”

Luke 19:29-31

I was so deeply touched by the story of this colt, a simple animal, now remembered forever in the pages of history’s most important book.

By then I was working as a children’s illustrator, but that passage stirred me to try my hand at writing. It was then that God gave me a children’s story, about a little donkey who was waiting for his God-given purpose.

Two months after sending out the manuscript to publishers, I received a response from Ascension Press. In our first interview, they asked about my faith journey, I felt my answers were underwhelming, to say the least. I still had so much to figure out as a new Christian! But despite this, they offered me a contract.

I was so moved by their faith in me and this story. But I also knew if I wanted to share the best children’s book possible, I first needed to fully dedicate my life to God.

That’s when I made the decision to step into a church for the first time in over 15 years, and I haven’t looked back.

The peace I’ve come to know eventually led me to question how I had fallen away in the first place. It became clear that my departure had stemmed from a lack of fully understanding the gospel and what Christ has done for us.

How can we ever fully value what we don’t understand? How can we expect young people and our children to do the same?

I believe now more than ever that there is an absolute necessity for high-quality Christian content tailored specifically for children.

We cannot only reiterate the Bible to our kids. We must also present it in a way that helps them relate its values, principles and truths in their own lives.

Christians, you and I must reclaim our place in the sacred institution of art. We must keep creating content for children that is full of goodness, and beauty and the truth of God.

Earlier this year, I had the great privilege to see my book, “The Little Donkey and God’s Big Plan” published.

The story expands on the single line about a colt into a tale about a little donkey with big dreams and God’s even bigger plan for him.

It’s my hope that this story will help children of all ages understand how faith, patience, and fortitude are key to following God’s plan for their life. You can take a look inside the book and pick up a copy today right here.

Whether my detour was part of God’s plan all along, or whether His will had corrected what mine had derailed, is unknown to me. But what is certain is that His will is infinitely better than mine.

I used to be an atheist, and now I am a Christian author.

We have dreams, but God has plans. His will is the straight path.