WEBVTT 00:00:00.770 --> 00:00:02.540 I met Sophia. 00:00:02.540 --> 00:00:03.540 She was sixteen. I was seventeen. 00:00:03.540 --> 00:00:04.600 I met her at church. 00:00:04.600 --> 00:00:09.190 She was my first real girlfriend; my first real love. 00:00:09.190 --> 00:00:12.799 We got married when she was twenty-three and I was twenty-four. 00:00:12.799 --> 00:00:16.199 We were ready to set out for a great life. 00:00:16.199 --> 00:00:17.200 She was born with a heart condition. 00:00:17.200 --> 00:00:22.240 She had surgery when she was born and surgery when she was seven. 00:00:22.240 --> 00:00:24.000 Everything, we thought, was okay. We never thought that there was a problem. 00:00:24.000 --> 00:00:26.600 I mean we dated for six years! 00:00:26.670 --> 00:00:29.000 So, you would think that if any problems would rise up it would have been then. 00:00:29.000 --> 00:00:32.710 Sophia was a Puerto Rican girl. 00:00:32.710 --> 00:00:33.710 She was short. 00:00:33.710 --> 00:00:37.770 She had a spunky attitude. 00:00:37.770 --> 00:00:41.360 Our friends called her a fireball because she was quick witted. 00:00:41.360 --> 00:00:42.540 She was a girl all around. 00:00:42.540 --> 00:00:43.540 She was beautiful. 00:00:43.540 --> 00:00:45.320 She was awesome and had a heart for the Lord. 00:00:45.320 --> 00:00:54.130 In our first year of marriage, she began having spells where her heart would beat 00:00:54.130 --> 00:00:55.130 to around two hundred beats per minute. 00:00:55.130 --> 00:00:58.550 We had to take her to the hospital where they admitted her and had to shock her heart. 00:00:58.550 --> 00:01:02.540 They told me her heart had failed and that they had to resuscitate her because her heart 00:01:02.540 --> 00:01:03.950 was not responding to the surgeries that she had undergone. 00:01:03.950 --> 00:01:07.200 They then informed me that she need to go on an artificial heart until they could do 00:01:07.200 --> 00:01:08.310 a heart transplant. 00:01:08.310 --> 00:01:15.149 I and my church started praying and praying and praying at this time. 00:01:15.149 --> 00:01:16.990 It felt like things were happening. 00:01:16.990 --> 00:01:17.990 People’s lives were being changed. 00:01:17.990 --> 00:01:19.749 But nothing was happening with her. 00:01:19.749 --> 00:01:25.780 Other people at our church were experiencing healing but not Sophia. 00:01:25.780 --> 00:01:35.420 One night my friends and I stayed with her until about 3:30am, praying. 00:01:35.420 --> 00:01:38.509 I had nothing left in me so I did what I did best. 00:01:38.509 --> 00:01:40.749 I just started worshiping and singing. 00:01:40.749 --> 00:01:44.070 The next day the doctor called me and said, “You need to get in here. 00:01:44.070 --> 00:01:46.140 There’s nothing we can do.” 00:01:46.140 --> 00:01:48.149 She had already turned gray and there was nothing left. 00:01:48.149 --> 00:01:49.999 It was a challenging time. 00:01:49.999 --> 00:01:51.869 What do yo do when God doesn’t answer your prayers? 00:01:51.869 --> 00:01:56.759 What do you do when everything you believe about God is being tested; when he doesn’t 00:01:56.759 --> 00:02:00.350 look like the good father that he says he is? 00:02:00.350 --> 00:02:02.219 During this time, I keep telling myself, “I’m going to keep the faith. 00:02:02.219 --> 00:02:03.270 I’m going to keep the faith. 00:02:03.270 --> 00:02:04.299 Remember the bible stories. 00:02:04.299 --> 00:02:06.560 Remember the bible stories. 00:02:06.560 --> 00:02:08.720 But inevitably I fell into a deep depression. 00:02:08.720 --> 00:02:10.700 I could not sleep at night. 00:02:10.700 --> 00:02:12.890 I dealt with thoughts of suicide. 00:02:12.890 --> 00:02:13.890 I would never do it. 00:02:13.890 --> 00:02:17.650 But I couldn’t escape the idea that suicide would be a good escape. 00:02:17.650 --> 00:02:22.670 It was like I was holding on the casket of my wife, and as morbid as it sounds was like 00:02:22.670 --> 00:02:24.330 I was being buried. 00:02:24.330 --> 00:02:34.260 I remember picturing myself breaking my grip with an invisible hammer off of her casket 00:02:34.260 --> 00:02:37.130 to let go of that toxicity; to let go of what you didn’t understand. 00:02:37.130 --> 00:02:40.780 I had to stop asking all the questions and just trust and don’t let that situation 00:02:40.780 --> 00:02:41.780 take you down. 00:02:41.780 --> 00:02:46.550 It didn’t happen immediately but I kept exercising letting go. 00:02:46.550 --> 00:02:48.200 It was almost like somebody pulled a plugged out of my heart. 00:02:48.200 --> 00:02:55.150 It was like the toxic emotions, the bitterness, the anger, hopelessness, and despair drained 00:02:55.150 --> 00:02:58.550 out of my heart. 00:02:58.550 --> 00:03:00.740 I could see God’s goodness and faithfulness again. 00:03:00.740 --> 00:03:05.580 The question I had and didn’t understand was, “Where else do I go? 00:03:05.580 --> 00:03:08.270 If I stop following Jesus, then what?” 00:03:08.270 --> 00:03:10.970 Little did I know is that God was writing a story. 00:03:10.970 --> 00:03:13.100 God had bigger plans than I could see. 00:03:13.100 --> 00:03:16.160 I had already planned to go on American Idol. 00:03:16.160 --> 00:03:17.820 One month after Sophia’s death I was faced with a choice. 00:03:17.820 --> 00:03:19.160 Do I go or do I stay home? 00:03:19.160 --> 00:03:20.330 It was my last opportunity. 00:03:20.330 --> 00:03:23.340 I was of the age where you don’t get another opportunity. 00:03:23.340 --> 00:03:24.340 So I went to the audition. 00:03:24.340 --> 00:03:26.680 Little did I know that God was building a story through that. 00:03:26.680 --> 00:03:28.620 I was on Season 8 of American Idol, 2009. 00:03:28.620 --> 00:03:30.820 I ended up taking 3rd place. 00:03:30.820 --> 00:03:34.680 I shared my story with millions of people. 00:03:34.680 --> 00:03:36.130 Lives were touched. 00:03:36.130 --> 00:03:37.620 That was the bigger picture. 00:03:37.620 --> 00:03:39.380 I didn’t know that. 00:03:39.380 --> 00:03:40.470 I wrote a book after that. 00:03:40.470 --> 00:03:44.520 I started a non-profit organization call “Sophia’s Heart” that is taking homeless families 00:03:44.520 --> 00:03:46.980 off the street. 00:03:46.980 --> 00:03:51.020 All that was birthed our of that broken situation. 00:03:51.020 --> 00:03:55.480 The God I knew as a child was the same God that brought me through that dark moment, 00:03:55.480 --> 00:04:03.300 and he’s going to be the same God that brings you through your dark moment.