Stay on the path: LaMorris Crawford, alumnus
Posted: May 02, 2017
LaMorris Crawford, alumnus of Olivet Nazarene University, has a passion for preaching and communicating the Word of God by sharing how God can do incredible work in people’s lives.
When the world is in turmoil, it often seems that we can’t find anything to be thankful for. We allow our perspective to be clouded by what’s going on around us and the experiences that affect us. We must guard ourselves and stay on the road of thanksgiving. Looking through the thankful lenses will always yield a vision of purpose and hope.
I remember the season of my life where I had no reason to be thankful. My life circumstances seemed to have me bound by bitterness and anger. When I was 10 months old, my 17-year-old mother was murdered. Three years later, my uncle was murdered, and shortly after that, my aunt was killed as well. I have never met my father and my family does not know who he is. I didn’t understand why I came into life under these circumstances. I struggled with coming from poverty and a broken family.
But God had a plan for me that I could never have imagined on my own. I had an encounter with Jesus Christ, and my life was completely transformed. My journey led me to Olivet, where I earned undergraduate and graduate degrees. I was the first in my family to attend college. My perspective on life radically changed. I realized that God does not waste pain. Instead, He uses it for His glory if we allow Him to. I realized that new life happens through brokenness. My attitude changed, and I became very grateful for what God had done and was doing then in my life.
The dictionary defines thanksgiving as “the act of giving thanks.” “Act” is a verb, which means that thanksgiving is a choice. I had to choose to be thankful to the Lord for what occurred in my life, no matter how traumatic it was. I had no control over the circumstances I faced, so I let it go and allowed God to heal it.
Whatever we expose our heart to gives us hope for the future. Instead of focusing on the pain of my past, I intentionally set my heart on the future and the plan that God had for my life.
Thankfulness is the key that unlocks the blessings of heaven. One of my favorite scriptures is I Thessalonians 5:18, “In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
Paul said in EVERYTHING give thanks! What is excluded from “everything”? Nothing! No matter what we face in life, we are commanded by God to give thanks. You can be a prisoner of your past or a pioneer of your future. The attitude of gratitude suggests that we embrace life because of what Christ did for us. He endured lowliness, pain, shame and embarrassment, and eventually he died of a broken heart.
He endured all of that so we can have new life in Him. For that reason alone, we should stay in the lane of gratefulness. For eight years, I have been happily married to Megan, an Olivet alumna. We have four beautiful children. When I sit at the Thanksgiving table, I am in awe of God’s goodness in my life. Because of my change of attitude, I am able to be the father to my children that I never had. I have started a godly legacy, and that allows me to stay on the path of thanksgiving and gratitude.
LaMorris Crawford ’06/’12 M.O.L. was born on the south side of Chicago and raised without parents in an atmosphere of poverty and violence. He was a popular athlete who learned survival through gangs and drugs. His encounter with Jesus Christ changed his life when he was 19 years old. Today, Crawford and wife Megan ’08 are team chaplains for the Cincinnati Bengals of the National Football League. He has a passion for preaching and communicating the Word of God by sharing how He can do incredible work in people’s lives.