Our friend, LeginTV hosts this timely episode, where he shares about the non-existent relationship with his father, how ‘great’ fatherhood is possible for a man that grew up fatherless and the plight of broken families. The theme running through this episode is that God is in the business of reconciliation. He takes what is broken and makes it whole again.
Legin Anderson: I was born in Kansas City, Missouri to a happy family. My mom and dad were married for ten years before I showed up. And around the time I came, my father lost both of his parents, and also his first son was born, me. And what he ended up doing, unfortunately, is he turned to a little bit of alcohol just to take the edge off, and alcohol turned to alcoholism, a little bit of drugs here and there turned into drug addiction, and before my mother knew it, it was five years later, three failed rehab attempts. My mother’s gotta decide if she’s gonna stay or if she’s gonna take her son and get out because my dad wasn’t making better choices and made it really clear that he was going to choose that over us. And I didn’t see him for the next 15 years. Then you start to question your value, your identity. Why am I not important enough for the person that made me to be here with me?
male: How can I be in a room filled with people, filled to the brim and still feel alone.
female: I was obsessed.
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male: To be able to forgive somebody of something that they don’t deserve to be forgiven of.
female: From that moment on I began an uphill journey to recovery.
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male: What they were telling me is what I needed to hear.
male: You can feel it right now if you want to pray with me.
female: I felt it in my heart.
Legin: I started piecing together a mask so that I could find out who I was supposed to be. I just didn’t like who I was, because if Dad didn’t like me, why would I like myself? So fast-forward to age 20. I get a letter from my dad after 15 years of absence saying he wants to come see me and apologize for the past. And I want to see him, so I let him come. And my entire plan at this point was to see my dad, punch him in the face, and walk away. So I go up to him and I’m getting ready to do this. This is the moment my adolescence has been waiting for. And I tap him on the shoulder, and I’m ready to hit him as soon as he turns around the right way, and I get a glimpse of his eyes, and I remember seeing that the whites of his eyes were so yellow to me. And I remember in that moment, that rage changing to pity for a split second, realizing what he’d wasted, and the life he had, and this beautiful career, and marriage to my mom, and all these things he’d thrown away. And then we just had dinner and we had a great time. It’s the best day I’ve ever had in my life. We had great conversation. And at the end of it, he asked me would I forgive him. And he reached out for a hug and I pushed him away. I mean, there’s no way, man. You don’t get forgiven just ’cause you ask for it. Who does that? And so for the next few months, he would call me and say, “Hey man, listen, hey, I just want to say I love you,” and I would hang the phone up on him. This was my only opportunity in life to get him back. How can you make up for missing birthdays, and never coming to visit, no hugs, and not being at my game, and no, “I’m proud of you, Son.” None of that. How can you make up for that just with an, “I’m sorry”? Who would forgive you just ’cause you asked for it? I couldn’t give it to him. I was just doing this my way, but I can look back and see God working in me even then before I even wanted to walk with God. And I just one day was like, “I’m just gonna forgive him and let it go.” So I called him and said, “Hey Dad, listen. I just wanna let it go. I wanna know what it’s like to have a dad. And I love you and I forgive you.” And if you’ve ever had the privilege to let go of a debt, you ever had the privilege to forgive somebody, you can literally feel the opportunity you have to hand them freedom. And I could feel on that phone that day the freedom that my dad felt just from those words, “I forgive you.” Unbeknownst to me, that was our last conversation. Right after that phone call, my father passed away. My last conversation with my dad on this earth was, “I forgive you.” It felt like everything I trusted was crumbling and everything I’d hoped for was falling apart. And so I remember one night just being on the phone with a “700 Club” counselor, asking for prayer, and I was like, “Dude, if this is life, like, what’s the point of waking up? Like, why even get up anymore?” The next morning, I rolled out of bed, went straight to my knees, and I said, “Jesus, if you are who my mother said you are, and who my grandmother said you are, and what this book says you are, if you’re really that guy, I invite you to come in and change my life ’cause I’m tired of trying to live it on my own. I’m tired of trying to run things by myself. I give up. You win. I’ve screwed up a lot of things.” And then I got to hear the blessed words from Christ that I was able to give my dad, “I forgive you too.”
Legin: God gave me this incredible privilege to forgive my dad when he didn’t deserve it. And all that did was set up for me the fact that God is willing to forgive me when I don’t deserve it. That’s what the Gospel is. Romans 5:8 says real clearly, “But God demonstrated his love for us in this, that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” And that’s the message for you today. I don’t know where you are on this conversation. I don’t know where your relationship with your parents are. All I know is if it’s broken, that’s not your fault, but regardless of that, the things that we think, and do, and live, when they’re offensive to God, he’s already opened up the door of forgiveness for us before we even did ’em. “That while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” I was able to run to Christ ’cause he ran to me first. And that forgiveness is just something that we’re able to give out now freely because he freely gave it to us, and it’s freely available to you. If you’ve never accepted the grace, and the love, and the forgiveness of Jesus, I invite you to do what he said in Mark 1, to turn from your sin, repent, and believe that he is who he said he is. And the Bible says that everything is wiped away and you’re adopted into God’s family at that moment. And that’s for you today. That’s for me. We all need it. We all get to benefit from it. He’s available to all of us, arms wide open.
Legin: Hey, maybe you’ve never prayed to God before. You don’t know what to say right now. But if you’ve never asked God for salvation, I wanted to give you some words you can pray with me. This isn’t obviously to me, these are words you can take and say them to God directly yourself, and he promises to meet you where you are. These words, they’re just a way for you to connect with God and just to share your heart with them, so this is coming from you to the Father in your honesty. Let’s pray together. Say, “Dear God, I love you. I know I need you. I turn from my sin and I turn to you. I trust that you sent your Son Jesus to pay for my sin before I even did ’em. And I wanna accept your free gift of forgiveness, reconciliation, and salvation today. It’s in your Son Jesus’s name I pray, amen.” If you do that, man, there are people that want to connect with you, talk with you, share life with you, help you with next steps. There’s a website for this show, mxtv.show/chat. And there are real people 24/7/365 that want to talk with you and be there for you. Click that link, visit it, and they’ll be there to help you out. But God bless you on your life.
female: Finding or having the right community of people around us is so important because we sometimes aren’t aware that there are people willing and waiting to support. Even though the process may not always be easy, freedom is always possible. We are all deserving and worthy of love, irrespective of our former or current mistakes. Our value doesn’t increase or decrease because our ability to be perfect or an outstanding human being. Because the truth is we all have areas in our lives that we wish either didn’t exist or we could improve upon. Whoever you are and wherever you are, I want you to know that there is always a light at the end of every tunnel.
male announcer: Life can be hard. Jesus cares. Go to mxtv.org/chat and chat or text with someone who understands.
Legin: My wife and I started talking about having kids, and we had this idea that if we had a girl, we’d like to name her Shekinah. Shekinah literally means, in the Hebrew, God’s glory, the glory of God. And we thought it was an awesome name for a little girl. Mind you this is the singular fear I have in life is to have a kid and to mess it up like my dad did. So lo and behold, my wife gets pregnant and the kid’s on the way. And I’m wrestling through excitement as well as, “What if I mess up?” Fast-forward to the day Shekinah arrives. She’s born. She’s five minutes old. I’m madly in love with my little girl and thinking about all the possibilities for her, while wrestling through these internal insecurities because of, you know, my fatherhood experience growing up. And my mother pulls me to the side and she says, “Do you have any idea what today is?” I said, “No.” She said, “Today is your father’s birthday.” I never knew my dad’s birthday ’til the day my first kid was born. My daughter was literally born on the day of my dad, that is the root of my biggest fears of fatherhood. And it’s just the way of God speaking from eternity, speaking from heaven, and saying, “Hey, this area of your life that you’re the most fearful of, I got that too, I got that too.” I had to reconcile my thoughts from thinking that I was doomed to fail like my dad did to realizing that I had a God who could help me succeed when nobody else could, and it was a blessing. And my daughter was born on 7/7. Seven is the biblical number of completion. You can’t plan that stuff. She came two weeks early. God is good, and for you, all those fears you have, all those things going on, “Can I make it?” The answer is yes, you can, because with God all things are possible. I’m living proof.
Legin: All of these things going on with my dad, and wondering if I was gonna be able to be who I needed to be, and trying to reconcile what I thought I was doomed to failing at fatherhood and all that, to seeing that God had a plan for me winning at this, it reminds me and it brings to mind Philippians 1:6 where it says, “He who began a good work in you is able to bring it to completion until the day of Christ Jesus,” that God has this plan that he’s gonna work out and he’s gonna finish all these good things he started if you let him and bring it all the way through the finish line. And it’s gonna take time and it’s gonna be a process, but he’s gonna do it ’cause it’s a promise. And I think my life just shows that God isn’t done with us even when we think we can’t make it on our own. He’s been faithful and he’ll be faithful to you.
Legin: Maybe you’ve had this pain in your life. Maybe you’ve had this hole, this void where you’re wondering, “Am I even worth it? Is it–what’s the point of me being here if nobody cares, or if I’ve been abandoned, or if I’ve been through what I’ve been through?” Trust me, I get it. Like, I know that is a real pain. It’s nothing anybody can play with, but I want to say this. Whether you get reconciled to your parents in this life or whoever hurt you or did you wrong, whether that happens or not, the promise is true for me and for you that there’s a God, a Father, the Father in heaven who worked hard to be reconciled to you because you are worth it. You are valuable. There’s nobody that’s ever gonna be here like you. You are the only you that God ever made and that makes you priceless.
Legin: Hey, listen, man. If you ever want to talk or connect, I’d love to do that, I’m here for you. It’d be great to holler at you and hear how you’re doing. Find me on social media. My name is Legin. It’s spelled L-E-G-I-N. I’d love to connect.
female: Even when my family and everyone around me, including myself, thought my situation was hopeless, God knew the outcome. He was my true source of healing and joy.
announcer: Life can be hard. Jesus cares. Go to mxtv.org/chat and chat or text with someone right now who understands.
Legin: Shortly after I actually ended up meeting Jesus, my wife, she had this idea. She said, “Hey, I want to take you to a Christian hip hop show.” And I was like, “A Christian what? Nah, I’m–nah, I’m good. That sounds stupid. I’m good.” And she took me to the show, and when I tell you I was blown away, not just with the quality of the artists. Like, they were amazing artists. I just saw them communicating the gospel in a way that was like, “This speaks to me.” Like, this is the culture that I come from. This is the music that I love and I make. And I had no idea you could bring Jesus into that. I just didn’t know, so it was a really beautiful thing. And that night inspired me to go back, ’cause I’d always made music, I’d always produced, I’d always rapped and all that stuff. I put it on the shelf for a little while just trying to figure out life, but that night convinced me, like, hey, go back to music, but do it for Christ this time and talk about how good he’s been to you. That night, Tia and I went to a restaurant, took out a yellow legal pad, and we wrote down this plan for something. I was like, “I don’t know, Tia. Let’s call it Renaissance Movement. Like, just start a rebirth movement, people talking about how God makes you born again or whatever. Let’s have fun with it.” And we just got started, and we brought a bunch of artists with us and friends. We ended up making albums and doing all types of stuff. The whole goal was to communicate artistically, ’cause I love art, I love music, I love movies. Communicate artistically this great Creator God that we knew and how he sees fit to reconcile us to himself and then to each other after that. And so we just kept making music. We ended up getting on stages with some of the biggest names out here doing Christian hip hop. I’m learning about all these artists along the way, I’m becoming fans of theirs, and then we ended up on stages opening for ’em or even on stage with ’em at times. Man, the music that we started to do even took us to different states and took us across the country, and then even our first international trip to the UK, and then even more recently, been to Africa four times. It’s crazy, but it just goes to show, man, you can have a dream to just glorify God and do something small and he wants to do something bigger with you than you even envisioned for yourself.
Legin: I know a lot of you guys have artistic passions, and creative gifts, and all types of things, and you just don’t know how it’s gonna work, how you’re gonna get it to happen, who’s gonna pay attention to you. And if it does, what are you even gonna do if it pops off? I just want to encourage you to go after your dream if the dream is to glorify God and for the good of others. Chase that thing down with those two things and trust the Creator to do something amazing with his creation, which is you. You don’t have those dreams for no reason so steward them and use them for his glory and for others’ good.
Legin: I think the key thing with all of this, with your gifts, is trust, right? You trust that there’s a God in heaven that gave you gifts and talents, and made you the way you are, and gave you stuff to do. And then you can not only trust him with that, that he’s gonna enjoy seeing you do that, but that you’re gonna enjoy doing what you were made to do. But I’ve had a chance to make great music, be on stage with some great people, make some great friends, do some great shows. I loved all of it ’cause I was created to do that and it’s been extremely fun and continues to be fun. So not only is it glorifying God and being good for people, it’s being good to me. And that’s what God wants to do with the gifts, and dreams, and talents he gave you. When you use those gifts not for yourself or not for the world’s purposes, but for his glory and for the good of others, there’s joy right there at that intersection. It’s gonna fit what he said is for in Scripture and it’s gonna be amazing and fulfilling for you.
Legin: So you’re hearing this and you’re saying, “Hey, that’s me. I’ve got a gift. I’ve got a talent.” Maybe it’s artistic and creative. Maybe it’s something else. “I want to give it to God and I want to walk it out, but I don’t know what that looks like.” You don’t have to figure that out alone. There are people who want to walk with you, and do this with you, and show you how God may want to use your gifts and talents, and encourage you to do it. My friends here at MXTV, they’ve got a chat open 24/7/365 just to talk to you. Visit mxtv.org/chat and talk to somebody today about what you wanna do next.
Legin: Hey, maybe you felt like it’s time to give up. Maybe you felt like nothing’s working and it doesn’t matter. And maybe you felt like nobody has your back. I just want to just real simple and blatantly just encourage you that Christ will never give up on you and he’s got your back. And there are people that love you and care about you. And you’re worth it, and the journey’s worth it, and who you become during the journey is worth it. You’re worth it. Believe that. And if you’ve never trusted Christ with your life and with your journey, I want to encourage you to do that now, to turn from everything else that you may put hope in or may hope for, and to just trust him and let him take full control and full direction of your life. He knows what he’s doing much better than you, much better than me. I’ve talked to hundreds of people across this country and other countries and the need is the same. We need Christ in our lives for our past, our present, and our future. And he’s available for you today and I wanted to invite you to pray with me. I’m gonna just say some words. You can pray with me right where you are, but make these words and their meaning your own. Maybe you’ve never talked to God or maybe you just want some help. I’d love to help you today. Just repeat these words or something similar in your own fashion to God himself. He will hear you. He promised that in Scripture. Say, “Lord God, I want to trust you over everything else. I want to follow you. I want to be yours. I want to love you the way I should. And I want to turn away and repent of everything else that’s gotten my attention over you. Please take me away from that and bring me to yourself. I trust you, and I love you, and I believe who you are. It’s in Jesus’s name I pray, amen.
Legin: Hey man, if you just prayed that prayer, there are people that want to talk with you and connect with you. We’re excited for you, right? Don’t do this alone. If you’ve got family members, friends, church colleagues, whatever, there’s somebody that you need to tell, but right now, every day, all day, that my friends at mxtv.org/chat are available to talk to you. Visit mxtv.org/ chat, tell them that you made a decision for Christ and get in connection with somebody who wants to talk and pray with you and be with you. It’s available for you right now.
Legin: It felt like everything I trusted in was crumbling and everything I’d hoped for was falling apart. If this is life, like, what’s the point of waking up? Like, why even get up anymore? And I said, “Jesus, if you are who my mother said you are, and who my grandmother said you are, and what this book says you are, if you’re really that guy, I invite you to come in and change my life ’cause I’m tired of trying to live it on my own.”
announcer: Life can be hard. Jesus cares. Go to mxtv.org/chat and chat or text with someone who understands.