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Busted with weed at school, this student discovered the true meaning of grace

Scooter Barnwell's Story


Walking alone into the principal's office, I saw the disappointment on everyone's faces.

Life long friends, coaches, and teachers were all taken back when they heard the news about me. I was sick to my stomach the whole time, and I knew I had to face the consequences of my double life.

I knew I had sinned, but instead of condemnation, I felt Jesus loving me and giving me grace.

I never thought the coaches would notice my backpack full of weed and lighters leaning up against the school dumpster near the football field. But I was wrong.

Searching For Happiness

The crazy thing is, I didn't get what I deserved. After 5 days of Out of School Suspension and one visit to the Anderson County Detention Center to see what I should have received, I knew I was awakening to something new. I knew life was about to change.

I had known about Jesus since I was very young. I grew up going to church and in second grade, I had a feeling that I would spend my life serving Jesus in a church.

I was a part of an amazing family and a church focused on Jesus. But I was numb to the blessings around me. I began to try and find happiness wherever I could.

A Double Life

From 6th grade, and the four and a half years that followed, I found comfort in popularity, pills, porn, alcohol, and weed.

And on Sundays, I would raise my hands and lead KidSpring, thinking that if I went to church, and added on volunteering, I would for sure be "good."

But deep inside me I knew that with each inhale and each hidden sin my life became more two-sided.

Within I was searching relentlessly for freedom from the endless cycle of addiction.

Seeing Jesus

In 2011, as I sat in the principal's office with the consequences of my addictions staring me in the face and the thoughts of people's disappointment weighing on my shoulders, I was overcome by the presence of Jesus.

He gave me love, though I didn't deserve it. Comfort, though I didn't ask for it. Grace, though I ran from it.

On that day I heard in my heart Jesus tell me he loved me too much to let me keep running. And I realized He was right, and I asked Jesus to come into my life.

His plan for me was much greater than the life I was living.

I Can Get Satisfaction

I realized that the satisfaction I was looking for would never be found in good weed, popularity or good deeds.

It was found by accepting the grace of Jesus that was purchased when he died on the cross for me.

I knew I had sinned, but instead of condemnation, I felt Jesus loving me and giving me grace.

Better Than Before

That same day, my pastor called me and he told me, "Scoot, God created you knowing today was going to happen and he created you anyway. He is not done!"

Jesus flooded me with his love when I was at my most unlovable. He knew everything that I had done yet he refused to let me continue to walk away.

My identity is in Him, and he taught me through that experience that he has more grace than I could ever have sin.

New Purpose

I'm now on staff with NewSpring working with Fuse. That feeling from second grade is making sense now.

It's amazing to work with the same ministry that Jesus used to change my life. I am so blessed to be able to pour into these kids and show them that Jesus is enough.

Everything changed when I realized that what I deserved, Jesus took for me, and what I didn't deserve, Jesus gave to me. Everything changed when I was awakened with His Grace.

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