Throughout his life, T.C. Stallings sensed a spiritual battle from a young age, enduring challenging, life-altering circumstances.

T.C. was desperate to escape the housing projects of Cleveland, where he grew up surrounded by gangs, crime, violence, and drugs. Raised by a single mom, T.C. was one of six children from a different father T.C. did not meet until he was 18.

It was an encounter with the law and witnessing the mistake of others that motivated T.C. to focus on football and become the first in his family to earn a college diploma.

"I grew up with two brothers. I love my brothers and thank God that right now, they're doing really well in life, but they had to do some time in prison," Stallings explains. "What hurt me is that I didn't have them in my life."

Stallings says he felt alone and got so used to seeing his brothers getting carried away to prison that he started trying to copy them.

"My friends and I went around the neighbourhood at night. We had some smoke bombs left over. We started throwing them into the hallways of apartments. We put one in a mail shoot, and the smoke bomb went out, and fire lit up the carpet," says Stallings. "They called the police. The lady wanted to give me a good scare. She had the police take me to jail, not to keep me there, but to scare me stupid, and she did."

Stallings says when he finally got out of jail, he realized that was not the place that was going to allow him to fulfill his dreams.

"I never wanted to see the inside of a jail again,"

T.C.'s dreams of becoming an NFL football player never did come true. He did play college football and spent two years with the Calgary Stampeders, but he says God had another path for him, one that included acting. 

Stallings now lives in Hollywood. He is best known for his award-winning role in the #1 box-office film War Room. He also starts alongside Todd Terry in 2nd season of Vindication, which is streaming on

“The story of my life can be viewed as a relentless attack by Satan to distract me and cause me to ignore my God-given purpose and the unexpected blessings in my life. Looking back, I realize God has never failed to care for my family and me,” says T.C. “His goodness, faithfulness, patience, and grace are the reasons I keep my eyes fixed on him, and I hope others will do the same despite what they are going through in their own life.”

Today on Connections, T.C. recounts the gritty details of his inspiring journey from pain, fear, and darkness to strength, courage, and success—all by refusing to settle for anything less than God's plan.