Freedom Behind Bars

According to the worlds view, I would be known as a mistake. My birthmother was nineteen when her boyfriend impregnated her and his first decision as a father was to kill his first born son. My birthmother was sitting in the Abortion Clinic when she decided she couldn’t go through with the procedure and when she went back and told my birthfather, he told her I wasn’t his and he abandoned her. That was the last she saw him. She decided to give me up for adoption since she was unable to take care of me on her own and she couldn’t support the both of us.

Growing up was very difficult for me. I never felt like I belonged anywhere so I would generally try to keep to myself. In middle school, I was the shy kid that everyone loved to beat up and pick on. It was during this time in my life that I had read a letter from my birthmother (that she had wrote and sent with me through the adoption agency) explaining everything that she went through (as stated above). I began to rebel. I looked at my adoption parents as the enemy. At 12 years old I began to party and drink. This was also the first year I began to smoke. From black and milds to home rolled cigarettes, from hard liquor to champagne, I began to live my life as an attempt to express how I felt on the inside…a mess. At thirteen, my role model was my older sister (who was also adopted) and she got involved in a gang and I followed in her footsteps. I became a gang affiliate and they became my new family. I felt more accepted with them then I did anywhere else and that is all I craved…to be accepted. I started skipping school because I felt it was pointless. My sister and I snuck out at night to live our anger fueled lives and we snuck people in to throw parties while our parents were sleeping two floors above us. This was also when I decided to “run away” and for the first time, I slept on the sidewalk, in a compost pile in the local park, or the stairway of a local apartment building.

When I was thirteen, I got arrested on mother’s day and charged with Arson, destruction of public property and vandalism. Me and two other boys from down the block lit a warehouse on fire, broke the windshields and side windows of some semi-trucks, and wrote graffiti on the side of some buildings in the middle of the day. We were later identified and brought into custody. I went to court and the judge had mercy on me and gave me a small amount of time in YDC (youth detention center), 48 hours of community service, and ayear probation.

The next year, I got arrested again for shoplifting over $1000 worth of merchandise. Up until this point in my life, my parents played no important role because I didn’t allow them to. All the clothes that I wore had all been stolen. I stole clothes, jewelry, mp3 players, gps systems, jerseys, fitted hats, and shoes from the local mall. I had been doing this previously for about 7 months without being caught because I had learned the camera placement in specific stores, learned the shifts of specific security guards (i.e – JC Penny/Sears) and no one expected much from a thirteen year old kid. I learned the system and I played the game. When I finally got caught, I went before the judge (they couldn’t pin the other stuff on me because they didn’t have enough “factual evidence”) and the judge told me that he would only give me two years probation, 72 hours community service and would completely erase my record if I started going back to school, and didn’t violate probation. Today, as I am writing this, I have no criminal record.

My parents decided that they needed to get me and my sister out of that area and we moved to upstate New York. I began to party heavy and rebel (but managed to elude the police). Liquor was my best friend, weed was its cousin, and money was the motive. The last time I smoked weed, I found out during my high that it was laced with PCP and I was trippin for the next three days. My eyes rolled into the back of my head and I was convulsing and “watching” a cartoon world before me. That was the last time I smoked but I continued to drink. I fell into a pornography addiction that had me locked onto the computer screens for as much as 3-5 times a day. This is also around the time when I first had sex and decided to place my attention in getting more women to talk to me.

My father was a pastor while I was growing up so I knew about this “God” character but didn’t pay any attention to him. My soul was crying out (as everyones is) to be loved. I felt abandoned and not cared about because I was a “mistake” and my birthparents didn’t want me. My heart was broken but I hid it behind my lifestyle of anger, fighting, sex, drugs, etc.

I decided to not go to college because I had just MANAGED to graduate and my mentality was literally “F*&% School”. I worked for the next year and my quality of life kept decreasing. One day, I finally made up my mind to go back to school. My father was now no longer a pastor but a History Professor at a Christian College (Nyack College) and If I decided to go there, I would get free tuition. That was my only motivation for attending that school. (Less bills = more money for me). My heart was longing for a change but at this point I didn’t know what it was. All I knew at the time was that I can’t go on living like this because the topic of “Death” crossed my mind more than any other topic. I got accepted into Nyack (my high school transcript didn’t help any so the only reason they accepted me was because a 1600 SAT score). During my first semester, I became friends with my roommate who was a Christian (I didn’t know anyone else) and began hanging out with his crew. Later on in that semester, I began to tell God that if he was real, let me know. I told God to speak to me and let me know that everything would be okay. I didn’t know if he was real and if he heard me…or if I was just talking to myself. A few weeks later, I attended a small group. The decision to go would change my life forever.

As I was sitting down, the leader of the group told the few of us that were there that he felt like everyone should just cry out to God and worship. He began to play the guitar and break into prophetic worship and everyone around me began talking to this “God” character who still had not responded to my earlier prayers. I sat there. It was awkward. I decided then to just bow my head and pray quietly for God to hear me. I prayed for him to save me because I don’t want to think about death anymore and I don’t want to hate life and everyone in it. I told God that I needed him because I wanted to be happy for once in my life. At this point I heard something in my head that simply said “SHHHHH” and I stopped praying. I began to pour out to him again in my prayers but I heard it in my head again. “SHHHH” and I stopped and just sat there. I became aware of everyone else in the room. Everyone was crying and praying and the leader was still singing. I listened to the words.

“You see me running to you, with a new jacket, new shoes.”

“I killed the fatted calf for you”

“You see me running towards you.”

“You are mine”

You are mine.”

He kept singing the story of the prodigal son. But now he kept singing the part “you are mine” and I broke down. This was the first time I had cried in a few years. This was the first time that I felt God was speaking to me, just in the way I had not expected. This was the night that God saved me from myself. This was the night that my life began.

Ever since that night at the small group, I have been allowing God to shape me, mold me, and use me. I still fall, I am still imperfect but thanks to Jesus Christ for atonement, God calls me righteous and I can stand in front of him and be seen without blemish. He is still dealing with me in areas that I had pushed so far down in my life and still healing in areas that I never knew I needed healing but now I realize what the purpose of life is. My purpose is to love God and to make him look more appealing than anything this world has to offer. My journey began that night, and I no longer find my home on this earth.

These are the main points in my testimony. There are things I left out for time and typing sake such as pregnancy scares, getting kicked out of school, addictions to inhalants, etc. but just know that if your life hasn’t been as wreckless as mine, there is hope for you. Also know that if your life has been MUCH worse than mine, there is hope for you.

Why do you have hope?

Because there is a God in heaven who is not like you or me, and the one who took on all the pain of this world is sitting right next to my God, and is interceding on YOUR behalf.

Thanks for reading what I had to say,

God Bless

 John 3:16-18 -For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.