Face The Truth
Being incarcerated was one of the biggest blessings of my entire life. My father was a very abusive person. All eight of us kids were physically, emotionally, and sexually abused. Things from childhood that I never dealt with—never knew I had to deal with—started coming back with a ferocity. I ended up hurting people I love because of this, and I ended up going to prison.
When I went to the county jail, which is the first step of incarceration, the one and only thing I had on my mind was suicide. During my first week there, a female staff member actually came into my cell. She knelt down behind me, tapped me on the shoulder, and said, “Do you know Jesus?” She explained that it’s about a relationship with Jesus Christ.
Find A Loving Community
The next day, she brought me a Bible. It changed me in every way possible. I went from 100 percent sure I was going to to kill myself down to 99 percent, then down to 90 percent. As I developed this relationship with Jesus, I naturally started realizing the ways I needed my life to go, and one of them was to serve the Lord. And–obviously–I have to be alive to do that.
So, I did a little over 13 years, and I became aware of an organization called Project Connect. Their name says it all: Project Connect—they make connections. They’re called an organization and offer classes, but they make relationships. They’ve helped me to become a better person, a better Christian, and a better man. Through Project Connect, I’ve found a church home, The Church at Woodbine. It’s a beautiful place, and I’ve felt very loved. I am an usher. I get to meet people and greet them as they come to worship.
Give Hope A Chance
Part of belonging to these new families is the feeling that I need to be a part. One thing that I feel I’m good at is talking to people, making them feel better about themselves, and hopefully giving them a little bit of hope to get through the day. I have a lot to be thankful for. I thank God for giving me another chance, for giving me the hope I needed at just the right time.
The fact that each new family has helped me to love myself and let myself be loved. Those are huge steps, and I am eternally grateful.