Do you recall where you were one-year ago today?
What about two-years ago? Or five?
The memory of those days has passed by with little significance to me.
However- I know what life felt like
on this day Ten Years ago.
For the first time ever - I awoke in jail.
The harsh reality in a series of poor choices
left with me with little hope for what was to come.
But in that moment, God reminded me that He was enough.
I wasnt confident to believe in His plans moving forward,
But looking back... I can see God's hand at work in every step of the way.
I had moved forward in faith, not knowing what the outcome would be,
and He has been faithful, not to leave me alone in the disaster I created.
Looking back, I can hear a whisper;
"Be still, and know that I AM God."
And I learned to stop, then appreciate that moment He had given me.
How do you learn to appreciate Incarceration?
How do you learn to appreciate fear?
How does anyone learn to appreciate separation from loved ones?
How does one learn to accept the brutality of mankind toward another?
I did not become thankful to God for the situation I faced,
yet I did learn to be grateful to Him in the circumstances.
He was faithful, even when I had doubts.
And when things seemed to go from 'bad to worse',
God was there, reminding me that He was not done with me yet.
I will summarize some of the events, and what they meant to me:
- In jail, before my conviction, God gave me a fresh perspective in a book.
- Then He brought a volunteer chaplain to pray with me.
- God allowed my now wife and I to be reconciled.
- and before my prison-term began, we were able to marry.
- He provided me a mentor to help guide me.
- and the Lord sent friends to visit me.
- Christ provided the right cell-mates, and others who watched over me.
- even though I witnessed gang-violence, stabbings, and rape.
- Jesus had me sent to nearby prisons with better visiting hours,
- even though this was the oldest maximum-security prison in the state with inmates facing life-sentences and death-row.
- The Lord allowed me to teach and tutor men towards earning their GED;
- although some could barely read, and fought the idea of change.
- God gave me jobs where I could earn $2 a day;
- where even the physical labor allowed me outside the walls a few times each week.
- The Holy Spirit was with me in the 16-hours days of the 'early-release program',
- even when the program left me feeling broken & alone, He did not leave me.
- After my release, God allowed me to complete parole and probation,
- even with daily meetings requirements, no job, and no ability to drive.
- And though I was unemployed for three-years after my release,
- God allowed me to complete certification as a Life Coach, become a mentor, and volunteer to help others who are in transition.
- Then, God gave my wife and I children, brought me back to my old job, and even allowed me to buy a home.
He gave me purpose, and I was faithful to share His Word,
with those who wanted to learn about Him through a Bible-study.
I read today of Henri Nouwen, “If we could just be, for a few minutes each day, fully where we are, we would indeed discover that we are not alone.”
When we clear our minds of past and future thoughts, we can be in the moment that is, and this, Nouwen says, is the place where we are most likely to encounter God.
God hasnt shown me what to do next,
and though my attempts dont always succeed
I dont believe He is done with me yet.
I am a convicted felon, and a father,
but God says I am something more...
I am His.
Time is passing by rapidly,
and without special events taking place,
history could be made with little notice.
Could you be moving too fast to hear God?