God can change you – he did me.
I was born in Wichita Falls, Texas on November 11th, 1989. My mother was a single mother and a drug addict. My biological father was incarcerated after my birth. He was a well known drug dealer. When I think back, as far as I can remember, things after my birth must have changed, because I was a part of a loving family, with a mother and dad. I had attention and celebrated holidays. I was a happy kid, who was taught manners, respect and how to love. We even went to church on Sundays. I made straight A’s and played sports. The day I got taken out of school, all that ended.
This was a turning point in my life. I was about nine or ten years old. My mother picked me up from school. She was with a guy, who had just got out of prison. Old friend of hers, signed me out of school. This is when I found out that my dad wasn’t my father but stepdad. This is when I was introduced to the streets and a whole world, that didn’t make any sense to a kid.
My mother and her new boyfriend were on drugs, I went from being loved, a kid with friends, to none. A kid from stability, discipline, attention, to none. There were times I was left places to be watched by babysitters, while my mother and her boyfriend would be gone for days, sometimes weeks. I didn’t fit into the new schools. I wasn’t in one long enough, nor was I disciplined enough to stay in school, but again I didn’t want to, because my home life was not something every-day-kids got to live. While kids my age were going to the mall, movies, skate rinks, stay-overs or amusement parks, I was usually in the drug house, watching people come in and out. There were times I’d catch people’s attention, which made me feel really good. They would even do grown folks business in front of me. Selling drugs, using drugs, wheelin’ and dealin' . I had freedom, that I never had before. No bedtime, running around all hours of the night, riding around in cool cars with loud systems. It appeared to me these people were happy and had so many friends. Something I guess I lost and wanted.
By the time I was twelve or thirteen years old I began to rebel, and live up to the lifestyle I looked up to. I started doing meth around people who would let a kid do it. I had friends, a new family and I finally fit in somewhere. I started to put myself out there for those friends, in order to be real or prove my loyalty. They showed me love and kept me high, so I dedicated myself to the small crowd. I no longer had time to feel let down or neglected by my mom. Nor did I have to face the hurt I had inside, so I didn’t slow down long enough to know anything else.
The life I developed grew into the criminal past that I have. Taking the easy way out isn’t always the way, but at this time in life, I didn’t know of any other way. Now I know, God has a plan. Since day one. I thank Jesus now for all the hurt and pain. I thank Jesus for loving me and being patient. The lifestyle I developed has caused me to be judged here on earth, but where God forgives, he allows your past to be displayed, so that his mercy can be shown. I’m no better or worse than anyone, but because I have lived what I have lived, I can help those that God puts in my life. This is my testimony.
I now realize, them so called friends that I looked up to, kept me high and allowed me to do what I wanted. Not only because misery loves company, but because that’s how this world in sin works. I dedicated my life to those people by committing felonies and crimes, which opened doors to youth prison, adult prison and state jails. I built a known name, reputation. But all along on my journey to find love and attention, I was missing something and that was God, the one I was doing wrong.
God sent his son Jesus to this world as a living sacrifice, to die for me. Jesus came into this world, knowing he was going to suffer and be put to death, so he could save all those, who believe in him.
How could I not be loyal to that? God has saved killers, murderers, thieves, prostitutes. He will let us suffer, suffer, and suffer so that we may be drawn to him. We may not know God, but he isn't far. He tells us in the Bible, that if you seek, you will find. To know the truth and the truth will set you free. I've been ignorantly loyal to the devil and his schemes by cursing the Lord, putting my hands on people, misleading people, taking advantage of people. I have stayed high on drugs, high on adrenaline from stealing cars, fighting for my friends, committing crimes for my friends and when I needed someone the most, where were they?
Fifteen years old, I went to the Texas Youth Commission. I found a little tough guy clique, who beat up on the weak or put down those who were doing right. I learned to manipulate, because I didn't want to change but to go back to the streets, where I fit in and where they were waiting. I went back to the same people and places, nothing changed. I was remembered where I was popular. My love was still there.
The longer you run the streets, the deeper in, the more stress, worry, and disloyalty you encounter. It became everything you don't see at first. Who is telling me, I can't go here or there because the laws know me. Constantly on the run to keep from going to jail. I had a chance to find God in TYC, I heard about him, but only weak people go to jail and change. I wasn't ready for that. I wanted to be the most real guy known, I wanted people to fear me, love me, respect me. I wanted to prove to the streets that if you messed with me, you would get beaten up, your door kicked in, car stolen and just know, my friends would do the same. The same friends, who go with your girl behind your back, or steal from you when you go to jail, or forget about you, when you need them the most.
I was only out just a few short months. At seventeen, I landed in the county jail. As I look back, it was a blessing, because I could have been worse off. I was angry at the world, nobody who claimed they loved me was there. I had to be tough. I didn't have nobody positive or people to look out for me. This time, I was on my way to adult prison. I was hurt and confused but didn't show it. Matter of fact, I shared my attitude and lived up to stories I heard. I prepared for prison by fighting for respect, working out and not taking any lip from anyone. This caught the attention of those, who introduced me to a prison gang. A whole new life that taught me about my race and cause within the system. It captured my interest and heart. It gave me a place to belong, it gave me the love and family I never had, but always wanted deep down. I learned quickly by listening to those who have done time, on how to do my time. After all, I better get used to it, because given the life I lived on the streets, this is what comes with it.
While I was in jail and TDCJ, I served this family who showed me love. I was offered all the good but not the bad. For me, it was really just a part of life I had to go through to learn more. I realize now what I was doing, was committing idolatry serving two masters. Not only did I break the law but was sinning against God. One thing about the Lord is, he desires for his people to be saved and does not turn on you. He loves you, like he does me. When I think about Jesus, I imagine him standing with open arms, as he was when he hung on the cross and died for me.
While I was in TDCJ the first time, church for me was a place to meet all my buddies and pass on information to others, or just kick it but there were times and things people would preach about that caught my ear. I would hear stories about how God changed their lives. I looked at those people thinking that they didn't have a clue, what I had been through. God did this to me; I can live some life and hope everything is going to be okay.
You know, down inside there has always been this little kid who just wanted to be back in school that day. Who wanted to be back where I was loved, celebrated holidays, but this new life and family kept me off focus for what I needed to do in my life. Because I was too worried about the new life I lived, I missed out on time I could have been learning how to pay bills, cook food. I have no living skills, so each time as I was released, I would go back to what I knew best. The same people who left me hanging when I was gone, were there with open arms when I got home. Here you need this, need that, and before I knew it, I was back in debt to the streets, paying with my time and loyalty.
Real friends should help you, and teach you how to live in society, help you to stay free, but because the world is so full of sin and so corrupt, you can't or I couldn't turn on nobody. The whole time he was there, the one that died on the cross for me. Putting stumbling blocks in my life. Giving me enough freedom to hang myself. That life really is getting old fast. It's tiring and the payoff is always your life.
From 2005 until now, I have been on the streets a total of three years, give or take. I have nothing to show but a name, reputation and some tattoos. Most of my old friends say they love me, but they really just love what I could do for them. A lot of old friends or people I knew feared me, because I was a loose cannon, always making people walk on eggshells. I could walk into stores and people would know me from the news. Many times I got pulled over, if I pulled over, I would spend hours on the side of the road.
In this cycle you learn to fight hard for your freedom, but not the right way. I am known in my city and by the police department for being a gang member. Known to be involved with selling drugs. Carrying drugs. Stealing cars. Fighting. I took pride in that but it is not worth a smile or two. The people it attracts are people that don't care about you and it has taken a long time to realize these things.
I want a family of my own. I have no kids and desire to build a family and life I didn't have. A family I can put my all into and receive the same amount of love. But reality is, things don't always come overnight. You may not always want to realize this, but I wish I would have. Again, because I didn't, when I got out each time, I went back to doing what I did. Each time I would get locked up, I got a little taste of a little something new, that would make me want to do different, do right. But because I didn't see life for what it could be, because I didn't have the right people in my life, and because of my foolish pride, each time I got out, I got a little worse.
When you do finally begin to have enough, you watch and evaluate others. How they have changed. You begin to humble yourself, speak about feelings, outlooks on how to do things different. I did, because after a long hard road, I started to realize that you couldn't just want to do different, it had to be done. I got to the point in my life, where i didn't know who or what to turn to. It took me going to the TYC, TDC, and the State Jail. Not once, but twice. When I got out of State Jail, I depended on those I knew in the streets to help me. I became selfish and hateful, because at that point, I just wanted to change and be different, but I couldn't stop and didn't know how to.
February 12, 2014 I found a way out. The good Lord saved me.
As the police pulled me over for warrants, I had every chance to run but I was finally tired of being tired. I gave up, ready to go. Last time I was out for about five months and stacked up about 10 or 11 different charges. In and out of jail. It was over for me this time. I wanted it to be. Life isn't life on the run. At times, you can't go home, or when you are home, you can't walk outside, or come and go as you please, because you fear the law enforcement. Many times, I would go to jail. Bond out the next day, just to turn around and get arrested again by warrant officers. Time after time. Crime is not a way of life. Drugs are not a way out. When I got locked up this last time, I gave it to God. I built a relationship with him through faith. You may wonder, how you can put your faith in someone or believe in something you don't see. Well, what about believing in that drug, or way of life? That didn't work out, so I put my life in the hands of Jesus. I jumped out there blind. I prayed, read the Bible, not knowing if what I was doing was right or wrong. Nothing changed overnight but the desire of my heart to change made me keep pushing. The more I begged to learn about the word, the closer to God I got through his son. I began to find scriptures and verses that would jump out at me.
Psalms 23 and 27. Matthew 9:12-13. Matthew 16:26, these were the first verses that brought me closer. It's not easy and every day I battle demons that make me want to give up, or give in. Now that I know what I know about the Lord, I feel if I stray away, give up, I'm letting him down and I don't want to do that.
I know if I believe in God, trust and obey him, he will take care of me. I have learned that I have to pick up my cross daily, draw a line of or between heaven and hell, trusting his will over mine. This life is only temporary and how we spend our time here determines our eternal future.
This is just a brief story to show where I came from and where I am in life. I wanted to take this website opportunity to reach out to others, who God may put in my life. I have built my life around the Christian way of life and look forward to getting out. Not only starting a family of my own, but building a bright future. Since I've been incarcerated, I have spent much time in self help books, the bible, getting trades,, anything to better my life. I look forward to getting out and starting my own business and I also would love to reach out to troubled teens.
I look forward to meeting you!