“I have a history, but God is way bigger than my mistakes.”
It’s incredible how a single moment can give you clarity. That’s what happened on April the 27th, 2017.
I’d been transferred to a maximum-security prison facility and thrown into solitary confinement with nothing but my underwear, jumpsuit and a bible. Sitting on a metal bunk; staring at white walls, I got to thinking, What the hell has my life come to?
Somewhere between the age of 6 months — when I was adopted – and 25, my life had taken some terrible turns: a bi-polar diagnosis, pornography, sexual addiction, and four years ago, a charge of felony. Despite the shame I felt in that moment, I knew God had never abandoned me and so I picked up the Bible and read it for 7 days straight.
In the dark, I lay on my bed and sang, “Mighty to Save” and “Hosanna.” I’d get 2 lines into a song and start weeping. The love I felt from God that week changed my life forever. By the end of isolation, I knew two things: I didn’t want to live for myself anymore and that love was the key.
Sin and shame cannot exist where love is present.
A year later, I was baptized and then a short time after that, given a leadership position in the prison protestant service. Several years ago, I found Hillsong Channel. The meaty spiritual messages were a game-changer, especially Sunday Night Live and the Colour Conference with Bobbie and Christine Caine.
I’d get so excited about the messages — I’d yell across the dividers. “Hey guys … turn to Channel 58!” Other inmates started watching too. They loved Stephen Furtick and Carl Lentz.
This past New Year’s Eve, I turned on the Channel and watched the Passion Conference. At one point, pastors were praying for people to find their identity. This was a big one for me. To the guards, I was prisoner number 817129 and to the other inmates, I was the guy who bragged about himself because he never felt good enough.
On my bunk that night, I decided to let go of the lies I had believed and accept the truth that I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Now I am out, and I have a dream to study multimedia and technology. Yes, I have a history, but God is way bigger than my mistakes.