True Story: Saved From Drugs, Violence, Prison, Freedom

Testimony

Richard’s testimony is an inspiration. He decided not to be anonymous because he wants his story out there to be told. He believes his story can change someone out there with the same problem he faced before meeting Jesus. Please it might be long but will appreciate if you patient to read it through….

The following text is a personal testimony of how God has brought inner healing from emotional wounds that were inflicted on me as a child, and set me free from a fear of violence and a deeply entrenched behavior pattern that had caused me to hurt others growing up. My hope and prayer is that if anyone reading this is able to identify with any of it, they will come to understand the deep healing and freedom that can be found through repentance and faith in Our Lord.

My story begins with describing myself as an intelligent child who was happy, confident and secure in my home life. This all changed however when my father suddenly left home around the same time I began to experience bullying by a boy who I used to play football with. The boy was a friend at the time, but took it upon himself to beat me and humiliate me at every given opportunity after wrongly blaming me for losing a football game. The bullying I experienced only stopped after I snapped one day and knocked him down, along with his friend who was with him at the time. Both boys had been trying to humiliate me by hitting me in front of others, but something inside just said enough is enough, and I remember a feeling of intense relief because I finally stood up to him. In retrospect I can now see how this was the beginning of a pattern of behavior that was to stay with me well into my adulthood, as I had learnt that people could not hurt me if I hurt them first.

The bullying by this particular boy did not go on for too long, but it was enough to destroy my confidence and teach me that I needed to toughen up to protect myself from being hurt again by others. Subsequently I began to try and create a tough man image that couldn’t have been further from the truth of what I felt inside. In terms of what this looked like for me, as a child I would fight with other kids in the area and would bully and intimidate others. I also became rebellious at home and school, and eventually fell in with older guys who introduced me to drugs and a criminal lifestyle, which caused me to leave school early and enter a very dark period in my life.

Throughout adolescence and early adulthood, I always knew deep down inside I was not really the person I was trying to portray to others. As much as I wanted to try and convince others that I was tough, I knew that there was always someone tougher just waiting around the corner. Inevitably I ended up in a young offender’s institute and I can clearly remember the day I was led away from court in handcuffs and was taken away to spend my first Christmas behind bars. My first sentence was only a few weeks at that point, but whilst incarcerated I was bullied once more by an older guy who took a dislike to me. Despite trying to convince myself I was a somebody, I didn’t really know how to look after myself in an institution, but I quickly learnt that the only way to get by was to make sure that I was able to convince others that I was no pushover. The next time I was sent away for violent disorder, I made sure that I got in with the right crowd and would target certain people to try and establish my reputation even though the fear of violence actually terrified me. This meant that on occasions I would assault someone for no other reason than to try and prove myself. The reality was that I took no pleasure from violence and I always felt sadness for each person I hurt. I knew it was wrong and I wanted to change, but the further I travelled down that road, the harder it became to turn around.

At 21 years old, I was sent away on remand for the first time to a tougher higher prison. I remember walking down some steps and reading a sign that said welcome to Hell. It was made even more chilling by the fact that the prison I had been sent to had been used in a film many years before, and so I actually recognized parts of the building. To make matters worse I was withdrawing from a high amount of opiates and was forced to share a cell with someone who was also coming off drugs. All we had was a small sink and a bucket to use as a toilet and that was one of the lowest moments of my life. We were locked up for 23 hours a day and each morning the door would open for slop out and I would try and get myself together and stick my chest out as I walked down the landing as if I couldn’t care less. The moment I was back in my cell I would sit there in tears wondering how I was ever going to turn my life around.

The fact was that no matter how many times I tried I would always go back to drugs just as a pig goes back to wallow in the mud. I hated life and I hated myself. Other than the drugs I also had been secretly cutting my flesh for years as a way of punishing myself, but also as a way of releasing the anger and pain I felt inside. I would even punch myself at times and hurt myself in other ways, but the more I did this the more confused and fearful I became. I really believed I was becoming insane, because I did not think that anybody else would ever deliberately self-harm. I constantly lived in fear of being found out, but without any obvious way of changing things. I would numb myself with drugs, sex and anything else that would provide temporary relief from the confusion, fear and sadness I felt inside.
Over a number of years, I abused my body to the extreme and it is testimony to God that I am even alive today after having several near-death experiences. Indeed, several times I would experience situations where only the presence of God could account for my being here today to write this, but I will write about them at some point in the future.

After many years of personal suffering and causing suffering to others, I entered treatment in 2007 to clean myself off the drugs. I knew that to continue on the same path would either lead to death or a life sentence in prison, but deep down I had no real hope that things would change. I had tried to get clean many times before, but always seemed to go back to drugs because I could not deal with the intense emotional pain brought by the shame and guilt that the drugs had been masking. After detoxing from the drugs in treatment, I was left feeling vulnerable and naked before others. I really didn’t know how to deal with this and so I spent months trying to push people away by pretending that I felt better than I actually did. I also suspected that I was going to use again when I left treatment, as I could not stand the reality of having to deal with life without drugs. The truth was I was terrified of life and often contemplated suicide, but instead of being honest and sharing this, I would use anger or lies to keep people at a distance and away from discovering how I really felt inside.
It was whilst I was in treatment that a friend took me to church one evening after I reluctantly agreed to go simply to get out for a night. I had previously believed in God as a child, but somewhere along the line my idea of God turned into imagining some ferocious being that punished me every time I made a mistake. I also had church forced on me as a child and all I saw was hypocrites who judged everybody else, but did the very things they judged others for. I therefore went to church that night with no expectations and spent the first part of the service staring at the women in the hope that I may find a nice girlfriend. At some point however, I heard the preacher talking about addiction. He spoke about a God-shaped hole inside each of us and invited the congregation to step forward and accept Jesus. I could really relate to much of what he was saying, but I remember an intense fear of going forward, as I thought that people would be watching me and I could not stand the thought of people thinking that I was a broken man. Even so I eventually fell to my knees and asked the Lord to rescue me from the personal hell that I was living in before quietly leaving the church and travelling back to the rehab.
That night I could think of nothing else other than what had happened at church. I waited till everyone was in bed before closing my eyes and began to pray. I got down on my knees again and repented of the things I had done in life. Despite going to church as a child and going through the motions of repentance, I was suddenly aware of God listening to my cries and I felt genuinely sorry, because I had hurt so many people in my life up to that point. I can see now how unlike my previous prayers of repentance, I meant it wholeheartedly this time and I remember what felt like a cool breeze come over me. I thought that the wind had come into the room, and so I checked all the doors and windows, but they were closed and the heating was on. I now believe this to be the Holy Spirit.
I went to bed that night with a peace that I had never experienced in my life and so began a journey that would ultimately help me clean myself of the drugs, but would actually involve swapping drugs for religious practice, and going to the other extreme of becoming a Christian doormat afraid of conflict and trying hard to be liked by those I placed on pedestals. Of course, I had no idea that this was the case, but in his grace the Lord was good to me and eventually allowed me to understand how I had only partially surrendered my life to the Jesus that I had heard many stories about, but did not really know personally. In terms of the testimony I am sharing now, it is only in the freedom I have found in surrendering to the Lord, that I can now share freely why I acted like some kind of gangsta, when the reality was I was simply a frightened, confused and broken man who had grown up physically, but still felt like a small child inside.

I give all the glory to God for the changes that have happened over time. I have made many mistakes along the way, but I have for the most part been willing to allow the Holy Spirit to convict me of the behavior patterns that have subconsciously controlled me even after becoming a Christian. It is only in the confidence I have in God that I can now share this in the hope it may bring encouragement to others. Furthermore, I can do this without fear of what people may think of me, as my reputation amongst men is no longer as important to me as my relationship with God.

This journey has been long and painful and has involved going through periods where I would just cry for no obvious reason. At times, I wondered if I might be having a breakdown, as I could be simply driving the car and a song on the radio would trigger the tears. I could also be watching TV with the children and I would cry at some cartoon character for no apparent reason. To anyone observing I must have looked like a real wimp at times. I have come to understand however that it’s all part of the healing process and that I do not need to stop myself from experiencing my emotions.

I grew up believing that crying was a sign of weakness in men, but I realize now that could not have been further from the truth.
In finishing this testimony I want to add that I have reached a point in my life where I am no longer afraid of violence or those who would seek to intimidate, because I am one with Him who bore our sins, was murdered, but rose again so that we may find life.

May these words be a blessing to you. Please feel free to share this testimony if you think you may know anyone who might need to hear this.

May all the glory and praise go to HIM…

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Delivered from the Hurt of Abuse and the Scars of Sin

Before I begin my testimony I feel it is important to give you some information on my childhood, so you will be better able to understand some of the decisions I made in my life, however good or bad they may have been. But every decision I have made during my lifetime good or bad is what has brought me to where I am now and I am very thankful for the mountains and the valleys.

When I was born my mother was only fifteen years old and now years later and after I went through the process of forgiving her and working through many things, I am now able to look at her life through her eyes to try to better understand how she must have felt. Someone gave me this advice when I was really struggling with all of this, I was told that maybe I could forgive easier if I try to see her life through her eyes and not the eyes of a hurt child, “you know what?” it worked, I can understand her more clearly now. She was not mature enough to take care of herself much less a baby. So she would send me here and there to whomever would willing to take me at that particular time, most of the time it was my grandmother, several times throughout my life she would decide that she wanted me back and she would come and uproot me again. I never really knew any stability in my life [although my grandmother tried] and I always felt as if no one really loved me or wanted me.

Then at the age of nine she came and got me and took me away from my grandmother which, really at this point of my life, was the only mother I had ever known and I was very attached to her. Anyway, my mother came and took me to Illinois where she lived, by this time she had remarried and she had two more children by her new husband. He hated me and the only reason I could figure out was simply that I was not his child. Now this was not my fault, although I did blame myself for many years. He started just physically abusing me, but at the age of nine that changed, he raped me and this abuse went on until I was thirteen and I finally told my mother [even though he threatened me that if I ever told anyone he would kill me and my grandmother], she didn’t believe me either, actually no one believed me. Finally I just let it drop and I buried all of those feelings of anger and hate for years, that has now all been dealt with and forgiven and now it is all under the precious blood of Jesus, I have even forgiven him for what he did to me in the Lord’s strength not my own. Praise God! I told my mother that I wanted to go back to Memphis to live with my grandmother and she consented just because she felt I was causing so much trouble and she did not want to be bothered.

Now my grandmother was now also remarried and I resented him for taking her away from me too. You must remember I was only a child and I felt like she was all I had and now I had lost her too. I was very hateful to him and caused so many problems, he was very kind and loving to me but I just could not accept what he was offering to me. My grandmother finally after a long struggle went to the courts and told the judge that I was out of control and they just could not handle me any longer, so they removed me and placed me in a foster home, the home I went to was wonderful, but at that time I could not see things clearly, all I could see was that the only person who should love me had now turned her back on me as well, I just wanted my grandmother so, I ran away. The courts then really called my bluff, so as a ward of the State of Tennessee I was placed in a Catholic all girls reform school for three and a half years, even our pet Saint Bernard was female LOL. Now as I look back, I can honestly say it was one of the best things that ever happened to me. But at that time all I could see was that I was totally alone, unloved and unwanted in this great big world.

Now I will jump ahead some. In 1987 I lost my three children to their father [not in the courts he just merely took them and left the state without my knowledge or consent] and I totally lost it. I turned heavily to alcohol and eventually that turned into crack and cocaine. By this time I had lost everything including my dignity as I had turned to prostitution to support my drug habit. I was arrested several times on various charges, but I was never convicted and I never served any time, I know that God was taking care of me even back then in my sin, He saw what I would be one day in Him. I give GOD all the PRAISE, HONOR AND GLORY for all that I am today and all that I will be.

The drugs and my roaming had taken me too many places but on December 20, 1990 I came across a man that told me about Jesus and how He could deliver me and make my life an example to others. I had not eaten in a couple of days and he asked me if I was hungry, so he took me to a restaurant and bought me something to eat. The entire time he shared about Jesus Christ with me. He told me Christ could and would set me free if I was willing, and how He (Jesus), would give me a new life without all the pain and turmoil I was living in. Of course being a Christian does not eliminate us from pain, trials and tribulation but with Christ in our hearts He will give us the strength to overcome and withstand even in the worst times. I began sharing my life story with this man and he still said Jesus is the answer, and boy was he right. Right there I gave my heart to the Lord and I decided to live for Him and serve Him for the rest of my life.

I began singing at the age of five, but I had destroyed my voice through drug abuse, I just abused the gifts that God had given me. So I prayed and told the Lord that if He would heal and restore my voice I would use this gift for His glory for the rest of my life. Now, God has done exceedingly and abundantly above all that I could ask or think. The songs that I sing and others that I have written they are all His I am only an instrument holding the pen. It does not matter where you are, Christ will come to you and meet you if, you are willing to let your life go and let Him be God of and in your life.

I have had so many miracles in my Christian life as I am a walking miracle myself. But one of these miracles of a physical healing really stands out to me and I would like to share this with you as well. Around 2001 I was diagnosed with an incurable bowel condition, the doctors were not really sure what it was exactly, but they had come to the conclusion that with ulcers all through my body and many in my bowel system, they said they wanted to do surgery and remove a part of my bowel. My reply was that I wanted to get prayer for this and that I believed that God was going to heal me and I would not need the surgery at all. They went ahead and scheduled me for another scope the following week, just a few days after Christmas. Then on Christmas Eve I placed a long distance call to a minister friend of mine and asked him to pray for me, he said no problem but he would need to call me back in a few minutes. While waiting for him to call back I surrounded myself with God’s word and actually knelt on the Bible to show God that I believed His word and was claiming His promise of healing. When my friend called me back I knelt on the bible said, “Pray”. When he prayed for me the fire of God hit me and went through me, I had such a peace come over me. I went over to my bed and fell asleep (now Adam was put into a deep sleep in Genesis when God removed the rib to create woman) God did the same for me as I lay there sleeping He performed surgery on me to heal my body. I slept for seventeen hours and when I woke the bleeding had stopped and so had the pain, I knew without a doubt that I was healed by the precious hand of the Great Physician. I was on about $400.00 worth of medicine a month and I went into the kitchen and threw it all in the trash. I did go back for the scope when I was scheduled and the doctors were amazed there were no ulcers anywhere and I just praised God for His healing power.

I am now an ordained minister and I love and serve God with all that I have. I know God has called me into the ministry to help others overcome and learn and grow in Him. I am also now a southern gospel singersongwriter. The Lord has blessed me and I will continue on this road He has placed me on for my desire is only to serve Him. I will travel anywhere I am invited to give my testimony or to sing or both. God is wonderful and it is to His glory that I am writing this, if one soul is reached in anyway then this is worth everything.

As far as my family and children I thought I would just share this information on my children as our family continues to grow. And this is how my relationship is now with my children and grandchildren.

My oldest daughter, Chrystina’h is married to Adam; they have three beautiful children, one boy Attisyn is 8, Charysma’h is 4 and Kaelyn is 2. They live in Ontario, Canada and I am now living in Canada very close to them and I am enjoying it very much.

My son is my middle child, Jackson he is divorced and living in Mississippi he has four children Benjamin 7, Raygen who is 5, Larissa is 3, and Rayne who is 2.

My youngest child, Karina’h is married to Josh, she two daughters Alissa 8, Jasmine 8, Alexis 7, they have a son Brayson who was born in May 2007 and we are very excited that they have a new addition Jayden born May 2009. They also live in Mississippi.

Again I cannot stress enough that this is for the glory of God that I am here and that my life is what it is today, for without Christ I am nothing, but through Him I am a joint heir with Jesus Christ. He is our Deliverer, Savior, Helper, and Healer and any problem we may have is never too great or to small for Him, we just have to take it to Him and leave it at His feet and in His care. I thank God with all my heart because I know without a doubt that His power is still healing, still saving and still delivering. He is good all the time. I have made my mistakes but His grace is sufficient. God loves us and if we truly repent and confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

If I can help anyone out there, please contact me with the information provided below and I will do my best to help in anyway I can. If you have questions about loved ones who may be on drugs or other addictions I will try to answer your questions, if I do not know the answer I will do my best to find the answer for you. If you have loved ones that you need prayer for I will gladly join you in agreeing for that person for the Kingdom, just email me with the information so I can be in prayer daily for you and/or your family members and/or friends. Please always remember we are human and we will make mistakes but just confess to God those mistakes and get them under the blood of Jesus as soon as possible, God still loves us and He will help us in all of our situations. He will always come down to our level and help us to reach up to His level no matter what you call out His name for; He is there and WILL HELP YOU!

GOD BLESS AND KEEP YOU ALL. I GIVE FULL PERMISSION TO ANYONE WHO CAN USE THIS TESTIMONY TO COPY IT AND GIVE IT OUT OR TO SHARE IT PUBLICALLY, BUT PLEASE GIVE ALL THE GLORY AND PRAISE TO GOD. THANK YOU. I AM YOUR SISTER IN CHRIST JESUS.

Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

2 Corinthians 12:9 and he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.