Formerly incarcerated person pastors church in Orange County
When a publisher asked me, “Why would someone want to read a book written by you?” it took me longer to answer than I expected.
And my answer impacted my faith.
I come from a broken family. I had a long battle with drugs, was kicked out of my house before I was an adult, and committed countless crimes to support my addiction. I’ve slept at friends’ homes, in trunks of cars, and often did drugs so that I wouldn’t have to sleep, because I had no home. Crime and drug abuse led me to county jail, and eventually state prison.
But others have a similar story, so again I had to ask why anyone would want to read a book by me.
When I was young the gospel began to reach into my family. I wish I could say that was when I came to faith, but circumstances actually pushed me further away from Jesus.
Fast forward to 1997. I had been out of prison less than 100 days when I was arrested again. This time, I’d done enough to never get out. I had a gang affiliation, a long record, and was on parole. Just an hour before the arrest, I had committed a home-invasion robbery of a drug dealer’s home. While driving, a cop saw me and pulled me over simply because I was known to them. In the car were drugs, a gun, and stolen goods.
I was immediately taken back to jail.
The next few days were spent detoxing from drugs and wondering what I would be charged with. The robbery was public now, and it was a reality that I might never get out of prison. And, if I were honest, I’d have to say I was ok with that fact.
I had become more comfortable inside prison than I was outside. I was institutionalized.
I sat alone in a cell and prayed the most heartfelt prayer I had ever prayed. I asked God to change me and promised to ...