Monday, May 27, 2019

In walks Jesus - - a story of a prison sidewalk...

My story begins with brokenness.  I had nothing and felt nothing.  I had no self-worth and I was washed up in everyone’s eyes including my own.  I identified as a crackhead, a convict, a prisoner, a sinner, and all that adds up to worthless.  I had forgotten me – check – there was no me.  Shane was #257988 and even that number had more worth than what I felt. 

It’s easy to say the cause of my perceived worthlessness was my addiction and the accompanying and mandatory rock bottom.  One might add that convicted felons are supposed to be marginalized and “lesser than” just as societal norm (be honest with yourself here – sure we feed the hungry but when is the last time you visited a prison, wrote a convicted felon a letter, or helped someone restart their life once released from prison?).  Others might say that I got what I deserved and needed to be forgotten - - can I get an amen?

Heck, even the memory of me had more real value in my mind (and yours). 
I was at the end of me. Broken.  Defeated.  Marginalized.  A felon.  A prisoner.  An addict - - add all those together and you don’t get a starring role on The Bachelor let a lone a sense of any real value.  I was truly washed up and broken - - like look up the word in the dictionary and there is my picture.

In walks Jesus

No lightning bolts.  No loud voice.  No ugly crying (though I had done plenty of that late at night on my bunk).  Just me walking on the prison walk six months into my bit.  See, I had been going to church, reading the Bible, and really focusing on trying to figure this Jesus dude out.  I had more questions than answers.  I had more disbelief than trust.  I had more pain than relief.  I had more sorrow than joy.  Up until that day on the walk I was doing a lot more searching than finding - - and then BAM… I just felt FREE… free you say?  Yes, free.

I cannot begin to explain how it feels to take that next step of freedom while walking in prison.  I was free on the inside for the first time in my life.  I was still in prison (and would be for 11 more months) yet free.  On that day and on that walk, I was called to Jesus and no longer broken.
I was no longer…
A victim of molest.  An addict.  A prisoner.  A convict. A bad son, partner, dad, brother and friend.  Full of shame and regret.
I was…
Worthy. Forgiven. Loved - - and a child of the most high King.

From that day until this day my life has been anything but perfect, but I have kept my eyes on Jesus, and He has seen me through so much.  I still had 11 months of prison to finish which included the torture of 45 days in solitary confinement, the wrestling of my inner demons, and more strip searches than I care to mention.  However, I never gave up after Jesus entered my life on the walk that day. 
I kept going.  I keep going.

In walked Jesus and my life changed.  In walked Jesus and walked my brokenness.  In walked Jesus and out walked my chains.

Today, I love Jesus and do my best to love like Him.  Today, I try and help those who are broken, who feel unworthy, and who are addicted to being unforgiven.  Today, I share what I have been through and what Jesus delivered me from.

Today, I share Hope.

He did it for me and He can do it for you - - even if it is on a sidewalk in prison.  Jesus meets you were you are and says come home, you are worthy, and you are loved.

If you’re struggling, it’s okay help is only a prayer away.

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