My testimony begins in Lima , Ohio on August 26, 1973, the day I was born. My mom was not married to my dad, so not having a dad around didn’t help my development.
When I started school I didn’t have many friends. The other children would make fun of me because I didn’t have a dad at home. I can’t even begin to tell you how many fights I got into because of the other children making fun of me.
My mom met someone in 1981 and in 1984 they got married. I thought I was finally going to get some friends; hey I had a dad now. I thought the other children would stop making fun of me since I had a dad.
Boy was I wrong. It turned out that I was about to have more problems.
About six months after they got married my moms new husband started to beat me. No matter what I did he would beat me with his belt or a paddle.
I was living in a nightmare. I didn’t get any friends like I had hoped for. In fact I even had to stay out of my physical education class to keep my teacher from seeing my bruised backside and legs.
All I was getting was a violent attitude.
No one wanted to be friends with someone with a violent attitude. So I was alone, I still had no friends.
I became a violent person because that is what I was shown at home. I was getting paddled so much that my backside and legs were bruised more often than not.
I was angry because I couldn’t make any friends. I was so angry that the only people that would have anything to do with me were those involved with Satanism. I thought that they were the only ones that would or could love me so at a very young age I got involved with Satanism. I finally had some “friends.”
Once I had some “friends” I could start looking for my real dad. That only started a new chapter in the nightmare I called my life.
My life started to go downhill as soon as I got involved in Satanism. My schoolwork went to pot. The man my mom married became more abusive, and every time I thought I had found my real dad I was let down.
The man my mom had married was so abusive that I didn’t even dare speak when he was around. He was so abusive that at times it would seem that my mom would beat me. I don’t know if she was doing it because she was afraid of her husband or if she felt that that was the only way she could get through to me.
The only thing I knew for a fact was that there was a great deal of anger building up inside of me. My anger soon turned to hatred. Hatred for my mom, her husband, and the people I looked to as friends.
To make matters worse my moms’ husband collected guns. He never locked them all up so I could mess with them if I wanted to.
One day while they were gone I thought it would be cool to shoot one of the guns. After I got the .22 caliber gun and some bullets I started to shoot it. I shot up a metal storage building real bad.
When the police did their investigation I was busted. So at the age of ten I went to juvenile jail.
It was while I was at this place that I met someone very important. The other boys tried to be friendly to me, but I was too angry, I hated everyone. It was really odd the way I met this person. Since I was a Satanist I didn’t go to church. I mean church was pretty much a danger zone for someone involved in Satanism.
One Sunday morning I woke up early and couldn’t get back to sleep. They had a church service that was optional. The guards said I had to go because they didn’t want to put up with me. So I went, under protest, but I went.
The preacher did a sermon on how there was a fight for our souls. The two people that were fighting for our souls are Jesus and Satan. The winner is determined by which one we choose to follow.
The preacher was really starting to upset me by saying that Satan was bad. He even said that Satan doesn’t even care if we die.
I had just about had enough and wanted to jump up and call the preacher a liar. Before I could do anything he asked us to listen to a song.
After he played the song the service was over. And for me it was none too soon, I couldn’t wait to get out of there.
After we got back to our dorms I tried to get some sleep, but couldn’t fall asleep. That song just kept playing over and over in my head.
After four days of no sleep and a very troubled heart I went to see the preacher. I asked him what the name of the song was. He told me it was called, “The Champion.”
I told him that the song would not leave me alone. I couldn’t sleep and every time I tried to watch the television all I could see was a fight with no winner.
The preacher asked me if I was ready to see the end of the fight. I asked him what he meant. He asked me if I was ready to have a better and blessed life with Jesus.
I sat there and thought about it for a few minutes while he got music around for the next church service. After about ten minutes I told the preacher that I had tried everything else and none of it worked so I said sure.
The preacher told me that accepting Jesus into my heart was not a quick fix or a game. He said if I was serious it would mean I would have to change my life and way of doing things. He also said that by accepting Jesus into my heart my life would be better but it would also be harder.
I asked him what he meant by harder and he said that there are things God doesn’t like. Things like lying, stealing, a bad attitude, and hatred.
Those were all things that I was use to doing and I could understand how my new life would be hard. But I was tired of seeing that fight so I asked the preacher to help me accept Jesus.
So on a cold November afternoon I accepted Jesus into my life. I’m not going to tell you that from that moment on my life was just great. In fact it was just the opposite.
It just got harder and there were even times that I stumbled and fell. The reason my life got harder was because Satan had lost me and he wanted me back.
I had to prove to the people in my life that I had changed. Satan did a pretty good job at making that hard to do.
While I was in juvenile jail my mom’s husband brought pornographic movies and magazines into the house. So at the age of eleven I was introduced to sex in a bad way.
I was never told that sex was for after you got married. I thought that it was just something you did all the time.
Another way Satan tried to stop me from proving I was a Christian was by tempting me to steal. I did.
It all started with candy. I would go into a store like I was going to buy something and steal candy. Soon I was stealing money from my mom and her husband.
Pretty soon I started to smoke cigarettes. I would steal them from my mom and her husband. I soon found a way to steal my cigarettes from the stores. It didn’t help that my mom would give me cigarettes for doing stuff around the house.
I started smoking when I was twelve or thirteen. I was smoking up to two packs a day.
Then on March 10, 2000, I threw away an entire carton of cigarettes. God took the desire to smoke away from me; I have not touched a cigarette since that day.
I thought that since I had given my life to Jesus I would find my real dad quickly. I soon found out that it would take time. It would take so much time that I became angry again, but I did not go back into Satanism.
Then one day there was a breakthrough in the search for my dad. Someone told me that his brother lived in a nearby town. There was finally some hope in my search.
I got on my bicycle to go to the town where my dad’s brother lived. I had to ride through another town.
While I was in this town I stopped and broke into a house. I did it for really stupid reasons. I needed money for cigarettes and I thought I could get away with it.
I never made it to the town I was going to because I had set off a silent alarm. The police wasted no time in arresting me.
My day in court was not for a week, so at the age of seventeen I sat in jail, again.
I called my mom and told her what I had done. She said she would be up to see me on visitation day.
On visitation day my mom showed up with someone I did not know. When he saw me he had this look of disbelief on his face. I asked my mom who he was and she wouldn’t tell me.
About half way through the visit my mom gave the phone we used to talk to each other to this strange man. The first thing he said was that I looked and acted just like his brother. He was amazed.
All of his talk of amazement meant nothing to me because I didn’t know who he was. He could tell I was starting to get agitated.
He asked me why I was getting upset and I told him that all of his amazement meant nothing to me because I did not know who he was.
Then he told me who he was. It didn’t register at first then he told me who his brother was.
I had questions; oh boy did I have questions! I started to ask him questions so fast that he never got to answer them.
This man was obviously my uncle so I asked him the most important question of all. Was my years of searching going to be worth it? Was I going to get to meet my dad?
The answer I got did not look good. My uncle did not know if all my hard work was going to pay off. He told me that my dad lived in Texas . So there was at least a chance that I could meet my dad.
Just before the visit was over my new uncle asked me to put him and his family on my visitors list. So I did because I wanted to learn as much as I could about my dad.
The day before I had court was a visitation day and I was kind of bummed out because I knew that no one was coming up to see me. I was wishing that someone would come and see me because I knew I was facing jail time. Just before visiting hours were over one of the correctional officers called my name. I had a visitor.
When I got to the visitation room the person that came to see me was not the person I had hoped for. I was hoping that my mom would show up so she could put some money in my commissary account.
The person that came to see me was my new uncle and his family. There was also another man with them. As I spoke with my uncle he introduced everyone but the strange man that came in with them. There was something strange, almost familiar about him.
When my uncle was through talking I asked him who this guy was. He just smiled and handed the phone to the stranger. When I asked him who he was all he did was cry.
My uncle got the phone and asked me what I had said. I told him all I had done was asked him who he was and I still didn’t know.
The man had my uncle ask me who my mom was and when I was born.
When I told him he had some problems remembering back that far then he remembered. I had done it; I had found my real dad.
When my day in court came I was in the courtroom alone. I had no lawyer and the judge said he was going to try me as an adult. The reason he was going to try me as an adult was because it was so close to my eighteenth birthday. I thought I was done for; the judge was going to “throw” the book at me.
To my surprise I was only sentenced to six months in the state correctional system. They sent me to a place called CRC, which is where they send you before they send you to an actual prison to do your time.
I stayed in constant communication with my dad while I was there. One night while I was talking to my dad he asked me to come live with him when I got out of jail. I told him I would.
That was going to be the payoff for all the time I put into looking for him. So when I was released from prison I moved to Texas to live with my dad.
It was great. I got to meet my two half-sisters and the woman that was married to my dad.
After I got settled in and rested up from the long trip I started to look for a job. After looking for about a month or so I finally found a job. It was at a fast-food joint, but at least it was a job.
I was feeling pretty good about myself and thought there was nothing more I needed. Then it happened, I saw her.
One day while I was walking to work I saw a woman trying to get something out of her car. She asked if I could help so I did. It turned out that she was pregnant.
I knew that she could use all the help that she could get because of the baby. As I helped her we spoke and I discovered that we had quit a bit in common.
I asked her where the baby’s father was and she said that as soon as he found out she was pregnant he left.
There was not a day go by that we didn’t get together and talk before I went to work. Our friendship soon turned into a relationship.
I finally had the best things in life; a mom, a dad, a job, and someone to love. I was on top of the world.
I got a letter in the mail one day from the Ohio Court System. It seemed that there was a child in Ohio that I was the father of and the state of Ohio wanted me to pay child support.
After the DNA paternity test was done I discovered that I had a son. When I told my girlfriend she was happy because she thought that her baby would have a brother.
Almost three months after we got together my girlfriend had her baby. She had a beautiful baby girl.
I was never a daddy up to that point in my life. I mean, sure, I was a father but there is a difference.
As I looked into the eyes of this baby girl I saw the love, the kind of love that God gives us everyday. The kind of love that only He can give. The unconditional type!
I finally had everything going for me. I thought I had it all, a son, a job, a woman that loved me, and a baby girl that looked at me like I was daddy.
My girlfriend’s baby and I did everything together. There were even times that her mommy couldn’t get her to stop crying and it was no problem for me. She was defiantly a daddy’s girl.
My job was going great. My bosses liked my work so well that they were even thinking of moving me into management. There was not a whole lot that I couldn’t do so why not. It would not be easy but I wanted it.
The relationship with my dad was great. I mean I actually had a dad in my life that didn’t beat me. We were getting along pretty good. Don’t get me wrong we had our differences, but he loved me and I loved him.
After my girlfriend and I had been together for about a year and a half I asked her to marry me. She said yes.
I was on top of the world. It seemed that everyone loved me. I didn’t know it yet but the love everyone had for me was about to be tested, and tested hard.
One night I was closing at work and it was late when I got done. As I was walking home I was hurt really bad. The back of my head was broken; I had suffered a traumatic brain injury.
When someone found me and called 911 the EMT’s didn’t think I was alive.
When the doctors saw me they only gave me a 3% chance to survive. They told my dad that I probably wouldn’t make it.
My dad called and told my mom in Ohio . My mom was in Texas the next day. I was still in surgery when she arrived.
After the doctors were done with the operation they were not very optimistic. They told my mom and dad that I had clinically died three times during the operation.
The doctors were still staying with the 3% survival rate. They also told my parents that if I did survive I would most likely be a vegetable.
My parents saw this as devastating news. They were thankful that I had survived the operation, but they were not prepared nor were they going to accept the other news.
They went to God in prayer and put me on church prayer lists in Ohio and Texas . I had people praying for me all across the country.
I spent one month in a comatose or unconscious state. Then I was in a semi- comatose state for another month. All I can remember is a dream that I never wanted to end.
All I can say is I guess I hadn’t done what the Lord wanted me to do so I had to come back. As much as I wanted to stay with the Lord He sent me back to answer a lot of people’s prayers.
After I came out of the semi-comatose state I had to relearn a lot of things. Things like walking, talking, eating, dressing, and even how to act in a civilized manner. The head injury really messed me up.
I even had to relearn who my family and friends were. I had a hard time even knowing who my mother was.
I am thankful that everyone stayed by my side and prayed for me. If the people in my life hadn’t been praying for me I don’t believe I would have made it.
My girlfriend stayed with me through the whole thing. I wish I could tell you that we stayed together and got married but that didn’t happen.
The two months that I stayed on the rehabilitation floor in the hospital really took its tool on our relationship. Neither of us could stand the other so we broke up.
I felt really stupid on the rehabilitation floor at the hospital because I was a twenty-one year old baby.
The specialists were finding it difficult to teach me things. I was very combative with them because they were trying to make me do things I didn’t want to do. Thank God they had the patience to put up with me.
It took them three weeks to teach me how to speak, two weeks on how to eat, and almost five weeks on how to dress myself and tie my shoes. In all I was on the rehabilitation floor for almost three months.
The doctors told my parents that they didn’t know how it was done but I was not a vegetable. They said that I shouldn’t have been able to do the things I was doing, but there I was doing them. I only have God to thank for that.
The doctors also told my parents that I would have some memory problems. My parents didn’t think anything of it, boy was that a mistake.
I had some pretty serious memory loss problems. I even had a hard time remembering who my family and friends were. I couldn’t remember the names of people, phone numbers, birthdays, or even my address.
There were even times that I didn’t want to talk to people because I couldn’t remember who they were. That took a pretty hard toll on my dad and the rest of my family. It made it hard to talk to me because people didn’t know if I would remember them.
No matter how much I want to tell you that I am okay I can’t. I still have some problems with my memory.
The doctors have said that my memory will never get better. I want to prove them wrong, but it’s hard to do alone. My memory is a little better than when I got out of the hospital, but it is not as good as it should be.
Another thing that the doctors said is that I probably would not be able to work again. The way I was to survive was is by living off of a check from the government.
I was going crazy and driving the people in my life crazy because I didn’t have a job. I couldn’t deal with it any longer; I had to get a job.
Every time I tried to get a job somewhere they wouldn’t hire me. They thought I would be a liability because of my medical history.
I was so angry with myself because I felt like a failure. I mean I could not support myself, and my dad either couldn’t or wouldn’t put up with my attitude.
So about eight months after I got out of the hospital my dad called my mom. He told her that he couldn’t deal with me so he was going to send me back to Ohio .
I’m not saying he was a bad father because he was great. I mean he did the best he could. And that is all anyone can ask of another person.
When I tried to get a job in Ohio I got the same thing I got in Texas . No one would hire me because they thought I would get hurt on the job. I finally got a job at a fast-food restaurant.
About one year after I moved back to Ohio I met a woman. She had a daughter that was about the same age as my son.
After we had been together for about a year we got married. That was not a real smart thing to do because we knew each other yet we didn’t know each other.
I can look back and say that was really stupid. I didn’t really know her, in fact the only two things I knew about her was she had a child and she paid attention to me. Just about the only thing we had in common was the fact that we were parents.
About two and a half years into our marriage she became pregnant. Our marriage was pretty rocky up to that point.
I thought things would get better because of the baby. Well we both got real moody during the pregnancy. It got so bad that we were fighting more often than not.
It was so bad that after she had a baby girl she had to be put on a medication called Prozac, a very strong anti-depressant. She had to take it once a day.
One day after I came home from work she was trying to take her medicine. She had already taken it before I left for work. When I asked her what she was doing she said she was taking her medicine.
When I told her she had already taken it she tried to take a handful of pills. She didn’t get all of the pills in her mouth because I had knocked some of the pills out of her hand. She picked up the pills and told me to leave her alone.
I told her that if she took that much of the medicine it would kill her. She said she didn’t care, she wanted to die.
She was trying to commit suicide in front of the kids and I. I got upset and tried to stop her. I did the only thing I could; I took the medicine and put it in my pocket. Then she went for the kitchen knives.
I finally had to take my belt and bind her hands and feet together. After I got her restrained I called 911.
When the doctors pumped her stomach they found eleven pills. If those pills had stayed in her system any longer she would have died.
There was nothing I could do so I suggested that she stay in the hospital and talk to the professionals. She didn’t want to do it but the doctors agreed with me so she had to stay.
While she was there she said she wanted a divorce. I wanted to try and save our family and marriage so I said no.
We tried to work everything out but it didn’t happen. We did everything but let someone else run our lives.
When we discovered that there was no saving our marriage we started the divorce.
While we were in the courtroom the judge told my wife that since she tried to commit suicide she had given up her parental rights.
Her oldest child would go to her natural father. The judge asked me what I wanted to do with my daughter. I asked him for some time to think it over, he gave me one month.
After the month was up and we went in for the final hearing I told the judge what I had decided. I was going to put my daughter up for adoption.
When the judge asked me why I told him that I was not financially or mentally fit to raise a child. That was one of the hardest things I ever had to do.
The judge commended me for making that decision because it takes a real man to admit those kinds of faults. Then he granted the divorce and my daughter became a ward of the state.
Since the divorce I have moved four or five times. I don’t know nothing ever seemed right.
I didn’t have many people in my life that I would call friends. I didn’t let people into my life very often because I didn’t want to get hurt. I guess I have some trust issues. Every time I think I can trust someone they let me down.
Even my family has let me down. I mean I was abused as a child, and I didn’t want to move back to Ohio after I got hurt.
I would like to have more friends, but that is something I will have to wait on. I know that God will help me in that area, all I have to do is be patient.
I do hope that God has led me to a place where I can grow and become more like Him.
I have been homeless, and on June 17, 2004, I moved into a shelter for the homeless run by a church. I lived in the shelter for five or six months.
Once I got a job and some money saved up I started renting an apartment from someone in the church.
As you have read I have had to move into a homeless shelter. That has to be one of the best things I have ever done.
The reason I say that is because of one of the rules the shelter had. The rule was that we had to attend church. This was not a rule I had a problem with since I had attended church since I gave my life to Christ.
The church I chose to go to was the one that ran the homeless shelter.
The first time I walked into the church it felt like home. I mean everyone loved and accepted me for who I was and who I could be. This was different from most of the other churches I had attended before.
I knew I had walked into a different kind of church when the pastor admitted some of his own faults from the pulpit. What really got me was that he had gone through some of the some stuff as me.
I was amazed at the love the people in this church had. Everyone I spoke with showed genuine interest in helping me get a better grip on life.
After I had been in the shelter for about two months one of my old problems became known. The problem was my addiction to pornography.
I had said some things to a young lady that were not appropriate and the director of the shelter, who was also the pastor, found out. He told me I had twenty-four hours to get my stuff and get out of the shelter.
After I wrote a letter of apology to the pastor he let me stay. He also introduced me to a man in the church that was willing to help me break my addiction with pornography.
When I met with the man all he said he was going to do was pray with me. He told me that it was a way to let God into a part of my life that I hadn’t let Him into yet.
When we started praying and I asked God to come in and help me clean up that part of my life He showed up in a big way.
He helped me clean up more than my addiction to pornography.
While we were in prayer God showed me that there were other areas of my life that He wanted to clean up as well. Some of these areas included my language, my thoughts, and the desires in my heart.
My language, thought, and the desires of my heart were pretty bad and not very pleasing to God.
When God showed up and I let Him in He really turned my life upside down.
First He took away my addiction to pornography. It is an everyday battle but with the Lord’s help I am victorious.
Then He helped me with my language, my thoughts, and the desires of my heart. I am now doing my best to serve and bring Him honor everyday.
Then one of the ladies from the church asked me what had happened to my teeth. I told her that when I suffered the head injury the doctors had to put me on a medication to help prevent epileptic seizures.
The medicine they gave me was called dilation. It did a good job at preventing the seizures but one of the side effects of it hit me.
The side effect of the medicine is that it robs the body of calcium. The first thing it hits are the teeth.
The medicine had rotted all of my top teeth. I was pretty self conscious about it. I wouldn’t smile or laugh and the people in my life could tell that it bothered me.
The lady asked me if I would go and see a dentist. I told her that I didn’t have a problem seeing a dentist I just didn’t have the money to do it. She told me that she was going to set up an appointment for me.
When I went to see the dentist he told me that the few remaining teeth I had were bad and needed to be pulled. Then he told me that I would need dentures.
When I told him that I didn’t even have the money to pay him so I wouldn’t be able to pay for dentures. He told me not to worry about it. All he wanted was for me to wear the dentures and have some confidence in myself.
I agreed and the following week my teeth were pulled and I was fitted for dentures. Two weeks latter I had a new smile.
God provided a way for me to get my self-confidence back. I don’t know who paid for the dentures and I don’t care. The important thing is that God provided me with another blessing.
About two months later the pastor introduced me to someone that was willing to help me with my finances. That was good because I had a hard time saving money.
Another thing that the people of the church have helped me realize is that God is training me up to be one of His soldiers. He tells me to put on the armor that he provides.
I tried to do that but I kept getting beat up by the devil.
One day while I was in prayer with someone from church God showed me something. I wasn’t allowing Jesus to tighten the straps of my armor.
I was still having problems with people trying to run my life. So I went to a class that the pastor ran about setting up some boundaries in my life.
There is another class I took to help me get over the pain in my life and to forgive those that have caused the pain. It was a recovery class much like AA and NA, only the class was entirely Biblically based.
Since I have taken the class I have found it easier to forgive someone when they have done me wrong.
Let me say this again. It is only by the grace of God that I am victorious over pornography, can forgive those that have wronged me, and most importantly forgive myself.
After I was baptized in April of 2005 I heard about a Spiritual Renewal Retreat.
Six months later I went on this Retreat. It was the most rewarding time of my life.
The retreat was all about what being a Christian is all about. At one of the worship services we had God showed up in a big way.
As we were singing I looked up and saw His heart. It was as if I could reach up and tear off a piece and put it in my pocket for when He stopped loving me. Like that would ever happen.
All I have to say is that becoming homeless and getting involved with this church has really helped me grow spiritually.
I am in no way giving the people of the church credit because all the credit goes to God for what He has done in my life.
Now I’ve only told you a few of the things that God has brought me through in life. There are so many more. The things that I’ve written about are the things that have helped make me the man I am today.
I would like to end this story in a special way.
To my mom, I have this to say. I forgive you for not helping me find my real dad. I forgive you for getting married to an abusive man. I also forgive you for abusing me as a child.
To the man that my mom married, I forgive you for being abusive and bringing pornography in to the house when I was a child.
To my real dad I have this to say. I forgive you for sending me back to Ohio after I was hurt.
To all the children that made fun of me as a child I have this to say. I forgive you. I forgive you for making fun of me and beating up on me.
I only hope that all the people that I have hurt in my life can forgive me for hurting them.
I would like to thank and praise the Lord for allowing me to be able and write this story down to share with others.