The Magnitude of His Grace
Lord God Almighty, as I write this story of my life I pray Lord that you will guide me to write a story that tells of your wonderful redeeming power and your glory. You oh Lord have restored this life of shame and sin and to you be the all the glory and honor forever and ever amen.
To the reader I give warning that this story is true, so please read it with an open heart and an open mind.
In 1996 I was married, unhappily, with one child. My daughter was 1 year old. My wife and I had only been married 2 years and we were wed on the week after my 20th birthday. Our marriage was destined for destruction from day one. We were both needy and unable to cope with anything in life. Most of our time together we were on welfare, living in subsidized housing, and just basically being unproductive members of society. I was awash in many sins in the form of addictions like, smoking, drugs, alcohol, food and every possible crutch I could use to fill the void inside.
But most of all my problems were sexual problems that manifested itself in every conceivable form. I spent many hours of every day lost in sexual fantasies. These sexual urges and desires had made their home in my life from the age of six, when I discovered "myself", and they became a continual driving force. Without going over every episode of acting out I will simply say that for most of my life there was a woven thread of acting out sexually on those around me that I could easily take advantage of. For the most part the ones younger than me would be at the receiving end of my sins. There came a point in my life when I was "caught", so-to-speak, and the police were involved and it was made quite clear to me that this kind of thing was wrong. I was around 14 years old, and with many tears and hugs and sweeps to hide this family embarrassment under the carpet, all was forgotten.
I was able to control myself for a long time but since this problem wasn't taken care of when we had the chance it was inevitable that it would come back. And it did in the worst possible way, I was molesting my daughter. It started when she was only 6 months old. My wife and I had some friends with children in the complex we lived in and I molested 2 boys as well, while babysitting. They were Ages 2 and 4 respectively. I would have never stopped except for the mountain of shame I felt. These children could not speak for themselves and I thank the Lord that he gave me a conscience.
Everything sort of came together one day when I looked into my daughters eyes and I could see the horrible thing that I was doing to her. My heart sank with shame as I sought my innermost being with answers as to why I was doing this and what I was going to do about it. I was motivated by my love for her, she was my flesh and blood, and I needed to find a way to protect her from me. I took about three days of just sitting around my house in sorrow searching for the answers. I then came to the conclusion one evening that I had two choices; I needed to either commit suicide or get some serious help. After much careful consideration of this dichotomy I decided, with thoughts of my father having recovered from drug addiction years previous, that I would get some help. I was too curious to see what tomorrow would bring and besides if plan 'A' fails, I can still take my life at a later date if things don't work out.
My mother (praise the Lord) had taken my brother and me to church when we were younger and that is where I got at least the idea that there is a God. I knew that I would need a miracle to fix all this stuff, and I was quite literally at the lowest point I have ever been in my life. So with nothing to lose and not having any idea what I was doing I got on my knees one afternoon and asked God to please help. The first thing I did was write a letter to my wife telling her what I was doing. My theory on that was that if I was serious about getting help I knew that at least one other person would have to know about it to help goad me into searching for help. My wife should have kicked me out of the house and phoned the police, but she managed to forgive me and demand that I get help.
A few days later I just picked up the phone and started calling around to various agencies to see if anyone knew where I could get help for my problems. Eventually I was advised to go to my doctor and get a referral to see a psychiatrist. Once I started seeing the psychiatrist he put me on anti depressants and put me in touch with the local Sex Addicts Anonymous group. The bi-weekly meetings at SAA were very helpful, the 12 step program is based on principals of searching for a "higher power" because we are unable to stop ourselves, and the members welcomed me with open arms.
I was still seeing the psychiatrist and I didn't know that the "doctor-patient confidentiality rule" didn't cover reporting child molesting. I had told him too much information and he informed me one day that he would have to phone the police. That was the last time that I saw the doctor and I left his office knowing that the authorities would be coming eventually.
Around the same time that all this was going down I was in a heated argument with my wife one evening about God's forgiveness. I was 99% sure that God was able to forgive me and that he did forgive me. I was aware that Jesus had come to the earth to die for our sins and that through him the Lord would forgive us. My wife vehemently stated that there was no way that he could forgive me, what I had done was too big. It couldn't be done. After some time of this back and forth we agreed to disagree. I went outside for a cigarette and to contemplate God's forgiveness. My wife had planted the seed of doubt and I started to wonder about this "forgiveness deal". It was dark outside that night and all the stars were out and I lifted my eyes up to the heavens and asked out loud, "I am forgiven right Lord?" I spoke those words not really realizing what I was saying and was more in the spirit of looking for God's approval that I was right in my argument with my wife. All at once I was filled with a physical feeling of warmth and a presence of God and like he was standing right beside me putting a warm blanket around me and said to me, not with human voice, but speaking to my heart "I've been with you all your life, I know where you've been and I forgive you." I have never felt anything like that before or since. I could hardly stand on my feet as my knees started shaking and I bawled like a baby. I was blessed with a sense of complete forgiveness. I thank the Lord Almighty for his gentle loving hand on that day.
I slept really well that night and I didn't see it then, but looking back on it now, He showed up that night to strengthen me for what was to come. About one or two days after that in the evening I was feeling like I could take on the gates of hell. My wife was out with our daughter for a walk and I was cleaning up the house expecting her home any minute. I heard screams coming from just outside our door, "NO, DON'T TAKE MY BABY!" My heart sank and I knew that the police were here for me. I went to the door and there were two officers waiting to arrest me and I could see at the bottom of the stairs to our townhouse the agents from the Ministry of Children and Families relieving us of our daughter. My wife was screaming in tears as they were trying to calm her down and I was getting some new bracelets. To my wife's surprise, she would later find out that because she knew of the abuse and didn't do anything about it that she would no longer be able to care for our daughter and she was put into foster care.
So now it was time for me to take responsibility for what I had done. I was at the police station in holding for quite a while when my dad showed up and he was allowed in to see me. He did exactly as God would have a good father do, he just sat there and didn't say anything except "you are doing the right thing son, stay strong." My face was so low I couldn't even look him in the eyes but just his presence there was enough to give me courage. Eventually a special detective was brought in to talk to me and take a statement and investigate what I had done. All the police knew was a report from a shrink that I had molested my daughter. The Lord gave me the strength that hour to do what I had to do and I told them everything. I came clean and told them about the other 2 boys as well as my daughter. I was charged with multiple counts of child molestation (which would later be reduced to just 3) and I was released by a judge the next day.
I had to stay with my parents as part of my release and the horrible wreckage of my sins was about to be released. The next day, Sunday, I woke up with my dad handing me the newspaper, there was my story on the front page in big black letters. I was deeply sorrowed as I thought of the parents of the 2 boys that I had touched, today they would be learning of how their supposed friend had hurt them in the worst way. The snowball started to roll and soon hundreds and even thousands of people were affected by my sins, but darker days were ahead.
One week after my release I was in my room at my parents house, were I had spent all day on my knees crying, begging God to step in and do something to ease my pain, my wife's pain, the victims pain. I had phoned my wife that day to talk to her and try to tell her how sorry I was for ruining our lives. I was court ordered not to talk to her but I didn't know how serious it was for me to do that. Later that evening, after I cried all day and I had nothing left but deep regret for ever being born, I found a knife that I would use to cut my wrists and end all this madness. I was sitting there mustering up the courage to put my shoes on to go for a walk to do what I had planned to do. The door buzzer went off and my dad told me that the police were here to talk to me. They arrested me for breach of recognizance and I was off to jail for the night. This was by far and away the absolute lowest of the lows. All I wanted to do was kill myself and now I couldn't even do that. Looking back on it now, I thank the Lord that he allowed me to be put in cells that night, perhaps I wouldn't be writing this story if I wasn't arrested that day.
I spent one day in real prison because I was arrested on a Saturday and I would have to wait till Monday to see a judge. I was terribly afraid of prison until I got to spend one day there. I knew that my crimes warranted a stay in prison, for how long no one knew, but being a sex offender in prison for any length of time was a worrisome proposition. My fears were eased somewhat by that quick stay. After all, the people in prisons are just people, and Hollywood is guilty of making it out to be some kind of hell of on earth. So I was encouraged to press on.
I had started my path of seeking help in late 1996 with the prayer and the letter to my wife, now it was about March/April of 1997 and things started to calm down a little. I was on borrowed time as I was pleading guilty through the court process and I was to be sentenced to one year in prison on July 9, 1997.
In May of that year things were to get worse before they got better. I got the phone call one night to inform me that there had been an accident at the foster home my daughter was in and that she was in the hospital. I was allowed to visit her a couple of times in the hospital but she was in a coma. We would soon learn that there was no accident. The foster mother claimed that she fell out of her high chair and went unconscious when her head hit the floor. The foster mother had beaten her almost to death because of her constant crying. This was top story in the news for weeks. I have never seen my daughter since that last time in the hospital. She was about 18 months old then and now she is almost 9. After many surgeries and years of therapy she is partially brain dead for life, loss of sight in one eye and has limited small motor functions. She will never grow older then the age of about 2 mentally. Just a few years ago the class action lawsuit, where the ministry was sued for responsibility of what happened to my daughter in foster care, came to an end and the courts awarded my daughter 3.5 million dollars.
I forgive the foster mother and hold no grudge against her. The truth that the Lord has revealed to me is that my daughter and I both have a share in God's gift of salvation. My daughter will never know the difference between her right hand and her left hand (Jonah 4:11), but she has a seat in heaven waiting for her. Our God is an awesome God and he has a way of turning lemons into lemonade. The peace the comes from knowing and believing that my daughter will be spared from further tortures and pain on this earth and will be seated with Christ in the heavens on that day is soothing to my soul.
I was divorced from my wife while I was in prison, which was a good thing. I served my time in a work camp where there were programs and help available to me and I took full advantage of everything. I was released in 1998 and I came out having lost everything and being a new creation in Christ. All of my worldly possessions were the clothes on my back and $100 in my pocket.
The Lord has never left me at any time through this journey; my needs have always been met. I, on the other hand have always been slow to follow him and stubborn to obey his command and I have much to be thankful for that he is slow to anger and very patient with the children he loves. I eventually came to find a church to attend and went on to do be baptized. First I came to God in faith, then, I came to know him personally. He has never given up on me even though I felt many times that he should've. I deserve a triple portion of the eternal death, but instead the God of glory and love has given me life to the fullest, in this life and the one to come. I am happily married to a beautiful loving, gentle wife. She is my God ordained partner, and a good helper for me. I have been blessed with a good job and a roof over my head.
My walk with the Lord has not been without many ups and downs as I'm sure most Christians can attest to. But he continues to fill my life with spiritual blessings and reveals his holy truth to me on a daily basis. If his grace is sufficient enough for me, the lowest of the low, he is certainly able to redeem you and I pray that the Lord of Mercies will call you into a relationship with him and everlasting life. If you, reader, are suffering with the same problems as I suffer with, I hope that this story will encourage you to seek help, Almighty help. Believe in the magnitude of his grace.
1John 1:9 - "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness."
Rom 3:23&24 - "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus."