This essay was written on Saturday, April 26, 2014, in response to a homework assignment I had to do in regards to Time and Change. Yes, we even get homework in prison.
Four years, three months and three days – the amount of time that I have remaining on my sentence. I have quite a bit of time left to get my mind and body focused on how I want to live my life when I get out. Exciting thoughts are constantly running through my mind as I prepare for my future, as I know it’s going to be a great one, with God next to me every step of the way. For today is a new day, each day closer to experiencing freedom, and each day that much better than the day before. You see, I don’t just want to survive each day while in the SHU (Special Housing Unit – solitary confinement) or anywhere in prison. I want to “thrive” each day. I’m not living to survive, but to thrive. And that’s how I want to live the rest of my life.
Life is all about knowing who you are as a person and making those changes or adjustments to better your life. Many times in life you are faced with choices to hopefully better your life or in some cases, the choices can make it worse. From early childhood my parents taught my siblings and I to put God in the center of our lives. I tried to live that kind of a life but there were times when I started to slip and turn down the wrong path. God, in His mercy, would bring me back to His ways which was the better way to live.
As I grew older, I made some very regrettable choices, which drastically changed my life. Prison, unfortunately, was in my future. This is not what I wanted in life and I knew I had to make changes. When I arrived in prison, I wanted to make positive changes in my life to better my future. Right away I knew what had to be done. I have to keep God as my center piece all the time. Not some of the time or most of the time, but all the time. Without Him, my life would be in shambles and disarray. I want to look to Him with decisions, reaching out to Him in prayer, and never letting go.
No, God does not want me here. The choices I made put myself here. But God is using me, even in prison, and YES, even in the SHU, to train my mind to focus on Him and His godly ways, and to show me a straight path when I get out.
I’ve always considered myself a Christian, serving God by ministering to others. But even Christians fall short at times, as we are all sinners and fall short of God’s glory. When I get out of here, or I should say, starting today, my life is going to be just like it used to be, which is on fire for God. I want people to see the light in my eyes, the glow feel inside to be called a child of God. I want to continue to study His Word, growing in knowledge, and to teach others. I want to get back into a worship team band, dive into Bible studies, volunteer at soup kitchens and food pantries, go on mission trips, and show the love of God that I have inside of me. And with this way of living, I am one hundred and ten percent sure that I’ll never have a run-in with the law again.
God is my cornerstone, and to Him, from this day forth, I put my trust and faith. I will continue to surround myself with Christian friends, those who are positive and influential in my life, and those are encouraging and supportive. Having an accountability partner, who is a superb role model and a Christian, is one of my goals when I get out – one who I can talk to and tell my deep secrets and desires to – one who will help me stay on the right path.
“This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118:24. Each day in prison those are the first words that go through my mind when I crawl down the top bunk to await food through the trap door. Because God has created this day, I will rejoice. And I rejoice by spending time in worship every day, studying God’s Word, meditating and memorizing scripture. Why? Because I’m living my life for the Lord. I’m going to further my relationship with Him while in here, and take His Word to the streets when I get out. I know my many friends can already see a difference in me just by my letters. I will not let prison get the best of me. I will get the best of this prison, and use this time as the perfect time to further my knowledge and wisdom, and to lead others to Christ, so they, too, can feel the joy of the Lord. One final comment from the best book ever written, “Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans WILL succeed.” Proverbs 16:9
(By the way, I received an “A” on this essay)