X Series: Opportunity is Always Knocking
The X Series blogs are written by an inmate in the Texas prison system, with the nickname X, who is in the process of being totally transformed. They are unedited takes on various aspects of life and offer opportunities for us to to be inspired by the choices we can make to grow personally, professionally and spiritually.
Opportunity is Always Knocking
I must have more dope and pistol cases than Baskin Robbins has flavors or it sure seemed so. The Feds thought so too when they took a look at my record and opted to take over on my latest dope/pistol cases shoving the state authorities aside, and sentencing me to 20 calendar years.
Yep, just like that.
I began to be introduced to drugs at about 15 or 16 years old when I tried marijuana and began selling cocaine in $20 increments. That may have only lasted a few months at the time but it planted a seed of how you go about selling dope and I didn’t forget it. Just as I didn’t forget the high that marijuana gave you. Yea I tried other drugs, cocaine, acid, ecstasy, and even k2 but marijuana was the one I stayed with. When hard times came about in the form of a broken relationship and lost job I moved back to the hood. I needed some money and it was all around me so I jumped right in.
I was maybe 21 years old back then and I have never held a job since, I’m now 46. Aw, I might have gotten a job for a month to appease my probation officer but I sure didn’t stop selling dope either. Many, many years I lived this lifestyle and you think you’re just selling drugs and not getting caught up in nothing else. I was wrong and I didn’t know it till after I gave my life to Jesus. Not only was I caught up with the addiction of selling drugs, unknowingly I also became trapped by the glamour of the lifestyle that rappers talk about. The power you seem to have, the beautiful women that lay in your bed, the greed of more money… all these things planted binds in my thoughts trapping me and consequently making it extra difficult to come to Jesus.
Then when I did come, I still had to fight the battles of those binds that had me for so, so long. The lust for women! The greed! Just cuz I gave my life to Jesus it wasn’t like with a snap of my fingers everything was going to become so easy and smooth. Nah, it’s the hardest thing I have ever done - to submit so that change can occur.
Whatever you are involved in, the longer you let it continue the greater the extra battles you are gonna bring on yourself will be. By God’s grace and extreme patience that he had with me time and time again, he brought me to him through this arrest, my third trip to the penitentiary. Thankfully so, cuz I definitely need God with this 20 year sentence!
I was supposed to be dead. I’d been jacked at gunpoint twice, once having to dive on the floor as the jackers began shooting inside the small apartment as my friend got shot 5 times. All so God could bring me to him through this incarceration right here. I mean I was super lost, locked in on making money wherever I went. Even taking my dope-selling ways into prison conducting highly illegal transactions down there as well.
But this time around I have Jesus and man, the freedom, the peace... it’s nothing I can explain in words. It’s something that you’ve got to try yourself! It’s been hard, there have been many failures along the way, many stumblings over the same sins again and again as I repent over, and over, and over. Even as I write this, I’ve gotten myself sent to Administrative Segregation (SEG) which is where you are locked in a cell by yourself for 24 hours a day.
Ah, you may hear that you get a hour out at rec’ but that’s not the case. Due to me allowing my frustrations to boilover, I subsequently got into a very heated conversation recently with one of the guards. Argument is a more accurate word. The intensity of it had a lot to do with why I was put in SEG. But let me tell you how God works through the unlikeliest situations, even situations you may bring on yourself. Along the journey with the Lord, Satan doesn’t just through in the towel and give up. Nah, there is always doubt that tries to creep in and for me it’s -
“Why am I continually being sent to these facilities where no church services are available?”
“Why did God allow the initial 10 year Federal sentence to be overturned only to get a 20 year sentence?”
Doubt will try to weasel its way in. I still don’t understand why some things happen, but I don’t spend my time trying to figure it out either.
“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.”
- Proverbs 3:5.
If I can trust in the Lord to give me the greatest gift of salvation [eternal life], then I know I can trust him on all else. Right before my altercation with this officer I was in this waiting area and being that I knew I’d be on restricted movement as I went through this transit process from one prison to another, I knew I needed to get ahold of a bible beforehand. So this inmate walks in with job duties that allow him to walk around. I notice on the back of his head the word ‘Jesus’ is tattooed. Well, if this isn’t the perfect person to ask for a bible!
Sure enough he brings me a small New Testament Bible. Some ten minutes later I get moved to another waiting area and I notice a magazine by Kenneth Copeland ministries called “Believers Voice Of Victory” - so I pocket that as well. Then as I get taken to the particular SEG cell that they assigned me only to I find 4 pages that had been ripped out of a Faith To Faith devotional sitting there which now had given me a week of daily morning readings! God was preparing me, equipping me, before I even messed up.
I knew I was wrong in my response to the officer. I had failed and so I went to God in prayer. Sometimes I can think God doesn’t want to hear from me, especially after screw-ups like these. That’s only that pesky devil though cuz God does want to hear from me!
So here I am in SEG, and I don’t have a spoon to eat with as they pass out the food trays. Forced to eat with my hands I repeatedly ask the officers and the inmates that work in SEG and clean up for help. A whole day passes with no luck. The next day I begin the same routine of asking for a spoon and I begin eating like a caveman again. As the day goes on I think to myself “Let me pray about this spoon.” Five minutes later I see this inmate passing by and I ask him for a spoon and no luck once again. About another 5 minutes pass and the officer comes with his inmate helper who is called an SSI and I ask the officer for a spoon. He turns to the inmate and asks “Do you got any spoons?”. The inmate then pulls a disposable spoon out of his pocket just like that! For me it was God saying, “I'm not mad at you, I love you, I’m here with you and I heard your prayer”.
You see, God doesn’t give up on you, so don’t give up on him. It’s been 2 years into my journey as a Christian and I’ve learned so much. I wouldn’t want to do all this prison time any other way. To have his comforting hand over me through all the problems I’ve dealt with has been huge. I know if he can save me, he can save you too. If he can help me with my mighty troubles, he can help you with yours too.
I didn’t give up on selling dope that easily in my life so I’m sure not giving up on God who offers eternal life with him.