Thankful to be Alive


Last updated 11/22/2021 at 10:58am


Do not worry. Do not keep saying, 'What will we eat?' or,

'What will we drink?' or, 'What will we wear? The people

who do not know God are looking for all these things.

Your Father in heaven knows you need all these things.

Matthew 6:31, 32 (NLV)

One night in my isolated prison cell, I was facing many problems. It was a time and place very much like now. Facing many troubling problems and at the end of my rope, it seemed as if there was no hope.

I was a heroin addict and even though the drug destroyed my life, I could not stop. I tried so many times but the drug had me in a prison as a slave more than these concrete walls and steel bars do now!

I went to sundances. I went to sweatlodges and to the elders and churches searching for help. I knew I was in deep need of help and still I could not stop.

I got down on my knees and began to pray, for how long I don't know. I had so much to bring to Jesus. It was much more than I could bear. I know that in my addiction, I am a pitiful human being. When I turned to drugs-I know better-I was very troubled.

I remember asking for guidance and mercy. I felt a presence. With my eyes shut, I saw an elder in robes holding over me a clay jar full of water. He poured that over my head. That water was alive. It was full of Scripture-Living Water. As it poured through my body, it was blessing me, teaching me. It filled me-my heart--and was speaking to me.

I didn't hear a voice but I somehow heard every blessed word of wisdom.

This is how I know it was outside of me. I know it came from God-it was full of wisdom and good things and teachings.

I am not a wise man. I'm a foolish man!

The elder did not speak. He only delivered the clay jar of water.

This experience will stay with me forever. I opened my heart to Christ Jesus-to God and that is what happened.

I don't usually talk about this much because I know people will think I am crazy or worse. But I am not. I love Jesus Christ always forever.

I read in the Bible where Jesus said wherever two or more are gathered in His name, that He promised He would be there in the midst of them. So, I secretly put this to the test and went to church.

I will never forget the day I walked into church. I met Jesus in a powerful way that day. I was uplifted from my heart with the most beautiful sense of His love as it poured into me. I knew then that no matter what happened, I would always love Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior who taught me to have faith in His word. His promise holds true.

Yet I am a troubled man. I've been very foolish. At times, I feel anxiety and fear because I'm 38 years old and I'm not getting any younger. I've been married and divorced twice. I have three sons who hardly know me. It's not that I don't want to be in their lives but the life path I took made their mothers want to take them away.

This is my shame and the pain I have is only my own fault. I try to thank God for even what I perceive as not good.

I don't know what plans God has, but I've done so many things I regret and can't take back. Maybe it is His will that I am in prison now.

I am thankful to be alive. I am thankful for this hardship because even though I don't like it, this may be something good.

I have been in and out of prison most of my adult life because of drugs. I don't hurt people or take what does not belong to me. I work very hard. I've had to work like a slave because I was a slave to drugs.

I tell myself not to look back to the past and I try not to let this situation get me down. I'm always an optimist, trying to see the good side of a bad situation. Yet I have lately been having fear and anxiety because I know my days are numbered; I will pass over one day as every human being has before me.

I have this deep sorrow in my heart, but I also give thanks for the sorrow as I do for the joy. This deep pain has taught me compassion for other human beings. Like many Native people, I've always loved this beautiful earth and all God's beings (First Corinthians 13). It's so beautiful it gives me much peace of mind.

One of Jesus' most powerful teachings-love-is why I have peace even though there's much sorrow concerning my sons.

It may have been God's will they did not see me in my drug addiction. My boys are good boys and I'm glad they never saw me the way I was.

But I look at myself now-I am not much better only through Christ Jesus I do have hope.

I thank God, our Creator for this life that was given me-for the beautiful life everywhere around me!

I have sung songs in churches. I thank God that I can sing to honor God. I am the happiest when I sing. It is what I love to do more than anything else! I feel my heart being blessed when I give it to God in song.

I don't want to waste any more of my life. I want God to use me. I have many doubts about my gifts and abilities but I know Christ Jesus does not have doubt about me.

I am worried about my future because I know my weakness about drugs. I know my weakness with women, and I'm tired of stumbling along from relationship to relationship.

All I know is that deep in my heart, I want to be a better man-a good man. I don't want to be judged because my hair is long and I've got tattoos. Yet I've lived many places where people judge me on how I look.

But God tells me not to worry about this. When I sing people can see that I love God very much-more than anything.


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