Wednesday, March 18, 2009
I can relate to a child not wanting to do their homework, schoolwork and so on. I often act like that child who would rather play than work when it comes to reading scripture and even my time devoted to prayer. I stand, an ex-con, convicted, guilty as charged.
I can remember that I would have terrible nightmares during my first year in Prison. They were bad enough I found myself seeking the counsel of the Prison Chaplain, Dixie Welker.
Pastor Dixie is/was an extremely devoted spirit, a woman who dealt with all kinds of adversity, all sorts of evil, a mass culmination of mixed up, societal throwaways; Inmates at the State Correctional Facility at Cambridge Springs, Pa.
She could be blunt, cutting to the chase on more than one occasion where Street wise met Spiritual wise in a head-on collision. She firmly dealt with unfavorable behavior i.e., women coming to church service in order to meet up with their lesbian lovers and mess around. It was a rather distasteful display and she let 'em know it.
Pastor Welker was a spit-fire not to be confused with fire and brimstone philosophy but one of the best examples of Christian love and values I have yet to meet. After all, it can not be easy, I'm quite sure, to find love in your heart for a woman, in example that killed their child or maybe allowed their daughter to be raped and molested for a few measly crack rocks. It's insidious but true and some of the things I'd heard, some of the heinous most nocuous stories, tales of true crime, well, I even found myself sitting in judgment.
I had to remind myself that this was a position where I had no business being. If nothing else this was all a lesson in redemption. To look into the eyes of a fellow inmate who'd done something so villainous, especially to a child and see them through God's eyes was, for me, a challenge at best. But they sat next to me in Church, I assume for the very same reason as I was there; In search of redemption, forgiveness, fellowship and the Word. I had to remind myself of this as well as the very passage "Judge lest ye be judged."
Pastor Dixie was also a woman who taught us that we must forgive ourselves by going to The Father in true repentance and then believing that we were, in fact forgiven. That teaching premise has been the source of strength and reminder as I struggle with my addiction, sins, crimes and remembering that I am forgiven.
Satan loves to convict me over and over again for the same crime. What I mean is that I will often times remember something just awful that I have done, possibly something I've asked forgiveness for already in the past. I will find myself praying for forgiveness, feeling guilt and shame, angry with myself for my past behaviors. And I now know that it is Satan that does his best to make me feel like I do when reminded of my past transgressions, of which there are many.
It is Pastor Dixie's words, though, true Christian words from and of the Word which have been something I've had to remind myself of. Yes, I struggle on the daily, even today. I suppose it's a question of faith, a belief that I am forgiven. I have to reiterate this to myself constantly. The Chaplain had also counseled me, as I stated, concerning these nightmares. They were bad and I would wake in a cold sweat.
Quite often these dreams were of a violent nature. Sometimes it was me being hurt or chased or it was me doing and inflicting the pain upon others. At the start of my sentence, I began treatment for Hep C.
They put me on Interferon and Ribiviron, drugs which left me so sick I could hardly walk. I lost more than half of my thick brown/black hair which turned a rusty red.
Per usual, they have you see the Psychiatrist because apparently this particular medication causes one to feel suicidal. I on the other hand felt more homicidal than suicidal citing the lack of civilized behavior from my fellow inmates. But I did discuss my nightmares and the Psych doctor had no rhyme or remedy. She simply pointed out that because of my anger as well as my diagnosis of P.T.S.D., coupled with the fact that I was actually completely sober for the first time in years, my brain was over active and over stimulated.
She did place me on more psych meds, I was a walking zombie already because of them. Getting no where fast, it was then that I spoke to Pastor Dixie about my dilemma concerning these horrid dreams.
It was then, that I learned the very first example of why I should put God first. After all, He is the Great Physician. As she held my hand, she looked me in the eye and spoke my Rx for this dilemma, "Every night before you go to sleep, always read some scripture. Feed your soul."
I did and it worked. No more nightmares. The quaint implication of the words, "God first," I have found to be paramount. I must admit those words two little words mean so much. I mean, I believe them to possibly be some of the most important words ever uttered.
I have come to realize that I must place God first in more things, in every aspect of my life. I must go to Him first on the grandest of scales as well as the smallest.
I found that when I prayed for safety in my job when ever I used the slicer or one of our professionally sharpened knives, I did not cut myself. Oddly enough, I was reminded a few times as I shaved a nail down, "Oops, forgot to pray," but I've yet to be cut when I prayed first...EVER!!!
Yes, God first in all things.
I ask for your forgiveness, you know my heart. I pray that you will guide my Doctor tomorrow to help me, to treat me and you will place it upon his heart and give him the wisdom and guidance to know what is right for me.
Allow him to see my pain and the truth in the matter. I pray you will give me the words and wisdom as well to convey exactly what is going on, all that is wrong as I seek treatment.
I implore of You, my Lord, do not allow me to suffer any longer, please? It is getting harder and harder to press on especially when I have these things to worry about. Take my fear away and replace it with the confidence and knowledge that you are there with me, guiding my words, holding my hand.
I seek Your face Lord and I search for answers. I wish to walk in Your light. I know that you are my Lord, my Savior and Master, I shall not want. I need only to ask and place you first in all things.
I ask for your continued blessings for my family and am more than grateful for the continued health and welfare of my family. You have been so good to us and I am aware of this.
You have kept my kids and grandkids safe and healthy, which is such a gigantic blessing. You are truly an awesome God.
I pray for your favor for my sons so that they might be good men, good father's and lead by example to their own children. May they teach them "God first" in all things too. I praise Your holy Name, sweet, sweet Jesus. Amen