By:  Erik

I wanted to cry, but I thought, 'I'm a big man and I'm not going to cry ...' 

When I was a little kid my mom and dad got a divorce.  I used to go to a private Catholic school (preschool to 11th grade).  I had everything that my dad and my mom could give me, but I was missing something inside of me.  I was feeling empty in my heart all the time.

When I was in school, I used to get in a lot of trouble.  I used to provide my classmates with alcohol and pornography, and I was only 14 or 15 years old.  Even though my parents were divorced, my dad was my idol and my best friend.  When I was 12 years old, my dad got in trouble with the law, and he ended up in prison.  I was devastated.  I became very rebellious and mean to people and started cussing at everyone.  I was disrespecting my  mom and my stepfather. I tried alcohol, sex, cigarettes, and friends, but nothing could fill that emptiness.  Not even sports could fill that void.  I used to play sports trying to hurt someone because I was so angry.  I stayed like that until I was 17 or 18 years old.  When my mom got tired of my stepfather cheating on her, they got divorced. 

We moved to New Jersey.  At first, I didn't want to move.  I couldn't see what was ahead of us.  I became more rebellious with my mom.  One day, Mom and I got into a big argument and I hit her in the face.  I have never forgotten that day, and I regret it all the time. I was trying to be a son, a big brother, and a role model to my little brothers.  Everything went so fast.

In the fall of 1990, I started to attend high school in a different place, with new people, different cultures, and different nationalities.  It was 12th grade.  I didn't know the language, the system, or the people.  I knew nothing.  A few weeks went by, and I started to meet people and began to hang out with them.  They ended up being the wrong crowd to hang out with.  Soon after that, a little gang of us, about 8 or 10 guys, started to sell drugs.  We never used drugs.  I was selling pornographic material, drinking heavily, and stealing bikes and food from other people.  In the summer of 1991, my sister, who was living in Indiana, called to ask if I wanted to see my dad because he was getting out of prison.  At first I thought, 'I have it made here, why leave?'  Then I thought, 'My dad, my best friend, I have to see him.'  So my sister and her mother made all the arrangements for me to go to Indiana.  I was so excited that the night before I was scheduled to leave, I got drunk.  I got so drunk that I left half of my clothes back in New Jersey.

After I arrived, I learned that my grandmother was there too.  My dad was already saved and a newborn Christian.  The next Sunday, we went to church.  During the service, something was going on in my heart.  I wanted to cry, but I thought, 'I'm a big man.  I'm not going to cry.'  So I went outside.  The next day, I told my grandmother what had happened.  She explained to me that God was working in me.  But once again I said, 'No, not me.'

God kept working little by little for about 3 or 4 weeks until one night in a Sunday night service, I started to cry.  I went to the front of the church with my stepmother and started to ask for forgiveness and accept Jesus Christ as my Savior.  Later, I met my wife, who was also a Christian.  We dated for 5 years, got married, and had two wonderful kids.  God blessed us with a musical talent, and we use that talent in our church.  I play percussion and run the sound board, and my wife plays the saxophone.

I said earlier that my dad went to prison and he was my best friend.  Well, I thank him for a lot, but I thank him most for showing me what it is like to be a true Christian.  I also thank my mom for all the support and love she gave me through my whole life.  Now my mom is saved and attends the same church as my wife and I.

I'm not perfect.  I make lots of mistakes, and you may also.  But we have to try to be like Jesus and follow in His footsteps.  Jesus is the only one that gives me peace, love, understanding, and victory when I need it.

Real Life Stories - Chapter 70:



Dear Reader - are you at peace with God?  If not, you can be.  Do you know what awaits you when you die?  You can have the assurance from God that heaven will be your home, if you would like to be certain.  Either Jesus Christ died for yours sins, or He didn't (He did!).  Are you prepared to stand before God on the Judgment Day and tell Him that you didn't need the shed blood of Jesus Christ on the Cross to have your sins forgiven and get in right-standing with God?  We plead with you ... please don't make such a tragic mistake.

To get to know God; to be at peace with God; to have your sins forgiven; to make certain heaven will be your home for eternity; to make certain that you are in right-standing with God right now ... please click here to help understand the importance of being reconciled to God.  What you do about being reconciled to God will determine where you will spend eternity, precious one.  Your decision to be reconciled to God is the most important decision you'll ever make in this life. 

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