As I drew near to my 24th birthday, I looked back at my last two birthdays since my arrest, and forward to the next two before I am released (only one more if they adjust my good time properly, the Lord willing). I have passed the halfway point. It’s all downhill from here. * smiles *
It has been a long while since I sent regular updates to all of you; it has also been a long while since I received regular letters from all of you. A lot has transpired in the past two and a half years, not only in mine but also in your lives. I have adjusted and accepted my residence here, and you have moved on with your own life crises and excitements. I’m not really news anymore. I expect many of the friendships which have become strained or infeasible by the separation will be easier to pick up again once I regain my liberty. But for those of you who have made the effort to fight the system and stay in contact, please know I am eternally grateful and that I never could have done it without you.
That said, there are a few things which it would do well for me to broadcast for those of you still listening. :)
The appeal I agreed to let the attorney file did not succeed, and I will not be pushing the issue. I am well content to wait patiently for my release date and invest this time as God leads me so that it will be profitable for His Kingdom and for me.
This may seem like a dramatic shift from my position and attitude prior to my trial and sentencing, and in one sense it is, though not in another. My core motivation then and now has not shifted one iota: I honestly and truly desire first and foremost to glorify and serve the will of my Father. There is nothing else for me when it comes down to it. If anything, that resolve has only been tempered and anchored even deeper through everything which has happened. All the decisions I made, every word I said or didn’t say, everything I did during that chaotic and traumatic time I did with prayer and submission. I may now, looking back, see a better course I could have or should have taken – a mistake of judgment or an inaccurate assessment or a miscommunicated statement – but my conscience is at rest that I did the best I could from the perspective I had then. There are things I know now which I didn’t know then, and I also have a deeper maturity now. I often wish I could go back and do over so many different things with the knowledge and tempering I now have, but it was through doing things the way I did that I became who I am, so that doesn’t work very well. * grins *
When I was arrested I was faced with the resurrected importance of the darkest part of my unsaved life. I had made no secret of the fact that I had done some horrible things, and those I was close to and trusted even knew that my past sins were sexual in nature and that I couldn’t really talk about it for various reasons except for exceptional circumstances. I was even planning to divulge the details in person to the people who most needed to know on the trip I was arrested on. Ironically, that resulted in my inability to fulfill my intentions until after the trial, but by then they had already decided to distrust me and unbiblically severed fellowship with me. They accused me of not confessing and not being repentant of my past sins. I couldn’t explain that my sins were long ago confessed, repented, cleansed, and conquered and that my legal decisions and silence on the details weren’t due to denial but to my attempts to survive a corrupt and labrynthine legal system determined to destroy my life. I refused to play the game of injustice, no matter how much I hated defending the past self I despised. I just wanted to get out and back to the ministries and people God had called me to. In the process I basically shot myself in both feet legally, but I finally just trusted God with the results and prayed desperately for His will to be done.
Therefore, I have come to accept that this is where God wants me. I made the decision way back in jail in Florida that no matter what, even if I lost everything, I would thank and glorify God. I’ve lost more and retained more than I expected, as it is, but I have stayed true to that decision. I don’t know or understand all of His reasons, but I have seen Him at work so clearly through everything I can trust Him with the why. I have grown, become who I prayed He would make me more than I ever could have otherwise. The fruits of His Spirit have flourished in my life in this soil, and I am closer to Him than I ever imagined possible for me before. Those are reasons enough for all I’ve lost. Friendships, hopes, loves, plans, so many things and people I would have died for are no longer in my life despite all my attempts to keep them. The pain and devastation of betrayal and shunning by those I trusted most, these have deepened my grasp of God’s faithfulness and my faith in His unfailing love. I have learned to forgive and conquer bitterness with longsuffering patience. You don’t learn that by having an easy life.
Some of these hardships are consequences (causatively, not spiritually, I do not believe I am being punished) of what I did all those years ago before Christ redeemed me and made me His own. Some also are due to the foolishness of those who refused to trust God and instead listened to falsities and assumptions unbased on fact and their own emotions rather than reason. I did my best to correct and apologise for my failures to communicate, but in most cases all my prayerful efforts for peace and truth and reconciliation were to no avail.
My desire is not to defend myself or justify my actions where I’ve gone wrong. My goal is also not to point fingers and place blame. You may not know the people I’ve mentioned, maybe you do. Maybe you are one of the people who think I’ve betrayed their friendship and trust. If you are or if you aren’t, I just want to publically say this. I love you. I do not now nor have I ever desired your hurt, and have done all I could to show you love, however much I’ve failed in that. I do not diminish the pain and hurt you have caused me, but I forgive you. I know that hurting me was not your motivation. I pray that someday God will put it in your heart to open yourself to the possibility that I did not betray you, and that I am not a liar or anything but your friend and lover of our Saviour. I pray for reconciliation and unity again in all the broken relationships left in the wake of these circumstances.
May the Lord our God bless and grace you with love and unity,
In the name and affection and peace of Jesus Christ our Saviour,