From my earliest memories of my life, I was sexually and physically abused by my biological father. The effect on my life has been devastating.
For as long as I can remember, my dad was a board member of the Baptist church, and sang in the choir. To the outside world, he was a very good man, working hard to support his family, with a deep involvement in the church; but in private our home was a living Hell. I grew up with hate, and I had a deep mistrust for any authority. I was always running away from home, and being brought back by the police. I wasn’t able to learn very much in school, because of my short attention span, and I would shut people out. My mom helped me through the seventh grade, but I repeatedly failed classes and the principal told me that I’d better start learning something, or I could quit school. So I did quit. My mom wanted me to finish. My dad didn’t care. I lived for the day I could beat up my dad for what he had done to me. Once I tried to kill him by crushing him against a chain link fence with my car, but somehow my mother got the keys out of the car at the last minute. The day came that I punched him in the face, he fell face down on the floor, and started crying. I had lived for this day for a long time, and I wanted him to fight me back so I could really beat him up badly; but all he did was lay on the floor crying. I was yelling, cursing, and kicking him, but he wouldn’t get up. I had lived for this time so long, and it came out sour.
I had friends off and on, growing up who always got me in trouble. I needed their approval so badly. I did bad things-- knowing it was wrong-- just to keep my friends. Then I’d get sick of the one sided relationship, (me giving and them taking) and I’d tell them off and be alone again. I started hanging out with some guys that got me in big trouble, and I was told by the Monroe County Sheriff to join the army, or go to jail. I decided I’d rather join the army. My involvement with the army lasted a very short time (4 weeks) because of trouble with a fellow soldier. I was brought up for a court marshal, for attempted assault, with intent to kill with a deadly weapon. This was the first time in my life I prayed to God for help. Before this time I was forced to go to church until I was sixteen, and Jesus was just a character in the stories that were told in Sunday School, and God was something to fear.) Now I needed more than just a bible story character. God heard my prayer and got me out of this mess. This was the very first miracle that happened in my life. I was given a discharge for the inability to take and follow orders. I was really messed up by the sin in my life.
When I got out of the army I drifted from job after job, always having a hard time with people that had any authority over me. On one job a coworker had me meet his old girl friend. The next day at work he told me that she loved me and bet me if I asked her to marry me she’d say “yes”. No one in my lifetime had ever said they loved me. They had set me up, and I was such a sucker. That night after work, we went to her house and asked her to marry me. She said yes. I was shocked; I couldn’t talk, and felt locked into a lifetime commitment with someone I didn’t even know. That weekend I found out she was on drugs, and was going to a church in the city to get help for her problems. The next day while waiting for her at her church I got angry at her and created an ugly scene. The pastor and elders came out of the church and said If I was so tough, they’d like to see me come to church Sunday so to prove I was not afraid I attended church the next Sunday. I’d never before seen anything like what I saw in that service. People were raising their hands and praising God. This was new to me. When growing up we were forced to be real quiet in church.
In that service the Pastor preached about Jesus being beaten for things he hadn’t done. I could relate to that. Once my dad had beaten me so badly with the wide leather belt he wore that I was not able to stand up for an hour. But the preacher said Jesus took a worse beating for me, and had died for my sins. He then gave an altar call - something I’d never seen before. Well, I grabbed my girlfriend’s hand and ran to the altar to give my heart to Jesus, and repented. For the first time in my life, I wanted to live for God. Strangely this made my girl friend angry and she vowed to bring me into great sins which she did because of my need of her approval. She then turned the church against me. They accused me of corrupting my girlfriend.
I was so hurt and confused that I determined to commit suicide. I jumped in my car, accelerated to a great rate of speed, raced it toward a tree, and expected to die. Something happened to cause the front wheel to hit something, causing the car’s right side to hit the tree - bending it into a horseshoe shape. The speedometer broke at 85 mph. All glass was blown out. I got out of the car crying, without a mark on me - no cuts or bruises! The next day, I went into the bathroom and cut my wrists with a pair of scissors, but my mother was nagging me to come out and take a phone call, so I bandaged my wrist and took the call.
I ended the engagement, moved out of my parents’ home, into the home of a co-worker’s family. I met a girl, who lived next door and we were married.. My marriage was very rocky and I started to smoke dope for an escape, first on weekends, then every night after work. I remember one night coming home after getting high, I became very angry with my wife about something and felt I was going insane. Somehow I was able to reach out to God and came back to reality. I told my wife we had to find a church. She was willing to try anything.
I had noticed a change in my co-worker’s life so we went to her church for a while and God showed me I must forgive my father for the past and I did. I told God I wanted to live for him and had put away the hate I had for my past. I said if there was a Holy Ghost and if it was for everyone, then please give it to me. Suddenly I realized I was speaking in tongues and I ran to the altar, thanking God and speaking in another language.
Although I had received the beautiful gift of the Holy Ghost I felt there was still more to being a Christian than what I had. I had been reading the Bible but not understanding much of what I was reading. We owned a 2-family house in Spencerport and rented the apartment to a large family. They attended New Life Assembly. I was drawn to them and the love they ministered to us. My wife, our tenant - Dave Simons, and I were all baptized in Jesus Name on July 21, 1981 and started learning to live for God the right way. After I was baptized I started understanding the Bible when I read it, and slowly God brought out things from my past that had been hidden away in my mind, and helped me deal with them through the Pastor. Now, Thank God I’m free at last.