Like a lot of people, I knew God when I was young…but that “god” was a “god of rules and regulations; of old miserable people, of uncomfortable Sundays you HAD to go to, and LOTS of ‘do as I say not as I do’.” Worst of all, “god” was always angry. Apparently, he cared more about what type of movies I watched, if I swore, drank, or wanted to hang out with friends, then how much I hurt or how lost and alone I felt. “His world” was not the one I lived in. So, I went looking for something else.
In that journey I walked down a progressively dark path of depression, anger, and loneliness. Life can be really good sometimes, but a lot of times it’s just really hard and painful. Even though in hindsight I can see that this was not true, at the time I felt like to had no one to turn to; that I was all alone. But then, despite the fact that I was very young, I believed I fell in love…and she became my whole world. Truly, she was all that mattered to me. When I thought she was being taken away, I took the lives of two innocent people. I landed in county prison knowing two people were gone because of me and I would spend the rest of my life in prison. The hopes and dreams of many people, including me, shattered. I was TOTALLY broken and lost. I looked at myself and at all I’d believed and saw where I ended up. So, I threw it all out. I held on to three things I knew to be true: God exists, the Bible is true, & that I NEEDED a relationship with God…because obviously I couldn’t do it on my own.
So I started over. I started reading the Bible, not as it was taught through rules and regulations but what it ACTUALLY said. And I sought out genuine people whose lives matched their talk, inside and outside. Who found me was a REAL God who LOVED! Who came to earth and sacrificed Himself for my horrific sins not because He wanted me to fear Him, was angry at my failings, or expected me to perfectly follow some rules…but because He simply LOVED me.
It hasn’t always been an easy perfect road since then. I’m still serving the Life Without Parole sentence for the crime I committed. And yes, it’s HARD dealing with what I did and waking each day in this place. Life continues to have ups and downs and I definitely still have struggles! But now, I am not alone. God has given me peace, joy, and a purpose because He has said that I am valuable…we are valuable…I matter…we matter. I am loved…WE ARE LOVED. My life is no longer defined by my failings or how alone I might feel… but by who He says I am!
Just because we are here (in prison) does NOT mean we are wasted, or our time is wasted. We can have true LIFE, yes even here, because of Jesus. Our time can mean something because He says we mean something. We can make a difference by growing, loving, and reaching out. Whether that’s with family, friends on the outside, friends inside, or that guy on the block who looks down. Our lives can MATTER, our lives can SING.
(And Now My Lifesong Sings by Casting Crowns)
By David Ludwig
You can write to me:
David Ludwig, GR 6289
Smart Communications / PADOC
PO Box 33028
St Petersburg FL 33733