Published On: 01/06/15||0 Comments||Categories: James' Testimony||

High school was a blur of memories. If I could sum up the four years I spent at Langham Creek it would be a simple list of drugs, sex, parties, gangs, fights, guns, money, theft, skipping class, and self destruction. All of this came to a head my senior year when I realized that my future was not what I thought it to be.

As stated above, skipping class was an everyday thing. In fact, I would say that the only reason I went to school was to meet up with friends and figure out what we were going to do instead of go to class. This was the case one December day my senior year. I had met up with my usual “skipping” buddies and decided to go smoke weed as we drove around in the neighborhood next to the school. At some point one of us had the brilliant idea (sarcasm) to go break into houses. So we did!

We didn’t end up with much. Some clothes, cell phones and a small amount of cash. Nothing really worth all the trouble it would soon cause. This was the level of my depravity and lack of love for others in this world. One of the houses had a Christmas tree with presents under it…I opened every single present and took what I wanted. Despicable, I know!

Since that outing was so unfruitful, later that day we went out again. I am not sure how many houses we hit that afternoon but the fun ended when I broke a window (leaving some DNA of course) and set off a house alarm. We bolted for the get away car and went back to school. I would later find out that one of those houses had a mom and child poised to unload a 12 gauge shell at the first person to come through the window. That person should have been me. Luckily, I could not get the window open.

About a week later, I was alerted by some friends that had been questioned by detectives regarding an assault case. I didn’t think anything of it cause I was innocent in it. Later that week, a party I was at was busted up by the cops because of my presence there. I was later informed that someone had tipped the police off that I was there. It was evident that the police were looking for me.

At this point I went into hiding. After a week of laying low, I had a friend drive me to my house so I could get some things. We were about to pull out of the driveway when I realized I had forgotten something. Not noticing the police vehicles speeding towards my house from all directions, I ran back into the house to get what I forgot. When I opened my front door to come back out, I was greeted by some very surprised officers with about eight gun barrels pointed in my face. I am not sure who was more scared when I opened the door, me or the cops.

They dragged me out by my eyelids and slammed me down on the ground. When being questioned, I learned that I was the primary suspect in about ten different investigations. Three of those investigations involved the theft of guns from the homes of police officers. When they saw me run back inside my house they assumed I had spotted them and was going back into get ready for a shoot out. I was lucky I didn’t get shot that day.

The months to follow involved interrogations, depositions, court hearings and ultimately sentencing. As luck would have it, my judge was pre-occupied with the railroad serial killer case. This allowed me to get a pretty good plea bargain considering they were labeling me the ring leader and wanted to give me 10 years in prison for multiple counts of both attempted burglary and burglary. I settled for eight years probation, 1,000 hours community service, a butt load of fines and fees and a six month stay at the adult boot camp program in Atascocita, TX.

The craziest thing of it all is that the judge deferred the start of all this so I could finish high school. I was ordered to complete my senior year and then turn myself in after graduation. This was crazy because I believed that I would either be dead or in prison BEFORE I graduated.

I was probably the most hated person in my class and was unanimously voted “most likely to need a lawyer”. Understandably so, I was skipping class and breaking into their cars while they were studying hard to make good grades. I knew how to work the school system and as a result I was able to ace all my major grades so that my GPA would average out to passing. Very rarely did I do homework or projects.

All my absences from skipping was the only thing that would prevent me from graduating. Luckily, I had an assistant principal who saw something more in me. She helped me by allowing me to make up the skipped hours through Saturday detentions and after school community service. To my surprise and everyone elses, I graduated. The day I walked across that stage and received my diploma I realized that everything everyone had ever told me was a lie. I could be more than what everyone labeled me to be. I wish I could say that at this point I turned from my ways and was transformed, but it was not that time yet.

Luck had nothing to do with any of this. Providence is the protective care of God. It was God’s providence that kept me from being shot countless times. It was God’s providence that put people in my life that saw who I could be instead of who I was. Every step of the way GOd was with me. I was lost in my sin and would have ended up in Hell if I had died at this point but God had a purpose for me. My hope is that you can read this portion of my testimony and see that even in the midst of our sin and suffering, God is with us and taking care of us. Sometimes His hand allowed me to cause pain and feel pain, other times His hand guarded me and protected me. I do not know why God works in this way. All I know is that God’s hand in my life is clearly seen both in the good and bad. It doesn’t make sense and I certainly don’t deserve it, but I trust God to work all things for my good even when it seems unfair, makes no sense and is unbarebly painful. I would encourage you to trust Him in the same way.

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