1 Comfort, comfort my people, says your God.
2 Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and cry to her that her warfare is over, that her penalty is paid, that she has received from the Lord's hand double for all her sins.
3 A voice cries out: "In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
4 Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain.
5 And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all people shall see it together, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken."
September 24, 2012
I cannot believe this day is finally here. Today I turn myself into the custody of the United States Marshall’s to begin my 48-month sentence. It feels like such an eternity.
I have spent the weekend with my wife and sons and have been totally selfish with this time. Being selfish with my time unfortunately is not something I often did. I so wish I had spent more time with them. I only hope they know how much I love them. I hope they know how proud I am of them.
I have had such a hard time this weekend trying to keep up appearances, trying to hold myself together so that my kids and my wife don’t see the fear inside of me. I have always been the type of person who prides himself on “holding it together” in hard times. I pray I can do that today, as I have to say good-bye to my wife and kids. This truly hurts. I so wish I could take this pain away from them. When I see the pain in their eyes, as they cry and I know I am the cause of this and there is nothing I can do, it just tears me up inside.
Understand, this fear is not for my personal safety, but for the position this has placed my entire family in. I know God is with me and he will lead me on this journey, I only hope I am as strong and I need to be. I so wish this had been different.
As you can imagine, I did not sleep much. I prayed and asked God to continue to bless and protect my family and friends. As I prayed, I could not help but to feel the anger inside of me. I could not help but to ask WHY! I know that is not what I should be feeling or asking, but I just find it so hard to remain strong right now.
As I end this post, I wanted to thank all those who have helped me thus far. There are so many people that I could not name them all, but you all know who you are and I will be indebted to you for eternity. Please continue to pray for my family and remember God is with us and He will never turn away from us.
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-39)
May God Bless You and I will see you all very soon.
September 24, 2012
I turned myself in to the US Marshalls office in downtown Riverside this morning at 10:00 am. I came prepared with everthing they said I would need: my medical paperwork, a copy of my drivers license, a paperback prayer book and cash so that I could make purchases while in custody. However, to my surprise, the marshall would not allow me to take anything with me except for 60 dollars in cash. So I am not quite sure why I was given this list of necessities.
As I was discussing what I could and could not bring with me the marshall he abruptly told me to stand and turn around. I new what was next, but unfortunately my wife, who was standing there watching, had no idea. He put me in handcuffs, and in a matter of seconds my ability to do anything at all had been taken from me. I could feel my life being ripped from inside me. You see, I have always been the type of man who was accustomed to being in control of his surroundings and now I realized that my existence was going to be defined by others.
I was walked to a holding cell and left there feeling very helpless. I began to pray and whisper my desires to God. I knew, unfortunately, God would not answer this prayer the way I wanted…and that scared me.
Later that evening, I was transported to a local county sheriff’s department jail. I went through the booking process and was placed into my new home.
My cell is a single person cell, it has a bed, a sink, and a toilet. It is L shaped with the long side consisting of a bed and the short side having a toilet. When you sit on the toilet, your knees nearly hit the door. It is no more than 3 feet wide.
Being in a single isolated cell is very nerve racking. I have no sense of time other than when meals come. I really feel as if the world around me has just stopped. I pray that God will lead me through the wilderness, that he will give me the strength to leave this place still a man.
After three days, I was moved to a regular housing unit. This is a very welcomed change because now I can use the phone and shower with ease, within the one hour period I am allowed out of that cell each day. However, as welcome as it is, it also comes with great fear. You see, I have never been in custody before, so I am not quite sure what this experience will be like. I entered the tier and I could see a long row of cells. Of course my cell was all the way at the end, so I had to walk in front of everyone else. I tried to stand tall and walk with confidence, I’m sure these men saw through me.
October 10, 2012
As I lay in my cell, I wonder how all this happened. I know my faith teaches me that God has a master plan for each and everyone of us; however, I can’t stop wondering if hundreds of random things fell into exactly the right place to set these events into motion. I can’t believe God wants me here, or does He?
As I pray and ask for God’s help, I feel this growing fear inside of me that even my faith may not be able to take away my pain. I fear that as I pray and feel even more alone, that I will start to allow the despair to set in and take over.
October 15, 2012
I am ending week three and I am still in the county jail. I am not sure when the Marshalls are going to transfer me. I hope it is soon. I find it hard sitting in a cell for twenty-three hours a day. It seems weird, but I can see why jail/prison loses it’s effectiveness. As humans we adapt to our surroundings, most of the inmates I have met are already “institutionalized”. To them this is environment is home and probably will be throughout their lives. There must be a more productive way to pay society back for the injustices that have been done, without sitting in a cell.
October 16, 2012
I wonder how the people I read about in the Bible were able to keep their faith. How strong they must have been to go on in such difficult situations. I just finished reading Job again, and while it gives me hope that God can give me that type of strength, it scares me because I wonder when it will begin. I am starting my fourth week in custody and still find my faith shaken. I have this gnawing fear that my faith is not strong enough to overcome my situation.
I hope our lives are not measured by checking days off a calendar as I do daily. I pray God delivers his plan for my life so I can fill this empty void within myself, and that my family and I can find relief from our pain.
One of my boys made me a card before I leave for prison. As you can imagine this is a very painful process. I hope I have raised my boys to be God fearing, loveable and respectable men. The note my son gave me read as follows:
“I will miss you soooooo much over the next four years, but I know you want us to be be strong and to help mom. I know some days I will be angry and some days I will be happy. I just have to make the best of it. Love, Z”