By: Darrell Feldar
I’m writing this from prison. I’m doing so because I want to thank God publicly for sparing my life, and saving me from going to hell. Maybe it will keep someone else from going to hell, and maybe even keep them from going to prison as well. I pray that it does both.
I am 44 years old (2007). I have three brothers and two sisters. God has given me two precious daughters: Brittany Ruthann and Krystal Lynn. My mother and father divorced when I was about five or six. I was glad. I was really tired of seeing my mother beaten up and verbally abused.
I come from a very dysfunctional family. I am not saying that we weren’t close, because all of us but my father were very close. The only time that I have ever seen my father was when he needed something: money or whatever it would be, but he was still my father. There was probably a side to him I’ve never seen. I pray that we’ll be able to enjoy each other in heaven someday.
I started drinking alcohol when I was about ten years old. By that time I had already smoked marijuana. I did so to find some happiness. There wasn’t much of it that I was able to find.
I was a very curious person at a young age. I remember going to church with my friends just to get the free things that they were offering: food, toys, etc. That was the first time I thought I knew God, but then something really happened as I was going to that church. I started to get very interested in it. Then I got baptized when I was eleven.
After that we moved, so I stopped going to church. I guess this is when stuff just started turning into a life of sin. We were moving a lot – about once a year. It was hard to keep friends.
My mother tried so hard to provide for us kids. She had a lot of heart, but things just got too hard. She started to drink a lot and was never home; always at the bars. I can remember playing shuffleboard and cards at the bar at the age of 14. She became an alcoholic. There was always alcohol around, but it got bad. My mother was never home anymore; it’s like she just gave up.
At the age of 14, my brother and sister and I had to pretty much take care of ourselves. My younger sister, bless her heart, is handicapped. She always needed someone to feed her and so on. Well, this went on at least until I was 16. Please don’t get me wrong. My mother always will be an angel to me and others. She was a wonderful person, and very strong, bless her soul. Mother, I miss and I love you. God bless you.
We never had any money for Christmas or anything like that, but we had love. Things were pretty slim. I remember once my mother had been dating a man and he bought us three young boys bikes for Christmas. Man, that was the best Christmas we ever had and I know we will always remember it, because we really had pride. It was one of the worst winters we ever had, but we were so proud of those bikes. We tried to ride them in two feet of snow. It was hard and we did not stay out long; we did not want to wreck our new bikes.
Anytime my brothers or I would want to go somewhere with our friends, we would have to find some way to make the money to go to movies, roller skating, or whatever it was. So I learned how to work as a young boy. I was driving trucks right after I learned how to ride that bike. I started by doing yard work. Cutting grass, hauling dirt, and then I progressed into bigger things, such as cleaning up around new houses; driving to the dump; learning how to drive other things; tractors and trucks.
I remember the very first time I took a yard job when I was 13 years old. I had to move seven yards of black top soil from the driveway to the back yard, and this house was not small. It was on a lake. All I had to use was a wheelbarrow. Boy, that got old fast! I worked for a few hours, and then I went and got my pay for the job. It was like $50 or so. That was a lot of money back then, but you see, I got the money before the job was done. I did not go back until my big brother made me go back. That’s the first time I learned about responsibility, and trust me, I did learn. My brother made sure I got the job done and more.
I always was a shy person. I guess I can blame that partly on an experience I had when I was about nine years old. I was smoking out back by a fire pit. The pit had an old bed mattress in it. It caught on fire so I did not want to get into trouble because of smoking. I tried to put it out by jumping on it. As I jumped on it, hot rocks flew up into my shoes, and I got third-degree burns on my feet. I went to the hospital and they gave me some moccasins to wear to school. I was always teased after that; it was never a good feeling. I used to get beat up all the time, so I pretty much stayed to myself, and that sure can put a low self esteem in a young boy.
I knew how that felt and I promised to never disrespect anyone. All this time, I had forgotten about Jesus Christ. The Lord was the last thing on my mind by this time. By age 14, I had a job and went to school trying to fit in with the in-crowd, but didn’t do very well. I was going into bars, and trying everything and anything. I was so bad off that my family couldn’t even stand to be around me at times. They still loved me, but I never paid any attention.
Now I will tell you how the Lord began “knocking at my door” — trying to get my attention. Keep in mind the Lord is doing the speaking in this portion of scripture. In revelation 3:20-21 it says: “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door . . .” (Stop for a moment and think about what this is saying …)
In my walk of sin, Jesus had been knocking plenty of times. I just did not understand. Here are some examples: About ten years ago I was a bouncer at a tavern (bar) and I got into a bar fight with three other men. I thought that I was invincible. I have been in lots of fights. Well, this one was different. My friend and I left the bar after it had closed. It so happened the three men that I had escorted out of the bar earlier were waiting outside. We did not want any trouble so we got into my car and left.
They followed us and drove us off the road. We got out and commenced fighting again. In the middle of the fight, I got stabbed; I lost a lot of blood. I remember a bright light and then nothing.
I woke up at the hospital. To my regret, I did not understand the bright light, but before this testimony is over with, I will explain it in a way I think that it will be understood, but not yet. As I was near death, I woke up to see all of my family there. I do believe that God was warning me. Still I did not see it as God “knocking on the door of my heart.”
Here is another example: But first – all this time this stuff is going on – I am simply thinking: wrong place; wrong time. I used drugs, alcohol and was committing a lot of adultery. I was having sex with every woman I could. Anyhow, back to my example:
Three years after my stabbing, I was driving home from work, drinking a beer of course, and talking to my buddy Dave. We both were in very good moods, because we were going to go to a Shania Twain concert. We didn’t make it though. As I was driving down the road at 45 mph mind you, a brush hog – a large grass cutter – hit a rock six inches in diameter. “Bam!” The rock hit me in the chest. Now remember, I am traveling at 45 miles per hour and this brush hog has to be 75 yards away! The chances of this rock hitting me at the exact time is pretty much none. It went through my side window. Again I saw a bright light. Heck, I thought it was because of the impact of the rock, but now I am sure it was our Lord Jesus. Because if it was not for Him, my brother would not have came around the corner and helped. You see, I could not drive or even breathe. My brother rushed me to the hospital.
Again I found myself waking up to all of my family. Only this time something told me to pray. So I did. I prayed that God would guide me out of the miserable place I was in. I prayed to God that I would not ever drink again, as well as some other things — anything that would help me become a better person. Well,the Lord again spared my life that day.
When I got to the hospital I had four broken ribs, a punctured lung, and internal bleeding. The doctor told me afterwards that if my brother had not been there I would have died. But was it just my brother who was there, or was Christ Jesus also? The Lord says in the remaining scripture: “… I will come in and dine with him, and he with me.”
Also in Luke 12:36-37: the Lord says: “And you yourselves be like men who wait for their master, when he will return from the wedding, that when he comes and knocks, they may open to him immediately.”
Sad to say, I still had not opened to Him. I kept my door locked. I got out of the hospital and never gave a second thought to the prayer that I had asked the Lord for. I went back to my same old ways, as if the Lord had not warned me … if I didn’t change from my selfish, sinful ways.
Whoever you are reading this right now, consider something: You can either open the door of your heart to the Lord the easy way – the wise way … or you can open the door of your heart to the Lord the hard way – the painful way. Don’t choose the hard way, like I did, which led me to prison.
I am here in prison for a case that I thought was completely overwith. This case was brought up in 1988. Sixteen long years later, I came home from work, having been at the bar — I found a detective’s card on my door. I had no idea what it was about.
I made contact, and was informed of a 16-year-old case against me. I went to court and now am here in prison. My past finally caught up with me. In fact, all of my sinful ways were stacked on me. I was still living in sin, and I mean real sin. But you know, that was all I knew. I did not know any other way, because I had no desire to truly be pleasing to God.
How about you? Is your number one purpose for living to be pleasing to God? Or – when you think about God, is your number one purpose for living to do whatever you want to do and care less what God thinks about it? Your are playing with fire if it is. Your soul is at stake. Get right with God, friend. You have no assurance you have tomorrow to get right with God. Your heart can stop beating any second. God is not obligated to keep it beating; I hope you realize that.
Now … this is where it gets awesome. I came to prison in 2004. I swore, I smoked, and everything you could think of, I was doing. And then I came through those prison gates. When I did, I saw darkness. I was a scared man. One minute I was with my kids, working and partying; everything great. That’s the way I understood it. But not the Lord. God knew prison would be where I would surrender to Him completely. Praise to the Lord (amen!) – now that’s what I think.
But when I first came in I was so mad at God. He took everything, I thought. (Our selfish nature always thinks that way about God, when something important to us is taken away. We fail to realize that God wants us to put Him first in our life. He is a jealous God. He will not tolerate being second best in your life indefinitely).
When I was in seven block all there was to read were books containing testimonies about guys who were in prison and had turned their lives over to God. Ya right! (My initial impression). But I read them and something happened. The darkness that I had walked into became lighter. God spoke to me in that cell. I opened my heart fully to Him there. That is when I became spiritually reborn; spiritually born again as John 3 says we must be, to get to heaven and have our sins forgiven.
In seven days I quit smoking and started praying every day and night. Then I was transferred to Carson City Correctional Facility in Michigan. I met a guy here that knew the Lord real well. I began asking him questions and then the questions turned into a church service. Then another one, and before I knew it, I was not swearing anymore. I was not mad anymore at God, and I stopped blaming Him for my being there (Which is a very healthy thing to do, I’ve learned. Being mad at God when things go wrong only hinders our relationship with the Lord).
I started to understand who God is. Now I’ve learned that God is my friend, my Father, my guidance. God is my light, although the Lord still allows me to be put through tests, but if your heart is for pleasing the Lord, you will never be alone during those storms of life. What once would seem to kill you, now makes you stronger afterwards. Passing the tests the Lord allows you to go through always makes you stronger in your relationship with the Him.
I lost my grandma in 2005. I lost my mother, Ruth, in 2006. She was laid to rest on 09/11/2006.
I am past my out date. I was supposed to go home on 03/01/2006. I got a flop. Not just a flop but a whole two more years. People here could not believe how I took these things. In fact, if I would have been outside these gates, I probably would be dead, but God had a different plan and I trust that He knows what is best for me. I’ll be released from prison in God’s perfect time, not when I think He should release me. (There is a saying: God’s time is never our time, but – God’s time is always on time.)
Through all the turmoil that I have been through, I have turned it all over to the Lord. God will not allow more than what He knows you can handle. Now I am in three different Christian services here in prison and I go to a retreat every year called: KERYX. Jesus Christ has changed my life so much that my family hardly even knows me,but they sure do want to! I am not as shy anymore. I share all the time about my love for the Lord and how He is changing my life for the better. I look for opportunities the Lord gives me to share my faith with others, so they too can come to realize that there is nothing more satisfying in life than knowing that you are on the correct path of pleasing the Lord. I just can’t wait to share all of this new way of life that God has given to me. I see the light and it is not because I was stabbed or hit by a rock. I see the light because it’s God way of saying that I am His very own son.
I could go on and on about how much my life has changed, but it is time to go out and share it. I hope you will understood how much the Lord can do for anyone. All you have to do is be reborn.
Here’s a poem I wrote recently:
OPEN YOUR HEART
I think of my family as I sit in this cell,
Remembering the good times and why I’m stuck in this hell.
We know life can be good, but life can be bad,
Sometimes you’re happy and sometimes you’re sad.
But always remember that God is true,
Whatever you have lost, He can give back to you.
Open your heart and cry unto Him,
When things don’t go right and look very slim.
Step out of darkness and into His light,
Jesus is knocking … with Him … get right.