Rain

My040 Rain
Photo by reza shayestehpour on Unsplash

The song that follows touches me because it says, in words I wish I had written, that even in our darkest hours we can glorify God. That no matter what our situation is, we can praise Him. That He cares for us and opens the doors for us.

Recently, I have been struggling with issues stemming from the choir I am part of. I’ve wanted to leave the choir due to the way the choir director treats the members of the choir. Recall I spoke about it in my previous post Raise Your Voice.  Yet when I hear this song, and I play it often for myself, I hear the reason for sticking it out: to offer up the tribulation of being a member of the choir in praise of God and that I’m singing for Him, not for me. This song clears my head and heart when I hear it. I hope that you too will find it helpful when you’re faced with fears and challenges that fall like rain.  ~jdoe

“Bring The Rain”
By Mercy Me

I can count a million times
People asking me how I
Can praise You with all that I’ve gone through
The question just amazes me
Can circumstances possibly
Change who I forever am in You
Maybe since my life was changed
Long before these rainy days
It’s never really ever crossed my mind
To turn my back on you, oh Lord
My only shelter from the storm
But instead I draw closer through these times
So I pray

Bring me joy, bring me peace
Bring the chance to be free
Bring me anything that brings You glory
And I know there’ll be days
When this life brings me pain
But if that’s what it takes to praise You
Jesus, bring the rain

I am Yours regardless of
The dark clouds that may loom above
Because You are much greater than my pain
You who made a way for me
By suffering Your destiny
So tell me what’s a little rain
So I pray

Holy, holy, holy
Is the Lord God Almighty

Raise Your Voice

My040 Raise Your Voice

I’m in the Catholic choir.  I love to sing and my praises to God.  I find singing to be the form of praise I best relate to.  I joined the choir about a month after arriving here.  We’re not professionals by any means but we do a pretty good job.

But I struggle with motivation when it comes to practice.  I go but I don’t want to.  It’s not that I’m so good that I don’t need the time to polish up the hymns either.

I feel almost petty when I talk about my reasons for wanting to skip practice.  Yet I feel there’s some validity in what I’m thinking and feeling.  It’s not just one thing either, it’s a list of issues that, when added up, push me to my limits of patience.  Practice becomes something I endure rather than something immersive I float within.

So what are a few of the issues?

We waste a lot of time.  In addition to the singing done every mass (Amen, Alleluia, Our Father, Agnus Dei, etc) there are only four songs to practice yet it takes three and a half hours to get through them.  Anyone who attends Catholic mass will tell you that there’s a limited number of songs to choose from so songs are constantly ‘recycled’.  This means we’re practicing songs we’ve sung dozens of times before.  The director will have us practice songs we’re not going to use – ever.  If I wanted to participate in a sing-a-long I’d join one of the prison bands.

There is a power struggle between the actual choir director and an individual who thinks he’s the choir director.  This leaves the singers caught between the two men when trying to follow directions given during practice.  We then wait while the two guys iron out what we are going to do.

The thing that bothers me most though is the inappropriate language and humor.  Just once I’d like to get through practice without sexual jokes or innuendos.  Just once I’d like to get through practice without the ‘F-bomb’ being dropped a dozen times.  After all, aren’t we a Christian choir?  Shouldn’t we respect God in His house?  Can’t we rise above these things for the time we’re together?

I could go on for another ten issues but I think you get the point.

“So, why don’t you quit?” may be what you’re thinking.

I feel like I’d be throwing away one of God’s gifts to me – an ability to sing.  I’ve thrown away so many of the other gifts He’s given me that I realize I can’t keep doing that – He gives us only so many, right?

I feel I’d also be turning away from the way in which my praise affects me the most – in song.  It’s said that when you sing praise it’s like you’ve prayed twice.  I like that.

Finally, practically speaking, there are only so many things to do in prison.  Finding ways to fill your time is not easy.  One can only read or write so much.

I wonder if I’m the only choir member to feel as I do.  I’ve not approached other members because I don’t want to cause issues.  On the surface, based upon others’ behaviors, I’d guess I am alone.

So I prayed and meditated and I was lead to two bits of scripture.

The first is the parable of “The Widow’s Offering” in Luke 21:1-4.  In this parable we learn of a poor old woman who gives her last two copper coins to the temple treasure as her gift.  She does this without regard for how she will live except in faith that God will provide.  I figure that if she can give everything she had then I can give my time and my voice and put up with the frustrations.  After all, I’m still better off than that poor widow.

The second is Romans 5:3-4 which tells us that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.  I look at this as a lesson I have to learn.  Perseverance, character, and hope are all worth cultivating, right?

Beyond scripture, Lent is upon us.  During Lent we are to fast.  Fasting is sacrifice.  Most people associate fasting with giving up food or some other enjoyable thing or bad habit.  This year Pope Francis gave us other ideas – a list of eleven actually.  Two of these suggestions fit my situation perfectly.

The first is to fast from complaints and instead to contemplate simplicity.  How much simpler would my participation in choir be if I could put aside my complaints?  How much less emotional energy would I expend without concentrating on the negatives?

The second idea from Pope Francis is to fast from bitterness and instead to fill our hearts with joy.  This reminded me of my mantra – to find Joy In The Tribulation.

So I look for joy and I find it in the tears that well up in my eyes when I sing an especially moving hymn.  I also find joy in the choir’s combined voices while in mass.

So for me the message is clear:

Use Your Gifts

Give All You Can

Persevere and Have Hope

&

Fill Your Heart With Joy.

Won’t you join me?

~jdoe

Reach

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I’m blessed with people who reach out to me.

My wife helps in many ways like researching the medications I’m on.  She also drives 400 miles one way every month to spend two days visitation with me.  Three of my adult children have been in to visit  me.  Two of them are in the medical profession and help me with medication questions as well.  My sister has come a bit farther to visit twice and does the work for this blog.  My mother has also been in to visit and writes me weekly.  I also have family that send letters, email, and books and put money on my commissary account.

Beyond family, I have friends who send in letters and email.  One couple sends in unique yard sale book finds.  These same friends even banded together to get me two magazine subscriptions.  I also have a psychologist outside who is working with me by letter and charges me nothing.

As I said, I am blessed.  They all reach out to me while I reside in this physical prison.  They do so regardless of the situation they themselves live within.  And they also have one thing in common: They live Proverbs 3:27-28

“Do not withhold good from those who deserve it, when it is in your power to act.  Do not say to your neighbor, “come back later; I’ll give it tomorrow” – when you now have it with you.”  (NIV)

I do my best to have a continuing presence in their lives as well by reciprocating with letters, email, and the occasional phone call.  I send what advice and wisdom I can to my children.  I share in what decision I can where my wife’s responsibilities allow.

Yet I wanted to do more.  I wanted to be a true liver of Proverbs 3:27-28.  But how to reach out in prison – in exile?  And to whom?

I have to admit I had fears around reaching out: would I be rejected or taken advantage of?  Yet I kept thinking of those who were actively reaching out to me.  If they were brave enough to do it why shouldn’t I be?

I began to look around for ways to become more than a friend to a few fellow inmates.

I found out that there are classes that are inmate lead on a wide variety of topics; everything from the stock market to paranormal activities.  I thought, “I can teach a class,” and then asked myself, “What will I teach?”  My education and background are in engineering so I’m good in math and science but putting together a course in my field didn’t feel ‘right’.  So I turned to the friends I’ve made here for ideas and two suggested I teach public speaking.  My initial reaction was to brush off the idea but the longer I thought about it the more I liked the idea.  So with help from my sister in the form of a college level public speaking textbook I put together a class and am now teaching it.  And it’s going well.

Several other inmates suggested I tutor those pursuing their GED in math.  I liked the idea so I passed my name around to people enrolled in the GED program.  Within days I had two people to tutor.  And it’s going well.

Then I thought about the poor that Jesus asked us to help.  I looked around and saw how many indigent inmates there are and I knew I couldn’t help them all but I also knew I could help a few.  So each month I take the $17 I make at my ‘job’ here and buy hygiene products from commissary for two or three indigent inmates.  Seeing their appreciation in receiving soap, shampoo, and deodorant is so satisfying that it makes me wish I could do more.

Not surprisingly, I find that living Proverbs 3:27-28 is rewarding and reaffirming that I have something to give back.  It also helps me to see that I can atone for the sins that sent me here into exile.  It’s given me a new Joy In The Tribulation.

You too can find a Joy In The Tribulation regardless of your situation

All you have to do is reach out.

~jdoe

Blessed In Exile

Here we are at the final installment for this series of postings.  It has been, for me, an arduous task of writing about very difficult topics.  My plate of spaghetti has many other strands that I have to chew through in my healing process, but after today we can sop up the sauce of this topic, as I have forgiven and moved on. 

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Finally, I imploded and pursued illegal pornography.

It may be hard to believe but for me, my case is a blessing.  

There is joy in the tribulation.

How can I say that when I’ve left my wife to deal with life all alone?  It opened the door for me to get the help I needed, still need.  I do not recommend my path as the path to healing but if it hadn’t happened I’m sure I’d be dead today due to suicide.  Sounds dramatic but it’s true.  And sad.

Help for me came from a talented and competent psychologist well trained in sexual recovery as well as addiction.  I have to admit that admitting I was an addict and hearing the diagnoses of PTSD, Delusional Disorder, and Dissociative Disorder was scary because it also meant out of control psychologically.  Yet once I knew what was wrong I could face it head on and use my intellect in a healthy, productive way.  The thing I valued most had a different purpose: uncover and heal verses cover up and hurt.  Another blessing!

Where am I today? 

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I’m proud to say I’m a rehabilitated addict.  I’ll always be an addict – that’s the nature of the beast, the monkey, yet it’s under control for the first time in over 45 years.  You might say, “of course it is, you’re in prison,” but I assure you that pornography is readily available and cheap.  I see today the horror in addiction and use and in fact its very existence.  I read of younger and younger (children!) people viewing it on the internet and so developing ill-defined views/beliefs/perspectives on human sexuality and intimacy.  It is a scourge.

As for addressing the hurts of my childhood, I feel I’ve done pretty much what I can.  There are no answers for all the ‘why’ questions.  The relative that abused me is gone yet I still love and miss them – I hold no ill feelings.  I do however have a new understanding of their role in my life.  Now I know them to be someone as broken as me, suffering their own hurts, who acted inappropriately and in so doing aiding, driving, my ill developed views and beliefs around human sexuality and intimacy.

My childhood was far from normal and holistically healthy in many measures.  That is not to say there weren’t times of true childhood though.  I had loving parents, siblings, fights, resentments, laughs, and healthy love.  Separating the good from the bad has not been easy but I believe I finally have.

What’s left? 

The PTSD, its associated depression, the hallucinations and much of the work to overcome and/or manage their effects.

What help is available in prison? 

Honestly, very little at my location and other non-medical locations.  Unless you’re horribly non-functioning and/or a danger to yourself and/or others you won’t get the help you really need.

They work to keep you stable, not heal. 

I’m blessed that the psychologist, Julie, I worked with outside is still working with me by letter while I’m here.  She is as committed to my full recovery as I am.  The challenge is in the trying to do this kind of work through writings with weeks between responses.  But I write.

I want out of the mental illness prison.  I do understand though that much of it is about management and understanding.  Recovery may mean I think differently and manage the left over.

I began my first medication in July of 2014.  It is a mood stabilizer to help with the suicidal thoughts and has helped some.  I also began my first medication for the hallucinations in August of this year, 2016.  I had to go off due to the side effects.  I began a second medication but it’s too early to judge effectiveness or side effects.  More to come.

I wonder what life without all the people, voices and noises will be like.  I wonder if I’ll feel more human or lost without them.  I do know they are all unhealthy coping mechanisms and I, like a child, have to learn appropriate and healthy coping mechanisms.

Can you teach a 53 year old dog new tricks? 

I’m committed but I wonder, am I capable? 

Time will tell. 

~ jdoe

But It Is Personal

I wrote the following after being pent up in a county jail for six months without seeing the light of day, or the dark of night for that matter, literally.  I’d arrived here in my present location and the first four days it snowed.  It didn’t snow much, maybe an inch or two each day, yet it gave me the season I’d missed while in county jail – winter.  Winter is not my favorite season but I did miss going outside in the cool, crisp air. As I was able to finally go out and experience it I’d leave the housing unit every chance I was given.  I listened to other’s complaints about the snow, wind, jackets and boots and I could think was,

“God’s doing this for me!”

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That same day, as I lay in bed after lights out, I thanked God for winter.  I told him I knew it wasn’t for me personally but I was deeply appreciative anyway and I heard The Holy Spirit say, “But It Is Personal.”  As I considered that revelation I had to change my perspective.  What follows are my reflections, a wish for you and a contemplative question for all to consider.  (Psalms 30:5b) ~jdoe

     I look at so much as a new part of my personal relationship with God.  As I move through my days – physically and spiritually – I can now see and know so much in my heart that I missed in life.  It’s like being a child again, back when clouds were a mysterious wonder that looked like angles, dinosaurs, and Abraham Lincoln.  When the breeze, or wind, was something you looked into to blow your hair back while closing your eyes and enjoying its feel on your cheeks.  When birds represented your every dream – to fly and look down on this earth as you broke the bonds of whatever it was that held you earthbound.  When digging in the sand lead to China and other faraway lands.  When ice on the sidewalk was for crunching.  When the moon still looked like a face and was a companion you dreamed of visiting.  When you looked up as much as down.  When everything was new, fresh, clean and yours for the picking, reaping.  When it was all an experience and exploration.  When anything was possible.  When a rainbow was still a mystery and promise.  It’s so sad I had to come here to rediscover so many freedoms and God’s hand and love. 

     I wish everyone could feel as I do in these times, it’s so easy really.  Stand still someday in the middle of your yard, a park, the street you walk – anywhere in God’s creation – and listen, look up, clear your mind and heart and look, listen, feel as you did as a child.  If you’ve forgotten how – watch a child at a playground, your own kids or grandkids – and ask them what they see in clouds, feel in the wind, wish when a bird flies by, or know when they look at a rainbow.  No one should be in captivity before realizing God put it all here for you to experience, own, and keep your entire earthly life.  Maybe, just maybe, this would help others, all, to find their own joys in the tribulation they face or suffer.  How amazing it feels to smile walking across the compound of a prison – imagine walking across the parking lot of Wal-Mart on a busy, raining, windy, traffic jammed day.  It’s all nothing if you walk in God’s Heavens here on earth with childlike wonder, right?

     Let me close with this: We may have been exiled from Eden, but isn’t what was left truly beautiful?

Psalms 30:5b

Weeping may endure for a night,
But joy comes in the morning.

Love Thy Enemy – Concludes

Well, I left you hanging didn’t I?  And right at the part where I began to apply the Holy Spirit’s guidance!  Yes, it got you to come back but more importantly, I hope you walked away wondering how you’d handle Ed and Frank – Your Eds and Franks – we all have them…

If you missed part one, click here…  Love Thy Enemy

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British and German soldiers fraternizing at Ploegsteert, Belgium, on Christmas Day 1914, front of the 11th Brigade, 4th Division

I began to observe, Ed’s, habits and words.  I also did this for my second cell mate as he’d jumped on the persecution wagon with one foot, meaning he was also being decent at times.  Frankly, his decent times existed when he wasn’t high on drugs; but I digress.  I learned Ed’s schedule and responded by offering to develop a schedule that met everyone’s needs for time alone in the cell.  Previously, I’d defend myself by pointing out when I was gone (almost all day) and telling them to deal with me being in the cell from 3:30 until dinner at 5:00pm.  Although he had the cell from 6:00am til 3:30pm and from 5:00pm until 8:30pm it caused tension; ‘He needed’ 3:30 until 4:00 and 4:30 until 5:00, so I began to be in the TV room or another cell at these times.  I also gave him daily updates on my efforts to relocate.  I stopped verbally responding to his verbal attacks and instead walked away.  In essence I accepted his hatred, and that I was in the way of his running his ‘business’ out of our cell and gave him what I’d want if I were him, selfish and hateful as he is and difficult as it is to think that way, I gave him space and time and returned love for his hate and persecution.  Where the other cellie, Frank, is concerned I noticed he was constantly asking people for sweetener packets at night for his evening coffee.  Since I don’t use the stuff I began bringing my two daily packets from breakfast to the cell and giving them to him- an act I still do.  Also, I found that he didn’t care if I was in the cell as long as I wasn’t listening to his conversations with his ‘business’ customers so I always worm my MP3 player after lights out – when his customers typically showed up.  Finally, I would speak kindly about differing subjects because I heard him tell someone that my giving him and Ed this ‘silent treatment’ was stressful for him.  Again, love for hate and persecution. 

Within 5 days of my behavior changes I was moved.

The outcomes:  Ed told a guy he thought I was, “A good dude” but that he couldn’t live with my offense. – HA! “A good dude”!  And Frank told me to my face he thought I was “Cool, I’d live with you if Ed could chillout.”  I’ve carried these lessons into my new cell and have continued my actions with Ed and Frank.  I guess God feels I’ve learned what I needed in my first cell and I’m continuing in those learnings.

I now see that you can indeed Love Your Enemy and suffer no real loss but instead gain so much.  I gained a peace spiritually and worldly both.  Imagine using love, not manipulations or defensiveness, as your shield in life as given by Jesus, our Lord and Savior!  God is great.

It’s not easy – do it anyway.  jdoe

Photo Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205247304

Love Thy Enemy

Love Thy Enemy?! 

Sounds crazy to us today, imagine when Jesus said it over 2000 years ago.

When I landed in my first Federal cell after the move from County Jail holding, I was fortunate (yes, I see it as being fortunate – now) enough to be placed with Ed, The Contraband King and His Sidekick, Frank.  Ed was also the worst of the worst ‘haters’ for people with my charge.  The night I arrived he pulled me aside within five minutes of arrival and said I had to move.  As a first timer this scared me deeply.  In the end, it took a month to the day for me to be moved (others in similar situations were moving within a single day!) I’d probably still be there had I not learned the lesson of “Love Thy Enemy”

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British and German soldiers fraternizing at Ploegsteert, Belgium, on Christmas Day 1914, front of 11th Brigade, 4th Division.

I mediated at great length on what I was to learn from Ed’s behaviors and continuous, non-stop harassment.  First, I looked for The Joy In The Tribulation, that is always my first thought now as I’m faced with a new, or renewed, trial.  I determined, through conversations with the Holy Spirit, that the Joy was in being given an opportunity to grow in my faith.  Okay, sounds simple and straight forward, right?  Not if you were faced with that type of situation. What growth would you think you’re to experience?  I thought patience, tolerance, perseverance and suffering without complaint (Romans 5:3) as well as “Turn The Other Cheek.”  So I worked at these things and at night as I prayed after lights out, I’d offer up my experiences and sacrifices as testimony of my growth and go on the next day with exercising these things.  I DO believe these are/were things I was to live in this way, even though I’d tried outside.  The big difference though is outside I could walk away from the persecution; in here it follows me.  Ed was everywhere as himself and embodied in others.  It dawned on me that Ed was simply God’s vessel for direct interaction but was/is in reality His one person to represent a much larger body of hate.  This revelation lead to a new question: “What Dear God, am I really supposed to learn?”  It was obvious to me that all those other lessons were either preparation for, or benefits of, some other more significant teaching.  So back to my medications after lights out and during my walks.

One night, as I drifted off to sleep I heard the Holy Spirit again and these are His words, “What are the greatest commandments?”  I snapped awake with this thought, “Oh My God, I have to love this man?!” 

Mark 12:29-31 “The first of all the commandments is: ‘Hear O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one.  And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.  This is the first commandment.  And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” 

My first reaction was, honestly, “UGH”

In the morning I began searching scripture to find out what I was to do!  What I found was: “Love your enemy.”  So I determined to figure out what that might mean in my situation. 

There is so much more to this experience, please come back for Part 2 next week. ~jdoe

Photo Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205247304

Joy In The Tribulation (part 2 of 2)

This is part of a post begun last week (But It’s Snowing! (part 1 of 2)).  Without further delay… here you’ll read of my first revelation around finding Joy In The Tribulation.  Later posts will expand on this mantra in my life.

I was meditating on “Joys In The Tribulations” since God’s Word (The Bible) tells us we have to find the Joy In The Tribulation.  I was wondering how on earth I could find joy in my cell issue, captivity, etc.  As I lay there I heard the Holy Spirit say, “You have to acknowledge them, not seek them.”  It was profound!  That’s why we suffer so much.  We refuse to acknowledge what’s already in front of us.  So acknowledging God’s glory in this out-of-doors moves me from hating the fence to appreciating what cannot be taken from me – God’s Heavens!  And my cell issue moves me to appreciate God’s wish and desire for my growth and giving Him glory in my tribulations because it makes the future that  much more valuable!  I suppose it sounds “preachy” but if only people who have never had literally everything taken from them could feel these things; it would be a very different world.  Imagine finding joy in a traffic jam or while on hold with the cable company, and without complaint.  It is possible if we acknowledge that the tribulations we find ourselves in are supposed to be joy inducing.  Am I this good about all of it?  No way.  Am I working to be?  Absolutely.  Now I see that so much of the suffering I did was my fault and unnecessary.  How much life I lost and/or wasted when I think about all the times I blew up over the smallest things – ugh- I have so many regrets now. 

We’re not meant to have regrets.  But I’m sure everyone reading this, like me, does.  God forgives and forgets.  (Psalms 103:12, Isaiah 43:25 NKJV)  Regrets are so often self-impressed and based on fears that man, our loved ones, or society can’t forgive us when really we need only the forgiveness of God and ourselves.  Those who truly love us on earth have already forgiven us or soon will.  Forgive yourself.   ~ jdoe

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But It’s Snowing! (part 1 of 2)

Welcome!

I arrived at my current Federal Correctional Institution (FCI) on March 8th, 2016.  Previous to that date I’d spent six months to the day in a county jail.  While in the county jail I almost literally never saw the light of day, or for that matter, the dark of night.  I missed the entire season of winter – one of my favorites to avoid anyway so I wasn’t crushed by missing it.  I did feel something missing though in not going outside.  When I arrived at the FCI the grass was clear and even green on March 8th!  Somewhat unusual for the Midwest.  So when snow arrived on April 3rd you can imagine my wonder.  What was wondrous for me follows as an excerpt from a letter to my sister…  oh yeah, spoiler alert: cliffhanger ahead!

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Surprise!  We have an inch of snow and cold, windy weather.  On my way to breakfast (actually a fasting day but I do drink the milk) the sky was again so beautiful.  The sunrises have been so awesome because of the clouds combined with clear skies overhead.  I see them as blessings.  And since I was stuck inside all winter in the county jail,  I think the snow and cold are blessings as well.  Six months isolated from the outdoors is way too long.  Each day I get outside is a moving experience.  I want to feel that way for the rest of my life.  God’s nature is inspiring.  I’ve learned so much by having been stripped of everything; and the isolation has brought such appreciation for – well- all things.  As I change my views of things like rain, wind, snow, cold/heat, clouds, skies, sun/moon, gads – all of it, I find standing outside in the weather waiting for medications or meals is, in reality, energizing and invigorating.  I think I complained about this in an earlier letter, however the revelation of acknowledging blessings in all of the adversity (Bible “Tribulations”) has moved me to a whole different place.  Hmm… maybe I should write about my blessings revelation so here it is… 

Until next week, jdoe

A Journey Begun

Hello and welcome to My-040.  If you were hoping to find a blog about turning 40 years old I’m sorry to say this ain’t it – However I invite you to stay and look around; you may find this to be what you need in times of tribulation.

The blog’s name, My-040, comes from the collision of three main themes: My incarceration (Exile), God’s punishment of the Israelites being sent into captivity (Exile), and the Federal District from which I come – 040.  I’m convinced these align for a reason.  I hope you’ll visit regularly to discover how I’m letting God lead me through my time in captivity, the wilderness, exile.

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This blog is for all those living in a prison of any type whether it be true incarceration, depression, an abusive relationship, addiction – especially addiction to pornography of any form, mental illness, childhood sexual abuse – such a long and sad list cut short.

This blog is also for anyone looking for new perspectives on how God touches us all.  I’ve found that my old self is not who I, or God, wants me to be and to find that self is a journey I hope you’ll take with me.

I ask very little of you:   1) Please do not post hate of any form, including foul language.  I have the support of a loved one, my sister, in managing this site and the postings.  She didn’t break the law, I did.  Please don’t make her suffer in her love for me;  2) If you have positive, constructive ideas on how I might improve this blog please post or email; 3) Feel free to post questions on any subject on this site (See my bio I am… John Doe, the purpose of this blog Joy In The Tribulation, and ASCSA) but please be patient in waiting for a response as I have to use the U.S. Mail and turn around time can be up to two weeks (Contact & How This Works).

It is one of my sincerest hopes that you will walk my journey with me and find your way out of whatever wilderness, prison, captivity, or exile you find yourself living.  I’ve begun and am already becoming renewed into a new life.  Unbelievably, I’m finding true freedom behind the razor wire topped fencing.  I hope you’ll enjoy your time here.

Again, Welcome.  John Doe