I was born in Houston, TX in 1984. I grew up in a household with a father who talked down about Christians and a mother who just didn't say anything either way. They had both been to church when they were younger but did not once take me. I grew up atheist.
Eventually I went to church a couple times with a friend; I was 15 or so, but I just mocked the services, and I didn't go back.
I started attempting suicide at the age of 21. From the ages of 21 to 25 I was hospitalized in psychiatric institutions maybe 10 times due to suicide attempts or just being 'out there'. I hung myself once - the rope snapped after I blacked out. I overdosed on a popular drug once and spent 12 days in ICU, 9 of them on a ventilator. These are the times death was closest to me, I guess.
I went to county jail for the first time at the age of 18. I was smoking lots of marijuana from this age on. I tried it for the first time at the age of 15. I smoked cigarettes for the first time when I was 13, and I was smoking a pack or more a day at the age of 15.
In middle school I would shave my head and just leave my bangs, symbolizing horns. I would wear a satanic pendant. Once or twice I wore feminine makeup in school. I did things that I won't repeat here. I listened to goth and rock music as well as industrial and electro music from Germany and the US.
Anyway, the important thing in all this is that my last suicide attempt resulted in me running from the police in a car and getting me a second felony charge. I spent 2 years in prison. Jesus called me quickly. Brothers recognized my need for Christ, and I wanted to hear about Him. I had become a heathen after my first suicide attempt. Is heathen > atheist as far as faith goes? I really don't know. I didn't practice anything - I just believed in some sort of God or goddess. Anyway, I started reading the Bible, specifically, the Psalms, for comfort. Eventually I was transported from county jail to prison, and Satan was not happy about it. He attacked me relentlessly for a month and a half. I had visual and auditory hallucinations, my mind was mush, I broke 2 of my own fingers in what I was tricked into believing was an altruistic action that would save 10s of thousands of lives (yes, really :\ ).. ,I rammed my head into walls more than once.
Eventually I was transferred back to a county jail on benchwarrant. I started reading the Bible again and fellowshipping with brothers in Christ. Previous to this I had been locked in cells by myself most of the time. I started believing on and working on Romans 10:9 - "If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved."
I did this by visualizing Jesus's birth and ministry and resurrection, well, I started with His resurrection. I got to His birth and ministry later on. Also I started studying the Bible as best I could. My mind was cloudy and the parables were very hard at first, but I did the best I could.
Anyway, prison had its ups and downs. I'm just recently out. Sometimes I get bratty, and I blame God for my ignorance and for making some pottery that was in such dire need of reshaping in the furnace, but like Paul said, how can the clay question the potter? Yet sometimes I still do, and I know it's a mistake.
Anyway, Jesus is good. I'm very glad he didn't let me die that night. I'm glad that I could be reborn by the Holy Spirit. Right now I am working on getting my life in order, and of course staying out of trouble.
Also, things are different now. My heart's changed. My mind's changed. All that. This is my first second chance, if that makes sense. That's one source of bitterness for me, sometimes, is that I had to wait 25 years to be saved. But why should I complain? Isn't going to Heaven worth more than 25 years of life? I suppose maybe it's part of the human condition, bitterness, but God willing I'll get over that.
So, now I'm working on a routine for myself. Jesus is the Good Shepherd, and I am His brother now, so things have got to get better quickly. And so far they are! It's amazing.. every day has been exponentially better than the one before it. His healing is indescribable. I was DEAD IN SIN, and He made someone worthwhile out of me! I was a slave to lust and drugs and hatred. I want to be a slave to Christ. I try to be. He is the Bright Morning Star. He is the Beginning and the End. Though I am weak, in Him I am so much stronger than I ever was before. God is good!