'Turning Corners' by A.J.
I've now spent thirteen of my nearly forty-one years behind bars, and even longer, seventeen years, bound in the jaws of the justice system. That is a statistic that can at times be crippling.
Today is January 7th, one full week into 2018, and despite a difficult year, things seem to be turning a corner. This morning was a monumental one, I attended church, and for the first time since arriving at this location I sat through it without any fears or anxieties. I was actually able to enjoy it, and listen to it. It was also a monumental morning for my friend Brandon, as he went to church with me. The service, I felt, was catered to him. It began with some great music which he tapped his fingers to on the chair in front of himself, and towards the end of the five songs, he was even singing the lyrics.
The first person to talk was a pastor who also happens to do his own Christian rap music (swordbiters.com - I believe is his website), which rap is Brandon's music of choice, so it was very fitting. Pastor Darren performed two verses from his song about the Armor of God, and Brandon loved it. He had a big ol' smile on his face, and was hooting and hollering for him as he clapped when Darren finished. It was great, it set the tone, and Brandon at ease for the remainder of the service.
Both Darren and Pastor Bob delivered on point messages which spoke to both our hearts. Brandon left his first true service with a, "I really enjoyed that", after fearing he'd be weirded out by all the 'strange' people a prison chapel tends to attract. He did go to a Christmas service with me, and that was all he could focus on, today was certainly a breakthrough, and not just for him, but also me. Thanks to him going with me, I didn't have to go, feeling alone, and battle the fears and anxiety that have had me gripped since getting here. We even sat in the second row, rather than the far back where I normally sit.
I am truly thankful for today, for Brandon, and for a gracious God. Please pray that God would work in both my and Brandon's hearts and lives. God bless!