by David Estrada
The screams of my mother pierced through my bedroom door. I remember jumping out of bed and tip-toeing toward the light of the cracked door opening. I saw my mother being thrown to the ground and the shadow of my father over her. I began to open the door, but the hand of my older brother held my shoulder and he whispered, "Go back to bed. It'll be okay." That night became one of my earliest and most significant memories in my life. My brother probably said the right thing but he was not right. It was not okay. And at year years old my family, security, trust and life seemed lost. My mother bravely took her two boys and left without looking back.
I learned not to look back as well, only look ahead, only look out for myself, only trust a few and never love a father. Growing up some would call me driven, focused, sharp and full of potential, but others knew me as a charismatic hustler who would use charm and intelligence to setup my victims. They were both correct.
Success in the eyes of the lost is money, pride, and victories over your enemies. I had those things. Drugs, alcohol, guns, women and a hustle is what I thought would be my path to freedom. As a young man I had achieved some goals and had a plan for the future... until I found the truth.
I was invited to church by a friend who I had robbed, smoked, and hustled with for years. It was almost a dare, but I was not afraid. I had been to church before and I had even been to church high on drugs before. It meant nothing; just a favor for an old friend that I might could on him in the future. I remember sitting in the church listening to the preacher and thinking an odd thought, "Where is the lie?" As a hustler, I was a professional liar and a pro can always spot the work of another. Like an architect looking at a building, you can see it differently. I listened to the preacher’s message with more intensity because I had to be missing something. Still no lie... Then the next thought, "If there is no lie, is this the truth?" Could I have been hustled? Was I living the lie?
Eventually I made a decision. I had made up my mind. I said to this voice in my head, "God, if you are real then show up right now. I will give you everything if you show yourself to be real. But if you are not real, leave me alone." My Heavenly Father showed up in a miraculous way. He set me free from drugs, smoking, drinking and all the things chained to my life in an instant. Our Lord saved and redeemed me from a life of sin and shame. I was so grateful that I submitted to Him radically and gave Him control of my heart and soul.
My first day of salvation has been over twenty years ago and I am still as grateful as the first day. He has done many things for me including saving my family, redeeming my relationship with my earthly father, calling me into ministry and introducing me to my Abba Father. I now wake up in the middle of the night hearing the praises of my Father, running to the light of the door and opening it wide into the courts of heaven. Do you want to join me?