Helping God’s Sheep in Prison

My name is Marty. I am a very grateful child of God and a recovering sexaholic/alcoholic—two things about myself that took years and a fall from grace for me to accept. I am writing this from my kitchen and, as I look out the door, I do not see any razor-wire fences—a view I had for 25 years because of my abuse of prepubescent girls as a Catholic priest.

As I reflect I have an awareness that this is not my story but the story of God’s love of me. He knew me in the womb and knew I would fall under selfishness, pride, and addictions. It would take 25 years of leading a double life, on the outside a people-pleaser, but on the inside a wolf seeking to devour for personal pleasures before I found God’s purpose for me. I had to falloff my egotistical pedestal in order to become the servant that God created me to be: a rebel and a sinner to serve rebels and sinners. So God graced a victim of my abuse and an intervention took place. I was sent into therapy where my secret life—the mask I was hiding behind—was exposed to me.

I was introduced to Twelve Step programs and learned that there is a solution; it begins with accepting the truth that I am a sexaholic, a sick man trying to get well, not a bad man trying to get good. I saw in this the love of God for me, but I struggled to love myself.

I had to face the truth of my being unfaithful to my spouse, the Church, by hurting her lambs, and face the consequence of my “divorce” from her, meaning no more active ministry for her. Then I had to face the biggest consequence of all, prison, where God wanted me to serve. Who better to send amongst the lost sheep than a lost shepherd? It would take years of reflection before I realized that I was in prison to serve God; in prison, at my most powerless, no longer my own God.

I am writing this in the kitchen of my flat today but my heart is with His flock in two ways. First, I keep in daily contact by email and letters to friends still in prison, struggling as I did to get to know the love of a God who will go to any length to rescue them; and second, by striving to keep those of His flock on the outside of the razor fences free from the brambles of addiction.

This is not my story but the story of the God of my understanding who will go to any length to take care of everything so long as I continue to surrender my whole life to Him—the good and the bad.

Here is a virtual hug to you all from my kitchen.

Marty L., Ohio, USA

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