By Adrian Fernando
I woke up high, with handcuffs on my wrists and feet, sitting in a jail cell barely remembering being arrested. It was my 24th birthday and I had been arrested for a DWI after overdosing on many drugs. At the time, I believed in a God but did not have a personal relationship with Jesus.
Abusing and Using
Growing up in Plano, I had a fairly normal life and a “good” childhood. But, at the age of six, I was sexually abused by a neighbor. I also didn't have any real relationship with my father; we never spoke with each other, because he believed a dad's role was to make money and provide for the family while the wife stayed home and took care of the kids. These two things in a boy’s life can be very damaging; they had a huge negative impact on how I viewed the world and how I viewed God. I tried to isolate myself from it all, and felt that my heart was filled with darkness.
In high school, I started smoking weed to escape reality as an answer to my problems. Though it started small, that eventually led to me selling weed, and then abusing cocaine, alcohol, and pills. I also started to sell cocaine and steal in order to support my habits.
I’ve searched for life in drugs, alcohol, lying, cheating, stealing, sexual immorality, materialism, and wealth. I can tell you now, looking back on my life and the decisions I have made, that none of these things can ever bring lasting joy and satisfaction in life.
Light in the Darkness
A year ago, I came to Watermark to check out The Porch. A guy wearing a Porch volunteer T-shirt started talking to me after the service. He asked me, “If you died tonight, on a scale of 1 to 10, how sure are you that you would go to heaven?” I said an “8” because I grew up going to church, and was hoping he would leave me alone. I thought these people were strange, always talking about Jesus, but I continued to come to The Porch and that same guy kept talking to me every week. That one guy, through God, helped change my life.
The first night I attended The Porch, JP shared a story about an orphan girl in Asia who had all kinds of diseases and was living in an orphanage. When a couple came to visit her, she spat in their faces, but the man wanted to adopt her anyway. We often spit in God’s face, turning away from His unfailing love and grace. He loves us regardless of what we’ve been through, any secret sin we are hiding, and all our shortcomings. He loves us more than any human could ever love us. This story cut through the wall I had built around my heart, and I kept coming every Tuesday. Later I attended Launch, a singles retreat, where everything clicked. My life changed that weekend and I fell in love with Jesus, embracing Matthew 6:33:
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
The community I have found through The Porch and Watermark has been a blessing in my life. Not long ago, a couple of friends from Watermark threw a “one year free from cocaine” party for me. Though I have not known them long, I can see the intense love of Christ through them.
Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. – Lamentations 3:22-23
I know that God loves me in spite of anything I've done, and freely gives life that I could never earn. His light pierced the darkness in my heart. Now I live to tell people there is hope in their life, no matter where they are, and that God loves them and has a future for them.