My name is Richard James McCarty. I am 31 years old, I was born in Colorado Springs, Co. I am the second born of 4. Both of my parents used and drank alcohol. So they would fight a lot, and leave us at home at times while they went next door to party. I remember waking up at times and them not being there. My mother and father soon separated after my mom had her third child. We lived all over southern California after they split up. My mom was still using and drinking, so a lot of the places we stayed there was either random people or no one at all.
Eventually we ended up homeless and then this lady offered us a place to stay. Not after being there too long my mom got into a relationship and we ended up homeless with this guy named Bill, living in his station wagon and in a tent (we “the kids” slept in the car), while they stayed in the tent. We actually lived like this for a while. I remember eating holiday dinners in parks, going to the local fire departments to get water. There were times that we sat outside of grocery stores and held an old coffee can to ask for money. We had to heat canned food off the engine of the car and at times all we had were pine cone seeds that we fried in the camp fire. Bill ended up being abusive and would hit us with wire off of old fridges we would have to grab out in fields. I remember a time he made us hug trees in public and a man said something and they actually got into a fight about it.
My mom got pregnant and Bill and her ended up getting help and my brothers and I went to stay with my Grandfather for a while in Livermore, CA.
After some time, my mom and Bill were finished with each of their programs, and things got better. They both got to work, my Grandpa moved out and let them rent the house and they even ended up buying the house. Bill was still abusive and there were times that we couldn’t go to school because of marks on us. I ended up getting into trouble for selling marijuana at the age of around 13 or 14 years old. I also got arrested for stealing, fighting and just getting into a lot of trouble throughout my teen years. I spent a good amount of time in juvenile detention.
When I was 16 my step father punched me and I grabbed a knife that I had hanging on the wall and put it to his neck and told him that if he ever hit me again I would kill him. I went to juvenile hall and a camp for a total of 8 months. I got my GED while I was there and actually learned a lot. But never dealt with the pain from my past. I just moved on to the next part of my life. I remember my step dad saying things like “my dad used to kick me in the face. Just be lucky you don’t have to get it like that”. I understand now that was just to make him feel justified about the harm he was doing. I never realized that I was following suit with covering up and not dealing with my past. I held onto a lot of resentment towards my mom and Bill. And my real dad as well for not being there and then the few times he came into the picture he was drunk and went to jail or just wanted money.
“I was lost and hurt, I was really just trying to escape what I was feeling I just didn’t realize that I was causing pain to countless others.”
I used drugs and drank alcohol to fit in with my friends and to numb myself to not think about anything. This was a big cause of me getting into trouble from a very young age. I became addicted to the fast criminal lifestyle and the drugs helped me not worry about the consequences, or really anything for that matter. From the time I started using I never really stopped until I found out I was going to have a baby; my girlfriend was pregnant. I stopped for a while, got a job and moved out to Pittsburg to my daughter’s mom’s parents. I had no problem getting jobs or working, it was staying at the job. My daughter was born and I really tried to change but I couldn’t, after losing my job I felt like nothing and didn’t know what to do so I started using again I started cheating and then robbing drug dealers. I was lost and hurt, I was really just trying to escape what I was feeling I just didn’t realize that I was causing pain to countless others. I was verbally abusive just like I never wanted to be and had anger sometimes for no reason. I was a punk, I would fight people for no reason. I would take things that were not mine. I used and partied and had no feelings towards anything; this was an ugly part of my life.
I ended up going to jail for 1st degree residential robbery and burglary. At first I was charged with 8 strikable felonies. I fought the case for almost two years in Santa Rita jail and then was sentenced to 5 years in prison, convicted of robbery and given a strike. Now this was a real blessing in disguise. Little did I know that God put me there so that He could speak to me because He knew this was the only way to actually get through to me.
As a teen I was introduced to Christ through youth groups and I was even baptized. But I kept going to all the wrong things to be comforted and healed from all that I went through. I loved going to church I even believed in God and all that He did but my heart was hard, and I didn’t know His love and how he wanted to really set me free. I just believed on the surface. I remember when I truly surrendered my heart to Jesus, I felt complete. It was the first time I let go and actually let go with no reserve; I cried and it was a much-needed release. He delivered me from so many bad memories as well as negative beliefs about myself that I had formed over the years. I received forgiveness and felt the relief from the guilt that I had been holding onto from all the harm that I caused. I realized I made my choices and nothing that happened to me as a kid made me do it. I had a choice. What’s done is done. I knew that because I felt that I had nowhere to get relief from the pain, and no way to escape the thoughts that haunted me. I felt like I had to use because that worked for a time, I thought. And I pushed my pain onto others without realizing it. I just wanted to stop hurting inside and I was scared and didn’t know how to express my feeling so I ran from them.
The whole time the Lord was waiting. I can imagine him saying: come to me, I will give you rest. I want to comfort you. You can trust me. I love you more than you know. I think about you all the time, my thoughts for you are more than the amount of grains of sand on the sea shore, more than the amount of stars in the sky. Psalms 139:17-18. Forgive them, for they know not what they do. I will give you perfect peace, I will be your rock and you can stand on me unmoved even in the roughest storms.
“I got so comfortable in my sin I didn’t want to change.”During that time in jail I got to know the Lord. He became my place of refuge, my comfort. I fell in love with Him because I found out how much He loved me. I realized He not only forgives me but wants to change me, change my heart. So many times when things I had done came to mind I’d pray “Father forgive me. Create in me a clean heart oh God”. With God I was able to go over all the things I had done, the pain I caused. See the root of most of the things that caused me hurt and the things I used to fuel me to be who I had become. God really changed me. He helped me to understand that my parents were sick and really didn’t know any better. Honestly without God, none of us are really any good. “The heart of man is deceitfully wicked above all things”. So I was able to forgive them. Then He showed me that he gave me a way out I just decided not to go to Him. I got so comfortable in my sin I didn’t want to change. Romans 7:15-25 says: I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do but the evil I do not want to do, this I keep doing. So if I do what I do not want to do it is no longer I who do it but sin living in me who do it. So I find this law at work: although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I find delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work in me. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ my Lord.
The Lord did so many wonderful things in me, He gave me knowledge of His Word, He wrote His Word on my heart. He gave me new life, His spirit. But because He loves me He lets me make my choices on my own. He calls me to have a faith that is alive, faith that moves into obedience through love. That’s why its important to stay close to Him, to stay focused, so that I am not distracted by this world. I need to have Him in the forefront of my thoughts “taking captive my thoughts”, have Him in my heart fed by the Word that says to: continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling. Philippians 2:15.
That being said, I was released from prison in 2011. God allowed my daughter and I to begin to build our relationship. I moved into my Mom’s and things were going well. God blessed me through my fear of not being able to work with a good job and I got my license back and a car. I started to live life and the right way. But as soon as I opened the door to getting into a relationship way too fast I let go of my relationship with God. I stopped reading and became numb to life all over again.
I will never forget losing the peace of God. One day I was going to work and I had just seen my parole officer the day before but I totally forgot because again I was on my own carrying the burdens of life that God had already promised me peace from: “not that I wouldn’t have to carry them, but through faith in Him I have no worries because my God is with me and is able to do far more than I could ever ask or imagine. I know His plans for me are good.”
On my way to work I thought I needed to go to San Jose to see my parole officer but when I called he reminded me we had already met. I stopped and broke down because I was so worried. I was trying to do what was right, but for myself. I had so much going on in my mind it became overwhelming. I ended up getting married shortly after, and the night before my wedding in Tahoe I started drinking a shot of tequila. I’ll never forget that. I went on to divorce months later. Then got into a few more toxic relationships. What’s crazy is my wife at the time loved the Lord and all was well but I was going down and didn’t want well, even though I did. I again longed for it but I was lost all over again.
I discharged parole and got into the Ironworker’s Union on June 24th 2014. My life was a mess covered with worldly gains. I didn’t realize how bad I was until my mom passed away in July of 2014. My mom is my best friend, this was so hard and my daughter left with her mom for Vegas that same week. It was like God giving me distance between my daughter and I because He knew what was coming. In January 2015 I was put on medical leave for a d.v.t (blood clots) in my left leg and went downhill. I considered this as my mourning time. I began using really heavy and started selling drugs and drinking. I just wanted to go so fast as to not think about anything. I wanted to not feel, I wrecked a few vehicles, by the grace of God didn’t get hurt and did not hurt anyone in those accidents. I was going into bars getting into fights and just doing whatever I could to not feel. This led me to being homeless in Stockton.
“The Lord has revealed His promises and is still revealing them to me and is working in me and I hope to share what He has so freely given to me with whoever He will let me.”
In March 2017 God humbled me when I heard about my friend who had just passed away from alcohol, liver failure at the young age of 32. God humbled my mind and heart and showed me how selfish I was being. Because I knew of Him and the freedon that He gives and the power of God that is so freely given to us who believe. I was broken and lost, but God spoke to me and that fire lit up inside me. I knew I needed to get help and restart/ By April, 1st 2017 God allowed me to get to Cherry Hill Detox. Then after going to church in San Leandro at Faith Fellowship I re-committed my life back to the Lord and have been blessed to be building a relationship with Him again.
In this new part of my journey I applied to the Arukah House and have been living here since November 3, 2017. God has opened this door so that I can die to myself by getting grounded in the faith that He has given me. And by surrendering to His spirit so that He can live: it is no longer I who lives, but Christ who lives in me. Galatians. 2:20 I am confident that the time set before me is purposed for Him to mold me into what He has called me to be. I believe that Jesus is my God and my Savior. That He died for me to be set free, to purchase me with His blood. That He carried the sins of the world on the cross. Rom.6:23, says the wages of sin is death, He paid that. It also says the gift of God is eternal life, by faith in His death and resurrection. I have died with Him and am alive with Him forever in Jesus name. Your kingdom come, your will be done: Rev.21:4 says; He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death no more crying, no more pain.
The Lord has revealed His promises and is still revealing them to me and is working in me and I hope to share what He has so freely given to me with whoever He will let me.
Today is the day in which the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it. I have now been here at the Arukah House for seven months. God is so good. During the last 7 months the Lord has been at work . He has placed me in a new job, possibly career! Union again and I am thankful. Has allowed me to provide for my daughter, even though only a little right now. I am thankful to be in a right relationship with the Lord and have the ability and desire to provide in any way. These things are so awesome. I am two steps away from obtaining my license again. The debt I owed the bank that was stopping me from opening an account got closed. Blessings on blessings! But what is more amazing and eternally important is : how the Lord of heaven and earth is changing my heart.. Now don’t get me wrong, it has been trying, going through this refining … but I know He has put in me a heart of flesh . .. therefore turning me from dead bones with a heart of stone into a priceless diamond!
Praise and glory and the utmost to the highest.. God is so good . Thy kingdom come thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven; my fear is gone, my eyes are dry because I know Jesus my King is on the throne tonight, the throne on my heart and of my mind. Because of the time God has allowed me to be here He is putting things in perspective. He is showing me how to focus. How to keep my commitments, though I’m not perfect, He is and I serve Him. He has allowed me to serve with the youth and also be a part of serving some of the homeless in Stockton. God is so good. He has allowed me to be used.. to glorify Him, to love and encourage. To share His grace and the work He is doing in me countless times . With that I am grateful. (My cup runneth over) My heart is full. I am so grateful to be a child of the most high. God is so good . .
Thank you, Richard McCarty