Ed Lawrence, A sincere follower who has been forgiven much and loves much. My life is devoted to exposing people to Jesus and His love. Married 20 years to a very understanding woman who is second only to Jesus. Please welcome Ed as he shares Part 1 of his testimony of Salvation.
I was furious; this did not work out like I thought it would! But, in the back of my mind, a voice said “nothing ever did, you’re cursed”. My mind was a mess of thoughts ranging from frustration to hopelessness to despairing of life. Here I was 30 years old, in the prime of my life, and it has been a never-ending road of pain and suffering that I could only express by rage and a deep anger. That was my only companion. But I had time to think, always time to think. I lay on my bare mattress and looked back on my life, as I always did when I needed the strength to get me through a hard time.
I went back to the time when my mother was committed to a mental institution with a multiple personality disorder. She had tried to kill me a couple of times when I was too young to remember. I was told this by my mixed up family members. All I remember is her being ripped from me, and the pain I felt of then moving with my aged father to his son’s house where he also would be taken from me by death. I was in the 4th grade then. My half-brother did feed and clothe me, but, I was in revolt. I did everything to make them hate me and it worked.
After getting involved with drugs heavily and failing the seventh grade the second time, I dropped out of school. I never came home until late at night. I hung out with the crowd. I got involved in crime, breaking into houses and destroying them in a rage as if tearing up someone else’s stuff would make me feel better. Finally, it was in the year I dropped out, that my half-brother took me for a ride. He said he had promised my dad before he died that he would look out for me. But, I had become so unmanageable that it was tearing his family apart and I could not live with them anymore. He opened the door and wished me luck. It did not faze me, I was strong. I can do this.
Not knowing what to do, I just stuck out my thumb and hitched a ride. I ended up in Miami Florida after a couple of days of stealing anything I could on the way there. Once there, I met up with another guy who was 20 years older. He showed me how to survive on the streets. I was still into drugs and drinking, stealing anything of value and sleeping on the streets at night. Here I was a man,(I thought) making it in this world on my own. By the time I was 17, I was living with a stripper and selling drugs and ripping off tourist for a living in Daytona Beach. I thought ‘life was good!’ I had some friends, money, and was always drunk and high. My drug of choice was PCP and acid. I was just mean and got into fights a lot.
One day, I decided to head north with a friend after talking to this tourist who said he would take us up there when he went home. He was a drug dealer on vacation and my friend and I plotted to rob him on the way. Piece of cake. We were all high on PCP, my favorite was injecting it and our tourist friend had a bunch of it in his trunk. We laughed our way through several states, but in Virginia… we decided to take the Appalachian Mountain route. I knew it was full of places where we could rob this guy. And rob him we did. I found an iron pipe and knew how to use it. When I saw a spot that looked secluded, I asked him to pull over. I was in the back seat when the car stopped. I started to hit him in the head, it seemed I could not stop. My friend freaked out and jumped out of the car screaming as I continued my assault. Once my victim stopped moving I got out, my friend was gone and a car was coming my way. All I remember is running blindly down the mountain in the dark, I fell of many small ledges along the way and finally, in exhaustion, I didn’t get up after my last fall. I awoke and it was morning. I hurt all over, but, I didn’t pay attention to my wounds. I heard dogs barking. A lot of dogs, and they were coming close to where I was. Once again, I started running, at least I could see this time and miss some of the dangerous terrain. As I reached the bottom of the mountain, I was elated. I had made it and was working my way to a road when I was jumped by 4-5 guys wearing uniforms. The Forestry Rangers along with a Federal Marshal had me put to the ground and cuffed me. My thought was, “at least I am not far from the cop car”. Needless to say, I went to jail and I acted like I belonged there. I played the gangster roll to the T. Every day the Federal District Attorney would come by, try to get me to confess, he even said we have your partner and he is going to turn on you. If that man dies you will be charged with murder. I just played tough and sassed him back. It was a game to me now. When I did find out my partner turned against me, I plead guilty to one count of assault on a federal reservation. As I was 17 when arrested, I was given a 4-6 year sentence in Federal Prison. Yes, I thought I made the big time when they took me to Morgantown Federal Correctional Center in W. Virginia. The first thing a guard told me was don’t even think of escape, I would be caught. I just laughed.
After 3 months there I was into the gambling and drug scene. I sold what was smuggled in and ran a poker game for an Italian I met. I started getting the ‘big shot’ mentality when it came to me that I could really impress these guys if I escaped. Maybe they would look out for me on the outside. So, escape I did. At dinner I found a spot that was blind to the guard towers. I climbed the fence and jumped into the creek that was there. Then I ran, it was uphill all the way, another mountain. I got half way up and looked back, they still didn’t know I was gone. I thought of going back. No, I was doing this. After an hour I was on top of a mountain and there was a road. The first car that came by picked me up as I stuck out my thumb. I jumped in, I was free. For some reason, I was drawn to go back to where my half-brother lived. I wasn’t in town 3 days when I was surrounded in the town square and handcuffed. Back to prison, but this time it was a real prison. I was sentenced to another 4-6 year sentence and sent to Petersburg Va Federal Prison. Hardened convicts serving multiple life sentences were housed there. I really had hit the big time and felt at home. Due to my associations at the other prison, I was received well by my fellow cons. It wasn’t long before I was running the drugs and gambling on the yard. I was back at home. Well as the saying goes, it can only get better, I found myself involved in a riot in the chow hall. I, along with many others, were locked up in solitary and eventually shipped out. I was sent to Milan Michigan where nothing changed. I once again tried to escape and was caught hiding in a closed area where I was going to climb the wall and escape. While in solitary for that, I guess I must have lost it as they sent me to Ft. Leavenworth Kansas for Psychological evaluation. I was in a prison mental ward. For the first time I can actually say I was scared by what I was surrounded with there. After 3 months there on lock down only allowed out 1 hour a day, I was shipped to Memphis TN.
There I got healthy, worked out, ate good, and awaited my release in a year. I was good. I was looking forward to my release; I had spent 6 years learning how to rob banks, move drugs and various schemes to make money. Add on top of that I had connections now. Yes, once again, I would have it made. I would be on Federal Parole for 2 years, but life was good. I had no home to go to, so a prison acquaintance set me up with a place to stay. I was a week late in getting there and my Parole officer was mad. He told me that I was his target and he knew I would not be out long. He was right.
I got involved in selling a lot of acid and marijuana from the connections I had made. One of my partners I sold to up from in NC had what I given them stolen from them. No one ever stole from me and got away with it. I drove from where I was in Va all night with my partner, high on acid to keep me going. When we got there I checked around and found out who stole the drugs. Three of us went to where he lived with his mother,wife and daughter. We waited for him to come home. When He did, with his family, we tied them up . I beat him pretty good as he at first would not tell me where he hid his money and my drugs, I even shot at him, still nothing. Finally, I took his 5-year-old daughter and pointed a gun at her head. I told him this was it, I would kill them all. His wife finally told me where it was as I was getting ready to pull the trigger. I left with my stuff, and with him bleeding on the floor from a beating I gave him. I was back before my Parole officer knew I was gone. I was pretty crazy at that point. I went to a club and was celebrating with a bunch of people I knew. A girl came up to me and said that there is a SWAT team outside and not to go out. I looked and talked to my partner, we were both carrying guns. I had visions of glory of shooting it out in the streets. My partner didn’t Long story short, we were arrested and once again, I was on my way home.
This time I was facing 3 life sentences and 250 years, 3 counts armed robbery, 3 counts kidnapping 1 count assault with intent to kill and 1 count discharging a firearm in an occupied dwelling. Oh, I also violated my parole. I took a plea bargain for 28 years flat, there would be no parole as I had threatened to kill the judge during one of my hearings. That was fine as I knew, one way or another I was not going to serve the whole sentence. I held my head up and smiled even winked at the DA as I was taken out of the courthouse to jail. I was sent to the State prison at Raleigh NC. As I was taken into the cell area, a man was stabbed right before my eyes. It was a harbinger of things to come. During my time in North Carolina Prison I was a mad man and fell into my role. I was so far gone that I set a man on fire as he slept. I was sent to the Farm, a place where it was hard labor for incorrigible inmates. I spent 5 years there before I wanted to escape. I played the game of reformed con, did all the right things. My reward for it was to be transferred to a lower security prison. I was on my way. Once again, I worked to another prison that was a medium security, I made my move and escaped. I was captured 2 months later with the help of a “friend “who was going to get me some false ID. Now, here I was back in the hole, alone with all these thoughts and very tired of life. So I had a thought, it consumed me. I could still be a big tough guy and not have to live this life anymore. I would take the easy way out. But , would go out in a blaze of glory. I had decided that once I was released from the hole I would get a knife and start killing guards on the yard. Surely the guards in the towers would kill me and get it over with. This was all I could think of and dreamt of it every night.
It was during this time a civilian would come by my cell everyday and ask if I wanted to talk. I would spit on him and cuss him out each time. But he was always there the next day. “Do you want to talk”? Finally after about 2 weeks of this I finally said “ok talk”. He asked me how I was doing. I said “can’t you see? I am at the bottom of my life”. He asked me “what do you think about God?” I said “I hate him and when we meet face to face I would spit on him if there was a God”. He asked me why? I said “if there is a God He must hate me cause my life has been so terrible and if He could be God and let that happen to me then He hates me, so I hate Him”. He looked at me and said “you have it wrong, let me read to you who God says He is”.
He turned and started reading John 10:10John 10:10
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV
10 The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.
the thief comes but for to steal, kill and destroy, but I have come that they might have life and life abundantly.
He then went on to tell me that the devil had stolen my whole family, destroyed my life and the only thing he desires to do now is kill you. Well, that hit home. It was like he knew my plans, everything that happened in my life. He then said God told him to tell me that the years the canker worm and locust have devoured He would restore. For the first time in my life since my dad’s funeral, I started crying and it felt like a knife cutting around my heart.
I then asked God to forgive me and asked Jesus to come into my life.
The guy prayed for me and left. The next morning I asked the guard for a bible and was given one. I knew God was real and Jesus was my savior. I wanted to know more.
to be continued…
- How Do You Measure Your Wealth?
- Testimony Of A New Creature by Ed Lawrence, Part 2