Lose Yourself in… May 18, 2015

Note from Eddie’s Mom:  Today I remembered that I titled this blog, “PrayforEddie”, and I realized that the whole time I’ve been praying for Eddie, he’s been praying for us.

I had an experience in church today that made me think of American Idol.  I haven’t watched American Idol since Season 9 when Adam Lambert was on there, but they played American Idol every week this year, so I watched it.  In the Audition rounds, there was a girl named Jax, who sang “I want to Hold your Hand” and she played piano.  I had goosebumps the whole time, and it was very captivating.  I said after that, that she was going to be in the Top 5.  She “lost herself in the music” and almost every song she performed throughout the season, she lost herself in the song/music.  That is why I liked her.  She may not have been the best singer compared to past seasons, but she lost herself in the music.  What I mean by losing yourself in the music is…  She gave herself to the song.  She allowed the song to take over her mind, body, soul, and voice.  She messed up, but she was so immersed into the music that she didn’t care and the audience didn’t notice.  She gave up her whole being to the music.  It is what made her stand out.

Today at church, we sang “The Stand” by Hillsong. This is an older praise song from 2005.  But it is powerful.  This is the type of song that you can lose yourself in. That is exactly what happened.  People were losing themselves in the song. But more importantly, “losing themselves in the Holy Spirit.”  This is one of the greatest feelings you can have.  It’s one of those feelings you want to have all the time.  It is hard to lose yourself in the Holy Spirit all the time.  It is hard to surrender yourselves completely to the Holy Spirit.  Often times, we lose ourselves in the wrong things.  We immerse ourselves in many things, like worry, fear, anxiety, money, music, games, friends, loved ones and the list goes on.  we need to lose ourselves in the Holy Spirit.

“Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me.  Anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.  Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me.  Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.”  

— Matthew 10: 37-39

Lose yourself in the Holy Spirit.  Allow the Holy Spirit to take over your mind, body, hear and soul.

In Prison, but Not in Prison- May 17, 2015

“Ed doesn’t even realize he’s in prison.”

The quote above is what an inmate said to another inmate in front of me.  I thought of this moment that happened probably 3 moths ago when I got a recent letter from my Mom.  She said something about her thinking that I just lived in NC, with a new job and new friends.  I smiled when I read that because sometimes that’s how I feel.  See, before I was in prison, I was already in prison.  I was in chains and in the prison of sin and the world.  I was tied down and chained. I wasn’t in the right mind of being at peace in my heart.  I was in prison.  A lot of us are in prison even though we aren’t in prison.

This world can drag us down.  We can spend so much time on our job, money, entertainment, and just trying to please ourselves, doing things that we think will make us happy… and they do for a little bit, but then we aren’t happy anymore.  Also, trying to please other people for their approval.  We suppress our emotions and soon our lives aren’t happy, and we aren’t happy.  Sometimes we don’t even realize we aren’t happy.  Now not everyone feels this way, but this is a common trend in society.

So how do you break free from this prison?  Trust in God!  It is one of the hardest things to do.  But it can be done.  When you take a leap of faith and trust in God, you break the chains.  I was at the weakest moment in my life.  I first confessed ALL my sins.  When I say ALL my sins, I mean no secrets.  I got it all off my chest.  No only to God, but to family.  I let them know my weakest parts of my body, mind and soul.  When you lay down everything for God to handle, you break the prison chains, and you live with a peace in your heart.

There are times when I notice myself worrying about things I don’t need to worry about.  I immediately turn to God, because I don’t want to go back to that prison again.  In some ways it is worse than this physical prison.  That is why I titled this blog “In Prison, but not in Prison.”  I am in a physical prison, but my body, mind, soul and heart aren’t in prison anymore.  God has taken the sorrow, pain, grief, guilt, shame and sin by sending his Son to die on that cross.  As long as I remember that, those emotions and pain won’t imprison me.  They night show up every once in a while, but they won’t imprison me or consume me.  Trust in God and believe!

Read Psalm 107: 1-16

Last 3 Visits – May 17, 2015

The last week, I had 3 visits.  Last Saturday, May 9th, I had a visit with my Dad, Michele and Skye.  Well, I almost didn’t get to see Skye because her dress was slightly too short.  Not much…. so she drove to WalMart and got a beautiful, long spring dress and got to visit.  My Dad came, which was awesome.  He has bad anxiety, and he is doing awesome.  He quit smoking 4 months ago, he is losing weight and getting help for his anxiety.  It was a great visit.

Then on Thursday, May 14th, I was sewing some medical scrub tops.  One officer said, “Miller, you have a visit.  You need to go.”  Well a visit in the week or on a weekday either means an attorney or pastor visit.  I wasn’t expecting a visit.  When I got back to the unit, they told me it was a pastoral visit.  I thought to myself “Ross!”  I found out that pastoral visits rarely happen.  Sure enough, it was Ross, my pastor from Seacoast-Greenville, SC!  Ross did Bethany and I’s pre-marital counseling and counseled me when all of this initial happened.  Ross has helped me greatly with my spiritual journey.  There he was, knowing everything that I did… my weaknesses, and he was there.  Seacoast has been very supportive in this whole situation.  The Men’s Group has kept in contact.  These men are true examples of Christ’s love.

Also, my Aunt, Uncle, and their friends, Anne & Chuck have been very supportive and loving.  These friends truly and genuinely care about people no matter who they are or what they did.  They show God’s love.  So my visit with Ross was awesome.  I could help but to tear up, because God is so awesome!  They were happy tears, and it was just great.

Then my Aunt Tiff came to visit as well and that visit is always good.  she is another example of loving family.  She is only 8 years older than me, and I grew up with her.  She is almost like a sister.  She gave me news and updated me on a lot of things.

In closing, all I can say is that I am so thankful for the family and friends that support me.  I know everyone can’t visit me, and that is cool.  I understand.  I get letters and cards all the time.  I love everyone and appreciate everything.  Thank you for being there for me!

I love you all!

Love,

Eddie

No Fence – May 2, 2015

This morning, I went outside and it was absolutely beautiful.  It was a bright, clear blue morning.  The sun was very radiant and everything was so green.  I looked beyond the fence and prison and took in the beauty of the green mountains surrounding us.

I stood there, enjoying the beauty and the sounds of birds chirping.  The gentle breeze filled my lungs and brushed over my hair.  I began not to notice the fence around us or the prison, but enjoyed God’s beauty and creations.  What a great day to start my day!

Mother’s Day – May 10, 2015

Today is the day we honor our mothers.  I was in church today and heard one of the most powerful sermons about mothers.  The Chaplain pointed out how mothers do so much, sacrifice so much and we often don’t show our appreciation.  A lot of times we don’t tell them “I love you” enough.  The Chaplain also said that no one is guaranteed tomorrow.  So always tell people you love them, especially your parents.  Mothers are often there through thick and thin and it takes a lot for a mother to disappear from your life.

My Mom has told me many times that there were times when she didn’t like me, she was scared of me, disappointed in me, and the list goes on.  For 30 years, I was not the greatest son.  I cussed her out, argued with her, told her I hated her, talked bad about her to others and much more.

Even though my Mom didn’t like me, she always loved me. She still showed up to important events, she was supportive and showed me an immense amount of love.  Even though at times, I didn’t deserve it.  Even though I treated her poorly, she still bragged and told people about my accomplishments and was proud.  She has always told me she was proud of me and loved me.  She worried about me and tried to help me even though I never listened.

At this current moment, I am serving a 16 year sentence in prison for some bad choices I made.  This hurt a lot of people, including my mother.  She was disappointed, shocked, scared, worried and angry.  Now my Mom worries about my safety a lot, and I caused this pain.

Even though she experienced these emotions, she still supports me and loves me.  She still shows up to visit me, answers the phone, and writes me many letters.

Over the past 30 years, my Mom tried to teach me valuable lessons, but I didn’t listen.  It wasn’t until I was hit with a tragedy that I started to learn, listen and change.

I turned my life over to God.  My Mom and I have a great relationship now.  Better than it has ever been.  I know now that just like I honor God, I need to genuinely honor my Mother.

If you’ve never had a strong mother figure, most likely you had a surrogate mother.  Like a Step-mother, grandmother, aunt, family friend or cousin.  I am blessed with an awesome step-mother who loved me as her own.  She still shows up, supports me and loves me.  I have also been blessed with many loving grandmothers, aunts, church Moms and cousins.  They have all still been there for me.  Even though I messed up bad, they still show up, support me and love me.

So I say this in closing… You can never say “I love you” too much.  Tell your Mothers “I love you!” and thank them for everything they have done for you.

To my mother and surrogate mothers,   “Thank you for everything you have done for me.  Thank you for showing up, and I love you!”

Love,

Eddie

Note from Eddie’s Mom:  I typed this verbatim.  Reading it hurt.  But every single thing Eddie wrote is true. If it’s one thing I can say about my son.  He’s honest and he’s true to himself.  And he’s not the person he was before this tragedy.  I love this new Eddie with everything I have in me.  And I have never, ever been more proud of him.

Mom and Mark’s First Visit – Apr 26, 2015

So yesterday I had the privilege to spend some time with Mom and Mark.  Since they drove from Pennsylvania, they got an extended visit; Two hours in the morning and 2 hours in the afternoon.

The first visit starts at 8:30 a.m. and the second at 1:30 p.m.  Well, 9:00 a.m. rolled around and they still hadn’t called for me.  I was thinking and hoping they didn’t have an emergency or they couldn’t make it.  Then I thought they wouldn’t just not show up, and if there was an emergency, someone would have called the Chaplain and told me.  So I thought maybe they got lost or they were held up in the metal detector because of the pins in Mark’s hand.  Well they called me at 9:03 and sure enough, they got lost, which is easy to do.  They ended up near the close-by Medium Security prison, and they stopped at the Minimum Security prison.  Haha.  I was so excited to see them.  When I got to them I hugged them, and I let them get all their questions out of the way about the prison.  We talked about the plant closing down and moving!

The whole time I could tell my Mom wasn’t herself.  Something wasn’t right.  We took pictures and an hour and a half went by quickly.  Then I came back in the afternoon and they didn’t get lost this time.  My Mom seemed a little more at ease.  Came to find out that she was nervous about being around other inmates.  Mark and I were laughing, and told her there was nothing to worry about.  Because they are there to visit their families.  They don’t care about what’s going on around them.  Haha.  She was herself after we got past that.  It was an awesome visit!  We talked about everything…. Mark’s hand, Sam, Colin, the sewing plant, me getting to Medium, the very un-nutritious food, and my favorite conversation was the one about God.

It was amazing and they both gave me great spiritual advice and insight.  I was happy and sad when they left…  More happy than sad.  Happy for the time together, sad that they had to leave. But they said they were going to come back in August!  Yay!  That is only 3 months!

To close out, God is Good!  All the time!