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Criminal Son Finds Redemption Through Mother’s Prayers

Jed says, “I remember as a young kid, like, sharing some of my passion and-and dreams, and just kind of getting like an almost—almost like a blank stare.  Like, “Do you really think you could do that?”

Jed’s dad never told him the words he needed to hear – that he believed in him and loved him for who he was.

Jed explains, “My dad was very verbally abusive, and borderline physically abusive as well.”  

Jed’s parents divorced when he was nine, and he went to live with his mother, Donna.  It was already hard on Jed, but made worse when his father disappeared from his life.

Donna says, “I saw a little boy that was devastated. In tears, crying. And of course I’m there holding him crying right along with him.  I was praying constantly. Like, Lord, help us. Lord, help us. Just screaming out for His guidance.”

Hurt and angry, Jed had already made his decision.

He remembers thinking, “I’m not going to let anybody love me. I’m not going to let anybody take care of me. I got this.”

Jed started lashing out at his mom and rebelling against anyone in authority.  As a teenager he was drawn to the kids who used drugs and lived by their own rules.

He says, “I just wanted anything where I could thrive as a person.  And so that kind of gave me that place where I could fit in.  Wow, I got all these guys and girls around, and we can hang out. We can party.  And we can do whatever we want.”

By the time he was 18, Jed was caught in a world of addiction, theft, and drug deals.

Jed says, “One of our main slogans, which is pretty big in the drug world which is ‘I’m down for whatever and I’ll die doing it.’ That was my mentality.  The level of crimes started getting really high.  I mean obviously you have a conscience. So I’m –I’m constantly knowing that what I’m doing is wrong, it really doesn’t matter.”

Over the years he bounced between crack houses, jail, and rehab.  His mom often drove through the streets looking for her son, at times pulling him out of the crack houses where she found him.  And she prayed.  

Donna says, “I was praying constantly.  I was wailing, wailing and crying. And calling out to the Lord to save my child. A child that I would never, ever thought would have gone down this road.”   

But Jed couldn’t see past his anger.

Jed recalls, “Every time I’d get brought back home by the police, I’d sit in my room and my mom would pray. And I remember hearing her. I’d be like mom, shut up, you know. Like, you know, ‘Mom, be quiet. I don’t want-I don’t want to hear that. I don’t want to hear that.’”

As drug addiction took complete control over his life, Jed decided he had nothing to live for.

Jed says, “Sooner or later I knew it was going to end.  I was either going to get clean or I was going to die that way. But I was enjoying the high, I was enjoying the escape.  Like, if I died, I figured I was buried, and life is done. So I figured I might as well party it up. Might as well, you know, live the way I want to live.”

There were times even his mom lost hope.

Donna says, “One time I just laid in bed and I said, is this going to be the call where he didn’t make it this time? And I would be planning his funeral.  That’s pretty scary as a parent.”

But that didn’t keep her from praying and trying to reach her son.

Jed remembers, “Mom would pick me up, and she’d be like, I don’t want to see you die this way.  Finally, I think it all just kind of came in on me. Like...maybe living is worth it.  Maybe living life is worth it.”

At 24, Jed was homeless and had a warrant out for his arrest.  Some friends gave him a place to stay, and one Sunday they took him to church.   

Jed says at the church, “They did a call for communion.  And I just heard a voice say go up there.  Go up there.  And I remember walking up there. And that was one of the first times I really could feel the presence of God.  The next morning I called my mom and says I’m done living like this.”

His mom picked him up and took him to the county jail, where he turned himself in.  In his cell, he found a Bible.

Jed says, “So I went to the Bible right away and I literally opened up the Bible and I got on my knees and I just began to like weep. And I remember looking in the mirror just before I got on my–I was like looking at my eyes, I’m like—I, you know, I got to change.  I just said, ‘God, my life is Yours.’   It was like the hatred was gone, the anger was gone. I felt like the weight of all that junk was off of me.  God radically, uh, began to change my heart.”

Jed was convicted of four felonies and faced a mandatory three year sentence.  Donna prayed that the judge would show mercy and send him to rehab.  

Donna remembers, “We were in the courtroom and I was just interceding, praying, praying, praying.  And finally the judge said, ‘I don’t even know why I’m saying this, but Jed will go to Teen Challenge.’  And I was like, woo! I wanted just to get up and-and shout and scream.”

Jed says, “You know, that was like a complete miracle.  I mean, it felt like I had another chance.”

Jed completed the program and got over his addictions.  Then after finishing Bible college, he went on to lead an international mission organization.  And now, with his wife Erica and six children, he has everything to live for.

Jed says, “God has, you know, radically restored, restored my life. Given me a family, given me beautiful children.  He gave me hope, and-and like the Word says, He gave me a hope and a future, something to look forward to.”

Donna adds, “Don’t worry about, your son or daughter has to do this, this, and this and this.  Pray and let go of it. Pray and let go of it.  Just watch how God unfolds.”

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