To Matthew: I recently had the opportunity to attend your concert in Tyler, Texas. I just want you to know that you really inspired me. I loved the stories, especially the one about your grandfather. This year I turned 50 years old, and I’ve told God that I would do as He has instructed. You see, at 10 years old, I accidentally took the life of my sister. We had been fighting and I picked up a shotgun thinking I would scare her and accidentally took her life. This was not the start of my downward spiral…my sister and I had been left alone for years. My mom was in nursing school and my stepdad worked in the oilfield. My stepdad was an alcoholic and he would drink away his pay. My mother took care of all 4 of us, as well as going to school.
The accident was the end of my childhood – what defined me from that day on. I went to live with my real dad, who believed that corporal punishment was the answer and that caused me to rebel even more. I laid in bed at night for years talking to God and my sister, wishing that I could turn back the hands of time. For years I ran from my past and every time I started having some measure of success, I would sabotage myself. I would tell myself, if they knew who you really were, you would not have this job or life or family. I am a Christian and I know that I’ve been forgiven, but I write to you today because God has called me to preach, and unite the body of Christ and I don’t necessarily know how. I want to use my story to help the people who feel unworthy of God’s love to see that He loves us anyway.