Free at Last
- February 10, 2023
By Nancy Huffine
Penitentiary. It’s not a place that invokes words like peace, forgiveness, or hope. But Matthew desperately needed all three. When he began his six-month sentence, the weight of his penalty wasn’t the only burden he carried into his prison cell.
“I was so shackled by alcohol and drugs for 20 years, partially due to a broken home growing up,” he says. “I failed at marriage, lost jobs, then both my parents died in early 2022, five days apart. It took its toll.”
Matthew’s mental health broke under the strain, and his despair led to suicide attempts. Matthew says, “I found myself on a 72-hour psychiatric hold and then shackled by cuffs for the fifth time. I was very much dead inside and attempts to take my life had occurred, all while fighting to find a better way and praying for God to step in.”
Matthew’s prayers were answered beyond his greatest expectations—and in an unexpected way.
“I received a ministry packet from Set Free prison ministries,” he recalls. “It contained a Bible study on Proverbs and a pamphlet from Moody. I noticed the Moody Radio app marked in the pamphlet. That was the point where I first heard about Moody Radio.
“Although I was unable to use the app for a while (inmates could not have phones), I couldn't wait to download it when I was able.”
An anchor and steppingstone
After his release, Matthew sought out a recovery support group and began listening to Moody Radio. “I've been using the Moody Radio app as an anchor and a steppingstone between me and my relationship with Jesus Christ. I started (listening to) Moody Presents and was really excited to see that Pastor Mark Jobe had another program called Bold Steps and Bold Steps Weekend.”
The Moody Radio app has served as a lifeline for a new Christ follower now living with a new purpose.
“I've been out of jail for several months now,” he says, “and have been relying on the app to get me through a lot of struggles I've been experiencing while fighting off the temptation to sink back into old ways. But now I feel better prepared because of what God has shown me through Moody’s app, and I'm inspired to get into the Word.
“God is definitely there with you all the time and (the gospel message) reached me while I was hopeless and suicidal. I lost my job, my home, my belongings and—more importantly—my parents. But God is giving me another shot and the biggest restart I've ever experienced at the age of 38.”
Photo caption: Listening to Bold Steps, Bold Steps Weekend, and Moody Presents, each hosted by Moody President Dr. Mark Jobe, were lifelines of support for Matthew's new faith.
Now Matthew feels hopeful about the future.
“I have over nine months been clean and sober. I am forever grateful for the Lord’s grace and mercy that He’s shown me. By the grace of God and through recovery, I can now breathe and let the past be a healthy reminder of what changes need to be made for the future and the life I so desperately want and need. I can’t thank everyone at Moody Radio enough for the spiritual progression and freedom I’m able to have now.”