My memories are few from the first years of life,
But what I remember is feuding and strife.

My memories are few from the first years of life,
But what I remember is feuding and strife.
Then building, and fieldwork, and milking the cows,
With no other pastime than farm work allows.

We lived without schooling or reading and such,
Or getting around to see people that much.
My parents had trouble agreeing enough
To stay in a church and not leave in a huff.

Things only got worse, and we met with the law
When Dad went to prison for beating my ma.
My brother decided we’d help him get out —
And justified choosing an illegal route.

The money, however, from illegal gain
Is harder to keep than it is to obtain,
So though we succeeded in getting some cash,
We soon were in need of refilling our stash.

We squandered our money, we quibbled and fought;
We robbed a few banks, but of course we were caught.
The wrath of the system we justly incurred,
And soon shared the fate that our father endured.

I thought I was really a pretty good guy;
The judge said the evidence proved that a lie,
And looking back now I can see very well,
My conduct was speeding me quickly to hell.

The years that I served didn’t change me inside.
I still lived in darkness, confusion, and pride,
But one thing I learned, and I half understood:
The choices I’d made in my life were no good.

So when I got out, I decided on church —
That once every week on a chair I would perch.
That’s all that I did — just sit in a chair,
But it was a start that I chose to be there.

My other decisions all led the wrong way;
The sins of my flesh still leading astray,
With devilish rock music adding its weight
To keep me in bondage to anger and hate.

I gave up the music in hopes to get right,
And felt all the more the extent of my plight.
Then finally the gospel took hold of my heart;
I looked unto Jesus and made a fresh start.

It wasn’t forgiveness alone that I asked,
For that had been done many times in the past.
This time I was looking for something brand new;
A work in the heart only Jesus can do.

I now have a freedom like never before,
And coming to church is no longer a chore.
The people of God are now family to me;
There’s no other place that I rather would be.


~Nita Brainard