Guest / Limited Access /

It didn't take a moment of genius introspection to realize that doing life my way had led to nothing but disaster and destruction. It was the summer of 2009, and I had just completed an almost 11-year sentence in federal prison for my role in five bank robberies I had committed as a foolish young man. After my release, I moved into an apartment with the love of my life, Annie. Two weeks later I proposed. One week after that, we learned she was pregnant.

At age 35, I was about to become a husband and father. We had no money and no real plan for our future.

It may terrify some CT readers to know that I grew up in a Christian home in rural Nebraska with parents who had started a local church. When my high-school basketball career faded and college and the military fell through, I was left with a complete lack of purpose, susceptible to addiction and depression. When my equally adrift best friend suggested we rob a bank, it struck me as a legitimate idea.

We robbed five banks, with guns, and scared the tellers and patrons half to death. I knew it was wrong. Still, I couldn't stop the easy money and party lifestyle that large sums of unearned money brought me. It didn't stop until the FBI tackled me inside the lobby of a DoubleTree Hotel in Omaha. A year later, I stood with shaky legs and a trembling spirit before a federal judge, who sentenced me to more than 12 years in federal prison. I was 23.

Learning to Love the Law

Prison is not a place for personal growth. But there were small graces. To escape the men around me, I took a job in the prison law library. When I wasn't shelving books, I began learning the law. What I found was that I really enjoyed the process of solving legal puzzles for my ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

From Issue:
April
Read These NextSee Our Latest
Also in this IssueThere's More to Love Than 'True Love'
Subscriber Access Only There's More to Love Than 'True Love'
Hollywood is finally giving us pictures of bonds that go deeper than romance.
RecommendedHow Churches Change the Equation for Life After Prison
Subscriber Access Only How Churches Change the Equation for Life After Prison
One of the hardest days of incarceration may be the day it ends. The church can be there to make a difference.
TrendingResearch Says: Young People Don't Want Hip Pastors
Research Says: Young People Don't Want Hip Pastors
A study of 250 congregations suggests that youth and young adults want substance rather than style.
Editor's PickOld Hollywood’s Abortion Secret
Old Hollywood’s Abortion Secret
What a culture of death tells us about a culture of life.
Christianity Today
God's Hot Pursuit of an Armed Bank Robber
hide thisApril April

In the Magazine

April 2014

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.