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Thomas Lovelady

Hi my name is Thomas Lovelady and I am serving a 40-year sentence in the Arkansas department of correction. I have been locked up for over 7 years and still have 3 more to serve. I once lived a life of partying, doing drugs, fighting, and chasing women. Here is a little testimony about how I changed my life.

I grew up being bounced around from one family member to the next when I was young. I knew what church was though because I was made to go. I had my first taste of trouble for breaking in and stealing from a business when I was ten years old. That is when I started smoking cigarettes and thought I was cool.

I started to know what church was all about when I was thirteen and was faithful going to church. I really liked it and I started to participate in some of the activities that the church had to offer. By this time though I had a few things to offer the church myself. I had started smoking marijuana, and thought all my church friends should try some to.  We would get high and then go inside to hear about the Lord and sins we should not be doing.  I got saved so I would be protected from the sins I was committing.  I really liked to meet girls at church to and had many girl friends that I would meet at church just to spend extra time with them.  I forgot all about the real reason for going to church. Looking back I know the Lord had his hands full with me.

When I found alcohol at age fourteen, I thought it did not get any better than to find a party, get drunk and fight. I always liked to be the life of the party.   By the age of fifteen, I was doing acid, marijuana, cocaine and most pills. I had been kicked out of school for having marijuana in my possession.  Even though I had it so good when I was with my friends, I thought my life at home with my step-dad and mom was not going the way I wanted.  One night I thought it was time to end my life, and at age 15, one summer night I took a bunch of pills and acid.  I woke up in the emergency room.  I was lucky to be alive I thought.  Little did I know it was something else besides luck.

 By the age of sixteen and seventeen I had made up my mind, I just wanted to party, chase women, and finish school.  I had a quick temper and loved to fight.  I beat a guy up pretty bad at school for hitting my cousin.  Caught an assault charge, had to pay a lot of money and had to go to jail.  After another serious fight at school, I decided to play football again and take my anger out there on the field.  I really enjoyed playing until the coach told me due to my age I could not play my senior year.  I said fine and quit school.  Worst mistake I ever made, but I was hard headed. My mom did not like it so I moved out and got me a job, and my own place.

The year was 1988 and I ran into a woman who I had met in school, and was having problems at home.  I let her move in with me, and by the age of eighteen, I was married and had a child a girl on the way.  I had a great job and living well.  I was still smoking dope and still loved alcohol I really thought I was on top of the world.

In 1989 a year later, the marriage was over but by then I was tired of my job and being married.  I left and, was out looking again for the women and, the alcohol I just thought I needed.  After my divorce and once again free I may have fathered another child a boy who’s mother Renea was very dear to me.  I pray one day if I am his father I will meet him.  After surviving five car wrecks, and just thinking luck was on my side, I kept up my hardheaded ways.  Still having alcohol problems I was hit with a DWI.  Fast cars and women though were my thing, and I didn’t learn anything from the experience.

My second wife was an old girlfriend I had gone out with for two years in junior high school, and still had feelings for.  We had a son and, stayed together for three years, before getting married. But after only a year of marriage it was over with.  During this marriage, I once again had thought of suicide and had locked my self in the bathroom with a bottle of pills, before my wife had my mother come and talk me out of it.  In August of 1994 I found myself single and still living like there was no tomorrow.

In the time frame from August 1994 until January 1995 I was married to my third wife, divorced, engaged, drinking heavier than ever, and had charges pending against me.   From January 1995 until September 1995 I was engaged to a women who I truly loved and had helped me change my life.  The drugs and alcohol were over with and we had a child on the way.  I truly believe she was the woman I would have spent my life with.  On her birthday September 13th, 1995 I was sentenced to 40 years in the A.D.C.  While I was in jail I turned back to the Lord for help and rededicated my life to the Lord.  I was baptized and really felt great about my self. 

We stuck together through it and in January 1996 I was released on my appeal bond. I came home to my son that was born in December and back to a loving woman. I worked hard we started attending church and I had a great job.   In November 1996 the day before Thanksgiving I was called to come back to prison. The appeals court had turned down my appeal. We stayed together for a few more months but with my blessing she got on with her life.  I couldn’t understand everything that had happened in the past couple years and I couldn’t figure out why God would wait until I was doing so great and was happy for once in my life just to take it away from me.

When all this happened I didn’t go to church and when I did it was for just something to do and to get out of the barracks.  I had turned my back on the Lord and had said I’ll show Him.  I started back smoking dope, drinking when I could get it, and hanging with the crowds.  I spent 4 years at the Cummins unit, until I was transferred to the JCJ-CF unit for threatening to beat up a guy who had snitched, and lied on me.  In, which has cost me to be in prison another 5 months.  While there I spent my days doing the same stuff, smoking dope, drinking, and looking for something new to get into.  The only friends I wanted were the ones who had what I needed. 

In July 2001 I was lucky enough to go to the Pine Bluff unit.  While here I have met, and made some real good friends.  One is Jimmy Vail a man who has helped me with my walk so much.  He has kept me on my toes, and has been there when I needed a friend.  With the help from a organization called Kairo’s prison ministry®, and, some great sponsors like Joe Weawers, Dick Eschbacher, Ron Lensing, Bert Bailey and Reiman Diles I have got back into church, joined the praise and worship team, and am living my life for the Lord again.

 I have met some great people who really care about me.  I would like to thank Larry and Kathy Medford of Locked Down for the Lord Prison Ministries.  Larry has helped me with opening my eyes and seeing where I still had faults in my life.  His heart is with the men behind these bars. Larry is an ex biker and, hell raiser.  He still rides his bike, but he rides for the Lord traveling many miles a year reaching out to the ones who are lost, and delivering them to the Lord.  I pray God will bless his ministry.    

I would like to thank Happy Jack and Carolyn Burbidge from Crime to Christ Ministries®. The few conversations I have with them have really helped me with my walk with the Lord.  Happy Jack is serving the Lord proud.  He travels many miles sharing his testimony, and bringing people to the Lord.  God bless.

 I have joined the Christian Motorcycle Association® which through the guidance of John Ogden I feel is a great organization.  I have met some great people through C.M.A., and have seen some great work done through the motorcycle rallies held every year at the prisons. I would like to thank my real good friends Teddy Short, George Jernigan, Kelly Masters, David and Frances Nelson, Richard and Leighann Estes, Frank Dibartilo, Big John, and Carolyn and Harold and Carol Brown.  They are all members of C.M.A. And true warriors for the Lord.  May the Lord keep them safe on the highways they will travel.

 Another group from Elkins, Arkansas called Solid Foundation ® have touched my heart and many of the other men who they have played music, and preached the gospel to.  This group of men, and women are on the road most weekends traveling to jails, prisons, churches, and other special functions.  I would like to thank Dwayne, Tracy, Justin, Nicole, John, Loy and Donald for being such good friends and having the heart to do what they do for the Lord.  

 In closing, I would ask that you remember.  There is no perfect man or woman in the world.  We all have made or, will make mistakes, some bigger than others.  Many people living the good life now have made mistakes that probably should have landed them in prison, or jail. They just didn’t get caught.  We learn from our mistakes, which make us a better person down the road. There are many people who need to be reached out to in the world.  They need to know the Lord. It is our job as Christians to help them.  The groups mentioned above do this daily, and I pray the Lord will bless them and you for the work you will do in His name.  I have not seen my children Julie, Gregory, and Tyler in some time.  I pray for them daily.  I’m having to change this because God has just answered another prayer in my life.  I just received a letter from my daughter Julie today at mail call.  Our first contact in 12 years, and she says she loves me and wants to see me. God is so great!  Let us remember family is important.  Marriage is an important part of life especially when there are children involved.  Do not jump into something that you do not want or you are not for sure of.   So many lives are touched when a marriage is destroyed.  If you have an alcohol, drug, or any other problem that you need help with talk to someone or get the help needed.  Do not keep problems bottled up on the inside.  Also forgiveness is a big part of what the Lords wants us to do in life.  I have had a hard time forgiving some people in my life.  Through my walk though and help from people who care I have forgiven many people who have done me wrong.  I pray the people I have hurt in my life will be able to forgive me also.  I thank you for reading this testimony and pray you have read something that might help you in this testimony. Feel free to write if you need a prayer or a word of encouragement.

Thomas Lovelady #107256
880 E. Gaines
Dermott, AR  71638