"The Pathway To Relevance"
It’s 10 a.m. November 1st, 2011, and I am standing at the front counter of the Moshannon Valley Correctional Center in Philipsburg PA, surrendering myself to start an 80-month sentence for committing wire fraud, and all I can think about is now I can rest.
It’s now 2015. My name is Pastor John Marshall. I am 54 years old and have served 46 months of my prison sentence.
I have not always been a pastor. On the contrary, I have spent most of my life as an out of control narcissistic perfectionist in complete fear of failure and running from a deep-rooted sense of unworthiness.
Before going any further I need to make it clear I have been a mess and I accept the responsibility for my life and fully deserve to be in prison. I want to apologize to everyone and anyone that I have hurt in any way. I am truly sorry and know I will spend the rest of my life making amends to all those I have caused so much pain and harm to.
I am grateful to all those who have stood by me and are standing by me, for without their love, support and honesty the story you are about to hear would not have been possible. Without these individuals I doubt I would have had the courage to take the deep inward journey to discover my true self and what God had planned for my life.
It is only through God’s grace and love that I was able to start the journey of repairing my brokenness and hear his true calling in my life. The word of God tells us that God will use everything in our life to his glory if we just let him in and surrender. And as I have done this he is transforming my life of manic highs, narcissism and destruction into one of peace, joy and service to others.
He is taking my brokenness and misuse of gifts and helped me not only start rebuilding my life but convicted me to help others as well. I am now an ordained Pentecostal pastor under the supervision of Chaplain Roberts, and a teacher, counselor and life coach.
I am a recovering human being who will, like any other addict in recovery, spend the rest of my life doing it one day at a time by the grace of God. I have been blessed to work with and counsel hundreds if not thousands of men here at MVCC from over 85 different countries of origin.
My recovery is a story of being forged in the fires of God, and each day my Lord continues to shape and mold me, casting out my brokenness and replacing it with his newness.
Through my journey I learned that I had to really come to terms with honestly knowing my own self (the good, the bad and the ugly) before I could truly start fixing the roots of my problems and stop just dealing with the symptoms.
It was also obvious I would not be able to make lasting differences in others’ lives if I was not living an honest life of recovery and faith myself.
This book is not a story about me but will be told my one of the many men I have had the privilege of working with. Anthony’s story is real and starts where we all must start, with the painful journey of discovering and accepting the truth of who we really are.
You will continue to hear my voice throughout the book as I try to bring clarity and objective insight into Anthony’s journey to relevance. I am grateful to be co-writing this book with him, and proud to call him a friend and partner in what we will now share: “The Path to Relevance.”
I hope in sharing this story we inspire you to move from a life of doing to a life of being and start your own personal journey to become all you were created to be.