July Featured Guest: Steven F Gray II (USA)

1.) Before you became a Christian, you had an unquenchable rage which led you to the nightmare of drug and alcohol addiction and multiple times imprisonment. How did you deal with the dynamic of years in confinement?

That’s a really good question Tannia. In total, I spend about four and a half years locked up. It definitely was not fun. Like you said in your question, though, most of the time I spent locked up was before I came to know The LORD. Yes, I was filled with rage and hatred, and honestly just looked at being locked up as a part of life. Looking back though, I can see that it was the loving arms of God that brought me to confinement. I was a loose cannon and a hard-core drug addict. There is no doubt in my mind that I would have died, either by being murdered or a drug overdose. I was so deep into drugs that it consumed my life. I never cared about who I stole from, including drug dealers, just so I could satisfy the craving for mind-altering substances. When I was 19, I was arrested for grand-theft auto and possession of a firearm as I was on my way to kill my mother. It was this exact situation that God used to keep me from doing something in which I would still be in prison today. In fact, it was this charge where The LORD used one of the guards, Officer Michael Dancer, to introduce me to Jesus Christ.

2.) What were the most valuable lessons you learned from that journey?

The most valuable lesson I learned from that journey Tannia, came from Officer Michael Dancer. That lesson was never being afraid to tell someone about Jesus Christ, no matter how hopeless I think they are and no matter what the situation may be. Other valuable lessons were that being locked up is not a normal part of life, and that every action, whether good or bad, has consequences.

3.) How did you become a disciple of Christ?

It took me a very long time to get to the point of being a disciple of Jesus Christ. I fought God almost every step of the way in my conversion to Him. For me, The LORD had to set certain things in my life to the point where I had nowhere else to turn to, no other place than to look up at Him. For me, my issue was living in the ‘yesterdays’. Yesterday just felt comfortable, Tannia. It was something I was used to and felt comfortable in, no matter how harmful it was. I was scared of the new tomorrow with Jesus. Eventually, though, I would fall to my knees. If I hadn’t, The LORD would have continued with various storms and trials until I did.

4.) Now we will talk about the author. What prompted you to write your story?

I love this question Tannia. I was in rehab at the Las Vegas Rescue Mission in 2007, and while walking through the parking-lot one day, I heard the words, CRAWLING TO GOD, as if someone spoke them while standing right next to me. As I began to pray and meditate on what I had just heard, God told me, “Steven, you are going to write a book about your life.” I was like, “Um, no I’m not.” I am not a writer, but something inside me knew that God was right. I fought with Him over this for more than two years before I began writing my life’s story in 2009. As I began to write, I just knew without a shadow of a doubt, that God was going to use my life to inspire others to give their lives to Him. It was a very hard thing for me to realize that most of what I went through in my life wasn’t even for my benefit. There are so many people out there who refuse to deal with their pasts because they feel they are the only ones with that story. This is why I decided to be as open, blunt and have no limitations on how I wrote about my life.

5.) What was the most challenging aspect of publishing your book, “Crawling To God… (…and my toxic relationship with myself!)”?

The most challenging part of publishing my book Tannia, was the not so much the writing process, but reliving my past as I wrote it. That’s why it took me more than ten years from when I began writing until it was published. Twelve years if you add the two years I fought God over even writing my book. Reliving my childhood was hard. Very hard. Many emotions came to the surface I didn’t know were even still there, I had blocked so much of my life out that reliving it was a very difficult process for me. Then it was reliving all the vile things I had done as an adult, and the countless times I purposefully tried to hurt people. To see it written down made me feel so unbelievably ashamed of myself. When I finally did succeed in publishing my book, it didn’t sell. It was a hard thing to process that I just poured my life out for everyone to see, yet no one had any interest in reading it. I felt I had failed. I was brutally honest with the things I had done and how I wrote about my life. I felt it was all for nothing. But then The LORD told me something: “It’s not about you Steven!” Believe it or not, this actually made me feel better and brought me peace.

6.) How do you come up with such a rough and very descriptive title?

Well, I explained the CRAWLING TO GOD… title, but it needed more. God gave me the sub-title (…and my toxic relationship with myself!) when I was almost done with the book. That’s what I had most of my life, a very toxic relationship with myself. I wanted readers who experienced the same kind of thing as far as having a toxic relationship with themselves, to this and go, “Hmmm, yes, I’ve had that same thing.”

7.) You also have a YouTube channel. What type of content do you share with your followers?

I currently upload three videos a week to my YouTube Channel. Monday’s is my STILL STANDING… series. It is a short fifteen-minute devotional reading where I take an entry from my new book that I am writing, which is a devotional titled, STILL STANDING…, and I read an entry that I have written in the past seven days. Wednesday’s is my CRAWLING TO GOD… series. What I do is read five pages of my book privately, make notes and then talk about those five pages. My goal is to upload a video where I talk about every single situation in my book. I do this for few reasons. First, it is a way for me to talk to my children so there’s a record for them to view and to show them that I’ve been trying to get back into their lives for many years now. Second, I do this for those who cannot afford to purchase my book, or just do not want to. I do this so people can see someone else who has gone through some of the same pain they have, but are too scared to talk about it, or think they are the only ones. Third, I do this as way of healing for me. I wrote my book, but I have never read it in book form. One of the reasons it took me so long to write it, was the pain involved in the memories of my childhood, and how I have lived my life as an adult. These videos are never longer than thirty minutes. Then on Friday’s, I upload a small bible study. These videos are also never any longer than thirty minutes. I do this for me and my relationship with Jesus Christ. Doing these small studies keeps me in the Word of God and in prayer, something I desperately need. I also ask for prayer requests in each and every upload as this has seriously complimented my prayer life. Here is the link to my YouTube Channel if you’d like to follow me there:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCczoEV0dJCP2GYX26L1F6mg

8.) Where can our readers buy your book?

My book is available in both paperback and e-format on both Barnes & Noble and Amazon’s websites. Here are the links:

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/crawling-to-god-steven-f-gray-ii/1138683004?ean=9781666240429

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/s?k=Crawling+to+GOd&ref=nb_sb_noss_2

9.) How can our readers contact you?

Readers are more than welcome to contact me by leaving a comment in the comment section on my YouTube Channel, or my other social media outlets. I also have a Facebook Page, Twitter Account and Instagram. Personally, I prefer my YouTube Channel as I do everything through that and check it more often, but I will respond to any message left on any of my accounts. People are also more than welcome to send me an e-mail at: steven.f.grayii@outlook.com

10.) A word of advice for people going through a situation similar to yours.

Don’t ever think there isn’t healing, because there is! That healing comes in the Name of Jesus Christ… For the drug addict and criminals: I’ve been there many times over and it’s a hard place to be. It is possible to give that life up, you just have to want it. I’ve had the withdrawals. I know what it feels like to want to commit crime because it seems it’s the only way. You choose to want to change. For the former addicts and convicted felons who are having a hard time moving forward and thinking about going back: It’s not worth it. Please, for the love of God, think it through! You’ll only have to start back from square one again. Keep pressing forward. DO the right things, and Jesus will always have your back. Contact me and I will pray with you, then I will continue to pray for you! For those dealing with childhood trauma: I know the feeling. I understand the memories don’t always go away. Let us talk and pray. Jesus Christ will change your life forever! It’ll be the best decision you ever made…

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