“Money, success, women, drugs, power – I’ve had it all. The more I got, the more I wanted. It was like trying to fill a bottomless pit.” – Freddie Jenkins
“Money, success, women, drugs, power – I’ve had it all. The more I got, the more I wanted. It was like trying to fill a bottomless pit,” said Freddie Jenkins. “I’ve been a drug dealer, a womanizer, a judgmental ‘Christian,’ and a worshipper of the biggest demon in my life – the love of money. I pursued those things until I became exactly like the man I’d always resented – my father.
“My dad worked hard and provided for our family of four kids. When he started going to church, our family looked alright on the outside. But inside our house, things were a wreck. I felt like a scared, caged animal until I was pulled out of my home at 16 and sent to live with my grandmother. If I was in captivity before, I was completely free then, and I went crazy. I smoked weed daily and spray painted anything I could find. That behavior landed me in a boy’s home for two years. I became even more of a rebel, piercing everything I could think of and coloring my hair all shades of the rainbow.
“At 18 years old, I had three trash bags of clothes and was homeless. I slept at friends’ houses or in abandoned cars. That changed when I started selling crack. I’d always been a pretty kind person, so I thought of myself as the friendly neighborhood drug dealer. I was making a couple thousand dollars every week. But I blew it all on hotels and drugs.
“By the time my son was four months old, I was sent to jail for possession and sale of cocaine. It was so horrible and I thought I would die in jail. I was released after 180 days. The first weekend I was free, I returned to getting high. I was still on probation and selling drugs when I was charged with robbery. When I pled guilty to that charge, my probation was violated, so I went upstate to prison for three years.
“After my release, I wanted to do better. I had a son and would soon have a daughter. But I continued to live in rebellion. When my daughter was three months old I returned to prison for violating parole. I was not using drugs but I was still selling them. Fortunately, that marked my last time selling drugs.
“After I got out of prison, I started going back to church. But I adopted the façade of a holy guy, looking down my nose and judging people I thought were not living their lives right. The truth is, I was jealous because I wanted to do what they were doing. Still a big-time womanizer, I gave up on being holy. I was terrible at it, anyway.
“By the time I was 37 years old, I had two divorces under my belt and was as stressed out as I had ever been. I had just moved from California to Fort Worth and had opened three gyms. I worked all the time – so much that I had major anxiety and panic attacks. I would freak out over nothing!
“One day, I met a girl at the gym who had the reputation of being a godly woman. She was cool and up-front about her love for Jesus. When we finally went out, this was the first date that I’d been on where we just hung out and talked. We kept talking, and eventually, Krystal and I got married.
“We visited Watermark, and I was impressed by the willingness people had to share real stuff about their lives openly in church. That was so different from my church experience before, and I wanted to keep going. The first time I went to Equipped Disciple at Watermark, I was asked, on a scale of one to ten, how certain I was about spending eternity with Christ in Heaven. I said I was a seven. God used the people at Equipped Disciple to confront that works-based mentality and show me that Christ had done the work for us on the cross. All I had to do was trust in the free gift of grace available to me in Jesus to be saved.
“I became so thirsty for God’s Word and started reading Scripture because I got so much out of it. My faith was getting stronger when I started meeting with Tyler Briggs, Jay Allen, Richard Johnston, and other guys from Watermark Fort Worth. It was great to be around other believers who encouraged me and constantly reminded me of the truth of God’s Word. My favorite verse became John 5:24, because I truly believed I had passed from death to life in Christ.
“If I were talking to a guy like I was before, I would tell him that knowing the Lord is better than any money I made or any woman or drug I ever had. Understanding that the Lord knows me completely and loves me anyway has given me peace of mind I’ve never experienced before. I want to live for Him alone now.”