Replacing Hate with Love
By Rod Thomas
The 700 Club
CBN.com - The tattoos tell the story of his life. “The skulls; these were how I felt in my life. I wanted evil. I wanted mean and evil stuff on my arms.” Tracy Kovach was a drug addict, a wanted criminal, and full of hate and rage. “This tattoo here is the symbol of chaos which my life and my head was nothing but chaos,” he recalls.
The chaos started early in his life. After his father left, Tracy watched helplessly as his mother’s numerous drunken boyfriends abused her. Then she married one of them, and left her son with a neighbor. “I kept asking the lady, "What happened to my mom?" ‘Well, she's not coming back for you,’ she told me. Now, this lady, she starts beating me up and locking me in this room.”
Tracy’s father eventually took his son to live with him; but he was also abusive, and Tracy felt even more alone. “At this point I shut down in myself. I didn't want to talk to anybody. I didn't want to communicate with anybody. I felt nobody loved me.”
Eventually, Tracy moved out and reunited with his mother. But things were about to get worse. “My mother started going out with this biker guy, he introduced me to meth, and all his biker friends. And in that group of people, the more drugs and alcohol you did, the cooler you were,” he remembers.
At 17, he landed in juvenile hall for breaking and entering. He could have been released into his mother’s custody. “She said, ‘No, I can't take you.’ And she turned around and walked out. Oh my goodness, I was such in a rage. I couldn't believe she left me again,” Tracy said. “I was in juvenile hall until I was 18 years old because now, I had no one to get released to. I had no parents; and with this attitude, I wanted to destroy everybody.”
After his release, Tracy became addicted to crystal meth. Then, with a twisted sense of justice, he started robbing drug dealers. “I would see these drug addicts just abusive to their kids, to their women. In my sick mind here I am doing more drugs than most of these people, and I thought, ‘This is going to be my way of giving back to the situation, but at the same time get my drugs and not go back to jail.’ I thought, ‘If I rob a drug connection, who's going to tell on me?’”
“I’ve had people tell me, you know, ‘Well, who do you think you are?’ and I tell them, "I’m God. That's who I am."
In 20 plus years, he had numerous run-ins with the law for drug dealing, assault and battery and burglary. At one point he even joined a white supremacist group. “I hated everybody. I took it out on the blacks, Jews I wanted to get big, I wanted to be mean, and I was going to put up with nobody. And being in this group of people, I knew they always had my back.”
At home, paranoia kept him on edge. He separated himself from his friends and stayed high. “There came a point where I did drugs so much I was injecting up to an ounce of meth a day. I felt like I couldn’t sleep. I couldn't turn my back on anybody. I couldn't trust anybody. The cops hated me. The robbers hated me. Everybody hated me. Everybody wanted a piece of me.”
Eventually, Tracy barricaded himself inside a house. But when the police finally caught up with him, they didn’t bother knocking. “5:30 in the morning, boom, I wake up, an armored car came through my gate and they busted the front of my house open and they shot grenades in the house looking for a meth lab and a chop shop.”
At 41 years old, Tracy faced up to 100 years for drug charges and breaking parole. Yet he felt he never truly had a chance to live. “I’ve spent my whole life looking for something I didn't know what it was, and now I’m going to do the rest of my life in prison. I never found what I was looking for. I was just broken.”
One day, a fellow inmate invited him to a chapel service. Tracy saw it as a chance to get out of his cell, so he accepted. “I never knew Christians. I never touched a Bible in my life. He starts reading out of the Bible and I thought, "What was that? I want to hear more of this.” Tracy says the preacher’s words stirred something in his heart. “I can almost hear God's voice telling me, ‘Until you acknowledge Me as your Lord and Savior, nothing will ever work for your life.’"
The next day, another inmate spoke withTracy and helped him understand and accept God’s forgiveness. “He led me to give my life to Jesus, so I gave my life to the Lord. And at that point I was just crying every day because all the stuff I did in my life was just coming at me,” he said. “I felt so sorry. I felt so bad for the stuff that I had done. So he would tell me, ‘The Lord forgives you.’"
Tracy says that in Christ, he found another way to live. “I realized the whole time I wasn't fighting against people, I wasn't fighting against anybody. I was blocking God from coming into my life.”
Then came an unbelievable turn of events, evidence against Tracy was proven to be false and his sentence was reduced. After serving only two years, Tracy was a free man. “That was nothing I did. It was what God did, to protect me so I could keep doing what He wanted me to do. I ended up going right from prison to Teen Challenge. God taught me how to walk with Him on the street through Teen Challenge.”
Tracy is still drug-free, and goes back to prison to tell inmates about Jesus Christ. “I’ve been approved to go back into the same jail I got saved in, and preach to these guys. I want to just grab them and just shake them and tell them, ‘Guys, God is real.’"
Today, Tracy is married to Deborah. Together they’ve found peace and acceptance through a relationship with God. “I am just so in awe of the Lord for what He's done in my life. The Bible tells us that the Lord will separate your sins as far as the east is from the west, and that is absolutely true, what He's done in my life.“
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