Robert Bledsoe: Pleading for Release
By Robert Hull
The 700 Club
As a teenager, Bobby Bledsoe chose life on the rugged streets of New Jersey over his violent and dysfunctional family.
“Sometimes when you argued, you’d have to duck because dishes would come flying at you,” Bobby said. “There was no normal. There was no white picket fence and that kind of stuff. My dad was an alcoholic. I used to smoke pot with my dad. I used to drink with my dad. Mom was a workaholic. She worked 60-70 hours a week, trying to hold it all together; so it was completely dysfunctional.”
When he was 16, Bobby found the family he was looking for - in a gang.
“We all got together,” he said. “We all had similar families. We all had messed up lives. We were just drawn to each other; looking for love I would maybe say - that’s what drew me to those guys. We started selling crack cocaine in some of the projects and some of the apartments and hotels; and selling drugs led to trying a little bit of drugs. I got locked up for strong arm robbery in Philly. I had got to the point that we didn’t care about life. So we would just go around doing strong arm robbery, robbing purses, robbing people, gang activity - to have money to buy your drugs, to sell your drugs.”
Bobby served every day of a 19-month sentence. He even incited a riot while behind bars. When he was released, he went right back to the only life he knew.
“I had to get high or I would get sick – mentally, physically. It was such an addiction that I remember I would sit there and just lock myself in bedrooms and smoke crack cocaine for days at a time, thinking no one knew what was going on,” Bobby said. “I used to go to bed with a knife under my pillow and my door propped with a chair. Every time I heard a creak I thought someone was coming to get me. I had no hope. I was either going to be dead or in prison for the rest of my life.”
Friends finally convinced Bobby to go to rehab. He met a man there who told him about Jesus.
“When you looked at this guy, he’s the kind of guy - you want to walk on the other side of the street,” Bobby said. “But when he smiled, he had a glow about him. He looked at me and said something along the lines of ‘You need Jesus in your life,’ and I realized it.”
Bobby knew he needed God, yet he thought he needed drugs more. Once he was back on the streets, he continued his criminal lifestyle.
“A couple days later I was getting high again,” he said. “Still knew God was real, but I just wasn’t ready to give it up. Back at my mom’s house, selling, trying to get high doing all my drugs, stealing my mom’s DVD player and selling them. I had gotten that far down, where the drugs ruled my life. I even took my mom’s debit card, went to the machine and emptied her bank account one time to have money to do drugs.”
Bobby went back to rehab again, but was quickly kicked out for selling heroin inside the facility.
“When I first started doing drugs or when I first started running with girls or doing these things, I enjoyed it,” he said. “But once you get into it or you get caught up in it, it’s like something that takes hold of your life. It consumes you, it was my God.”
Homeless and broke, he called his mom who had become a Christian. He asked for one more chance to get his life together. She let him come home, but his drug use continued.
“One day, I was getting high in my bedroom and underneath my bedroom was the washer and dryer in the basement,” Bobby said. “I heard my mom down there praying, praying in the spirit. And she came and she looks right into the door, points her finger at me and says, ‘Bobby, the Lord spoke to me and you are done getting high.’ I said, ‘OK, Mom. I know I know.’”
He went to church with his mother and heard a message that changed his life.
“He said, ‘Is anybody ready for a change? Does anybody want Jesus?’ And I ran to that altar, threw myself at that altar and I said, ‘God, if you’re real, take this addiction from me. God, if you are who you are, please forgive me for my sin.’ Right there and then, like I never felt before, I felt the weight of the world being lifted off my shoulders,” Bobby said. “I felt as if scales came off my eyes. I really felt free, and instantaneously I was delivered from Crack cocaine, Heroin.”
Bobby has never gone back to his old ways
“When God comes into your life, you see He is the light of the world. He’s the truth. He’s the life,” he said. “When Jesus comes into your life, everything about you changes - the way you perceive life, the way you see life, the way you act; everything you do.”
As Bobby reflects on his journey to freedom, he sees how the prayers of his mother were with him along the way.
“Don’t give up praying for your children,” he said. “My mom prayed for me for 13 years. She said, ‘I’m not going to lose my life until my son is saved.’ She prayed and lamented and fasted for me till it hurt.”
Today, Bobby is married and has two beautiful children. He serves as a youth pastor and every week he tells young people about Jesus.
“God never gives up chasing. God never gives up coming after you, pursuing you,” Bobby said. “God’s always getting you, that’s my son, that’s my child. He never stopped pursuing me; and God - finally the day that I decided to give my life to Him, He took me in.”
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