Christian Leyden always had a struggle when he was a boy.
His father wasn’t around when he was younger, so his mom was the only father and mother figure around, and she had to work two jobs to keep Christian and his brother safe and maintain a home for them.
When he was in third grade he would send his mother suicide letters saying he didn’t want to live anymore.
“I started fighting a lot, getting angry with a lot of people,” he says on a YouTube video produced by the Phoenix Dream Center. “There was a lot of damage here and there not having my father around.”
“I started listening to metal music, hip hop music and all this death metal music and all this music that started to get strong in my life,” Christian recounted.
In his teens he succumbed to cultural influences to party, do drugs, get women and to live a wild and crazy lifestyle.
Christian was always a person who wanted to be accepted, so a lack of friends angered him. But one day when he went see to his first high school football game, his older brother’s friends asked him to smoke weed and hang out with them.
“Just because they wanted to hang out with me, I was like, ‘Heck yea man I wanna hang out with you guys,’” exclaimed Christian.
Since he cared so much about their approval, he would pretty much do anything “friends” asked him.
“Three months into me smoking and drinking, I ended in a psych ward for telling my family about me cutting myself for years,” he says. “I just went through different stages in my life.”
For eight years he was in and out of institutions.
He drank while attending Alcoholics Anonymous. He took meth, Xanax, pills and heroin, despite going through rehabs and living in halfway houses.
When Christian got locked up in jail, his new life began. He wanted to know, “How do I get off drugs?”
“Being locked up, God humbled me,” Christian says. “He put me in the belly of the fish. I knew I needed God in a radical way.”
When he got out of jail, Christian started participating in prayer groups, Bible studies and helping people.
The pastor at his church told Christian to preach for him two Sundays in a row, and people attended that had never attended church previously.
He recognized that without God in his life he was nothing.
Christian is grateful that God showed him His ways and transformed his life in amazing ways.
“His plans for you are fresh everyday. His love for you is fresh everyday. His grace to empower you to do that which you are never able to do is fresh for you everyday. It’s just amazing when you can just live this and stay active and do it and abide in His word. It’s just amazing when you have your life and your will and mingle with a word of God and Jesus. It’s just amazing how beautiful your life is.”
If you want to know more about a personal relationship with God, go here
Ryan Zepeda studies at the Lighthouse Christian Academy in Los Angeles.