Denny Woodard had the world on a string. In his national sales position for a Fortune 100 company, he enjoyed World Series games, professional football tickets, extravagant Canadian fishing trips, and golf at the finest courses. Denny had a four-bedroom home, a loving wife and two beautiful children.
Denny says, “On April 12, 2005 I met two business associates at a restaurant. I had recently been promoted to Director of Sales. The celebration lasted longer than it should have and more alcohol was consumed than should have been. I tragically decided to drive home. I can’t recall much, but I now know that I hit a pedestrian – a loving husband and father lost his life.”
“I wish I could change everything that happened that night, but I can’t. I could not bear the pain, guilt and shame for what I had caused. I couldn’t smile or laugh. It hurt too badly. I couldn’t go on, so I asked Jesus to take away the hurt. I gave it all to Jesus. It was no longer my life, but His. Christ took the hurt, suffering, guilt and shame. Even though it wasn’t easy, He was changing me from the inside.”
“My family and I found a church home prior to my sentencing. The company that I had worked so diligently for during my previous 15 years of employment suddenly vanished. I was placed on unpaid administrative leave. The only place I felt comfortable was at church. The church offered me a part time position as custodian and I gladly accepted. During these days, I prayed that God would use me and I would ask God, how are you going to work in surprising ways in the midst of these circumstances my family and I were facing. Little did I know how power
fully he would answer those prayers.”
“I was sentenced to 38 months. Lansing’s maximum-security area felt like I had traveled back in time – it was the roughest, meanest place I had ever encountered. It wasn’t long that I began to ask God where He wanted me. I was only minutes away from my wife and kids at Lansing but, I felt God pushing me towards an opportunity to join the Innerchange Freedom Initiative (I.F.I.) now Brothers In Blue Re-Entry program (at that time located in Ellsworth, Kansas) - roughly 300 miles from my wife and kids. Only days later I was called down to A&D – I was being transferred to Ellsworth. I had been accepted into I.F.I.”
“It was a much better environment, although 300 miles from my wife and kids, this was were God wanted me. I was now surrounded by men who truly loved the Lord and the difference was unmistakable. I was learning how to apply God’s Word to my life. Christ was with me – He calmed the raging sea within me and the environment I was in.”
“I learned how to walk with Him and how to obey Him and His Word. I was amazed at what I could learn simply by watching and listening to how some of these men in B.I.B. lived their lives. They lived according to God’s Word. They had complete faith and trust in Christ. They had truly been transformed and I no longer was curious about their past or what it was that landed them in prison, but rather how God was working in and through them today. God’s hand is all over this program. His work in me and in so many of the men I formed a friendship and bond with during my time in B.I.B. will last forever.”
“One of the core scriptures of B.I.B. is Romans 5:18, ‘Being then made free from sin, you became servants of righteousness’. Freedom is something we take for granted. I was shown a new perspective into what freedom really is - if you are in Christ you are free. You are free on the inside.”
“Many times during my letters to loved ones I would share with them my experiences. On numerous occasions I would share that God had placed me in the best seminary in Kansas – and it was behind bars, it was B.I.B. It was intended to be humorous. But, what makes something funny is that there is truth behind it.”
“Looking back on the destruction my actions caused is difficult to do. Striving to see where God is at work in my life and going towards Him is a still a challenge. But, when self-doubt and the pain of the past begins to reappear I can look to Christ, His Word and the skills I was taught in B.I.B. to overcome. One of the first things we were asked to learn was “My Identity in Christ”. It is this that I often refer to:
My Identity in Christ
Because of Christ’s redemption,
I am a new creation of infinite worth.
I am deeply loved,
I am completely forgiven,
I am fully pleasing,
I am totally accepted by God.
I am absolutely complete in Christ.
When my performance
Reflects my new identity in Christ,
That reflection is dynamically unique.
There has never been another person like me
In the history of mankind,
Nor will there ever be.
God has made me an original,
One of a kind, really somebody!
“Today, I have a fresh outlook on life and a renewed sense that God is not done with me. My new ministry is my family. We are a family again, with Christ at the center and love abounding.”
“I’m back at work in the industry that I was asked to leave five years ago. Humble is a word I use often. Humbled by my circumstances, humbled by His love for me. Humble.”
God took my broken life and heart and transformed it. God has forgiven me of so much. I have learned how to receive His forgiveness and learned how to forgive myself. I desire to share my journey and show others how God can work in them if they surrender to Him and allow Him to live through them.”
“I pray for my victim’s family and hope that God will give us the right time to reconcile. I want them to know that I am truly sorry, that I made a horrible mistake and ask for their forgiveness.”