Proof of God answering prayers!
*** I wrote this blog October of 2010. I had just a few months before moved down to South Carolina. It was such a challenging time in SC but God really prepared me for this next season in my life during that time. My prayers have been answered as I re-read this blog and I want people to see that when we put our faith, hope and trust in God and ultimately His Son Jesus, who died to take away my sins, then we have the promise that He will not leave us or forsake us but will finish the work that He has begun in us!!
Im so thankful that I wrote this out and can re-read it at this important time in my life! I hope and pray it touches someone else’s life also!
When is the past really the past??
Gods Redemptive Love!
Since I have recently moved to South Carolina I have had many struggles and God has been working in my life a lot. I am learning more and more what this verse means in my life…”Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.”Wow! I had written those words in my missions support letter for India in 2008 and they still have soooooooo much meaning in my life even today!I have been struggling with a past that is never quite in the past. Though I know I am forgiven and free in Jesus name according to society I am still a felon…. this may come as a surprise to some that know me and yet others who have walked the path of life with me know that it was a very rebellious sad time in my life! I have tried to hide it many times as people who don’t understand where I came from have tried to use it against me… but I am sick of hiding!
God can not be glorified if I hide my light… my story…. can He?
“No one lights a lamp and hides it in a jar or puts it under a bed. Instead, he puts it on a stand, so that those who come in can see the light.
When I was 19 years old, I was a wayward rebellious young woman that was looking for love and acceptance in all the wrong places. I was with a drug dealing ex-boyfriend when he and his friend carried out an armed robbery against 3 gentlemen that I had been acquainted with. Due to the men knowing me, I was then arrest the next day. I spent 108 days in the county jail, 90 days in prison and on probation for 2 years after the incident.
At that time in Waterloo, Iowa the DA personally told my court appointed lawyer that he was going to make an example of me to the people. He was going to show what happens when a white woman gets taken advantage of by a black man running from the law, a Chicago thug.
(For those of you reading I mean no disrespect to anyone’s color, race or any thing… this was the DA’s words not my own.)
The District Attorney stated that this was happening too much in Waterloo. His plan was going to send a message to any overweight white women who dated men of color and/or questionable character so that they knew that the DA’s office would no longer be lenient towards these women.
I surrendered my life back to God in a solitary confinement cell on my 104 day in jail. I cried out to God and told him I was so sorry for rebelling and told Him that I surrendered all. Four days later God provided a miracle and I was able to get out on pre-trial release.When first arrested, my charge was 1st degree Armed Robbery. The guys that I had been with told me that they would have alibis and I would be the one going down for this. Twenty-five years of my life! The charge carried a 22 year mandatory I knew that I couldn’t get myself out of this. Though I was not the one holding the gun to the guys heads I was still in the wrong place at the wrong time.
God was so gracious and saw my repentant heart. The day that I got out of jail I attended a small group that had been praying for me during my time in jail. They were an encouragement and support to me.God accomplished so much in my life during this pre-trial release so when I met with my lawyer and he told me what the DA was offering for a plea bargain I was so mad and hurt. The DA’s plea bargain was what they call a 90 day shock with a sentence that added up to 25 years, theft 1st, burglary 2nd and Extortion. If at any time during this “shock” period I did anything to get in trouble or responded the wrong way to an inmate that attempted to cause problems I would then have to serve the full term of 25 years.I questioned God… Why do I have to go back?! I have changed my life!And His still small voice said, ” I know and I am proud of you. There are consequences to actions though and I am not finished with this. I have more for you to learn…”So knowing I was in God’s hands I willingly submitted to the plea bargain and turned myself back over to the Waterloo Police Department. During intake, a deputy officer asked if I had considered running during the time between court and when I had to surrender myself? I looked at him puzzled as if he had asked the strangest question ever.
I replied, “No! They would just catch me and then I wouldn’t get just the 90 days but the 25 years when they caught me!”
He just laughed. A few days into my intake I found out why he had laughed…. No one that anyone knew of had EVER actually gotten their 90 days. Either they messed it up for themselves or if they had truly changed someone else that was incarcerated would attempt to mess it up for them. My next miracle was that not only was I granted my 90 days but a judge ruled that I could get out 2 weeks early due to my mom’s persistence and hard work! During this whole ordeal my mom was my biggest cheerleader! She was my bull dog when it came to hounding my lawyer and she was my biggest prayer warrior!As Paul would say…”But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life.”I have spent the last 10 years changing my life and working hard to be a better person. I have volunteered in India at an orphanage, worked at a not-for-profit assisting individuals with disabilities and volunteered in many various aspects. I have soooooo many people who could attest to all the changes my life has produced over the past 10 years.I had paid my “debt” to society when I completed the jail/ prison/ probation and restitution however I find in my life a constant struggle and feeling that the past is never the past. Any time that I look for employment that would better my life and build up my resume my back ground comes back to haunt me. I dream of the day that I can go into an interview confident that the past is just that, the past, and a future employer will look at the great things I have accomplished wanting me to complete their company with my skills..
The government wonders why the recidivism rate is out of control! People are never truly given a second chance by society or employers but even years later still has a shadow over their head of past mistakes!
My dream job would be to advocate for people who have a past that they may not be proud of, a God who has changed their lives completely and a hope for a future they can be proud of!
I am currently job hunting as I have recently relocated to Columbia, South Carolina and every turn I make I am getting turned down for a job based solely on my background check and finger printing. I had been offered a position as a supervisor in a house for UCP ( United Cerebral Palsy) and knew that it would be a great fit for me to be able to take the things I had learned for the last 2 years of employment working with people with disabilities. Yet due to me not having a valid SC Drivers license and not being able to successfully pass a background and fingerprinting they retracted their offer and didn’t even allow a chance for explanation on my part. In NY State I was cleared by the OMRDD (Office of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities) and given a chance to prove myself worthy to be a part of the agency The ARC of Steuben… however this new company down here would not even budge or consider the life changes I have made.SO…..I have created a petition by emailing the Governor of Iowa, the US Government and any one else that can help in my cause to have a mistake that happened 10 years ago no longer hinder my future!I want to be able to be an example of God’s amazing grace, love, protection and favor… I want to be able to be an encouragement to others who may not have a perfect past to know that there is a God who loves them so much He sent His only Son to die for their sins!
There has got to be a hope and a future for people who look in their past and wonder how there could possibly be any hope!
These experiences have been a constant thorn yet I know that just like the first verse I put on here states that my sufferings are not in vain but they have brought about a character and a hope that I would not have had if I had not been through all the trials. Not to give room or permission to sin but to know that God is a God of redemption and love!