Monday, October 28, 2013

From Prison to Praise


A few days ago I wrote and told you I wanted to help other women find their voice and share what God has done for them. Not everyone has a blog or a website but each one of our testimonies are precious and powerful. People need to hear them because by sharing our lives and our stories, we encourage others.

The following story was sent in by a dear friend named Mary from Tuscon, AZ. I am so grateful that she took the time to write it out and send it in, because it shows what God can do in a person's life. He wastes nothing. He will take our pain and turn it around and let His power and anointing flow through to touch others. The pain of what she went through touched my heart as I know it will touch yours, too. So many of us have gone through terrible things, but God can redeem them all and turn those things into a platform to reach others who are also in pain. Today, Mary's story is shared with the world in an effort to give other women hope, and faith to trust the Lord with their pain and sadness. I love what Mary wrote about how God has bigger things in mind for us than we do! May this story bless you as it has blessed me! 

"I am where I am today because I had a praying mother. I always begin my story with that because it is important to acknowledge the power in prayer. God is so amazing and I know if He can heal my heart He can heal anyone's. I love that He uses cracked pots so that His Light can shine through because I am definitely a cracked pot. When I read that Moses was a fugitive and Jacob was a cheater and Gideon was a scaredy cat and Jeremiah was just a boy and Elijah was depressed and Paul was a murderer of Christians. I knew I was in good company and God had a place for me too.

My parents were great, my relationship with my peers throughout school was strained to say the least. I was heavily bullied and gang raped by boys I had grown up with my whole life. I grew up in a small town where everybody knew everybody. After the rapes, they told everyone in town how I was a willing party so I not only suffered the shame of multiple rapes, I now had to endure the ridicule of the taunting and the laughing at me and the name calling, Not to mention the hatred of the other girls because I was labeled very negative names. Taking my life became an option and I knew I had to get out of there.

My parents allowed me to go and live with my sister in California. I never told them what happened but they knew I was having issues.  I began to steal from my sister to buy marijuana so I would have friends . Because of my experiences i didn't think I could be liked for me. I married the first man that wanted me and he was very physically abusive. That was only the beginning.

For the next 35 years my life consisted of crime and drugs and abuse. I did 4 prison terms, have been married 5 times, 3 children and 1 abortion. I lost custody of my daughter when she was 2 due to my alcoholism and my drug addiction and repeated the cycle 10 years later when my sons were 2 & 3. Luckily their fathers stepped in and they raised them. I got saved in 1993 but formed no relationship with Jesus. I didn't know how. In 2009 at age 52 facing 10 years in prison God met me right there on the floor of my jail cell. He cleaned me up and He put me in a position leading a Bible study as an inmate for the next 3 years. 

In my sentencing I watched the Judge literally change his sentence for me in a matter of seconds. You could see that God had spoke to him. He was a Christian man.I am sure God arranged that as well. He went from a sentence of 8 years to 3.5 years in seconds!!! I had already done close to 3 years so I released in a couple of months. Truly this was God..

Please do not misunderstand me..God did not take away the consequences of my choices, He only shortened them. He knew my heart and He saw that I had finally found the answer to living for Him.

It is staying in His word. Such a beautiful place of love is His word. I have been home 2 years now and God continues to bless me. All 3 of my adult children have moved here to be closer to me and get to know Mom..They know Jesus is responsible for who I am today and what better testimony to my children. I still have my share of problems believe me, but with God all things are possible. Today I fight my battles on my knees instead of in a bottle or locked in a room high.

You see, God's plan is never instant. I believe sometimes he allows us to go though the things we do because we will use that experience to help others. In 1993 when I got saved in the jail, a lady prophesied that I would work with women one day. Leading that Bible study was part of that prophecy..but don't you know that our God had more in mind? Recently I was approved for our church prison ministry to work with women coming out of prison to make that transition into society living life on purpose. One of the girls in my group in prison got out and died of a drug overdose 6 months later at the age of 24. She was my room mate as well and a very close friend. It was then that God gave me this vision, that women need a place when they come out to feel connected. Her mother had found notes written to me afterwards but never sent where she was struggling. For Brettney and any any woman like her..God is now giving me that place..I will honor Him and Brettney's memory with this opportunity He has given me.

God has healed my heart..His light is shining bright through this cracked pot.. :) He loves us so..remember Jesus came to heal the brokenhearted, to save that which is lost. If that is you today..Come..Jesus is waiting..Just call on His name, He will meet you wherever you are..just come.."

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