As a child, church on Sunday was required and if we gave mom any trouble, we knew we were in for a very bad Sunday afternoon. Dad worked on Sundays and even if he was home, he still did not attend church. After the clock hit 12:15 p.m. on Sunday afternoon, we would head home and that was the last time we would hear about or talk about God until the next Sunday morning at 10 a.m. when we were back at church.
Although I learned several sweet songs like Jesus Loves Me and The B-I-B-L-E, I never heard that I had a heart condition called sin and was in need of a Savior. Life on the outside, for those looking in, was the ideal white picket fence, dog, swimming pool, mom and dad cooking out - enjoying family time. Life on the inside for us was the exact opposite. If mom and dad were in the house together you could count on a fight, dinner was never done together and for me I always knew to be ready to receive the backlash from mom as a result of her fight with dad. At age fifteen, dad left and did not return. They were divorced by the time I turned sixteen. I thought that would change things for the good, but boy I was wrong! Mom’s backlash became constant and extremely direct. I turned to drugs, alcohol and the horrible lifestyle that came along with those choices and continued to do so for several years. I found myself in and out of incarceration and institutions. During this time I had my first son, who is now fourteen. I lost custody of him, thankfully to my family.
In June of 2007, I would spend my very last time in a jail cell or so I thought. Through an organization, Good News Jail and Prison Ministry, I heard for the first time that there was a God that did not care about where I had been, what I had done and how ugly my past looked like. He still loved me, I still had worth in Christ. Even though this was a hard concept for me to wrap my mind around, I wanted it so bad. I wanted anything, something different. I needed something different. Jesus was the answer. I committed to serve Him - recognized the heart condition called sin, I had always had, and surrendered to the Savior that day in the Chesterfield County Jail through a meal slot. The very small hole in the door, through which I was served my dinner each night, was the very same place I received the bread of life, Jesus Christ. Life would never be the same. From that day forward my life verse would be 2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away the new has come.”
Living a life serving Christ is a life that makes it impossible to give glory to man, because it is a life only a creator can puzzle together. Moving states, restoring custody of my older son, getting married, jobs, homeschooling, churches, a new little one are all things that have marked my life with the stamp of Christ’s approval. When I said, “In June of 2007 I would spend my last time in a jail cell or so I thought” the “so I thought” was not because I found myself in trouble again. It’s because I believe the Lord allows us to make our choices in life and He can use those choices for His glory when we are ready to serve Him. As a result He is able to use my past drug addictions, my past mom failures, my past daughter disappointments, my past near death experiences, even my past abortion all for His glory. He can use all those things to show women as well as men that no matter your back ground and no matter how far you have walked in the opposite direction from God, He is still there, He still wants a relationship with you and loves you. I share that with women in and out of incarceration throughout the tri-city area. The same meal slot where I once heard the good news of Jesus Christ, I now share the good news through. It is my life song!
I can rest today in His peace even in the struggles. I still have difficulties with relationships. My mom and I have come a long way after years of soiled brokenness, but I trust the Lord is working in her life as He continues to work in mine. I worry about the cares of tomorrow, but I am so thankful I no longer have to worry about my eternal destination. Choosing Christ means eternity in heaven. I am praying for each person that reads this, praying that the Lord will use it to minister to you or someone that you know. Jesus does love you!
Hope Lisa's story encourages you the way it did me. Thank you, Lisa, for sharing your walk!
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"Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path." Psalm 119:105
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