On February 6, 2001, my life changed forever. I would never think the same, live the same, talk the same, laugh the same and definitely never love the same. On that day, my 23-month-old daughter, Darrian, was murdered at the hands of a caregiver.
Although the caregiver was arrested and sentenced to prison, that did not change the truth that my child was still gone.
I left a very well-paying job just to hold myself together for everyone else left here on earth. From all outward appearances, I was successful for several years. I went through the motions of being a mom to my young son and a wife to my husband. Inside, I was holding onto to the last shred of hope—hope that I could survive my own grief and hope that I could continue to be strong for others.
You see, I have always been a glass half full kinda’ girl. Even on my worst days, and when others around me were hopeless, I maintained HOPE. At the time, I had no idea where this even came from. Now, I realize it was God.
For some reason that I do not understand even now, God ALWAYS had his protection around my heart and mind. Even through the pain, when despair and grief surrounded me, I clung to the belief that something or someone would eventually come along and “put me back together.”
In 2008, I continued to press forward and even got my real estate license. I did very well but there was a shift in my life. I had found what I needed to numb my broken heart. By 2011, I was hooked on methamphetamines.
I stopped working and ended up shoplifting to feed my meth habit. My husband left me and took my son, moving to another city. What did I do? Straighten up? Quit my habit? No. I used my free time to FREELY get high.
Then on December 26, 2011, the day after Christmas, I was arrested for stealing. Soon, I found myself in the county jail.
Those three months in county jail had a major impact on my life. While I was behind bars, I realized where the hope inside of me came from: GOD! God was with me! He was my hope!
While incarcerated, I did not talk to any of my family, but I was fine. I spent the time learning everything I could about the God who loved me regardless of all I had done. I couldn’t get enough! I craved more and more knowledge of Him. And, He met me at every turn, revealing more of Himself and His goodness.
As only God can orchestrate, He had several people in place to minister to me while I was in jail—people who taught me about praying, fasting, and refusing to walk in condemnation. I even started a Bible study with two friends, which grew to sometimes bring in more than 30 women.
Along the way, God also put it on my heart to pray for my marriage. I fasted everything but veggies and water for forty days. I was growing closer to the Lord and learning more about spiritual warfare. During this time, I also learned that I was being sent to Woodman State Jail. PRISON.
I had been in prison for about three weeks when one day at mail call (I never listened for my bunk number to be called because I had zero communication with anyone in the free world), I heard my number! I had a message to call home. I looked at my Bunkie (the person who slept on the bed underneath me) and said, “Where is home?” I had not had a home in a long time.
So I decided to call my sister-in-law and my husband answered! He was not mean or angry. I didn’t really know what to say, but I sure knew what to do after the call! I fell to my face in prayer—a prayer of Thanksgiving!
In August 2013, I was released from prison. My husband and my son picked me up, and that is just how it has been ever since. With the favor of God upon me, I eventually found a great job and continue to be thankful for all His provision. It did not take me long to realize that I NEVER had hope. I had GOD. Or, maybe I should say, God always had me.
When people look at my past, they can call me many things: thief, addict, adulteress, liar, felon, horrible mom, abused child, and I am sure there are a few more names. But TODAY, I am called mom, wife, daughter, church leader, church board member, sister, friend, trustworthy, honest, humble, loving, dependable, and more. But the most important title I now hold is Daughter of the Most High King!
I am still not the person I was before Darrian passed away, but I continue to trust in the Lord, and I am completely in love with the One who first loved me. I know Him as the healer of the sick, wisdom of the wise, Creator of all, resurrected Savior, persecuted for our freedom, and the One who was pierced yet eases our pain.
He is my HOPE. Now and eternal.
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