About me...

Pop the lid on my Mason Jar and meet my family. Jim {Jimma} and I have four kids, Creston (Ashley), Jami (Matt), Brandon and Chance. Our grandkids, Cade, Kirby, Eisley, Beck and Reed bring us more joy than any Mason Jar could ever hold. I am counting my blessings over and over and thanking God for His amazing love and grace.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

A Friend's Testimony

This afternoon my friend Stacey was all smiles as she asked me for email. She said she had a testimony that she wanted to share with me about spending time in jail. Knowing Stacey, I thought she was going to email me about some jail ministry she is involved in. Little did I know that she was actually put IN jail! The following is the email I received from her this afternoon. It is unedited, even to the last sentence about sharing the email. The only changes I made were to put *****'s in place of the name of the jail and the city where the jail is located. Sit back and be prepared to read an amazing true story, Stacey's testimony.

Stacey's Testimoy ~
For a very long time it has been my ex husband's goal to see me suffer and have hurt. He's been trying to have me jailed since I was on bedrest with the twins, and they are 19 months old now, so that tells of his unrelentless vegence. Being petty. The crime? He claims he didn't get his baseball cards. He wanted me found guilty of violating the divorce decree in which he was awarded his premartial items. He did actually get them, but stated in court that those weren't his ball cards. Testified in court how much they meant to him and I can't remember in the decade we were married that he looked at them more than 5 times. Clearly they were so special to him. Anyhow got 2 days of time in the ***** County Jail as punishment (that was a blessing in itself, because my ex and his lawyer were asking for 15 days). My ex husband had countless opportunities to withdraw his request for punishment but refused. He claims to be a Christian, and although I can't judge his heart, the fruit he bears is anything but that of a Christian. But enough of focusing on what Satan wants me to look at, let's move on to the God portion.

I was so irritated at the sentencing and the whole proceeding I told Matt I was just going to go do the time and sit in my cell the whole time not talking to anyone. He, being the wonderful husband he is, said what if you are supposed to be talking to someone? Ok. My heart and mind changed and I began to look for opportunities that God might be using me for.

At the inprocessing part the guard asked my education and I told her I have my master's degree. She raised her eyes and said "well you don't see that all the time here". Asked about my job and again surprised that I even had one. She assumed I was there on DWI and asked when I was arrested. I quickly informed her of the circumstances of why I was there. She was so shocked and said he must be quite a person. You have no idea!

Some of my fears were the strip search, fingerprints, etc. It never happened! How do you go to jail and not have those things done??

I also was told I'd be in black and white stripe uniform. How embarrassing. That didn't happen either. Got some Hawkeye yellow scrubs. Comfy and mostly what I wear at work anyhow. Next she handed me my stack of bedding and directed me to the cell.

I walked and and one of the girls, Tina, came out to shake my hand and introduce herself. She must have known I'd never done this before and took my bedding and showed me how to make it so the sheets stayed on. I was also freezing, I left 90 degree weather and came back to a frost alert. Couldn't get warm since I stepped off the plane in *****. Tina offered me a pair of her socks too (that btw cost her 6 dollars of her money at the jail). God sent me a person of peace in Tina. Whenever you are in a foreign surrounding, you pray for a person of peace, someone who is friendly.

Was just getting aquainted with my surroundings when they announced it was time for chapel and would I like to go. Are you kidding?? Of course. And I thought "God is meeting me right where I am". All the girls went to chapel, there were 7 of us in total. I was thinking praise music, a good sermon....not at all what I got. I'm not sure who he was, and pardon me for sounding critical, but he sucked at leading the flock. There was no singing, no praise to God. He read a few random verses that didn't even seem to connect to each other or have a main point. Told us to get off the drugs and stay out of there. Umm, pardon me, but where do you get off making judgemental statements like that as a pastor?! Only 3 were there on drugs. The majority was not. I was frustrated that he wasn't sharing the hope in God, or His promises, or that those ladies can be forgiven and are loved beyond measure unconditionally. So I sorta talked over him and made those points known. I was trying to remember scriptures to point them to so it was backed. I couldn't remember the Jeremiah 29:11 verse, kept thinking it was in chapter 27 and I couldn't find it. When I asked him where it was, he said he wasn't good at knowing scripture. HUH? Then how did you get this job? I told the girls I would find it later and let them know the location. After all, I had 2 days time to review the whole chapter of Jeremiah if I needed....Prison ministry at ***** county jail is seriously lacking.

We got back to our rooms (incidentally I had a room to myself-another answered prayer) and one of the girls I thought was "tougher" came in my room. Like she didn't want anyone to see her and she whispered, hey will you pray for me? You seem like a good person to ask for prayer. She walked out of my room and then came back and said, tell him my name is Angie. I told her that He knows that and yes I would.

I found out TIna, my person of peace, was a new Christian and was baptized within the last week. They don't allow baptisms in jail, so they just dumped a pitcher of water over her head. It was all they had. I assured her Christ knew her heart and that a pitcher of water was just as pleasing. She was very eager to know about Jesus and I had taken some Max Lucado books to read, one called He Still Moves Stones and the other was In the Eye of the Storm (about peace). I left those books with her when I left on the second day and also wrote a prayer in the front for her. So she could see a prayer even after I was gone. I hope it will encourage her.

I fasted while I was there, although I took my tray and then split it up among the other girls. They kept asking how I could not eat or drink. One, it's only 2 days, and second, I told God I would and pray about things on my heart. That seemed to shock them for some reason.

Another girl came up to me after chapel and asked what my maiden name was. I was hesistant to answer wondering what consequences it might bring. I told her and she said I thought so. I'm Kathy and we went to Madison Baptist as kids. Took a step back and saw her as the little girl I'd known growing up in church. We hugged and she cried telling me she was there on meth charges. Her husband was killed and she turned to meth to numb the pain. Far life from where we'd been competing in bible drills....I was able to talk with her and tell her about what she already knew. Said her mom kept telling her the same things I was and I told her that her mom was right. And that was just day 1! When I went to bed I was still cold, despite 2 blankets. And in jail they leave the light on in your room at all times. Sorta hard to sleep with the lights on. Just prayed again for angels to be sent to cover me and for some rest. Instantly felt like an electric blanket was on me and became toasty for the first time all day. I fell asleep and didn't wake up until morning. Man was God just showing off with all the answered prayers!!

Next day was just getting to know everyone and why they were there. Turns out I knew 4 of the 6 in one way or another. I did find that verse by the way and shared it. Wrote it down in case they forgot.

More of the same on day 2, just comforting, listening, hugging. I would call these ladies my friends. And even some being felons, wouldn't hesitate to have them over for dinner.

I left on the second day and Tina and Kathy were up to see me go. Both were crying and hugged me like they hadn't really been hugged in awhile. I was almost sad to say goodbye to them. Although I can't see them I can still write. I told TIna she was the leader of the group being the new Christian, so get the other girls in the Bible, talk with each other and start their own class. THere were some study questions in the back of the Max Lucado books and they could use those for scripture lookup and discussion. Told her how she blessed me by the effort to make my bed and keep me warm. Asked her to keep doing that, she is being God's servant, even there in the jail and it makes a difference. Tina is there for 6-12 months on forgery charges so she will see many people come and go.

Whispered to Kathy when we hugged to go back to what she knows, it's not too late and you will be welcomed greatly. Let the past go and look for a new future. She just sobbed.

I plan on sending them postcards and maybe even print off the words to some songs. I don't know if they will let me mail them anymore books....What should have been a dark time for me was the highlight of the week. What Mike and his attorney pursued as punishment was just God getting some more kingdom work done. I was sent to the mission field and it was successful! Ha...some people pray "please God don't send me to Africa"...bet most people forget to pray "and not jail either"! But I'm thankful, blessed, and was fully taken care of in what could have been a hostile environment. That's what happened to me in jail. THanks to everyone for your prayers, He heard. He showed Himself faithful, gave me strength, and gave some hope to those who need it.

On the flight home my armrest had satellite radio on it and I could tune in The Message. Much needed praise music. I was filled with so much joy from those days that I just wanted to sing outloud and raise my hands. But my logical side took over and I thought there is probably a US marshall on this plane who will arrest me. Was good with just 2 days so I kept quiet and smiled:)

I say all of this to give all the glory, honor and praise to the one and only Father in Heaven.

Genesis 50:20 You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.

PS feel free to share this with anyone you feel needs this. We should love to get the news of God out.

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