How will you fare?
Will you survive?
Could you actually thrive when the unthinkable happens?
Is this really happening?
A group of us sat stunned at the jury’s verdict: Guilty. My precious friend Myra, a wife, mother, grandmother, sister, sister-in-Christ, aunt, and a friend to many had rejected a plea bargain because it felt wrong to admit to a “white collar” crime she didn’t commit.
The jury believed she was guilty, and in one moment, the unthinkable, the seemingly unbearable, the “This can’t be happening” happened.
In the weeks that followed, our shocked hearts sought a reason. Why would God allow this to happen? We tried to ascribe noble, godly purposes for it. Secretly, I believe we each feared how we would fare if this happened to us.
That was six years ago. In just a few days, my friend will be released from the prison camp that’s been her home for 5 1/2 years. How did she fare? What’s she like today? I want you to hear from Myra for yourself.
In this world you will have trouble.
I want us to learn from her, to see how a follower of Jesus walks through the unthinkable, the seemingly unbearable — for some of you may find yourself (albeit different) in such a place. The people of South Texas are walking through unimaginable tragedy as I write.
Even in lesser degrees, we all walk through difficulties in life. Jesus said we would (John 16:33 AMP):
“In this world, you will have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration…”
But Jesus also made a promise!
“…but be of good cheer [take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted]! For I have overcome the world. [I have deprived it of power over you and have conquered it for you}.
Myra recently shared the words below on a blog her daughter publishes for her. Read her words carefully. Ask God to teach you, to give you truth where you need to hear and be changed by it. Let Myra show you what IS possible — and what is ONLY possible with God.
“After sentencing, it was hard to fathom what it would be like in prison – not only the fear of what I had conjured up in my mind based on TV shows, but also being without my family. Alone. Really alone. Would I come out of this experience normal? Would my heart become hardened or would my ability to deeply care and trust be damaged after such injustice?
It was a strange conjuncture, but when I arrived here, all my concerns had to be put on the back burner to cope …like immediately… to get through the next minute, the next, then the next and the next. If I stopped to think about what was happening and the length of time I would be in here, a deep-rooted fear of survival raised its ugly head.
Did you know when other women asked how long I would be in here, I could not say “my sentence was seven years,” or “until 2017!” I just could not get my head around that fact or allow the words out of my mouth.
Those who call on the name of the LORD will be saved.
There were times all I could murmur were the words “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus.” At the toughest times, that was enough. The truth is – He carried me through, gave me strength, and never left me.
In that solitude of the first two years I became solely and souly His. There were so many awesome disciplines started in here. When my thoughts wanted to dive and divert into my twisted flesh, the disciplines taught me to focus back on Christ. Through them, I was given that unimaginable peace from God.
I started reading one Psalm and one Proverb a day and journaling my answers to the questions, “Who is God?” and “What did God do in these verses?” God kept me enthralled and the hours flew by.
I am sure I’ve told you this before, but those first months I would lay in bed at night when my defenses were down and I wondered, “How am I going to get through this? Really?” I would start to feel that despair, that sinking feeling. If I stayed there even a few minutes, a panic would surface.
But then God would bring to mind a verse I’d read that day, and I’d start to breathe again, just enough where I could feel my toes and relax each one — up through each part of my body, I would feel the tension areas and relax the muscles.
A peace that transcends all understanding.
To alleviate the fear, I’d go to the present by acknowledging “I have food in my stomach, I am warm in a bed, and I am not in danger.” In these exercises, I was taken to the actual moment, not the past or future. IN each moment I found the presence of God. He was with me:
“And the peace of God which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your mind in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7).
Another discipline was walking the track while listening to Christian music. Today, I listen to those beloved songs and an instant calmness comes over me: “Give Thanks” (ALWAYS accompanies my first steps!) by Don Moen, “You are My Hiding Place” by Maranatha Music, and “Praise You In This Storm” by Casting Crowns. A few newer ones: “Shoulders” by For King & Country, “Place of Freedom” by Highlands, and “Just Be Held” by Casting Crowns. I love praise music! My all-time favorite is still “Blessings” by Laura Story. I melt listening to that song.
God’s Word and promises are true.
To be here today, looking forward to the next chapter, is a relief beyond my wildest dreams! Here are the facts:
1) God is good all the time. All the time, God is good.
2) I still love! I trust God more now than ever! I have found every one of His promises to be true!
3) My heart is not hardened. I am “more of Myra” through Christ. I have not lost anything.
“I can do all things through Jesus Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13).
It is only through Him, Christ in me, that I CAN do all things.
How are we going to live in our communities with an intention that will balance with our ever-so-different life experience of prison? I do not want to forget this time in here. I want to weave it into my life of service to our King. To Him be the glory.
I love you and I pray for you,
May God use these words to spur us on to greater faith, not just in our trials, but because of them. May we mimic her seeking of God even in peaceful times.
To read more of Myra’s journey, go to:
Other posts I hope will encourage you to press into what God says is true: