From Jail to Jesus
Before the Coronavirus Pandemic caused lockdowns in Florida, we were devoting our blog to the women of the Charis House. We took a break from our series to discuss ways to manage anxiety with tips from our Charis House Therapist. This week, we return to our series, learning about our most recent Charis House graduates, and discovering how their lives have been transformed and repurposed by God. *Names have been changed to protect identities and allow a fresh start.
Charlotte got married at 24, but it was a very destructive relationship. Not wanting to feel like a failure, she stayed in the marriage and was soon pregnant. After her husband was unfaithful, she couldn’t handle the pain. He soon abandoned her and their baby. Then she was evicted. “I felt like my whole world just fell apart. I didn’t have my family to turn to. I just depended on myself to fix things instead of depending on God.”
“When I was arrested, it was almost a relief because I couldn’t run and hide from myself anymore. Whenever I was in jail, I would see the Bible, and I just sought out the Lord. I knew there was no other way. I could feel God tugging at my heart and saying, ‘I am the only way the truth and the life, and if you choose Me, I’m going to give you peace and show you a life that you never thought you could have.’
I read my Bible and stayed in constant prayer. I prayed that even if I was to stay in jail, that God would work through me, and change my heart and my mind and help me focus on Him. And He did. I could feel Him slowly starting to restore me. Even though I was in jail and I felt alone, I knew I had God so I was okay with my circumstances. I would pray, ‘God, make a way.’
Because I’ve made so many bad decisions, I didn’t have family that would come and get me. But God moved a mountain. He got me out of jail on a bond hearing I didn’t even sign up for. He knew I was ready for change. You get a peace after you invite God into your life and you choose Him.”
While she was in jail, Charlotte spoke to Ms. Debbe (Director of Women’s Recovery Ministries at Ministry Village), but had no plans to go into the Charis House upon her release. She really had no idea where to go. “I could feel God tell me that everything would be okay. That I just needed to reach Ms. Debbe, and He would make a way. He would move another mountain for me. I called her the next day. Two hours later, she called me back, and there was an opening for me to come to the Charis House.
When I came into the Charis House, I came in hurt, broken and hopeless. I knew I was at a crossroads in my life. I knew I needed change and that God was the only one that could do that for me. Jeremiah 29:11 says, ‘For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you a future and a hope.’ This verse restored my hope. It also brought peace and encouragement into my life.
My year at the Charis House was one of the hardest years of my life, but it was also the most rewarding. I lost it all in order to gain my new identity in Christ. I am a child of God. I am loved. I am redeemed. I am chosen. I am no longer held down by bondage or a slave to sin. I am set free. My God has delivered me. He has taken my fear and put in faith. He has taken my hate and restored it with love. He has taken my anxiety and replaced it with peace. He is healing my wounds and he is making my losses turn out to be prosperous.
I’ve been able to restore my relationship with my mom. I have the faith that God can really do anything in my life. I’m able to go back to school. He is restoring my relationships with my family and my daughter. He’s just given me such a peace that no one – and no type of drug – could ever give me. He’s making me a new person. I’m leaving my past behind me, and I’m moving forward, excited about where my God is taking me in life.”
Charlotte has entered Phase II, is working part-time as a hair stylist, and is attending Pensacola State College to earn her degree as a Physical Therapy Assistant.
✝️ The Charis House is a non-profit Christian-based residential substance abuse program for females. The program is designed in 3 phases, each offering stages of recovery that provide the necessary tools for a practical transition into a new lifestyle free of addiction. The faith-based recovery program addresses the client’s personal relationship with God as the foundation for healing and wholeness. It requires a willingness to change and adhere to a controlled, strict and disciplined environment, allowing life-changing experiences to occur. There is no fee to apply.