When I was 21 years old I was arrested and thrown in jail. At the time I was working in outdoor sales and as I was walking up to a house to make another sale I was approached by a police officer. He said he had a few questions to ask me and before I knew it I was asked to place my hands on the hood of the police vehicle because I was being arrested. I was thrown into the back of the police car and I remember thinking this must be a mistake because who gets arrested for working in sales?!
I was shortly booked into jail and all of my clothes and shoes were taken away as I was given special prison clothes to wear. Whatever you were wearing, no matter how important it is, is taken away.
The cell walls were thick and I was placed in an individual cell just like solitary confinement. There were no bars like normal jails have to see who was around. There were no windows and the only light was a single light in each cell with barely enough light to see. I was surrounded by dirty gray walls and a thick metal door that the only time I saw open was when the guard would bring food. This was my life was for the next 5 days before I could get an arraignment because apparently it was illegal to do any sort of door to door selling in this small village I was working in.
I did not see daylight for these 5 days! Can you imagine not seeing the sun or any kind of daylight for 5 whole days?! It is not easy mentally to get through as each day seemed more like a year.
At the time I was a heavy smoker, drinker, and was also addicted to a few drugs, so this was the worst way to detox my body. When you are stuck in a small cell with nothing to do you are left with your own thoughts and you start to realize your true feelings. I was forced to sit there in agony with myself and think about all I had done and experienced at that time in my life. There was no way to numb myself of these feelings like I was used to doing. I was forced to see myself for who I really was.
You see up until this point I developed addictions to things like alcohol and drugs in order to cope with life. There were times that these addictions almost cost me my life but I couldn’t stop. I loved my addictions because I could be okay and be the awesome, funny, strong, and outgoing woman that people thought I was. But without being able to feed my addictions I was lost, hopeless, and helpless (not to mention angry). I was in the dark in my cell but more importantly I was in the dark, spiritually. That is what true loneliness really feels like…to feel the full effect of who you are without numbing yourself. That is ugly and I was experiencing it all.
In this time God continued to call to me and I could feel the tug on my heart. I would talk to him in that small jail cell and I prayed for him to just get me out of the mess I had made. I pleaded with God to release me from this torment. All the while I was just craving to feed my addictions. I wanted out of there so bad just to feel numb again. That was the truth! I didn’t get that God just didn’t want to get me out of jail–his plans went farther. He wanted to set me free of the sin that was overpowering me and was essentially running my life. It was a sin so powerful that I could not see how controlling it was over me. I was clueless to what was going on but God knew what needed to happen.
At the time I didn’t get the fact that the Lord actually truly loved me. I was so use to being used for something that I developed severe trust issues. There were some thick walls around my heart that I thought kept me safe from being hurt. And here comes God asking me to trust him. Trust? What is that? I was thinking how can I trust anyone after what I’ve been through. But the Lord kept encouraging me to trust him with my whole heart and not just a small part of it.
“And although you were formerly alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds, yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach.” -Colossians 1:21, 22
It isn’t just positive thinking or a heartwarming quote when you hear the encouragement of how God will meet you where you are. It is true that the Lord will meet you where you are. Look at Apostle Paul for instance. God is the same Lord that met Paul in the midst of his anger and sin towards God by persecuting the church and God still changed his heart. Paul talks about what it is like to walk out of our old life and into our new creation selves. If anyone knows the weight of what this is like it’s Paul.
“Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.”
-2 Corinthians 5:17
In this jail cell the Lord started softening my heart towards him and revealed his true character to me. I did not deserve the Lord to lavish this great love upon me but he did because he is in the business of saving the lost. I was lost and seeking to fix the gaping hole in my heart. After my arraignment I walked out of that jail with time served as my punishment. It was as if the Lord just needed some alone time with me. Away from the people I was hanging around with so that I could taste what real freedom and true hope was like.