Love Comes Full Circle

by The Gideons International on October 10, 2014

Over seventeen years ago, I was invited to give my testimony at the Jones County Jail in Ellisville, MS. I didn’t hesitate to accept. I’ve never been behind prison bars, but I have been in bondage by the chains of my own sin.

While I know Jesus is the only one who can set us free, I can also empathize with the women in jail—their pain, rejection, abuse, and low self-esteem. I have felt it all, and I searched for a way to numb the pain.

Isaiah 61:1 says, “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound.” (ESV)

Brokenhearted people often break the hearts of those who love them the most. Those who are bound by sin are prisoners even in the “free” world outside the jail.

As an Auxiliary, I am a member of the jail ministry team, a passion that has only grown stronger with time. Cindy was one of the inmates I met when I first started in jail ministry. She was a drug addict. We connected right away. After she was released, I saw her one Christmas ringing the Salvation Army bell at a local store. She immediately recognized me and reminded me we had met while she was in jail.

Time passed and one night while visiting a jail, I noticed Cindy was back. She had started using drugs again. However, this time she accepted the Lord while in jail and started reading her Gideon-placed Bible. Later, she was released and though I didn’t see her for many years, the story continued to unfold.

A Loved One Confesses His Own Addiction
One night my doorbell rang and when I answered it, there stood my son, Jeffrey. He asked me to step outside and sit down. Jeffrey told me he was a drug addict and needed help. I could tell he was afraid of my reaction. I hugged him and told him God knew this would happen one day, and He had prepared my heart by giving me a love for the women in jail who were addicted.

Jeffrey was admitted to the local hospital to get help with his addiction and later he went to a halfway house. I would love to tell you when he was released all was well, but that’s not how the story goes. Satan was working overtime in his life. Jeffrey was drawn back into sin as a result of addiction once again.

I kept loving my son and praying for his recovery from sin. Several months went by and I thought he was getting better. However, he was still making wrong choices. I had reached the end of my rope and knew it was time to let go. Jeffrey was on his own.

When he was released, he went to a homeless shelter but began attending church. He found the “Mission at the Cross,” a place for men who are homeless and trying to find work. They had Bible studies and drove the men to church each week. One day, as he was riding his bicycle to work, he stopped on the side of the road and prayed to ask Jesus to save him. The following Sunday, he went forward to make public his profession of faith. His baptism date was scheduled, and I was invited to attend. When the service was over, he wanted me to meet the couple that had spent a great deal of time with him.

As I started across the church, I heard the lady say, “No way! Is that your mother, Jeffrey?” Who was the lady? You might have guessed it! It was Cindy, the inmate I had ministered to in jail years before.

I was faithful to share Jesus’ love in the jail to Cindy, who later showed the love of Jesus to my own son in his hour of need. Jeffrey has a good heart. I now see him loving on people the world has cast aside. The story has come full circle.

Romans 8:1 reminds us, “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus.” (ESV) He whom the Son sets free is free indeed! No longer bound by sin and shame, but free to share the love and forgiveness of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Laurie
Ellisville, MS

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Michael Butler October 10, 2014 at 11:06 am

THAT is one of those more than wonderful stories; so miraculous. Praise God!

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Sue Redman October 10, 2014 at 12:23 pm

How miraculous! What a wonderful Savior we have!

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Col.V K Bharos October 11, 2014 at 9:28 am

Praise the Lord for this wonderful testimony. My sincere appreciation to the work of
vibrant auxiliary members who are working around the world to reach the lost with the love and words of Lord Jesus. Their labor is certainly not in vain and their reward is glorious.

Well done Laurie. Keep it up and God bless you.

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Rome Ingle October 13, 2014 at 9:56 am

A great testimony! The “Punch” line really effected me. I plan to share this testimony!

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Attah. E,S October 13, 2014 at 3:51 pm

To God only be the glory

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Nick Scarimbolo October 20, 2014 at 8:11 am

A wonderful affirmation of the presence and sovereignty of God.

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Thomas Odejide November 15, 2014 at 4:26 pm

Glory to God. He knows and cares. No sinner with breath in him is far too gone for God to redeem. I look forward to sharing this testimony as I reach out to people through the GI in Nigeria. Amen.

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