The Battle Belongs to the Lord

Julie SealsBy Julie Seals8 Minutes

Excerpt taken from All My Hope: A Prisoner No More by Julie Seals


Chapter 7

The Battle Belongs to the Lord

EVEN THOUGH I was in federal prison, and even though an attorney had told me I made a fatal error when I kidnapped my son, I began to really believe that someday I would see Tyler again. The Lord had performed multiple miracles for me, the greatest of which was changing me into a new person, and I knew He could do anything.

Choosing to Be Courageous

I had read in Psalm thirty-seven, “Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass” (Psalm 37:4-5 NKJV). And of course it was my desire to be free from incarceration. But most of all, I desired more than anything to see and hold my Tyler.

I realized if it was in God’s plan to grant me the most significant desire of my heart, and if that day came when I was freed, I would have to face Tyler’s dad in a courtroom again. I believed in order to see my boy, I would have to face a judge.

I also believed if that day ever came, I would have to come face to face—again—with my crimes, my addictions, my sinful life, my mistakes, and the fact that in the eyes of society I was considered nothing but hopeless, worthless, purposeless, useless trash!

What in the world was I to do? I had been put to shame during the custody battle in that small-town courtroom in Tennessee just before I took Tyler and fled to Mexico. My reprehensible, sinful life had been exposed before the courtroom audience, and I was gripped with fear over the thought of being publicly shamed again. Even though I knew I was a new person in Jesus Christ, I also knew that many who knew me “before Jesus” would not care a whit whether or not I had changed.

They would only want to see me humiliated and disgraced—again.

Despite my fear, I decided I would prepare myself for that day. I made up my mind to face whatever humiliation I had to face in order to get in front of a judge and ask permission to see my precious little boy again.

I made up my mind to be courageous.

It was right there in that federal prison where I developed the courageous faith to believe that God had plans for my life—for good and not evil—to give me hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11). It was there in that federal prison where God sent that woman, a volunteer prison minister, to come to the fifth floor, sit on my bunk, and insist over and over to me that Jesus loved me, that He had been nailed to a cross and died for me, and that He would forgive me if I would repent of my sins and surrender my life to Him.

It was there in that federal prison where I read the words of Joshua 1:9 for the very first time: “This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

The tall, concrete block building in the center of downtown San Diego where I was imprisoned was supposed to be a place of confinement and punishment. But for me it became a place of freedom, sobriety, and a second chance at life. How ironic that man had built that building as a place to protect society from criminals—from me—but God had set me in that building to prepare me to be a blessing to society—a light in a dark world.

God used my incarceration to prepare me to be His light and share His truth in a world full of confusion and lies. I was set free from sin and darkness in that place of confinement. And in that place of confinement, chains and strongholds were forever removed from my life.

It takes courage to live beyond regrets, but the good news is that God wanted to take my mess and turn it into a miracle. The verses of Proverbs 3:5-6 became my way of life. They say, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.”

In my private time of prayer and devotion there in prison, the Lord spoke to my heart, and many times I wrote down in my prayer journals what He said. Here’s something He said to me and placed in my heart:

Julie, you are going to need to be courageous. You will have to face your past, including people who wanted to destroy you. Yes, I’ve redeemed you and made you a new creation, but you will need the courage to face people who don’t believe in you, hold resentment against you, and will still try to tear you down based on who you used to be.

You will also need to be courageous, because life on earth is hard. You will experience loneliness, loss, temptation, rejection, and attacks. But do not fear, for I will be with you! My rod and staff will comfort you [Psalm 23:4].

You will live to see my goodness in your life right here in the land of the living [Psalm 27:13]. I will never leave you nor forsake you [Deuteronomy 31:6; Hebrews 13:5]. Though at times it will feel as though you are walking through the valley of the shadow of death, you need not fear [Psalm 23:4], for if you remain committed to me, I will comfort you, protect you, bless you, and keep you safe under the shelter of my wing [Psalm 91:1-4].

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