Finding New Life

Inspiration MinistriesBy Inspiration Ministries6 Minutes

The Beginnings of Rage

As the oldest of five children, Jackie helped raise her siblings alongside her single mother in a neighborhood scarred by poverty and violence. She never knew the identity of her father, but the bond between mother and daughter was strong.

When Jackie was just 12, however, her mom died from cancer. Anger and rebellion began to dig its roots into Jackie’s heart, and she blamed it all on God. “I had a hard time when my mom died,” Jackie shared. “I thought, ‘God, how could You take a mother from her kids like this?’”

Jackie and her siblings moved in with her grandfather and his wife. “He was definitely not my hero,” she said with a wry laugh. Her grandfather was known for selling alcohol out of his house, and he started Jackie drinking as soon as she moved in.

When he got drunk, her grandfather would physically abuse Jackie and her siblings: “He beat us with the leather straps they used in the barber shop,” she remembers quite vividly.

As her inner turmoil grew, Jackie fell into a destructive pattern of acting out her anger. In seventh grade, she was suspended for attacking a classmate, and that was just one episode of her inner rage.

At age 18, Jackie got pregnant and gave birth to a baby girl. A year later, she married another man and had a son. But her husband turned out to be abusive, and the marriage lasted little more than a year.

In an attempt to manage her frustration, Jackie turned to crack cocaine. Her drug addiction, in turn, led to a life of crime that had her in and out of jail for almost 10 years.

When asked what she thought about when she first went to prison, Jackie surprisingly said she thought about God. “I told God, ‘I don’t need You, because I know I’ll be back on the streets when I get out of prison.’”

Jackie concluded that she would never fully surrender her life to God as long as she had the option to steal, fight, and use drugs. And that surely would take more than a short prison stay. She felt it would take something like a life sentence for her to leave her old life behind and embrace a relationship with Christ…and that’s exactly what God arranged.

The Murder That Gave Her Life

After being in and out of jail for years, Jackie’s life took another downward turn one summer night in 1998. Her uncontrollable anger peaked when her roommate refused to run an errand for her. Enraged, Jackie beat her roommate to death. She was originally given the death penalty, but her sentence was later reduced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Little did Jackie know that when her life seemed virtually over, it actually was just about to begin…

One day she was watching TV in prison and happened to see a broadcast by Inspiration Ministries. At that very moment, the speaker proclaimed, “There’s a lady watching right now who’s going through something and needs healing.”

“I felt the Spirit of God, and I knew He was talking to me,” Jackie remembers. “That’s when I dedicated my life to God, and my whole life changed.”

From Inmate to Inspiration for Others

After giving her life to Christ, Jackie began to sense an enormous appreciation for Inspiration Ministries. She became an Inspiration Partner, which enabled her to start receiving the INSPIRATION devotional magazine. The magazine has helped her grow in her faith, and now she’s passing out its teachings to her fellow inmates.

“I write messages from the devotional on a small sheet of paper and pass them out to the other inmates,” she explains. “They don’t realize they’re reading your devotional, but they are. I’m doubly blessed, first by reading it myself, then by watching other inmates read it. They tell me how God has used it to bless them, and I frequently hear them say, ‘That teaching was exactly what I needed today!’”

“The people at Inspiration Ministries are my family,” Jackie tells the Inspiration Ministries staff members with tears in her eyes. “I can’t help but cry in appreciation of the love they have for Christ and for people who need a touch from God.”

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