And the Truths That Set Me Free
Just before I went to prison, I gave my heart to Jesus. My life until then was based on three main lies: I was unloved, I had no value, and I was alone.
These lies led me to become a "loner," never sharing the secrets of my heart or asking for help. The Devil loved keeping me in that loneliness because it set me up for repeated failure.
Many women who enter prison have believed these lies about themselves. Because of this it is easy for Satan, the world, and the woman herself to convince her the lies are truth. Each of these lies wreaks havoc in the hearts and minds of the women they deceive.
LIE: I AM UNLOVED
A woman who believes herself to be unloved has no idea what God's love looks like or how to get it. If she comes from a childhood of abuse, she may equate love with attention of any kind, even emotional or physical abuse, hoping the relationship will lead to the "true" love she so desperately longs for.
LIE: I AM UNWORTHY
When a woman's heart has been wounded by abuse and lack of love, she may feel she has no value to others. She might think that if she can prove her worth, then she can convince someone to love her.
This desire to prove her value can lead a hurting woman to a destructive lifestyle, such as using or selling drugs to prove she is worth keeping to a man who is abusing her. Or she may believe, No one cares what happens to me. I may as well forget the rules and just have fun.
LIE: I AM ALONE
When a woman believes she is alone, she may try to protect herself. She may view others as a threat to her safety.
Women are made to live in healthy community, but deep distrust keeps them closed off from others. By keeping them isolated, the Devil can manipulate women into remaining his captives.
THE TRUTH SHALL SET YOU FREE
As soon as I was released from prison, I was so afraid I would relapse into my old way of living that I ran straight to a church. While my daughters attended children's classes, I joined a group for women. Over time, these Christian women became my sisters in Jesus. They mentored me and taught me how to be a wiser, more caring mom. We prayed together and shared with each other.
I felt safe. Loved. They were my family.
With the help of these sisters, I learned the power of Christ's forgiveness. And by spending time reading my Bible, His Word replaced the lies I had believed with the truth!
TRUTH: I AM LOVED
Follow God's example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God."
God sees us as His dearly loved children. And because God is all-powerful, nothing can separate us from His love (see also Romans 8:38-39).
TRUTH: I AM VALUED
For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy."
Because of Jesus Christ's sacrificial death and resurrection, we as His followers are made perfect through Him. We don't have to prove our worth to God—He has loved us since we were first created (see also Psalm 139: 13-16 and James 4:10).
TRUTH: I AM NOT ALONE
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith."
When we believe we are loved and declared worthy by God, we discover that we are never alone. Not only do we have God with us, meeting our needs spiritually, but we also have community in the Church (see also Philippians 2:2-5, 4:19).
In my own life, God used that church and those ladies to help me grow and stand against the lies of my past. He wants that for you, too.
I strongly encourage you to embrace the acceptance and fresh start that comes with being part of God's family—behind bars and back on the outside. Seek His truths and His forgiveness. And remember to give yourself—and others—a second chance.
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