In a place of heartbreak and confusion after Stephen’s trial, conviction, and sentencing, I was confused by the actuality that not all the facts and evidence were allowed to be presented at trial for the jury to consider. Combined with the agony I felt because my son allowed himself to be placed in a situation that led to his conviction, I ended up in a state of anguish.
Though we had close family and friends that rallied around us, none of them had walked through having a loved one incarcerated. This was new territory for all of us. Feeling like no one understood what I felt, I sunk into depression. The doctor called it “situation adjustment disorder.”
That was an accurate diagnosis. How does one adjust to a child, or a loved one going into prison?
In my misery, I said, “As long as my son’s in prison, I’m not going to live life.” I had no thoughts of taking my own life, but I merely had no desire to live a fulfilling life. I conceded to living a life of depression. I made a commitment to myself to just do what needed to be done through the day and exist.
Merely exist from day-to-day I did.
Get up. Make coffee. Read the Bible. Pray. Get my youngest up and to school. Come home. Write a letter to Stephen. Read—either the Bible or a book. Wash dishes. Wash clothes. Read. Take a nap. Eat something. Read. Take another nap. Help with dinner. Clean up. Watch TV. Go to bed.
Same mundane routine day-after-day. One precious sister in Christ met with me and spoke the truth to me, “You look like the walking dead. You need to snap out of this and live the life God called you to live.”
Eventually the words stirred me to seek answers to start living life again. I made an appointment with a Christian counselor. At my meeting, I shocked the counselor when she asked about my reason for being there. I blurted out, “I’m the mother of a convicted felon.”
My words obviously shocked her as her body jerked back and quivered, her eyes rounded, and her eyebrows met her hairline. She was rendered speechless for what felt like minutes where neither of us spoke.
Her response led me to shudder with uncontrollable tears. This confirmed to me that no one understood my circumstances. Not even a professional counselor knew what to do. I prepared myself to rush out of the office, get in my car, and be content merely existing inside my personal fortress. My refuge. My safe place.
Her next words halted my exit strategy. “We need to process this as grief counseling.” Then she gave me information on how to process grief. The same information given to those who deal with the grief caused by a death in the family.
I left the counselor’s office with one new thing—to walk for at least a half-hour three to four times each week.
So I started walking and moving outside the confines of my self-imposed prison. I began to feel better and that eventually led to my willingness to do more outside the home.
However, four years after I spoke those words about not living life, I still felt some hindrance in my life. Though I wasn’t where I used to be, I still was not where I desired to be.
While meeting with a godly mentor, the Holy Spirit revealed how the words I spoke four years prior brought death to my life. This is not an immediate death, but a slow process of life seeping out of the soul.
“Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits” (Proverbs 18:21 ESV).
To resuscitate my life and break the bondage of death, I had to repent for the words I spoke.
Once I came to this place of repentance, I realized God is in control of my son’s life and God is working in my son to turn things around for him.
I acknowledged that I am accountable to live the life God has planned for me.
After repentance, I continued the resuscitation process by turning scriptures into declarations. God’s word is life.
For example, I say:
“The thief comes to steal, kill, and destroy, but Jesus came that I may have life and have it more abundantly.” (Based on John 10:10.)
“I am like a tree planted by streams of living water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither, but in all I do, I prosper.” (Based on Psalm 1:3.)
Negative words spoken will bring death to your life. Choose today to repent for the negative words spoken in your life. Then realize that you have the power to resuscitate your life with the Word of God.
God’s word resuscitates life!