Most of us have had situations in our lives that we would prefer that no one know about. We don’t want others to know because of fear of being rejected and because shame associated with the circumstance.
Well I have one particular situation in my life that I’d prefer others don’t know about, but it is THE THING the Lord called me to write and speak about.
Before this situation happened, I felt led by the Lord to be a writer and a speaker. So to learn more about the craft, I attended writers’ and speakers’ conferences to prepare myself to fulfill God’s purpose for my life.
My heart stirred with excitement each time I listened to the teachers share their testimonies and when I read how they became published and obtained speaking engagements. The longing to achieve what they achieved burned with a passion inside me.
Then BAM! An unimaginable tragedy. My first-born son was arrested and nine months later convicted of horrific crimes. I allowed the circumstances to crush me. As a result, I hid in fear.
I hid in my home from people. I stopped writing. I stopped speaking. I took down my blog, stopped submitting to websites or other publications, and I no longer showed up on social media. Yet I earnestly continued to seek God in His Word.
Then the Lord used Dewey Moede to encourage me to write about our unexpected prison family journey and post it on FGGAM.
I asked, “You want me to write about that?
I prayed about it and felt the Lord tug at my heart to say yes. So I began writing about our unexpected prison family journey for six years ago.
Through writing and through godly people the Lord placed in my life, HE walked me through a process of inner healing. From my broken yet restored state of mind, Lord has been using me to write about that.
In order to fulfill this call to write, I had to choose to let go of my own life—the preconceived ideas of what I thought my life should look like. Revelation 12:11 says, “And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their own lives to the death” (NKJV).
My fears of being rejected and the shame I feel for having a son in prison had to be crucified on the cross.
“I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me” (Galatians 2:20 NKJV).
So after four and half years of writing for FGGAM, I wrote my testimony and I submitted it to a publisher. The manuscript was accepted, which for those of you who have submitted proposals to publishing houses know receiving an acceptance is not an easy thing. So yes, the Lord wanted me to write about that.
Six years after saying yes to writing for FGGAM, Appeal to the Courtroom of Heaven: Petitions for Prisoners and Prison Families is my unexpected prison family journey testimony in a book. I also share about the worst-of-the-worst offenders found in the pages of the Bible and explain an effective prayer strategy I learned from this experience.
So I said yes to God and I wrote about that. I thank Pastor Dewey for his encouragement to write. I pray my transparency and vulnerability points to the source of HOPE for those who are bound by shame and fear.
You may not be called to write, but the Lord wants you to help others in the ways He has gifted you. If something has happened in your life that has caused you fear and shame, the Lord wants you to be free from it. In my book, I share how the Lord set me free from the shackles of shame and fear.
In Appeal to the Courtroom of Heaven: Petitions for Prisoners and Prison Families, I …
- share my testimony of the being shackled to shame and how the Lord set me free.
- explain the Scriptures the Lord highlighted to me about HIS plan of redemption and restoration that filled me with hope.
- included over 30 Scripture-based prayers. These prayers are not my words, as I don’t have any power. Only God’s Word changes our lives and our circumstances.
If you’ve found yourself a prisoner to shame and unable to pursue what the Lord has called you to do, I encourage you to get a copy of this book. May the Lord release you from shame and fear and you walk out your God-ordained calling!
With the slam of the gavel, the hopes and dreams for your future shatter. With a judgment rendered, you or a loved one now serve time in prison. Will another court hear your pleas?
In despair over her son’s future, Shonda Whitworth petitioned the Lord on his behalf and searched the Scriptures. Finding how the Lord redeems the worst offenders, she learned how to appeal to the heavenly court and receive hope from God for her son’s future.
In Appeal to the Courtroom of Heaven, Shonda shares how she went from deferred hope to a hope-filled life. This book will help you:
- Identify biblical heroes who were lawbreakers
- Understand the prosecutor’s strategy
- Make effective appeals on behalf of yourself and your loved ones
Hope will be restored as you confidently plead your case to the courtroom of heaven!
About the author:
Shonda Whitworth writes, teaches, and speaks at conferences and retreats to share the hope of healing and restoration we have in Jesus. After her son landed in state prison, she realized the hardships families of prisoners encounter. She and her husband, Eldon, founded Fortress of Hope Ministries, a nonprofit organization that offers hope to families affected by incarceration. Shonda transparently shares her testimony of living with a son in prison at ShondaWhitworth.com and FortressofHopeMinistries.com.
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