Periodically, we feature guest posts from members of our community in our series, “From The Road”. Walking through adversity is a journey and it’s something we should do together. What is God showing you as you travel this path? If you have a message on your heart that you’d like contribute, check out our Share Your Story page.
“Hey, those pants actually look great on you!”
I looked down, and was surprised to agree with her – Stephanie – my cellmate there in Davidson County Detention Facility.
It was the best news I’d had in weeks. And I smiled because, to me, this was a miracle. This was God’s way of saying, “See, I got you girl!”
It was early May of 2011 when I spent a weekend incarcerated in a Nashville jail. It was an automatic, do not pass Go, do not collect $200 part of my sentence for a “Driving Under the Influence” charge earlier that February.
For me, all of February, March, and April of that year consisted of prayer, tears, and fasting. My identity as the “good girl” and the “smart girl” and the “responsible girl” came crumbling down around me. Eight hours of work every day was enough to keep me distracted from my reality for a little while. But I was forced to face the cracks in the foundation on evenings and weekends.
I had just moved to a new city without friends or family. I felt alone. Essentially, I was alone. Except for God.
No matter how fractured or lost or ashamed I felt, He was there, He was “my ever present help” in my time of struggle (Psalm 46:1). He gave me hope with Bible stories and the Holy Spirit promptings. He helped me to rebuild the pieces – starting with my foundation.
“We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.” – Hebrews 6:19
In those long weeks until my trial date, He showed me where I could find my true identity. Not an identity that was based on works – as I had created for myself. It was an identity based on unshakable truth. No action or misstep could take away this identity. Truth is always truth. Truth cannot change. Truth just is.
My newfound identity was this: God’s precious child. And even though I felt like an entitled, whiney, disobedient, ungrateful, shameful child, He never stopped loving me.
“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God.” – Ephesians 2:8
In May of 2011 I was tired of beating myself up. I was ready to start accepting the forgiveness the Father was offering. I wanted to claim this identity as my own somehow. And so, I made a promise to myself at the end of April that every day in May I would dress well. This would remind me, even when I felt like a worthless criminal, that I belonged to a King who loved me.
Clearly, I had made this decision before realizing I would spend 48 hours in a detention facility in May.
So, on that day, when I had my freedom, my clothing, and even my name stripped away from me (because I was reduced to being called by my bunk location), the Lord found a way to remind me of my true identity: His precious daughter.
And I smiled at that pair of prison-issued blue pants with the letters “DCDF” all down the front. No matter what the man-made system needed to do to punish me, and no matter what hateful thoughts I wanted to tell myself, the Lord was with me, encouraging me, reminding me I was His priceless child.
“Your beauty and love chase after me every day of my life.” – Psalm 23:6a
Since that discovery I have never doubted in His love for me. That weekend was the best and worst of times. It changed the trajectory of my path. Not just because I wanted to avoid returning to prison, but because I know I can trust Him with every breath of my life.
My identity, my relationships, my career, my future – they all belong to Him. Since then, I have not endured pain or loss that didn’t come with joy and learning because I fully trusted Him.
“You will show me the path that leads to life; your presence fills me with joy and brings me pleasure forever.” – Psalm 16:11
I would have never experienced the complete gratitude and peace I feel regularly without putting down my will in favor of trusting His promptings.
Contributor’s note: If you’d like to experience this kind of radical freedom that comes from FULLY trusting in the Lord, check out Trust Academy – a 90 day online coaching experience that could break your chains of doubt and unlock His promises of peace! http://www.serenityjourneyministries.com/trust-academy
Ginny Priz is a single-handed lover of life! Being born without a full right arm was the blessing that gave her faith in God’s plan. After years of struggling with anxiety, codependency, and addiction, Ginny finally gave in and let God change her through radical trust! Today, she has a passion for sharing this transformational power to help others along their own serenity journey. Ginny is a SCORRE Certified Speaker and Certified Professional Life Coach (CPLC). Look for her book, Ditch the Drama: How to Access God’s Promises of Joy and Freedom (no matter what the world throws at you) which will be released September 6th.