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| Author: Dele Oke

He Who the Son Has Set Free, Is Free Indeed

John 8:36

On February 19, 2000, I found myself incarcerated for reasons I did not understand. I now know that God sometimes has to put you in a place where you can be still and hear from him.

Looking back on my life, it was filled with heartache beginning at a young age. I did not know my mother until the age of eight.

I, along with my six other siblings, were raised by our grandmother. Although we did not have much, we never missed a meal.

My trouble began when I became a teenager. I wanted to be grown and do everything I thought they did. I partied, hung out and did drugs. I knew the consequence would be a whooping to the backside, but I wanted to do all I could.

My mother worked hard to provide the things that we needed and she demonstrated love, but sometimes a parent(s) love is not enough. At the age of 13, I became pregnant and a mother at 14. Thinking I could solve my own problems, I moved out at 15.

After a series of bad relationships and marriage, I chose to sell drugs and boost clothes to provide for my family. This negative decision led to me getting caught up in a lot of other things.

At the age of 37, I thought I had found the man of my dreams. We had a beautiful marriage and he took care of my son and me. I stopped doing drugs. four years into the marriage, it began to fall apart. I found myself back in the life. As time went on, my husband left me. I thought to myself, "What, another bad choice?"

I felt my world was closing in on me and that I had nothing to hold onto. Everyone I had loved, had turned their back on me. I was left all alone with a crack pipe as my only "friend." After several weeks of smoking crack, my appearance began to change. I remember thinking how I had hurt and disappointed everyone and that I would be better off dead.

I tried to commit suicide. As I drifted off into a deep depression, I found myself with a razor blade in hand. As I was cutting my wrist, I was thinking that all the emotional pain would soon be over. A friend who was concerned about me stopped by. Once the person realized what was happening, I was taken to the ! hospital.

I talked to several psychiatrist and was sent home a week later. My lifestyle remained unchanged.

I received a summons to appear in court. The night before I was to go, I smoked $500 dollars worth of crack. The next day, the judge took one look at me and held me on a $5,000 dollar bail. I remember thinking, that my father would get me out.

My father refused and I was sent to Dartmouth. At that point, I knew that I needed help or my life was over. A Baptist minister visited every Friday. He helped me to see that I needed the Lord in my life.

I remember one day in my cell, I was praying and asking Jesus to come into my heart. I wanted him to take away whatever it was in my life that was causing pain to my family and me. I asked him to forgive me for my sins and free me from my addiction. Immediately, I felt the presence of the Holy Spirit.

A wonderful warm sensation flowed from the top of my head to the bottom of my feet. The anxiety, depression, and guilt were carried out of my body. They were replaced by peace, love and forgiveness. I was sobbing like a baby, because ! I knew at that moment that God had set me free.

To those who have made mistakes, please know that you do not have to experiment with the dark side of life. Jesus can save you from all your suffering.

When I found Jesus as my personal Savior in a prison cell, I experienced the miracle of His love and gift of salvation. My life became brand new and I have freedom today. There is nothing our God cannot do.

I am grateful that he is not a respecter of person. I might not be alive today if he was. Glory be to God.

Sister Carolyn Johnson