A few years ago I was invited to a women’s conference here in Albuquerque. It was the first one I had ever attended and was one of the most heartfelt weekends of my whole life, thanks to the guest speaker Hannah Overton. If you know anything about Hannah Overton, you know that she was wrongfully convicted of murdering her 4-year old foster child whom she was in the process of adopting. Hannah’s testimony really revealed the mercy of God to me and I’ll never forget it. Before hearing her speak, I had never really understood the capacity of God’s mercy and grace toward me.
Imagine going to prison for 7 years for something you didn’t do. Imagine being away from your family, including the newborn you had just given birth to, because you were falsely accused of force-feeding your foster child too much salt. This was Hannah Overton’s experience and I still can’t believe how strong she came out of it.
Hearing Hanna’s testimony gave me hope to believe that God is a just God and He truly does have plans to prosper us and not to harm us (Jer 29:11). In 2014 Hannah Overton’s conviction was overturned. She was acquitted of all charges and was recently granted a large sum of money as compensation for the time she spent behind bars. Today she runs a ministry that helps share Jesus Christ with other women who are incarcerated. She’s given her time and effort to share the good news with people who may or may not have the opportunity to know Jesus. She came out of prison with a full and glad heart instead of bitterness and anger.
What would you do if you spent all those years in bondage and then one day you were acquitted. I spent most of my life in the bondages of sin, until 2010 when I gave my life and heart to Jesus Christ. The difference between Hannah and myself is that I deserved prison time. When I think about the happiness Hannah must have felt when she was released to her family, I think about the day I surrendered myself to my Father in Heaven. I can’t even begin to explain to you how happy I felt after so many years of depression. It was like 6,000 pounds of weight was taken off my shoulders and I could walk freely to see the beauty of my Creator.
Every sin we commit begins with pride. Every sin we commit begins with a choice. We can either choose God’s way, or, because we have free will, we can choose our own way. Every time I’ve chosen my way, I’ve failed and have been hurt. In my experience, even if I think it’s going to be difficult, choosing God’s path is always the right thing to do, and it brings a sense of peace and fulfillment like nothing else. Take a look at Paul, he rejoiced in his suffering because he knew it would make him stronger in the end. We will suffer if we take the Lord’s path, but we will also come out stronger.
“For I will acquit them of the guilt of bloodshed, whom I had not acquitted (Joel 3:21).” I was not acquitted, but now I am. I’m no longer bound by the shackles of hell, but by the freedom that’s found in our Savior Jesus Christ, and for that I am so darn grateful I want to shout it from the rooftops. I am free. I suffer for His sake because “His power is made perfect in my weakness (2 Cor 12:9).” How about you? Have your shackles been removed by Jesus Christ? Have you experienced His grace in your life? If not, I pray you will accept Him into your heart so you can be free from the penalty of sin. Will you suffer? Yes you will, but there will be a blessing in it and you will not suffer alone. At least we know that there is an end to suffering for God and we will receive a reward when we meet Him face to face.
If you need someone to talk to, I am here for you. Please reach out to me via the Contact Us page and I will personally pray with you. God bless you forever and ever!