I had been with Mr. Wonderful a whole 21 days, when he robbed the First Tennessee Bank. A good Samaritan followed him back to where we were staying and called the authorities. That led to a three-hour standoff while Jessie had a shootout with police. I had known Jessie was a criminal, but I hadn’t expected that to cost me my freedom. Nevertheless, there I was, on December 4, 1989, in the Knox County Jail in Knoxville, Tennessee, facing charges as an accessory to bank robbery.
Jessie’s actions had knocked all the soap operas off the air that day, as the shootout was televised live locally. It was later shown on other programs like Rescue 911, Trial Watch, and Code 3. A full-spread photo of Jessie’s surrender was featured in Time magazine and was listed among the best photos of 1989.
I was found not guilty in federal court and pled to a class D felony in state court. I spent just over 13 months in jail, but I thank God for that time, because that’s where He revealed Himself to me. I entered into a relationship with Him through His Son, Jesus. I learned how valuable I am, and how great is the mercy of God. It’s greater than all my sin.
I discovered that God hears my prayers and that He is able to change even the most dire situation. Through the Bible, I came to know God as my heavenly Father, and He changed my life. His Word has given me a foundation of truth and love that no man or circumstance can ever take away.
I had read many self-help books, held various jobs, been in and out of relationships with multiple men, and enjoyed cars, jewelry, drugs, and sex—but none of it had ever made me feel whole or complete. None of it could heal my heart or fill the emptiness inside me. But Jesus Christ did.
God didn’t waste any time resurrecting my life once I was released. Would you believe that He gave me a job training banks? You tell me God doesn’t have a sense of humor! Only He can take someone accused of accessory to bank robbery and enable her to be a client trainer for an international company that provides services for over 15,000 different banks worldwide.
I’ve had a wonderful career since then, and have had amazing opportunities to serve my community. Today, I go into jails and prisons to share my story with inmates. I want them to know that God can fill every void in their life. He can fill yours, too—you just need to trust Him.
Maybe trusting is hard for you. I understand that. I had a terrible childhood filled with much abuse, so I know it can be difficult to make yourself vulnerable. But taking that difficult step to trust God with your life is your first step to wholeness. God will not fail you. He will not abandon you. He’ll meet you where you are, and He will help you. His goodness and mercy will resurrect your life, just like they did mine.
God has restored everything the enemy ever took from me and everything I gave away. He has given me a life far above what I could have ever dreamed possible. All I had to do was take that first step.
Take the plunge. Put your trust in God. What He did for me, He will be faithful to do for you as well. †