We will never know this side of heaven how the Holy Spirit will use our seed-planting to bring multiple harvests resulting in countless lives touched by the Good News of Jesus!
We are often asked why we choose to do prison ministry. Charles T. Studd, missionary to formerly unreached people in Asia and Africa, said it best:
There are so many creative ways to minister and work in the harvest fields! God can and will send out anyone to be His voice, hands, and feet!
God Loved Me at My Lowest Point
A Testimony of His Grace
By: Brittanya Dempsey
I grew up in an average, legalistic, religious, Christian family. I attended Sunday School and church with my parents regularly. I was six years old when I was baptized at Bethany Baptist Church. I went through the motions of doing “Christian things”, as best as I could based on the examples my parents set before me. I did not really know God, I just knew about Him.
At the age of nine, my parents separated and divorced. Soon after that, I found myself searching for purpose and meaning in people, and in my own self. Wherever I thought I had found purpose, whether in true friends or in unhealthy relationships, I poured my whole heart into them. I also became very fixated on my image and myself. I was very young and already struggling daily with what other people thought of me. I was living for the acceptance of the world.
I was eleven when I began my self-seeking search for validation. I had developed a very distorted and perverted perspective of what I thought it meant to “love”. At the age of fifteen, I made the decision to bring a child into the world. I had no parental skills and no knowledge of what it meant to be a mother. Before I knew it years had gone by, and I found myself a full-blown addict and an unfit mother.
I was bound by self-hate, depression, and years of regret. I used men, drugs and alcohol to numb the pain on a daily basis, which led to fifteen years of being a drug addict. I had almost lost hope that I would ever amount to anything…and then my life got even worse. I lost everything – my sanity, my five children, the support of my family, and my physical freedom.
In prison for the third time, alone and afraid, I realized I had finally reached the lowest point of my life. It was then that God began to draw me to Himself. I longed for the peace and knowledge of what it truly meant to be “free on the inside” even while I was physically confined. I wanted to be able to comprehend the incredible fullness of the love of Christ – its width, length, depth and height. I desired the fullness of God to fill the emptiness I had felt for so long. Having grown up in a Christian home, I remembered there was a power greater than myself that I could rely on.
In April, 2012, I finally submitted to the Lord, and confessed that I was a wretched sinner. I was tired of trying to find life in the things of this world, in other people, and in myself. I sincerely acknowledged that God the Father sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to die on the cross, so that I would be saved from my sin and have eternal life. I fully dedicated my life to living for God instead of others.
First, to God be all the glory for His immeasurable mercy and grace that He has shown me. Without it, I am convinced I would not be alive today – physically or spiritually.
Second, I would like to give recognition to my spiritual dad, a prison minister now who was once in prison himself. He is a mighty vessel and tool for the Lord. In the deepest depths of my destruction, he never stopped sharing the love of Christ with me. He witnessed to me daily, and shared his testimony about all the Lord had done in his life. It was no time at all and I began to want what he had.
Since knowing God as Father, He showed me that being a “Christian” is not about just doing good works. He made it clear I do not have to earn my salvation or His love (Eph. 2:8-9). He has given me great fulfillment, purpose, and joy. On August 14, 2013, I was released from prison, and was accepted into Calvary Commission International Theological Seminary. It has been such a privilege and an extraordinary opportunity to sit under these great theologians.
With great humility, today I can admit that I am, and will forever be, a continuous work in progress. I am still flawed and imperfect but God loves me unconditionally. While the things I was pursuing before continually let me down, God has never once left me. He shows Himself to me daily in His living Word, in prayer, and based upon the measure of my faith. God has already begun the process of restoration in my life and for that, I am truly grateful.
God loved me at my lowest point and He rescued me from eternal separation from Him. He will do the same for all those who believe, trust, and obey Him.
I do not fight for salvation that is freely given; today I fight to fully accept and implement in my life everything Jesus has already made available to me.