A Blessing in Disguise

A Testimony for Encouragement ...... July 10, 2020

First, I would like to thank you for asking me to share my testimony.  It is an honor to share my family’s story with each of you.  This is only the second time I have shared my testimony publicly.  If you are thinking about sharing and haven’t please take the time to think about why you have chosen not to share and if you are close to sharing and haven’t, I pray that God will give you the strength to do so.

I am the youngest of five children.  I am also the only child from my mom’s second marriage. My mom raised my 3 brothers, my sister and me as a single mother.  When my mom was 6 months pregnant with my sister, her first husband was shot and killed as he was leaving a poker game, leaving her a widow.  My mom remarried when my sister was 9 years old and later became pregnant with me.  While she was pregnant with me, she found out my father had a wife and children in Mexico when he married her.  She divorced him before I was born.  I’ve never met my father and have never felt the need to do so.  You see I have someone in my life who has always been a father figure to me.  He took me to my first day of kindergarten. He helped my mom provide me with school clothes each year.  He bought me my first car.  He helped me though my first year of college.  He’s who I always went to for advice.  He is the person I never thought I could “repay” for being so good to me when he didn’t have to.  It was a choice he made to take care of and provide for me and my mom.  He is not a “stepfather”; he is my brother.

My brother worked hard from the time he was able to work. He joined the Army to help provide him a way through college.  He attended college and worked hard to attain a bachelors and a master’s degree.  He became an amazing teacher and coach.  He had a wonderful career for 28 years.  He was a mentor to countless students and peers.  He used his profession as his discipleship to the best of his abilities (as this can be difficult to do these days in education).  He has always been a very devoted Christian man, he has always loved and served hid God as he thought he needed to do.  He taught, coached, advised, fed, housed, consoled, led students to devote their lives to God, led students to choose his same profession as he’d chosen (students who never even thought of going to college).  He did and continues to do many great things in his life.

He like many of us made a mistake.  He wondered off the path that God was leading him on and made a choice that would change his life and the lives of our family forever. On September 16, 2014, I got a phone call from my sister.  She was calling to tell me that someone had accused my brother of sexual assault.  A woman who my brother had been seeing for about a year, had accused him of sexual assault when her husband found out she was having an affair with my brother. My family’s world came crashing down around us!   My first thought was this is not true! My brother did not do this.  I know he is innocent of this and will forever support his innocence until the day I die!  I immediately knew I needed to drop everything and go be with my brother.  I did just that, I left work, packed a bag, drove 2 and a half hours to pick up my mom and we 5+ hours to be with my brother.  What followed was a whirlwind of change in my brother’s life and the lives of my entire family.  I could go on forever about the negative impact (loss of career, realizing who your true friend are, having to sell home to pay for legal fees) and legalities of all that was brought on by this accusation(hiring an attorney, lie detector test, arrest, indictment, arraignments that happened every month over a course of 3 years).  I could also go on forever about how broken our Justice System is.  What I’d like to focus on are the blessings that came out this horrible situation.

Since 2014, each person in our immediate family has either strengthened our relationship with God or accepted him as our Savior.  I got to watch as my husband slowly but eventually gave his life to God, supported my brother and my family through it all, never made my brother feel less than and simply just let me love and support my brother unconditionally as my brother had supported me all my life. My family was very close then and even closer now because of this.  We now know without a doubt that we will spend eternity with our God and each other.  Each person in our family prays daily for each other and for the people who falsely accused my brother.  We lean heavily on Psalm 91 and Psalm 71 and the promises each of those Psalm’s promise.  My brother is serving time for something he did not do, but most importantly he is serving God in the way God intends for him to serve him.  His time began in September of 2017 and it could go on for 12 years.  In the time my brother has been serving, he has focused on doing what he feels God has him there to do.  He attends church, he attends Bible classes, he leads Bible classes (in English and Spanish), he leads prayer (in English and Spanish), he “lives” in a faith-based dorm (which means he’s around other Christians).  Since day one, he has helped so many people he has come in contact with, whether it be to read something for someone who can’t read, to fill out a form for someone who can’t write, or to interpret something from someone who only speaks Spanish.  He shared with us that in his first 9 months in the system, he helped lead more people to accept Jesus as the Savior then he had his entire life outside the system.  He continues to do so. I do not know how many people he has helped lead to God; but my guess is it’s well over 100.  He encourages the people he is around daily and does the same for each of us every time we see or talk to him.  We love my brother and we miss him, and we hope and pray every day that he will be released.  However, I strongly feel that God has him where he needs him, doing a job he can only do where he is and when God feels he has done what He needs him to do, he will be released and God will greatly bless him for his work.

In closing I would like to share a letter my brother received from one of his Bible class instructors.
It amazes me every time I grade for you.  What a gifted teacher you are and what a gift you are to the prison and the prisoners you serve.  God has taken your sins and elevated to the role of teacher for the Kingdom.  He has entrusted His Word to you, and you are faithful to study it, apply it and share it, not only in English but in Spanish.  I am SO grateful that you accepted God’s call to be used as His voice in the wilderness where you serve.
You are truly and inspiration to me.  I wish I knew half of the scripture you have studied and applied.  I continue to ask God’s blessings on all you do and especially as you begin your Spanish classes.  You are uniquely qualified as probably no one else in your situation is and I am so glad you answered His call to serve.  It won’t be easy.  Satan will make sure of that. But “ask and you shall receive” Praying for you.  JDR

How has the Lord given you a blessing in disguise?
(Share below or email it)

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