When God Says “No” … Again Part 3: Tilling the Soil

For, behold, I am for you, and I will turn to you, and you will be cultivated and sown. – Ezekiel 36:9

“C,” a young Christian mom, had been falsely accused of child abuse and sentenced to four months in the county jail. Although her plea of “No contest” was made to avoid a trial by jury, that would have risked up to 25 YEARS in prison, still four months away from her husband and very young children was a miserable way to spend a summer in Michigan, when other families were enjoying the beaches, parks, and pools.

If you missed the beginning of this story, here are the links to get caught up, if desired:

When God Says “No” … Again Part I: The Nightmare

When God Says “No” … Again Part 2: Eggs, Carrots, and Coffee Beans

When I received a response to the letter I had written C, it was obvious that she was struggling with her faith because of all the unanswered prayers. (Or rather, the “no” answers to everything we had all asked for.) Since the overwhelming emotion was that of having been abandoned by God, I offered to send her a copy of my book BARRIERS, with the subtitle “(So, if prayers are so powerful, how come mine don’t get answered?).” C accepted the offer and added that a few of the women in her pod (cell of eight people) were also interested.

I went to the jail website to read the rules for sending books. I learned that they couldn’t be hardbound (My books were all paperbacks, so no problem there.) and that they had to come directly from the publisher. I called and talked to the woman in charge, telling her that I was the publisher, and asking permission to send a book, or maybe a few books to the jail. I was told that I could.

Meanwhile, C’s husband, “T,” who was allowed frequent “face time” with her, got the names of the interested “girls” in C’s pod. I made one more phone call to the woman in charge and asked if I could sign the books, and she said that I could. I prayerfully wrote a little note to each lady and shipped seven books the next day.

The following Monday I got a text from T, saying he had “good news and bad news.”

I thought, Uh-oh, now what?

The good news was, the books had arrived. The “bad news” was that the woman I had talked to had been off that day, and her replacement had opened the box and put the books onto the book cart for the general population. All but two had been snatched up by other inmates.

(As an author not used to having my books “snatched up,” this did not seem like 100% “bad news” to me…)

I promptly sent another five books, and T gave C the heads-up so she and her friends could watch for the books and grab them. I also wrote her another letter that included the questions for the first few chapters from the BARRIERS study guide.

The next letter I received from C showed her being lifted from the initial feelings of total despair. Her focus had shifted from the misery of her situation and more toward others around her, as she could see she was beginning to have an influence on other inmates.

At first, the other women had made fun of her lack of “street smarts” (She knew nothing about the world of illegal drugs.). They had started calling her “Mom,” since she would occasionally reprimand them for being rude or behaving inappropriately. At first the nickname was a way to mock the newbie, but as they got to know her, it became more a term of endearment and even respect.

As for me, I had my own nickname for her: “God’s little coffee bean.”

And now C was about to start a Bible study on prayer, and why God sometimes doesn’t answer us the way we would like Him to.

TO BE CONTINUED …

Prayer: Lord, Your ways are not our ways. Thank You for the times You push us out of our comfort zones to accomplish things we never imagined. Help us to trust You in those times and know that if things aren’t happening the way we’d like, it is likely that You’re up to something, and that “something” is always good, because YOU are always good. In Jesus’ name, Amen,

35 thoughts on “When God Says “No” … Again Part 3: Tilling the Soil

  1. Annie, I’m grateful that C and T are letting you share this it is such a great testimony exemplifying God’s broader scope and plan in life. Thank you for your part in encouraging a sister amid her battle. Blessings.

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  2. Geez, Annie! I was hoping this week’s installment would get us to the great thing I am anticipating we will learn of what God did through all of this. What an interesting way for God to get a jail ministry started and reach women who may have never heard The Good News otherwise. “C” could be considered a modern-day “Paul.” Thank you for sharing this story. I keep thinking God is up to something in my life, but waiting for the answer is difficult, so I find your blog encouraging. (Hope you are doing well!)

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  3. Wow–what a story! Out of great pain God is going to bring great gain. I’m thinking we’ve only seen the tip of the iceberg so far. Praise God for inspiring you to write those books, Annie, “for such a time as this!” Praise God for using them to minister so profoundly to C! And praise God for the ripple effect that’s already begun!

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  4. It’s been interesting reading your friend’s story. My goodness, how heartbreaking that she has to spend that time in jail! And yet, it’s so inspiring that she’s not falling into despair, but having a very positive impact on those around her. I could learn a lot from her ~ I haven’t even said hello to my neighbors since I moved here.

    Also, I can’t find your book. Do you have a link please?

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      1. Oh, I see. Well, let me know if it ever does 😊 I just don’t get to sit with a physical book much these days, so I read on Kindle while rocking a baby or while going to sleep. I got Counselor on Kindle, so yay! Can’t wait to read the first in your series πŸ₯°

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  5. I don’t sit well with books, either. I’m either too busy or I fall asleep! I do way better with audiobooks. I listen while I’m on a road trip, exercising, fixing dinner, etc. “COUNSELOR” is now available in audio (narrated by the author πŸ˜‰ ) , so you might want to check that out. πŸ™‚

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  6. I have found that to be true in my own life, for God’s ways are higher than ours. Thank you so much for this encouragement. I was blessed by reading it. Sounds like C is getting to be a missionary where she is presently planted.

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