When Mountains Don't Move: A True Story of Faith Under Fire

April 14, 2018

PART ONE

THE CELL

 

        They confronted me in the day of my calamity,

        but the Lord was my strong support.

       (Psalm 18:18 AMP)

 

 

 

CHAPTER ONE

COURT, DAY ONE: 10:45 A.M.

 

 

 

    Handcuffs.

 

    I hadn’t imagined handcuffs.

 

    I staggered a little, fear making my legs wobbly as I was told to

stand up and face the wall. The bailiff pulled my arms behind me

and clamped steely cold rings tightly around my wrists. Ouch!

Could they do this? How could this be legal?

 

    As I was led into the jury deliberation room and told to sit

down, I found that my hands, bound behind me, prevented me

from sitting properly. If I tried to move my elbows up, so I could

sit without jamming my fingers into the seat, the cuffs dug in

harder. My shoulders and wrists, now tweaked at impossible

angles, stiffened miserably.

 

    Pain.

 

    I hadn’t imagined pain, either.

 

    I stared around the room, heart pounding. I was familiar with

much of the courthouse, but having never been on a jury, this

room was new to me. I wondered vaguely where the bathroom

was. Didn’t they have to provide a bathroom for jurors? I didn’t

really care, of course. For me, this room was merely the first stop;

a way station en route to hell. (Okay, maybe that is an exaggeration.

But it feels good to say it.)

 

    Alone in that jury room, awaiting transport to the jail, I was

overcome by a black, oppressive fear as I contemplated my future.

How would this end? When would I see my family again? And

the more immediate concern: what would the next day hold?

The next hour?

   

    I’d barely slept the night before. I had far too many unknowns

flying around in my head. This morning my husband Larry and I

rose early, preparing ourselves for events that I had spent serious

energy trying to avoid. All the months of loss, threats, and hard

decisions – months also of forgiveness, strength, and hope – had

brought us to this implausible state. Forced into this nightmare,

I was unable to see where fear would end. Yet, I had arrived on

my own two feet, quaking on the inside, but determined to stick

to my plan.

   

    This morning Larry had made me my favorite breakfast of

scrambled egg whites and gluten-free toast. I had read my Bible,

prayed, and committed this day to God. Our very future hung

in the balance. Larry had patted my knee frequently throughout

our drive to the courthouse, silently reassuring me.

 

    Once inside, I had taken a seat in the front row of the audience

section, while Larry made his way to the defense table. With my

attorney at my side I had listened to the testimony of Sergeant

Shybar. I’d cringed as he recounted, in painful detail, the events

of the evening of November 1, 2012. I’d felt queasy as the officer

finished his testimony and left the witness stand. I had jumped a

little when my attorney whispered into my ear, “We’re on.”

 

    Now, handcuffs bit into me as I studied the empty chairs in

the jury room and wondered, Was that really only 15 minutes ago?

I gazed about me and drew in a deep breath to steady myself.

I am not alone, I told myself. Jesus, You are here with me. I tried

to think of well-loved scriptures to recite to myself, but my mind

was too rattled to recall anything but Psalm 23, that first Psalm

we learn as kids in Sunday School. In truth, it was probably more

relevant for me now than it had ever been. I began to whisper it

softly, closing my eyes and speaking from my heart to the Lord:

 

                The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.

                He makes me to lie down in green pastures;

                He leads me beside the still waters...

                Yea, though I walk through the valley of the

                shadow of death,

                I will fear no evil; for You are with me.

                (Ps. 23:1-4 NKJV)

 

    My eyes flew open at the sound of a voice behind me. “Brave

girl.” Unable to turn around, I had no idea who would be saying

that to me until my attorney came and sat on the table in front

of me. He had warned me that this might happen, though he

had thought it unlikely. He did have a plan in mind, however, in

case the improbable became a reality. I knew he disagreed with

the Court’s decision, but he smiled slightly, trying to encourage

me. Promising to come see me tomorrow, he left. Alone again,

my thoughts swirled.

 

    How had this happened?

 

    I was a lifelong Christian. Not perfect by any stretch, mind

you. I’d made a lot of mistakes. Whoppers. Having spent 13 years

on the mission field with Youth With A Mission (YWAM), I had

sidelined my relationship with the Lord when I returned home.

It wasn’t long before I gave up on a floundering marriage, and

divorced.

 

    Ever faithful, God had sought me out and drawn me back

into a relationship with Him. I was now almost fifteen years into

a second marriage; I had a wonderful church home and was a

student at the church’s Bible school; I was committed to honest

living and hard work; I was the adoring mother of two grown

daughters; and the fanatical, picture-waving, Skype-addicted

grandmother of two young grandsons.

 

    Now, after years of trying to obey the Lord in all things, and

do right even when it hurt, I was going to jail.

 

 

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