True Story From A Former Offender Jennifer Jones.
During my incarceration, I accepted Christ as my Lord and Savior, and used my “down time” to draw closer to and build a personal relationship with Him, I began to allow God to transform me.
Upon my release I realized that if I was going to make it in the free world and not fall back into my old ways I was going to have to leave prison a different person than who I was when I arrived there. I also knew I couldn’t do it in my own strength. Upon my release I got plugged into a good church and got involved with a great outside care group.
As God continued to change who I was He also began to restore relationships, not only within my family but in my community. I had built a pretty bad reputation within the community and was very well known for being a involved with drugs. Today, those same people who wouldn’t allow me in their establishments now welcome and greet me with smiles on their faces. Thank you Lord!
As a former offender, I often wondered what I was going to do when it came time to seek employment. Don’t get me wrong, I know there are companies that will hire former offenders. But all I was hearing was Satan telling me, “you will never be able to work again”, “You are extremely over weight”, “50 years old”, “no work history for the last 15 years and to top it all off who wants to hire a former offender?”
So you see I was at a loss when the time came for me to seek honest employment. But I’m here to tell you God is good and blesses those who seek Him with all their heart. Recently, when I began to look for employment and I heard about a company that was hiring through a Temporary Agency and was told to go to an orientation at our local Texas Work Force office. It was mentioned that most people who attend orientation find employment. This raised my hopes of getting a job. My daughter, Son-In-Law and I decided to go see what it was all about. On the way there I started to hear that familiar voice again from Ol’ Satan, reminding me of my past and I start to doubt my ability to get hired. Sure enough we arrive and I hear someone mention that this company does not hire felons. So you can imagine the disappointment and fear that overcame me. But as the Holy Spirit ministered to my heart of who I am in HIM, that I was not created to live in fear of the world. I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are thy works (Psalm 139:14); that I am a new creation and the old things have passed away. (2 Corinthians 5:17)
I pushed passed the fear and I registered for the orientation. I knew my application was in His hands. To my surprise another former offender was at the orientation and precedes to question the man giving the orientation about the company’s hiring practices concerning people with criminal history. The gentleman informed him that they have been known to overlook that from time to time and to go ahead and finish the orientation. I must admit checking the box that indicated I had a criminal history wasn’t easy, but I knew I had to be forth coming on my application. As orientation was over doubt continued to flood my mind. I left there thinking that my daughter and Son-In-Law would probably be hired, but not me. But I gave it all to God and trusted that if it was His will that I have this job He would provide a way. And like His word says He is faithful and just to those who trust in Him. I was called the very next afternoon to start an assignment for the company through the temp agency. Now I haven’t been hired full time yet, but I’m praying that God will give me that opportunity as well. He has already opened the first door and I know He can open the next as well. I’m trusting in Him for that opportunity.
It is my prayer that you don’t let the enemy discourage you, because of past mistakes you have made. If you are a child of God then your past has been forgiven and the slate is wiped clean. He is the Almighty and if He says that upon your release the world won’t see you as a felon, then you can believe that the world won’t see it. Allow Him to transform who you are, and restore the relationships that have been destroyed in your life. If we trust in Him to work in and through us He is faithful to His word and the blessings will be ours.