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Beth’s Story: Reuniting with family like “God putting fuel in my gas tank!”

“Never in a million years would I have thought that my life would be what it is today. To have my family support in such a pure loving way is amazing.”

We witnessed a beautiful moment recently when one of our newer residents was joined in church by her family.  Beth came to Oaks three months ago, following her release. 

Beth (on left with light blue shirt) joined by her family at United City Church.

“Going to prison changed my life," she says, "It saved my life. It taught me to really appreciate the things that matter most in my life like God and family when I look back at the way God has worked in my life these past couple of months since my release makes me so excited for my future in a way I never have before.”

She has been working hard on her own recovery and on restoring a healthy relationship with family members.  Now they have started attending services with her at United City Church on Sundays and recently she went to church to find a crowd of relatives waiting.  

“Being able to have such a beautiful, intimate time at church with my family is the best place it could have possibly happened and felt like God putting fuel in my gas tank. We were still missing two of my siblings and my two daughters, but God has shown me what he can do. He reassured me that he can and will make a way. I hadn’t seen my big sister in six years, so being able to hug her and hold her was such a great feeling.”

One of the unfortunate realities of the prison system is how much family relationships suffer.  In many cases, the relationships are damaged beyond repair before a woman goes to prison. Some have lost custody of their children or cut off contact with parents and other close family members. In some cases, co-dependencies contribute to harmful behaviors.

When a woman enters the criminal justice system, she may lose all contact with family members. Remote prison locations make it difficult for families to visit.  In the most tragic cases, female inmates who are released just have a phone number to contact a family member and discover the number is no longer in service, leaving them alone and isolated.

Restoring and rebuilding family relationships is important to us at Oaks. As Operations Director Charity Fyke explains, “Joel 2:25 says 'I will restore to you the years the locusts have eaten.' The meaning behind that scripture to me is the restoration of family and connection that we have lost. You cannot have back your time. But there is this wonderful way in which God can restore to you the family in which you have lost. This is the picture of what God is doing in families through Oaks of Righteousness.”

For Beth, it was hearing Isaiah 41:10 right before her release:

'Don't be afraid for I am with you. Don't be discouraged for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.'

“Having my family with me at church is that victory,” she says.

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1 Comment

Unknown member
May 26

That is so beautiful and I am so proud of where Beth's journey is taking her. She had such a hard road and thru God's grace her life has turned around. Although I've yet to meet you my heart is overjoyed just knowing how far you've come. You are in my heart and prayers every day. Love, Sherri (Grandmother)

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