Wanda (center) with her son and his girlfriend (left), her daughter, and her mother (right).
As a staff, one of our biggest passions is seeing families reunited. Whether it is a young adult in foster care finding a forever home, or an ex-offender finding her footing in the free world and restoring her relationship with her kids, we cannot celebrate these moments enough.
Wanda wrote her story as an encouragement to other incarcerated moms. In honor of Mother’s Day this weekend, here’s Wanda’s story…
Hello, my name is Wanda.
I am writing this letter today to encourage the mothers & daughters that feel they have lost their families due to the poor choices we have made in the past and maybe you feel there is no way your children or parents will ever be able to forgive you or maybe you feel like your relationships will never be restored no matter how much you pray because you have hurt your family too many times to count? I cannot stress enough how important it is not to give up…
On July 25, 2016 I contacted my mother and told her I needed to feel her arms around me so that I knew I was still loved. She told me I should have thought about that before I kept messing up and then she informed me that I was never to contact her again. I was dead to her. It crushed me.
Later that day, my dad, whom I was living with, told me that I needed to pack my things immediately and remove myself from his home by dark. He was done with me.
I then called my daughter and listened to her crying so hard that she couldn’t breathe because her daddy refused to bring her home to me or ever let me see her again til she was 18 because I had relapsed again and would call the police if I tried to contact her.
At that point, I felt worthless, unwanted and unloved. I reached out to the one person I knew would never turn from me. That was my 18 year old son. I cried to him about everything that my mom, my dad, and my ex-husband was saying to poor pitiful me. I was completely floored and heartbroken when I heard him say you are no longer my mother. I never want to see you again. I do not want you at my graduation.
The phone fell from my hands and I hit my knees and cried out to the Lord to please Father save me. Give me back the relationship I once had with you Lord. I trust in you that you will give my family back to me. Dear Lord, save me. I promise I will look to you for all my needs if you will just take me away from the life I’m living and give me my children and family back.
Eight hours later, I was sitting in county jail. I can honestly say I didn’t make a phone call or send a letter for two weeks. I got in my Bible and praised the Lord and stood in faith that my children would be in my life again because God’s promise said he will restore. I continued in my daily relationship reading his word as I went through the prison system.
During my incarceration I started going to the Women in Transition class. While attending the Women in Transition class at Kate Barnard Community Correction Center I learned how to set boundaries in my life, not only in relationships but with family as well with boundaries in my actions as to what is acceptable, decisions in my every day life to keep me safe mentally, physically, spiritually and emotionally. I encourage every woman to take this class. I encourage you to get a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and read his promises in Deuteronomy 30. I read those promises every day and strengthen my faith in him and believed his word with all my heart. Every day I thanked him for restoring my relationship with my children and said thank you Lord for my mom and dad, my children, and my ex-husband for forgiving me the way that you have forgiven me so they will let me be part of their lives again.
On Christmas Day I sat in my cell reading while lots of other women around them had family coming to visit them for Christmas. Someone knocked on my cell door and told me I was being called to visitation. I just knew they had the wrong person. I hadn’t talked to anybody in almost six months. No way do I have a visit from my family. They don’t even know where I am.
I’m here to tell you that the Lord answered my prayer. I walked in and there was my daddy to see me on Christmas Day. He told me he loved me and forgives me and I can come home when I get out. But my ex-husband is not going to let me see my daughter for a very long time and that my son had mentioned another woman as his mother at his senior football night and he had threatened to disown my dad if my dad mentioned my name to him. As hard as it was not to cry, I simply said thank you Jesus for restoring my relationship with my children and for my son letting me be part of his senior year again.
I stood in faith and called my son from my case manager’s office and told him, this is your mother. I love you although you want nothing to do with me and don’t want me at your graduation. What I heard him say next was, momma, I love you. I forgive you. I want you to be at graduation and to be part of my life. Thank you Jesus. That was only an eight minute phone call and Jesus restored that relationship 100%.
The day I was released, I stood in faith again and called my mother. When she answered, I told her I loved her and although she wants nothing to do with me, I wanted her to know I had been praying for her to find her relationship with Jesus that she used to have. The words I heard next were not surprising. She said she loved me that she has found her faith and relationship with Jesus again, that she forgives me. She took me to dinner the next evening. Again God answered my prayers because I asked and trusted in him.
The following week I found out my daughter was going to be in OKC for a school function. Again, I stood in faith and called my ex-husband to see if I could see my little girl. He said of course.
Because I had taken Women in Transition and learned what my boundaries were I chose not to go home to my family or children. I chose to move in to Jehovah Jireh ministry home about 1 hour and 20 minutes away from my hometown. I am excited to say I am now teaching Women in Transition in the ministry home I live in.
Ladies, don’t give up. God will reunite you with your family and children. Trust in Jesus. Stand in faith. And watch your life change.