Updated: Jun 14
While I waited behind bars for my release, I did a few things in my spare time: I made an outline of what chapters I wanted to be in my "book", I wrote poems, songs, and letters, I sang worship songs, I did countless crunches and leg lifts, I tried to learn Maria's native language, I cursed Eric, I made an outline of all my defenses to try to figure out what was wrong with me, I read books and I read one in particular (The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren) that I picked up and threw down out of anger-but knew God was teaching me in my despair. I read it twice.
Years ago, I had read The Purpose Driven Life book. I was a teenager and my home church, Bethsalem Baptist, devoted 40 weeks to study the message. Back then, I was a devoted Christian teen who sought purpose and guidance from God. Twelve years later, I was an adult whose heart still belonged to God but had gone very astray. The innocence I once carried had diminished. I no longer was naive to the evil in this world, not only had I witnessed it; but I had participated in my own downfall, a little willingly and a lot out of ignorance.
Now, I sat on a jailhouse bunk bed saddened by my life choices and the fact that "this was not supposed to happen." If you are anything like me, my life and dreams had not gone as I planned. Where was my beautiful life? I was supposed to be living with my white picket fence. I picked the book up and read the first day of the forty and angrily threw it across the cell. I felt bad, picked it up and prayed for God to show me what I had been missing. I read the book twice that day. I prayed. I knew in my heart God had a plan for my suffering. Did God like to see me suffer? Absolutely not. But as I gaze back on the unfair moments that felt like a lifetime-God was working. I was not the girl I used to be...and guess what? I was not supposed to be.
On a Friday evening, unexpectant, 'Mims' was called. My ears perked up. I told Maria, "My mama is here! You can have all my snacks." I gave her a hug and told her good luck. I walked out with my Marlboro Red cigarettes. I turned to the wall and received my very last 'pat down'. I asked the officer if I may give my cigarettes to one of the girl's. She said, "yes Mims, that is fine." I handed my newfound stripper friend three packs. I kept one for myself. I was escorted down the hallway to retain my belongings I was arrested with. I walked to a small window and spoke my full name-Jillian Hope Mims Wilson. The worker handed me my blue jeans and shoes along with Eric's broken phone screen, and my wallet. I asked where my shirt was. The worker said it was not available because of the blood stains. He handed me an oversized white men's t-shirt. I did not care! I was free! Was I, REALLY FREE? I was free from the jailcell. I was not quite free from all my chains that kept me mentally and spiritually tortured.
I was about to re-locate to Bessemer, Alabama where God intended me to be all along during this period of time. It was there, in the unknown, in the waiting, in the battle with me, in my loneliness, in my search, that God's purpose prevailed over all my detours. When I read The Purpose Driven Life Book, the words that captivated me was very simple, so simple, that stated: You Have Purpose. God created you for a purpose. You are not an accident. When I stopped my selfishness' and instead of asking God why he was not doing what I wanted him to do and begun asking, "God, what is your purpose for my life? What did you create me for?" my life slowly began to change. It was a heart change. I started hitting my knees with a grateful heart instead of bitterness. Like all things in life, it is a process with a lifetime of learning and surrendering to the one God that KNEW AND WILL ALWAYS KNOW better than I do.
I walked out of the jail unto the parking lot with a visual outline that looked like my mama's ex-husband. I did not have my contacts and no glasses...I am about blind! I walked and gave him and my mama a big hug. It was now time to stop by the bondsman to sign paperwork and stop by the house to attain my stuff from Eric. The kids were in Myrtle Beach. My mama warned me about Eric. "Hope, I am not staying. We are in-and-out. You really do not need to get out of the truck." I told my mama I was going to talk to him. I was heartbroken when I looked at Eric, my soon to be ex-husband, intoxicated, handing me picture frames of us with his shirt off. He never walked around the house without a shirt on. He sleeps in one. I felt like he wanted to taunt me on purpose. I could not believe how cold and detached he was. There was no emotion except for the feelings of "I want you gone." I hopped back in the truck and cried my eyes out for a while. I was grieving. I was hurt. I felt thrown to the wolves... again. I let out all my emotions and was on to my next location...The Foundry. Pain is the best teacher.