Ah, the birthing pains of change, transformation, and the unknown. "The term “birthing pains” is often used as a metaphor for the pain and suffering that precedes a significant event or change. It is derived from the physical pain that women experience during childbirth. The Greek word for “birth pang” is “odin” which means “pain” or “sorrow”. In the Bible, Jesus used the term “birth pangs” to describe the signs of the end times.
In my case, I refer to it as a period when I changed "my" people, places and things. What I once knew of how my life operated was no more. I had a new hand to play, and it was not Russian Roulette. I had no comfort zone. I was reunited back with my family with real-life roles, problems, and responsibilities with zero substances at hand to escape the uncomfortable feelings. I felt for my family-it was a test. And they prayed I had healed enough to not return back to what broke me before: alcohol, drugs, and Eric. I understood their concern. Although at times, I felt offended by the constant check-ins because I strongly disliked having to prove I was back to "myself." In reality, I was not "back to being Hopie" I was growing into the woman God called me to be. Before the abuse and self-afflicted harm, I caused myself. Before the trauma and heartache. Before the suicidal thoughts and unworthiness. Before evil corrupted my world and I became a slave to unrighteousness. Before my eyes went black.
I enjoyed my Summer with my family. We visited my daddy at his home in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida (30A). My mama and granny visited. Becky (Eric's mom) and I reconciled our differences, forgave the past, and chose to let go and focus on the future. I lived in a place of fulfilling gratitude but was overwhelmed with crippling anxiety for my upcoming court dates. On one end, I had full faith in God. (I prayed for him to wipe my charges away. He did not because I needed the consequences for my bad choices and the accountability if gave me.) On the other end, I knew God is a 'just' God. And I deserved payment for breaking the laws and causing others to be at risk. When I prayed, I felt peace. The God I serve is loving and gives us abundant grace and mercy for our flawed, sinful nature. I believed no matter what happened I had strength to endure the outcome without emotionally falling apart.
I stayed in prayer and worship. If I did not focus on Jesus and what he had given me-negative thoughts bombarded my mind.
The attacks I receive from the devil are more so derived towards my mental health. It reminds me of the false truths that I unraveled while in treatment. Until I adopted the mindset 'what God says about me is the truth', I walked every day in shame with no love or healthy self-esteem for myself. It was not long after I settled into my new home in Myrtle Beach that God revealed 'the thorn in my side.'
Below is a perfect explanation from Paul in the bible when he writes: Even if I should choose to boast, I would not be a fool, because I would be speaking the truth. But I refrain, so no one will think more of me than is warranted by what I do or say, or because of these surpassingly great revelations. Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
Paul covered all the basis written in 2 Corinthians 12:6-10. Without God in my life, I am not a healthy individual. I cling onto things of this world that cause me harm and I have no ability to defeat the rotten fruits in me if I do not allow God's power to rejuvenate all the ugly in my own state of being. I am speaking of the thoughts of lust or the little white lie. If I do not have God in my life, then I am a trainwreck that will explode on impact. What do I mean? Nothing in me without Jesus Christ is holy. We were all born into this sinful natured world where love once was our existence and now it is our goal. Think about it. How many times have you randomly thought, "Jesus, I am going to need your help today dealing with so and so. Help me see them through your eyes." I know I have on many occasions. I am very easy-going and honestly, I easily give love but if you ever step across my boundary line...Just know, I probably ask Jesus to help me love you correctly. In retrospect, it is actually something we should be in prayer about with all our daily encounters and relationships. It would create a more peaceful world if we knew how to love people without conditions.
The day of my virtual court date, I applied my make-up and thought, "Can this be over Jesus. Will you take it all away. Please help me stay strong." As I logged onto the zoom conference call, I was greeted by my lawyer. Ms. Wise was very blunt with me on a personal and professional level. She complimented me on my appearance as we both laughed about our first encounter when my hair was matted, and I looked like I lived on the streets. I had come a long way from the mindset I once carried. When she first met me, I was holding on by a thread to live. (God rewrote me my story. He did not forsake me. His promises are true.) She advised me she would speak on my behalf. But- the DA may have me answer questions. I had already signed the plea deal. Ms. Wise was to address the judge for an exception to a couple of the prosecutors' request. I could write an entire post on my legal affairs and the complexities of my case(s) due to the nature of my arrests and the fact that I was no longer a Georgia resident.
Three, two, one... Court was in order.
"I swear I, Jillian Hope Mims Wilson by Almighty God that the evidence I shall give will be the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth."
There I watched on screen, my past transgressions spoken of. It never failed when my offenses were read aloud, I became emotional and try my best not to 'burst into tears.' The district attorney read each criminal charge with the police report. He stated my appearance, state-of-mind, and the damage done. It was humiliating to hear a total stranger speak about me in a personal way. His job, I guess, was to read the evidence and then make his own remarks on my moral character. I was saddened. Do you know why? Because in that moment, like the one my lawyer had with me while incarcerated, I heard the truth. It was then I realized I could not run from my past nor the consequences of my behavior.
Had I not been arrested; I would have not stopped drinking on Mother's Day 2020. Who knows what would have occurred. On Halloween 2019, had I not been arrested as I incoherently drove around Buford in a drug and alcohol induced fog, my kids and me may not have survived. I was on my way to their school to pick them up. Even in the midst of my pain, God heard my cry. He heard my inner child screaming out for help. He heard my five-year-old heart. He heard my twelve-year old self wanting 'normalcy.' He heard my fifteen-year self not knowing what love was or to be told I was worthy to be loved other than my appearance. He heard my twenty-year old heart cry for safety after experiencing my second cocaine high. He heard the twenty-two-year-old me cry out from heartbreak and disappointment. He heard my twenty-five-year-old self-cry out because I was supposed to be happy, and I was not. He heard my twenty-nine-year-old heart begging to take the pain away. He heard my thirty-two-year-old self-praying your will be done. (God heard all my spoken and unspoken prayers and still does.)
I learned to love and accept myself by loving Jesus. All this time I desired to escape the uncomfortable feelings, life lessons, seasons, hardships, and wounds from regret, or heartache. Life is a journey. And pain is the best teacher. The pain that led to my downfall and addiction is the same pain that rose me out of darkness and taught me what my purpose is and the extent of God's love. To know Jesus like I do now, the thorn in my side is a reminder of his love and abounding grace his continues to allow me to walk in. IFITWEREME- I would have probably chosen a different path. Why? Because I am honest enough with myself to know that if I am not seeking God; I will seek a numbing agent of escape. Today, I choose God. Although, it is not a choice of really choosing God. I made the decision when I was seven years old to take up my cross and follow God. Today, I choose to be obedient to God. Loving God was never an issue. I have always had a heart for God. I was led astray and have made the decision no matter what happens...I do not have to fall victim to the devil's schemes. I know...Jesus is on my side. (literally and figuratively!)
The truth is like a breath of fresh air. It is cleansing to the soul. After the prosecutor said his peace, Ms. Wise shared a short version of my story. In her words, she acknowledged how sick I was. It was evident with the evidence already spoken. She went through the motions of repeating my criminal allegations. My heart sunk. She continued with my accomplishments and my perseverance to complete a yearlong impatient program. I had a letter of character; I had completed DUI school. I had worked hard for my sobriety and maintained it. It was a "big deal." I had gone the extra mile. Ms. Wise spoke highly of me as a spectator.
She had monthly reports while I was in treatment of my progress. She had witnessed the transformation. It was nice to be acknowledge for the work I had done. She always referred to me as "her special case." She did her background on me. She told me things about myself. haha! Her conversation one day, "Jillian, your first arrest was at twenty-eight, you have a business degree, birth three kids under a year, and married that asshole. What happened? I think I know." She always made me laugh. In all my dysfunction she treated me with respect as a woman, mother, wife, and daughter; never as the wild, reckless woman she read about in the criminal reports. Her belief in me saved my life in jail. God gave me her for that appointed time in my life. I am firm believer in destined connections and God interventions. Angels are real.
After hearing her honest and nurturing words to my soul, I was reminded of the fight I had already won against addiction. God had already given me freedom. I had to stop doubting myself and realize how strong I am. If God be for me...it does not matter who is against me. The victory is God's and I DERSERVE IT.
The house arrest was not waived. The ignition lock was not waived. No license was permitted. I logged out of zoom in gratitude. I was thankful. I was taking care of my children, and I was alive. I was blessed.
The twenty-page plea agreement was signed.
I was nervous about all of the conditions and probation I had to complete. For the next few months, I dedicated my life to checking things off my legal to-do list and loving on my family. Eric was in full support of my recovery and on board with all my next steps to my driving freedom and so on. Hiccups began... and boy was it frustrating.