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Precautions. Part Nineteen.

The State of Georgia had taken precautions, rightfully so, to ensure I remain sober. I was one of the lucky ones. I survived what I thought I would not live through...the consequences of my reckless behavior. The burdensome layer was overcoming my mental state of re-living the pain in my head. Trying to move forward from my past while remaining attached to it was exceptionally frustrating during this time. I remained grateful.

As I began the terms and conditions of my probation I felt as though I played a game of cat and mouse with Georgia's legal system. I no longer lived in the state of Georgia; laws and requirements were an issue when I crossed over the state line to South Carolina. Ms. Wise worked diligently on my behalf. Ms. Wise spoke on many occasions how my case was complex; she was not joking. The headache began, luckily, God was working it all out for my good. By Georgia's law, I was not eligible to wear an anklet monitor (aka house arrest) in another state. The judge granted the petition to enforce a breathalyzer for 90 days. I was so delighted when Ms. Wise called to tell me I did not have to sit at home for 90 days. Although, I knew I would be fine, it was not like it was the worst thing I had ever experienced. I was more concerned about depression and explaining it to my children. Protecting my children's peace of mind was very important.

(I had been taken from my home away from my children on more than one occasion. I would be lying if I said it was not a fear back then that creeped upon me. The horror of memories flooded my mind. It was and remains through worship I combat the enemy from taunting my thoughts. I pray and confirm with confidence that NO WEAPON FORMED AGAINST ME SHALL PROSPER In Jesus's name.)

The breathalyzer arrived in the mail. I sat there, examined the device in control of my life for the next 90 days. My freedom: I held in my hand. I spoke to the officer assigned to me. His voice was stern. In a nonchalant manner, he voiced over the telephone all the rules and regulations. The device was setup through an app on my cellphone. For sixteen hours a day, the breathalyzer should stay in my presence. It alerted me five minutes prior to blow. The breathalyzer app spontaneously alerted me at different times of the day. Within the 90-day period, I was granted three missed sessions. If I missed more than the required blows or (the obvious) detected alcohol consumption, a warrant for my arrest immediately would go into effect. Talk about anxiety! I checked my phone restlessly.

I had bad dreams where I would forget the device somewhere and end up in hand cuffs. It was awful. The enemy tried to keep me chained to my past mistakes. My anxiety subsided and I began to experience joy. The joy of the Lord may be experienced through any trial and error in your life. The joy of the Lord has nothing to do with your circumstance and everything to do with trusting God's word to be true. BELIEF ACTIVATES MIRACLES. I defeated and conquered. Every obstacle, side road, and challenge I overcame. Did I shed tears? absolutely.

I completed the DUI school online. I paid my fines. I completed my 90-day breathalyzer requirement with no problems. Next, I had an unexpected phone call from a different county about a third DUI on the court docket list. From my understanding, which was inaccurate, the case had been dismissed during covid. I was told misused information. As I checked my list, more developments unfolded. Not only that, but I also had a mountain of logistics to overcome with the Ignition Interlock device granted by the judge as part of my conditions from Gwinnett County.

If found guilty of the third DUI, I am considered a habitual offender. I reached out to the district attorney. I sent him emails, certificates, character witnesses, and my own personal story and accomplishments. He did not budge. The weeks prior to my court date I prayed fervently.

I felt like one foot forward, became two steps back.

I asked God why? Why am I constantly having to battle my past when you have freed me from it. His answer that has been spoken to me on more than one occasion: Do you trust me, Hope? Them five words have stopped me in my tracks. My immediate answer is yes Jesus! Of course, I do.

{I am reminded of Peter at the Last Supper with Jesus. He tells Jesus he will follow him no matter what happens; to prison or death. If you are familiar with the story, Peter goes on to deny Jesus three times. Jesus loved Peter with his bold faith. Jesus knew Peter needed much refining. As I think about the story, I am reminded I am like Peter in need of refining. Peter overcame his shame and guilt. He humbled himself and by his most public failure he learned to trust Jesus and live by his word alone.}

Let me explain what God was doing in that moment...and continues to do...refine me.

Refine is to remove impurities or unwanted elements as part of a process. During this specific season in my life: outwardly I was dealing with all of the external battles of my consequences; but inwardly, I was dealing with revisited shame and unworthiness.

I thought time could heal all wounds. That is simply not true for me. God can heal all wounds because if I rely on time to take away my pain and heartache...I will be waiting until eternity.

Have you ever found yourself saying... "It has been five years! I should be over this by now!" I do relate!!! If so, you are or have been relying on time to heal your heart while all along you could have laid it at the feet of Jesus. Time may bandage or leave a scar. But it is still there unrepentantly appearing when you are least expectant.

What keeps revisiting you? Have you given to God? Or do you need to face whatever "it" is?

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