For this week’s Worship Wednesday, Stacey proclaims God’s glory in this red-letter rescue story ripped from the pages of her own life.
A Humbled Heart
by Stacey Gibson
Today I opened my Bible to start writing and had planned on looking up verses to accompany a sermon illustration God had given me on vacation. Instead, I am now writing about what he gave me the moment I opened his Word and looked down at the underlined verse on the page.
“Give praise to the Lord, proclaim his name;
make known among the nations what he has done.”
The Psalmist goes on to write about singing praises and telling of all the wonderful acts of God and about our hearts rejoicing. Today my heart is rejoicing, celebrating, if you will. All the beauty of his creation is screaming for my attention. The grass looks greener. The sky seems a brighter shade of blue. The songs the birds are singing outside are music to my ears. The feelings I am feeling today I have never felt before. When a part of you has been oppressed for so many years, the release that freedom brings can’t really be put into words but I am certainly going to try.
Twenty-five very long years ago, my little brother went to prison. It was a hard thing for our family to walk through and I was still pretty new in my faith walk and my relationship with the Lord. I remember the sights and the sounds of the courtroom. My mom’s anguish at knowing she would probably never see her baby again outside of prison walls is forever etched in my memory. I remember being extremely pregnant and eating a lot of Subway and Hardee’s because they were in walking distance of the jail where my brother sat, uncertain of his fate, and just 17 years old.
Those days of sitting on hard wooden benches, listening to lawyers argue and witnesses answer questions, were ultimately met with a life sentence. A life sentence. Those were not words I ever wished to utter for anyone in my family. The next thing I knew my brother was whisked off to live out his days behind metal bars. Little did I know, my heart would also live within those metal bars with him for the next twenty-five years.
Life Went On
I’ve had two children since then. I’ve lived in 5 different states and endured several deployments as a military wife. I lived through the pain and anguish of losing our mom. I have celebrated graduating from college while being a stay at home mom with a deployed husband.
My faith has failed several times over the years and then found it again several years ago and have been a faithful follower of Christ ever since. I have prayed for my brother the entire time he has been locked away from me but I never realized until this week just how much those prayers for his freedom would free me also.
Red Letter Rescue Story
On the 20th of March, I was driving home from a Planting Roots staff retreat in Kansas when my dad’s number flashed across the screen in my SUV. I answered the call. The words he said took me by surprise, took my breath away and even two days later are still being processed by my mind and my heart. My soul, however, knows that this was completely a God-ordained moment.
Twenty-five years after my brother began a life behind the walls of a prison, he was granted parole. There will still be challenges ahead and a whole lot of prayer needed as he transitions to a life outside of those walls but oh how my heart is rejoicing today. Every song I heard from that moment on was about freedom. I just didn’t realize until today that the decision to set him free freed more than my brother. It also freed every heart that has been locked up with his for so long. This is my red letter rescue story.
I’m sure this story doesn’t do justice to what I am feeling right now. I really can’t put it into words. I just knew it needed to be told. Our God is so good and I am so humbled by his love for us. That he would grant such a petition on behalf of our family is truly the biggest glory sighting I have ever seen. So I will, “sing to him, sing praise to him; tell of his wonderful acts” (Ps. 105:2) and shout from the rooftops about what he has done. There is freedom in the name of Jesus.
Thank you, Lord, that we are free to celebrate and rejoice in the freedom you provide. Thank you for all your many blessings you shower us with so that we have reason to celebrate. You are a chain breaker. You are our rescue story and we are so grateful for you. In Jesus mighty and precious name we do pray. Amen.
I pray my red letter rescue story and these songs bring you hope. Hope and a reminder to never cease praying or celebrating our sweet Father for all he has done.
If you would like the Planting Roots Prayer team to pray for you, please visit our Prayer Page and submit your request.