Updated: Mar 12
After our family’s Easter gathering, I was making the long drive back home. While speeding along the expressway, suddenly a flashing light flashed in my rearview mirror. As I stood outside my vehicle with the lights from the patrol car blinding my eyes, I felt humiliated. I finally realized I was being arrested when the last click of the handcuffs clicked tightly on my arms behind my back.
One minute I am driving, the next minute I am sitting in the back of a patrol car telling myself, “It was just two drinks!” As I sat there alone and scared on that frightful night in the local county jail, I started to comprehend that all of my means of freedom on this earth were swiftly being locked away. The car had been towed and the license plate removed and cut up into pieces, and now I sat in jail.
Later when the trial was finally over, I realized my conviction. I felt I had “DUI” stamped across my forehead for the world to see. No more license, and sobriety court was my sentence. This was a year of extreme strict court orders; calling in everyday for drug testing, and every week I had to attend at least three recovery meetings, individual therapy, and appointments that alternated between a case manager or the judge. There was no mercy under the court system. You were very careful not to make even the slightest mistake because after two strikes, wether your fault or not, it landed you back in jail to finish your sentence. I was extremely grateful to be granted a restricted license as long as I had a wired blower intact. The license I had only allowed me to drive from point A to point B, which was approved prior to granting me the license.
Having the blower installed, meant I had to blow into the mouthpiece before starting my car and periodically it would ask for samples while driving. Even though I was grateful for the precautions that came with a restricted license, I felt isolated and trapped. Not being able to move about freely, I found myself spending much more time alone with Jesus. He brought me comfort and never left my side. An intimate love relationship grew during that shackled, but treasured time. Jesus became my One true source. In the past, when I had longed for peace, I found it momentarily by numbing myself with alcohol, but I was never truly filled with peace. My heart was aching with unbearable pain, but I had no way to cope.
During this time, I allowed God to take His Healing Hand to my inner core as I opened up my heart. I allowed Him to dig up the buried wounds, which were caused from past emotional, sexual, and spiritual abuse. These wounds had also created a fear of men, which led to a confused sexual identity. This newfound relationship with Jesus was now a passion and I wanted Him to be my example for everything.
God kept showing His face and, coupled with a faithful love of others, I took steps of faith out of my comfort zone. It was not easy, but I learned to trust in the Lord who penetrated my heart and soul. The more I got to know Him, the more my heart desired to follow His lead. His word became my lifeline as it illuminated the darkness and, even though I was no longer locked up physically behind prison doors, I had been living in a darkness that held me captive.
This new freedom in Christ became my safety net against the world of deadly destruction. Jesus rescued me out of the darkness. He came and snapped open the chains that kept me bound. Hearing me cry out in desperation, He cut through the steel bars, and He opened up the gates of freedom. After that dreadful night in jail, I encountered Jesus when my life's choices came to nothing. He pursued me. His love for me was shown by Him never giving up on me, yet allowing me to fall.
I still undergo hardship, but I have found that my faith grows stronger as it is stretched. These are the times I have to dive deeper into Gods Word. I have had to make a conscious choice: “Will I allow my past to define me as a failure or will I take my experiences and allow God to use it for His Will.”
The life I strive to live every day is directed by a faith in Jesus. I desire not to return to the bondage of slavery and live in that torturous fear, but instead I desire to be led by the Spirit of God. One thing I have learned is that there is no place too dark that the light illuminated by the love of God cannot reach. My heart humbly submits to Him today because He is daily delivering me from tormenting fears that still try to take hold.
Walking in obedience is the new path set before me that gives me peace. Today, I hold onto His teachings and stay committed to His word. The scripture says that when you know the truth, the truth will set you free. In Him and through faith in Him, I found the truth. I may approach God with freedom and confidence. I now choose to live fearlessly by faith and praying (instead of drinking), through all things.
Jesus has redeemed my past and I am now set free to be a prisoner of Christ.
God planted a desire in Dawns heart to be a writer and speaker through His intense work and call on her life to see people who are broken to become free and unashamed in Christ. Dawn Mann passionately loves the Lord and now dedicates her life serving Him.
Dawn's story is excerpted from the book Faith and Freedom and available for purchase. Contact Dawn