#TellHisStory Storytellers Series
Story has the power to change the world, one paragraph at a time. I desire for this space to be a way to spread the message of great storytellers in our midst. That’s why I invite an author here every week to share a story with us.
This week’s featured storyteller is Lelia Chealey, a speaker and conference leader in Nebraska.
Be sure to come back tomorrow to link your own stories and photos with us in the #TellHisStory community.
By Lelia Chealey
Hey Girl—thinking of you and wondering: how do you not just fall apart some days knowing that this young man you love is in a place you don’t want him to be?
My friend had sent me this message on Facebook asking me about my 19-year-old son who is currently serving time in a maximum-security prison. When two detectives came looking for our son in March 2012, my prayer was for God’s protection as our only son faced felony charges. Fourteen months later as I sat in a courtroom waiting for the judge to give him his sentence on May 23, 2013, my prayer was for God’s grace.
As the gavel slammed down confirming the judge’s decision for him to go to prison, I watched as a sheriff frisked, handcuffed, and led my child out of the courtroom to begin his time. It took three weeks before I stopped crying. My heart was truly broken.
After about a month of not seeing or talking to him, one 15-minute phone call per day from him and twice a week visits an hour away with him became our new normal. My sister sent him a Bible and in his letters, he began to share verses that he was reading with us. That is when my prayer changed again.
This time I prayed two words.
Two words that did not escape my momma’s heart easily.
A prayer I would never let my son know I am praying over him.
Two simple words prayed to a powerful God.
Keep him became my new daily prayer.
I continue to pray this over him because before I want his physical freedom, I want him to have a relationship with Jesus that goes beyond a daily quiet time. I want him changed from inside out and so I pray for God to keep him even if that means he has to fulfill his maximum sentence of five years.
This past week God intervened and stopped a transfer of facilities that I was not convinced would be good for our son. “Keep him,” I had prayed each time he told us of his plans to go to work release after Thanksgiving. Then we received the news that the transfer would not go through due to some bad choices he made last week. At our last visit he said, “I think this is God’s way of telling me I’m just not ready yet.” All I could do was whisper the word “amen” to the Warden of my son’s heart.
Therefore, when my friend asked me mother-to-mother how I don’t just fall apart because my only son is in a place I don’t want him to be, I can honestly answer, “Because God is keeping him right where He needs him to be in order to get his heart.”
Earthly captivity in exchange for eternal captivity is worth every day that goes by without my son home. Keep him right where you need Him Lord until He is yours.
Lelia Chealey lives in Nebraska and stays busy with her family while writing on her blog and in her spare time finishing her book. You can connect with Lelia at www.leliachealey.com