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In this time of my life, I could only lean on God to take over and unscramble all this chaos that I thought would never come to an end. With my dad going to prison, he and my stepmom were compelled to sell their home and basically all of their possessions. As a result, my father was depressed, stressed out and constantly overwhelmed with anxiety. He was losing everything, even his kids because it just seemed to be too much. But I knew God could take control of this situation. So here I was surrendering to God for my dad and I because he didn’t even know what that meant and I knew I couldn’t give up.

So I encouraged my dad to attend an Easter service. He finally gave in and said, “Ok, I could use a good prayer.”

If I didn’t have a relationship with God, I probably would have given up on my dad a long time ago accepting that there was no hope and no way out of the situation. But knowing that God provides miracles and knowing he provides peace in our darkest times, I realized that this was exactly what my dad needed. Despite him rejecting my countless invitations to attend church, I knew not to give up even though it’s all I wanted to do. My dad had to turn himself into the courts on April 2, 2018. I felt the need to invite him to church one more time because I knew he needed God. I know his life would continue to be a mess if he didn’t make a change. His “worldly” way of living was crashing and burning before his own eyes and I only knew there was one way to fix it.  So I encouraged my dad to attend an Easter service. He finally gave in and said, “Ok, I could use a good prayer.”

My eyes flooded with tears of joy at the sight of my dad choosing to give his life to God, to surrender himself, and to lean on Him from here on out.

A few weeks later Easter Sunday rolled around and I met my dad in the parking lot at Bayside Church of Citrus Heights. He looked distraught and completely drained. However, I couldn’t help but feel pumped with energy because I had relentlessly prayed that he would join me for a service.  Knowing what the following day would consist of for him, it was perfect timing that he came. At the end of the message, I had to head backstage to join the worship team for the last song. As we loaded onstage, Pastor Craig finished his message with “If there’s anyone in this room this morning that wants to start walking with God, raise your hand high and proud so I can pray over you.” As my eyes scanned the room, I saw my dad with his head down and his hand raised high. At that moment I knew, God had answered my prayer. God was taking control of the situation and I knew He was pouring into my dad’s heart. It was a miracle happening in front of my own eyes. My eyes flooded with tears of joy at the sight of my dad choosing to give his life to God, to surrender himself, and to lean on Him from here on out.

After the service, I gave him the biggest hug and asked him how he felt.  He said he was full of so much peace, and knows he’s going to be okay as long as he does this with God. He found hope, he found the Light, and he was speechless. He thanked me for pushing him to come, and not only that, he’s excited to attend bible study and church services at the prison.

The week after he turned himself in, I kept in touch to check on how he was doing. I sent messages encouraging him and reminding him to lean on God whenever he feels alone, to continue to pray, and really focus in on the bible study. I reminded him that God has a plan for his life and to remember to let God take over. With each reply, he sounded like an entirely different person. He said, “I love this journey I’m on, I never feel alone as I have God in my life now thanks to you believing in me. This had to have happened for me to realize I am a child of God and that he was always here for me but I just never realized it. During this time I’m here I’m going to focus on fixing myself and furthering my relationship with God. When I get out I can’t wait to meet the amazing people at Bayside and I can’t wait to walk this journey with you Narissa.”

Today, I feel incredibly encouraged as this situation is just a reminder to continue to pray for others as well as reach out to people even when you think it may be pointless. God is always there. God has a plan, and his timing is always perfect.

As of right now, I see that God has performed miracles in my dad’s life as well as mine. It’s a miracle that he raised his hand, let alone came to church. He is eager to continue his walk with Christ, and he’s excited to connect with others. He’s a whole new man and through the power of prayer, God has met us right where we needed him to. If we lean on God and surrender to him in difficult situations, He will provide peace and shine a light in our darkest times. Today, I feel incredibly encouraged as this situation is just a reminder to continue to pray for others as well as reach out to people even when you think it may be pointless. God is always there. God has a plan, and his timing is always perfect.

Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”