Behind Bars and Down on My Knees: A Charlotte Woman Finds her Fa - myfoxcarolinas.com

Behind Bars and Down on My Knees: A Charlotte Woman Finds her Faith in Prison

Behind Bars and Down on My Knees: A Charlotte Woman Finds her Faith in Prison

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Would you describe a jail or prison cell as a religious sanctuary?  Annetta Mitchell, a mother of one and grandmother of one, says her prison cell at the North Carolina Correctional Institution for women was the site of her spiritual awakening. " I do remember telling God, 'if you’ll just get me through this, just get me through this.'”

With the help of the Center for Community Transitions, Annetta savors the small joys of life in the outside world.   She was released from prison on July 25th after spending seven years behind bars. Annetta says it did not take seven years for her to discover her higher power.  The moment of awakening happened from the start, as soon as the cell door closed.

Rev. Aileen Maddox , a Chaplain at the Mecklenburg County Jail, says this experience is not uncommon.   Newly incarcerated men and women often discover “God” as soon as they arrive at the facility.  “You go into that cell and you sit down and the whole world has quieted down, and when our world quiets around us, our spiritual self becomes more aware of what’s going on.”

Annetta agrees. She says the experience of deprivation that is so pervasive in prison stirs up a longing for something greater.  “You don’t have each and every luxury that you think was a luxury, such as going to the bathroom by yourself, eating by yourself, brushing your teeth by yourself.”

When the cell door shut, that’s when this former military woman rediscovered “God.”  “I just asked god if he would just take me back.  All i wanted was him… the enemy keeps you out there thinking you can never come back to god.  If you do something wrong, you are so ashamed.  And so he takes that, and he runs with it.”

With the help of staff and church volunteers from the Center for Community Transitions in Charlotte, Annetta is getting her life on track.  She has a new job and she is preparing to return to school.  The Center  staff also helped Annetta secure a new three bedroom home.  Volunteers helped her furnish it.  On August 5th, Annetta will be reunited with her son and granddaughter for the first time in seven years. “It’s like breath-taking, to let you know you are not forgotten.”

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