by Amy Cain
Rebecca* grew up without her mother, and her father was an alcoholic. She remembers when he would invite coworkers from the military to their house. After her father had passed out from drinking too much, his coworkers would abuse Rebecca.
"My father's ambition after retirement was to become a full-time pimp," she recalls. "So, in addition to the drunken soldiers and strange women, there were prostitutes in and out of my home."
She lost all hope of having any sort of positive relationship with her father. Then, when she was a teenager, her father was sentenced to ten years in prison.
"Because of the small community in which we lived and the nature of the crimes, I was ostracized by teachers and kids at school," Rebecca says. "I was forced to quit school because of the embarrassment and trauma I experienced."
A minor with no guardians and no home, Rebecca decided to marry her high school boyfriend to avoid being placed in the foster care system. "I was so angry at my dad and God," she says. "I did whatever destructive thing I could find to numb the pain."
While Rebecca was struggling with what turned out to be an abusive marriage, her father was discovering a relationship with the Lord. He signed up to take Bible studies through Crossroads and began attending church services in jail. He also began to pray for his estranged daughter.
"My life was spared because of the prayers my dad was praying and requesting others to pray," Rebecca states. "After almost being strangled to death by my husband, God provided a Christian family for me who loved and accepted me where I was. The family took me to church, which I am still a part of today with my current husband and three children."
After serving eight years in prison, Rebecca's father was released a changed man. He and Rebecca reconciled and he made up for lost time with her and her children. "He was a great grandpa and became one of my best friends," Rebecca says. "He led a men's Bible study at a halfway house and allowed his bad choices and testimony to be used for the Lord's glory."
choices to be
used by GodA few years ago, her father passed away with Rebecca at his side. "I miss him, but I am so glad he allowed God to save him and use him in such mighty ways," she says. "He impacted many lives through his story of redemption."
Now, as a Crossroads mentor, Rebecca shares her father's story with the students she mentors to encourage them that it is never too late to return to their loving heavenly Father. "I thank God every day for restoring our relationship and using Crossroads and other ministries to give my dad hope in a God who had not given up on him or forgotten him," says Rebecca. "If He could turn my life and my dad's life around, He will do it for them as well."•
*Not her real name.
Used with kind permission of Crossroad Prison Ministries (CPM).
CPM instructors from churches across the world guide students in their walks with Christ through correspondence Bible studies and letters of encouragement. For more information, visit cpministries.org