Prison was the last place Trish Jenkins expected to find herself.
She was a Christian, a successful business woman with a multi-million dollar portfolio, a loving wife and a mother to three little girls.
But in February 2009, she left her home and her family and moved in with murderers, drug dealers and the worst of humanity, confined to a dank prison cell.
So, how did it happen?
A successful property investor, Trish diversified into stock market investing and found herself unwittingly working for a fund manager who was a con artist, and eventually she was found in breach of the Corporations Act.
She wrote a book about her experience, to ensure others don't fall into the same trap, called Dangerous Wealth: What Every Successful Woman Needs to Know to Avoid Being Ripped Off!
She had been naïve but that wasn't going to save her from an eight month prison sentence.
The day of her sentencing was one of the hardest days of Trish's life. When her seven-year-old twin girls arrived home, bursting to tell mommy all about their first day at their new school, she wasn't there. Her first phone call home from prison was heartbreaking.
But God had put a Bible verse, Romans 8:28, on her heart:
"And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose."
In the darkness of prison, it felt like a haunted house, rattling with lost souls and hopelessness. Yet, here Trish maintained her personal relationship with God which helped her overcome fear and depression.
Deprived of humanity, for Trish the weekly chapel service was a bright light shining out into the darkness and overcoming it. The atmosphere was so different and the worship was like medicine, soaking through her skin, to her core and filling her up.
The prison chaplains had a humanizing effect on the prisoners. They reminded Trish of *her own humanity and that she did have value, even in this place where she felt worthless. To Trish, and many others around her, the chaplains were a lifeline.
Even though she was in prison, Trish found freedom by talking to other prisoners about God and what He had done for them by sending His Son to die for their sins.
Toward the end of her sentence, Trish's resilience was low, the drain of prison life weighed heavily on her, but the prison chaplains were there for her not just looking after her spiritually, but also helping to improve her emotional and mental health, reminding her that she mattered and God still had a plan for her life.
One particular female chaplain would often show inspiring movies that would lift Trish's spirits and spur her on. Most importantly, the chaplains gave her hope, which is a powerful force.
On her first day home, after months of confinement, Trish spoke these words to her Heavenly Father: "I don't know what you can do with this life now, God. Yet I will trust you."
God heard her prayer and today Trish is a minster and powerful speaker. She has written another book called Treasures of Darkness: A Prison Journey about the powerful lessons she learnt while 'inside' and how they can transform your life, wherever you are.
Find out more about her life and work at www.trishjenkinsfaith.com•
This story first appeared in The Inside Story, a publication of Carinity. It is used with kind permission.