My Cup Overflows

Lesson 18

As it turns out, this week’s blog post is on Thanksgiving.

So, Happy Thanksgiving!

Holidays are a bit new to me. During my time in prison, their significance faded completely away. When I started my stretch in federal prison, I faced twelve and a half years. That is approximately 4,563 days. I couldn’t think of my life in a number that big. It was too depressing. So, I had to take it one day at a time. As each day slowly passed, one became like another until they were all the same dull grey color of the walls.

Each prison has its own society. There are the Haves and the Have-Nots. There are the Powerful and the Dealers and Intimidators. There are also the Invisibles and the Passives. There are even the Medicated. And, of course, there are the Predators. Almost all the women were unhealthy in every way, mentally emotionally and physically. Not a surprise, I know. Whatever chance we had, as kids, to grow psychologically and emotionally had been stunted or aborted, depending on the case. As a result, we all had our ways of dealing with situations. The emotion-of-choice was anger. Everyone was angry, when they weren’t depressed. Anger manifested itself in many forms, including domination, manipulation, hostility and, one of my personal favorites at the time, rage.

Back then I was the unhealed version of my present self, so I found ways to take a very difficult existence and make it worse. I didn’t go there to make friends and I intended to dominate every situation. Nobody wants to deal with crazy. Therefore, before anyone started something with me, Rage and I would open up a can of “whup” on them. I picked fights with guards and inmates alike. One sideways look, and me and Rage went to work. As a result, the two of us spent a lot of time together in solitary, or the “SHU” (Special Housing Unit).

Rage and I spent much of the first years alone in a cold, filthy cell with only a metal bench to lie on. There was always a lack of toilet paper so my big decision of the day was do I use the paper to go to the bathroom or wet it and throw it at the huge vent to block the 60-degree air that kept the room so miserably cold. That’s where Rage and I were kept.

I always managed to sneak cigarettes into lock-down. When the cops got a whiff, they came in packs of three to shake me down. Rage and I were always ready for them,too. Living in a cage is not normal and certainly not what God had in mind for any of us when He watched us being formed in our mother’s wombs. It is de-humanizing.

There is no privacy in prison, for obvious reasons. Imagine if the entire front of your apartment or home was open to a busy street, with people walking by and peering inside day and night. In prison, you are never alone, even though it has to be one of the loneliest places on earth.

So, I got by, one day at a time. A holiday in such a place is nothing to celebrate. I didn’t have friends or family nearby and, unfortunately I couldn’t have thought of a single thing that I was thankful for anyway. To be honest, my life on the outside was all about survival even before I was arrested. It was a futile cycle of acquiring drugs, using drugs, selling drugs for money to acquire more drugs, etc. If there was a holiday on the calendar, it was marked by the way people decorated their homes and stores. “Oh, look at the lights! It must be getting near Christmas.”

Have you seen that picture by Norman Rockwell, the one with the family around the table and the picture-perfect grandma presenting, to the family’s obvious delight, a perfectly-roasted turkey? In my later years, that was not in my experience and anything similar to it had faded as if it had been exposed to harsh sunlight.

I’ve been free for 13 years now. It took Robert and me a long time to learn how to enjoy and celebrate the holidays again. In fact, a dear friend, who is a genius at decorating, showed up at our house a few years ago with a Christmas tree and all the trimmings. While Robert and I continued to work, she set up an amazing Christmas tree, with the sole purpose of teaching us to recognize and enjoy this special time of year.

Today, I have a long list of items for which I am deeply grateful. I am grateful to God, who looked down from His throne into that tiny, barren cell and saw a wounded, broken soul that only He could mend and make useful. People talk about peeling off the layers of an onion when they are trying to get to the root of a problem. In my case, God added layers to my life, beginning with Robert, my husband. Then, one-by-one, new layers of people have been there for me as His vision for my life and ministry increased. He has given me mentors and prayer-warriors and a phenomenal team who patiently scurries and hustles to keep me on track. He has also given me faithful Partners who generously support this mission.

To try and name them would be to invite trouble and, since I’ve separated permanently from Rage, I spend significantly less of my life inviting trouble. So, let me put it this way: Think of any good thing you have done for me, my family, our ministry or my team, and know that I am deeply thankful for you. Thanks for all the “layers” you contributed to our life. Because of Jesus, and because you are faithful to serve Him, I no longer endure my life day-to-day, I live it. I embrace every day as a perfect gift from God. That picture I mentioned before has returned to its full, magnificent, technicolor glory. My life is full of bold, vibrant colors, except for gray. My cup overflows.

Big Love, Katie

Showing 20 comments
  • Tonya Basham

    I’m thankful for your ministry! I have learned many truths. But, I have to be honest, your past and now present life brings me the greatest hope! I have a son who is in and out of jail. It started 3 years ago and is currently in jail. He fills hopeless and is unsure of God’s forgiveness. He was brought up in church and in 2001 made a profession of faith and was baptized. But the spirit of rebellion took over, he was taken advantage of by a former family member, the anger grew. Then he joined the military seemed to be a great idea. I had a peace from God that he would come home safe. He did return uninjured physically. But the mental drain of war was great. The anger was worse than before. Drugs (consumed and dealing) and alcohol became a daily way of life. 2 stays in VA rehab have brought temporary help. Counseling hasn’t worked. God is the great physician he needs. I continue to pray for him but I’m becoming disconnected to him because of his disrespect to us. It is heart breaking as a mom. To know that the devil has such a stronghold. I don’t feel that I can pray the strongholds off of him if he is not willing to be set free?? I certainly don’t want our grandson to think that his daddy is leading a “normal” life! I love him and want nothing more than for him to know the grace, love, forgiveness and mercy that is available to him. Thank you Katie, Robert and all of your team!! HAPPY THANKSGIVING and many blessings to you all!! Keep bring the truth to this dark world!!

  • Jackie

    Thank you so much for sharing

  • Kelly

    Wow! Beautiful! Thank you so much for sharing from the depth of your soul and your pure heart!
    I am also grateful for you and your Ministry and how you transparently share the awesome call God has on your life to benefit all of us! The body! You have given me true revelation to put into use in such practical ways that it has been life changing! FOR REAL!
    Big Blessings to you, Robert and all family and friends as you sit around that idealic table and know that its not a fairy tale… but His Big Love” for YOU!
    Many Thanks always! Happy Thanksgiving 🙂

  • Jack

    Happy Thanksgiving to you and Robert, Katie!
    I “stumbled” into your teachings less than 6 months ago, and I’ve been working diligently to catch up ever since. Although your story from the street and from within prison is a wrenching one, the biggest take-away has been how God has revealed soul healing to you. Even further, he has given you a teaching gift to take a deep – and sometimes difficult – subject, make it plain, make it urgent, anoint it and make it work for thousands of us! That’s only one of the things for which I am thankful on this national day of the giving of thanks for our ever merciful Father God, for His sacrifice of Jesus on our behalf, and for the counsel of the Holy Spirit to assist us in walking this minefield called life on the earth. Your teachings (via videos and DVDs) has radically changed my prayer life – simply because I’ve learned from you where the buttons and switches are. Thank you for your obedience to Him! To Jesus belongs all glory, honor, thanksgiving, praise, worship, and adoration! Without Him, “I got nuthin’.” Much love from a crazy old man who now loves life, loves his wife, loves his children and grandchildren, and loves Jesus forever more!

  • Linda Mitchell

    Thank you for sharing!! I Praise God for your every victory!! Many who have never seen bars are suffering the same

    desperate destructive enraged lives!! The Same One is the only One to deliver any of us and make us new. Linda

  • barbara smith

    i thank god that you made a decision to embrace those things you had forgotten about. I am grateful that you allow the Lord to layer you with the things you needed to prepare for the journey he had for you, and nobody could do this assignment because God had your name on it. so for that i am thankful for being a yielding vessel. Barbara Smith

  • valerie towers

    thanking Our Father for what he has done for me as well as you you have been restored to a beautiful caring lady GOD bless you for reaching out like you do!!!!

  • Sonya

    Sending Love!! we think you are amazing and you have an amazing awesome word for the body of Christ. don’t back down!

  • Lea

    Thank you for sharing and being so open. I lived with seeing my Mother stuck in her own little prison in her mind and it crippled her life. That same spirit visited me, my son and a grand daughter. It’s people like you who give us hope.

  • Marianne Hodson

    Your word about the layers that God has brought to you really ministers to me. I never have liked that onion thing and this turns it around for me. Katie, you are changing my husband’s and my life with what God has put in you. We are both so grateful for you and your ministry.

  • Margie

    Thank you Katie, Here in Australia we dont celebrate thanks giving..I wish we did..I thank God for you and Robert and Your team..for your love and sacrifice to seek God for breakthrough from sin and be free in our and prays so we can be more close to Him every day..I thank God for your love and dedication to Him ,your so rare ,special jewel..that shines so bright ..I am closer to Him ,because He touch your life …I thank God for everything He has done for us..Ithank Him for everything He has done for Robert and you…I pray that He rewards Robert and You with His heritage, the fruit of you womb precious little ones gifts from 127…Genesis 1.28 ….

  • bryan dopp

    Very thankful that you are here as a gift to all of us this thanksgiving, giving us this warm message. Praise the Lord for what he has done through His Son Jesus!

  • Lisa

    May God continue to Bless you, your marriage and the ministry that He has so obviously called you to! The phone call this thanksgiving morning was so heartfelt! Big Love right back at ya!

  • Pat orr

    Way 2 go super prayer warriors. I ve always considered u a female Paul. U fill the bill. G.b. alias Trish the dish.

  • Donna Nelson

    Love you lots Katie,

  • Barbara Stewart

    I thank you and Robert for allowing God to use you both. I thank God for your humility as I have learned is Power! I thank God for such a time as this. I thank God for 27 years of being clean and sober as Crack Cocaine dominated my life, but God who is the lover of my soul saved me. i thank God your colors are bold because I visited so many in jail and prison. I thank God my 25 years of mental illness has been restored through the blood of Jesus!!! It was truly one who flew over the coo nest in 1972!!!! Wow. Wow and Wow!!! Katie you are tremendously blessed and so endearing to be so transparent. I am now on the streets of Newark ,NJ and others giving out my Freedom Socks to homeless and now shelters. Thank you for your inspiration. You will lack for nothing because you are connected to the Source and that Source is the Blood of Jesus. XO. You Rock for Jesus!!!!

  • Linda

    We love you Katie! Thankful for your words of encouragement and powerful testimony!

  • Lauren Hoff

    Just wanted to tell how thankful I am for you and your life. God, literally used your life to save mine. I can’t imagine where I would be, other than heaven, if I hadn’t found you. I love you so much… my cup runners over too

  • Pam Chapin

    I love you Katie and the ministry gift God has called you to. Your teachings have changed my life and given me wisdom how to pray for myself and my daughter and also for others. I’ve shared your teachings with as many people I can in my church that need healing in their soul. I relate so much to you and your testimony but on a smaller scale. Happy Thanksgiving to you, Robert and all your team!

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