|Joy speaking at book signing March 31, 2011.|
I met Linda about nine years ago. I was in jail and she facilitated a creative writing group every Wednesday. The only reason I went to her group was because the other girls in the block told me, "Linda gives us a free pad of paper and a pencil." In jail, that's a big deal! At the time, I was so lost - addicted to drugs, men, living a selfish lifestyle. I was looking for something to fill the void in my life. I had no hope of changing because I didn't know how. I had been in treatment many times, but couldn't find sobriety.
Anyway, as I got to know Linda, I knew there was something special about her because no matter how many times I fell on my face, she was there to pick me up and encourage me. Don't get me wrong. . . she didn't pull any punches and baby me. She always said it like it was and she never gave up. I knew about God and Jesus dying for my sins, but I thought he was just a fictional character and he couldn't possibly love or forgive me for all that I had done in my life. I was wrong! God uses people to reveal his love for us and he used Linda with me.
When I first met Linda, she stayed in contact with me when I went to prison. I used to think, "What does this lady want with me?" because she was always there, right on time, when I needed her. But she didn't want anything from me. She just wanted me to see the good things about myself that I didn't see and to know that I was worthy of having a good life, no matter what I'd done in my past.
So Linda, I want to thank you for never judging or criticizing me and letting my story be told in this book. I want you to know that I don't give up because you don't give up. And, although I am not where I want to be in my life. . . yet. . . I am definitely not where I used to be thanks to you and this ministry.