Our first prison tale is written by Cynthia Gilcrest. Cynthia is at the Lane Murray unit in Gatesville. She would love to hear from you if you are led to write to her.
Lane Murray Unit
1916 N. Hwy 36 Bypass
Gatesville, TX 76596
I was brought up in a loving Christian family and household. As I grew up I held God in my heart, but had placed him on the back burner of my life.
In my twenties, I turned to drugs and alcohol, and though I’d quit using drugs around my mid-thirties, I continued to drink. I worked in the clubs for all those years and when I wasn’t working, we would all go to clubs and drink at cookouts. Drink, Drink, Drink. It became a habit, and I used it for every excuse and event.
One day, in 2002, I received a felony DWI and had to go to SAFP treatment facility. I completed it and went home. It got to where, just to feel comfortable, I would drink, yet I would hide my quart bottles of beer under my twin bed. I’d just finished a beer and as I began to place it under the bed, there was no more room. Tons of bottles piled under the bed and I gasped. I felt my stomach drop and as I looked in the mirror, I cried. I didn’t recognize the person I saw. I fell down on my knees and prayed to God to help me. I didn’t want to drink and I asked Him to take this addiction to alcohol from me. The next thing I knew, I was headed back to SAFP, then prison, not once, yet twice. I’m now in prison for the 3rd time, and I’ve received a 35 year sentence. But this is where the Holy Spirit reveals Himself.
I’d just gotten out of prison for the 2nd time in September 2013, and I got married to the man I’d been with for 22 years at that time. My mother and stepfather gave us some land and a mobile home. I seemed to be doing well until my husband received a violation. Then I lost my mother on December 22, 2014. I was angry. I was heartbroken, because now I was losing my husband, and I had just lost my mother. Financially, I didn’t know how I was going to get by.
I said “I’ll just get drunk, and fix it, and run myself off the road into a telephone pole.” I was at that point and the drinking started back up again.
One day, on January 18, 2015, I was driving down the farm road, drinking of course, trying to get control of my dog, when a voice told me I ought to put my seatbelt on in case a police officer comes down the road, sees me, and gives me my 5th DWI. So I did. Two seconds later, grabbing at my dog, I rolled my car, and an electric pole stopped me. All I remember was being care-flighted to the county hospital. If I hadn’t had my seatbelt on, and ran into that pole, I would have gone through a rancher’s fence and drowned in his pond. No one would have even seen me to call on it.
I arrived at Marlin Unit and I saw this girl taking college courses in the mail. I said to myself, I sure wish I could do that but I don’t have the money. A week later, a lady moved into the dorm, and as I’m always drawing in the day room, I looked over my shoulder and asked, “Are you doing Bible studies?” She stated, “Yes, I’m taking Theological Bible College through Ellis unit and it doesn’t cost me a thing.”
Ha Ha God! I looked up at the ceiling, shook my head, and said “I am not devoting all my time to scripture and memorizing all that.”
Well, every day I was chastised and told, “this is what you asked for and I brought it to you.” I finally asked her to send my info in, and one month later I received my studies. Two days later, the lady moved out of the dorm and into one next to us. She had a bottom bunk in my dorm and I figured someone needed that bed. Well, that bed stayed empty for 2 weeks, so I think God had her in that bunk for a very specific reason.
I was still injured from the wreck and after having surgery on my shoulder, I was sent to the Murray Unit for physical therapy. My first day to see the therapist, she stated she was going to have me transferred to a closer unit because I needed therapy for one year. I had prayed to be moved to TDCJ prior so I could have quiet time with the Word, and meditate on scripture memory. (By the way, once I started my studies, I loved it and that’s all I did other than draw.)
So I moved to Lane Murray. I had been here before in 2011-2012, and I thought I’d go back to F Building, where I would have a cubicle. I did not. They opened up cell block as population and I was angry. I didn’t want to have to wait every hour just to go inside my cell. I went to get a mattress and luckily it was a new one. I have a window with a nice breeze, birds and cats to look at and feed. I can shut the dayroom and noise off and rec is not crowded so I can work out. It’s not a fight to go to the store, and I didn’t have a bunk mate for three months.
But once again, the Holy Spirit said to me on my 3rd day there, “This is what you asked for. I’ve given you everything and then some. Look at all the blessings and not the curse. You can get over the door and the in and out, but now you have all the time you want to spend with me and the Word.”
Now this testimony might not seem like much, but when I would hear people speak of how the Spirit has spoken to them or led them here or there, I would have a hard time wondering if it was true. How did they know it was the Holy Spirit?
Now, I’m a true and faithful believer. I guess everyone has a time in their life where the Spirit reveals Himself. I always knew I had a guardian angel, ever since I was 3 years old. I’d see him as a hazy white figure, standing at my door, in the dark. I’d just stare at him. I’d be afraid that it was the boogy man. My grandfather would kid around and I feared if I went to sleep, he would cut my long curls off, so I tucked them under my back. LOL.
Mom told me it was my guardian angel. One day after the age of 5, I never saw him again, but I always felt a presence around me.
I can only assume it’s the Holy Spirit. And I don’t know where I am being led, but I know that I can do nothing without Christ in my life. He’s the only reason I’m alive today.
“Jails, Institutions and Death, oh my,” as AA says.
I’ve tried everything in my own power to better and stay sober.
All my own efforts have failed.
I’ve given my life to God and I pray every day His will is done in my life. I can’t wait to see where I’m led. He is not always a quiet still voice. He makes sure I hear Him and know it’s Him.
To others who lack faith, and have doubt?
Well there is no doubt, call on God. Ask, pray and seek him and listen to that voice. It’s not your conscious, it’s the Spirit. Listen and obey. It’s all for His Glory, and peace.