Marie grew up in church. Her mother made sure she never missed a service. She even went to a Christian school. She knew about God and His love for her. At the age of 17 she walked away from it all. She left her home, her church, dropped out of school, left everything she knew and followed after a man. She loved to party and drink. She loved to be the center of attention. Slowly her world began to spiral out of control.

            Marie’s lifestyle centered around drugs and alcohol.  She found herself in places she never would have dreamed, doing things unimaginable. She lived this lifestyle for quite a few years getting in deeper and deeper. In 2009, she was arrested along with several others in her circle. She was sentenced to 87 months in federal prison.

            That was just the beginning of her story.  During the months leading up to her arrest, Marie had been praying, asking God to help her get out of the pit she was in. Now she had the opportunity. She re-committed her life to Christ and rebuilt her relationship with Him. She was able to accomplish many things while in prison. She received her GED, enrolled in drug rehab program, received her certificate to train service dogs, and was given countless other educational opportunities.  Marie remained faithful to God. She started Bible studies wherever she went and was an encouragement to many people.

            Through a process of events, Marie’s sentence was cut to 54 months. She has been home since 2013. Her walk with God is stronger than ever. During her prison stay, she found that God meant what He said – “I will never leave you, nor forsake you.” She found that God was full of love, compassion and forgiveness. And now she is seeing that God is the great Restorer. Everything she thought she lost, God is rebuilding and restoring. She is the office manager for a company who does not hire felons. (God gave her favor!) She has a new car that she bought and paid for with money she earned. She will soon marry her high school sweetheart, who unknowingly waited for her! Our God is a good God!

            Marie is also one of our jail volunteers. When she was arrested she was placed in Buncombe County Detention Center. Now she hosts weekly Bible study programs there, telling the ladies first hand who God is, and how He will help them. She knows where they are, and where they came from. She is a great example of what God can do in their lives if they will just let Him. “For I know the plans I have for you, saith God, plans to prosper you and not to harm you; plans to give you hope and a future.” Jerm. 29:11 NIV