Lord where are you? We’re going this way. Where are you? These were thoughts Nettie Kelsey had as she heard the judge sentence her son to prison for the fatal death of her other son and a friend. For the first part of Nettie’s story, click here. Here is the second part of her story.
A little over 10 years later, I’m able to share that God has carried us every step of the way. When going through tough times it’s hard to remember that the Lord only wants what’s best for us. When my husband and I look back at where we’ve been, we can see God’s loving hand on all of it.
Josh was given credit for the one year he served in the county jail while waiting for his court date. He served one year at Wabash Valley Correctional Facility and another year in Westville Correctional Facility. After completing these years of incarceration, he entered Michigan Teen Challenge where he spent one year in drug rehab.
During this time, God was not just working in Josh’s life but also in mine. I attended a women’s conference with my sister-in-law where author and speaker Carol Kent shared the story of her only child being sentenced to life without parole for murder. Hearing her testimony, I was deeply touched and experienced many different emotions. Many thoughts went through my mind. Here’s this lady going through so much, and she never missed a beat. They’ve made this loss their ministry. They’ve used their heart ache to share the love of the Lord. They’ve set aside their own needs and hurts to reach out to hurting people around them. They allowed God to use this terrible situation to glorify Him.
After hearing Carol’s story, I thought, “Wow, I blew it. I missed my chance. Josh is out of prison now and I was so consumed with our own lives, I never looked past our pain to see anybody else’s pain.” I am so glad that God never failed me, even though I failed Him. He just kept reminding me that He was in control and that He was waiting for me to reach out to Him so He could reveal that “the road to freedom is always a path of service.” He reminded me of the hurting people around me in my community, work, church, and even my home. In response, I reached out to Him.
Time went on and I felt like I just existed. One morning I was praying and asked the Lord to show me the purpose and plan He had for my life. I learned you need to be careful what you pray for. That afternoon, I was eating lunch with my husband and I received a phone call. I was asked if I would be willing to share our story. I paused and the woman said “Pray about it and let me know later.” I responded, “I will do it. You see, I prayed this morning and asked the Lord to show me the purpose and plan He had for my life. If I say no, then I would be slamming the door in the Lord’s face. Yes, I will do it.” I hung up the phone, looked at my husband and said “I am doing a talk.” I shared with him the prayer I had prayed but also knew how ill-equipped and insecure I felt. He assured me the Lord would get me through it.
For several weeks I couldn’t figure out how I was going to do this, thinking “Lord, I know that you told me I would one day share our story, but I can’t do this! Have you forgotten I can’t talk in front of people?” This was far out of my comfort zone and I was stepping way outside of my box. I realized I needed to turn it over to God and stop putting Him in a box. While I did not feel comfortable talking in front of people, He proved to me once again I can do all things through Him, that He is strong enough. When the Lord calls you to do something, He takes care of the details. The more I’ve stepped out in faith, the more strength I find in Him.
While I did share at that event, our story had more chapters yet to come. When Josh graduated from Teen Challenge, I understood that if he had not gone to prison first, he would not have completed rehab. While at Teen Challenge, Josh accepted Jesus Christ as his personal Savior, was baptized, and started Bible College. What a miracle.
Then at 1:00 am on October 27th, 2006, we received a phone call. “Is this Joshua Kelsey’s mother?” My heart sank as I said, “Yes.” “Are you sitting down?” a doctor from Sparrow Hospital in Lansing, Michigan asked. “Are you aware we have Joshua here from an apparent overdose? He is unconscious and is on life support. He is alive for now. We are doing all we can at this time.” I said, “We will be there as soon as we can, but it will take about 4 to 5 hours to get there.” I hung up.
Once again, we were putting our entire trust in the Lord.
The final part of Nettie’s story will be posted Sunday morning. If you would like to finish her story now, click here.
You can contact Nettie Kelsey at firstname.lastname@example.org or Nettie Kelsey, P.O. Box 204, New Ross, IN, 47968. Kelsey is willing to share her story with your church, women’s group or youth group.
A reminder if you would like to register to receive a free copy of A Place To Belong, find out more here.