It is time for me to be more authentic with you.
By nature, I am a glass half-full kind of gal so most of my posts are usually lighthearted and fun. But as we all know, life is not always that way. Trials face us from every angle and suffering of some kind is usually around the next corner. I have always wanted this blog to about the fun things in life because I know each of you face trials and suffering of your own. I wanted this blog to be a place of entertainment and escape.
However, a life without suffering and trials is not an authentic one and it is time for me to share my life with you.
On Monday, my dad was sentenced to 10 years in jail for a crime he did not commit.
My brain is having a hard time believing this even as the shock has worn off. Or maybe the shock hasn't worn off, I am not sure. And I know this must be a surprise to many of you, especially if you know my dad.
My kind, gentle, hard-working, amazing dad.
This trial has been going on for years. So many times I wanted to write about it, to talk about it and to share my ups and down with you, but this was a confidential case between my dad and one of his clients. A client that accused my dad of stealing more than $200,000. But I had to honor my dad in his wishes to treat this as a business matter. My dad is a great business man and all along he thought this lawsuit would resolve itself.
But after five years, a plea bargain, a month in jail, my dad's law license being revoked, loss of employment, and a judge who did not once decide in his favor, this process had finally led us to a sentencing hearing on Monday.
On Monday, our friends (saints, actually) packed the courthouse. It was a magnificent sight to behold and brought so much encouragement to my dad and the rest of my family. And these same friends, while offering powerful praises and petitions to God, also offered more than $200,000 of financial restitution on behalf of my dad. It was an example of the body of Christ in motion. Unbelievable. Completely humbling. There are no words for this. None. I truly believe this is what the church was meant to look like, just like in Acts.
But at the end of the hearing, after the judge had heard from countless others who defended his integrity, trustworthiness and character, he still ruled against my dad, even with the full financial restitution being offered. The judge, knowing an innocent man was before him, still chose to send him away. The judge chose revenge over restitution. And my family, friends and I watched my dad be taken into custody and led away. This is not something I would wish on anyone. Ever.
I know this is shocking. I apologize for the abruptness of it. And I am sure you have questions. Honestly, the case is so complicated that I will be the first to admit that I do not have all the answers. But I wanted you to know. I needed you to know because I couldn't keep writing without being honest with you. It would have been a lie to let you believe my life is all about cupcakes and trips around the world.
In reality, my life is about believing and trusting in a God whose ways are not our ways, whose thoughts are not our thoughts. Believing and trusting in a God who defends the innocent and weak, only in His perfect timing, not our own. These last few days have been so very difficult yet so very comforting at the same time. But for the grace of God I would be in a padded room right now, I guarantee.
As we look ahead, my dad's attorney is doing everything he can to get this sentence reversed. In 88 days, this appeal can be presented before the court and with the financial restitution in hand, we are praying that his sentence will be greatly reduced or reversed completely.
In the meantime, we are experiencing an outpouring of love like we have never seen before. It is overwhelming, to say the least. My gratitude knows no end. It makes me want to love and serve others in the same exact way: radically, without reservations or hesitation.
And I will keep you posted on my sweet, amazing dad. I spoke with him yesterday and he sounds good, just tired. And I reassured him that his character and integrity speaks for itself, no one has ever doubted his innocence. If he comes to mind, please pray for his safety and peace of mind. Pray that he leans on the Lord for understanding and wisdom. And pray that my family can continue to seek God's face in the midst of this.
I cannot comprehend what it must be like to be imprisoned for something you didn't do, but we know from history that God has used this situation mightily. I look to Joseph, Daniel, Paul and Peter as my constant reminders.
"For do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."