My Chains Fell Off, I’d Been Set Free

Because of you, a traumatized inmate named Harmony experienced the amazing love of Jesus.

To the outside world, Harmony looked like a happy, healthy American teenager.

“I had always done well in school,” Harmony says. “I was a good student, a cheerleader, and even received a college scholarship in cheerleading.”

But underneath the sunny surface, Harmony’s life was troubled, turbulent, and tragic.

“Things started off rough in my life from the very beginning,” Harmony says. “My dad was a violent alcoholic, and my older brother and I witnessed a lot of abuse.”

During her teenage years, Harmony’s mom and dad aimed their physical and emotional abuse in her direction.

“I felt humiliation,” Harmony recalls. “I began seething with anger.”

Harmony learned to release her pain and humiliation through violence. She got into fights in her small town almost every week.

“This was the only way I knew how to release my building, internal rage,” Harmony explains.

Eventually, these fist fights were not enough to mask her pain. “I started using cocaine, alcohol, and eventually crack,” Harmony says. “I was arrested in March 2016 on an assault charge.”

At first, Harmony’s incarceration only fueled her rage. “I was like a bomb ready to explode,” she says.

That’s when God intervened in Harmony’s life.

“It was during my jail stay that I heard about this class on trauma healing,” Harmony says.

Through your faithful prayers and support, Harmony worked through American Bible Society’s Bible-based trauma healing curriculum with a chaplain in her prison.

“I not only came to faith in Christ during this class, but God brought the trauma in my life to the forefront,” Harmony says.

Just like Harmony, nearly every incarcerated female in the U.S. experienced trauma prior to their imprisonment. But by God’s grace, the healing balm of Scripture in the Bible-based trauma healing group helped Harmony deal with the root cause of her deep anger and pain.

“I had no idea that the trauma of my childhood was the underlying factor in my anger,” Harmony explains. “It was always under the surface ready to explode, but the class taught me how to deal with it … by writing laments, talking, and bringing it to the cross.”

After experiencing the healing embrace of her Savior, Harmony changed completely. Where violence used to control her heart, peace now reigned.

“When I first came to jail, I was often locked down for fighting. That was who I was,” Harmony reflects. “But after taking the class and getting to the root of my anger, I have since walked away from countless encounters.”

Eventually, Harmony says she even learned to forgive her parents, breaking the painful cycle of trauma and violence in her life.

“I know now that if I did not let God heal the trauma, I would be back in jail on another assault charge,” Harmony says.

Today Harmony is already making plans to return to prison—not as an inmate, but as a trained Bible-based trauma healing facilitator.

“I see so many women in jail come in and out and in again whose hearts are overflowing with pain. There are so many who have unresolved trauma in their lives,” Harmony says. “My desire is to eventually go into the jail and conduct trauma healing classes.”

Because of you, God’s Word set Harmony free from her trauma. She now declares with gratitude:

“These classes have truly changed my life.”

Story originally published in the 2017 American Bible Society Stewardship Report.

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