by Dawn Lynn Mann @DawnLynnMann1
Isolation and loss of freedom like we have experienced during this pandemic is nothing new for this girl. Before this all started, I had already been living in captivity for over four years since my arrest.
But God has been at work in me through it all. He turned my life upside down since prison with deep inner healing from trauma and addiction recovery. I spent many awakening hours with Him. His direct line was always open when I called to Him. All that isolation was actually a gift to me, a golden opportunity to spend time with Him. Our relationship blossomed and grew.
I was living in a second prison. Freedom for all, except criminals, that is. For the most part, I lived under house arrest. I was not able to go to gatherings, friend’s graduations, or baby showers. It was a harsh punishment, but God helped pull me through every day. I followed every single rule and even went beyond what they asked for, but it was never enough because I was labeled a criminal.
But God sustained me to the end and pronounced me “not guilty” through our Lord Jesus Christ. God heard the prayers and did a miraculous intervention, even in the midst of a pandemic. He made a way for a video conference with a hearing officer, and my license was fully restored. I had worked so hard and had been faithful in my recovery. God provided me the strength to endure and walk through the trial. I never gave up and kept persevering with Christ.
The trial was finally behind me. Praise God. No more blower, no more driving restrictions, no more court, no more testing; but the journey continues. God is not finished yet. By accepting the trial and not fighting it, my viewpoint was changed from a victim to a participant. This brought growth and peace that could only be found in Christ. God has used the whole process to draw me closer to Him. All that remains is what I learned through it and the new life I am now living. A freedom to walk with God to seek His will with all my heart by surrendering my life to Him.
I was freed by the Lord, even while under lock down. Jesus sets the captives free.
It is never about being good enough. The truth is, none of us are good, but instead it is about putting our trust and faith in Jesus, who transforms lives. This past August, by the grace of God, I celebrated four years of freedom from addiction. Freedom is found in Him wherever you are placed. “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom” (2 Corinthians 3:17, ESV).
The verse following that says, “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit” (2 Corinthians 2:18, NASB). The Lord is gradually transforming us into something that can reflect His glory, bit by bit: replacing our sinful past with a glory-filled future.
I am grateful that God has given me a second chance in life, and is using even me to advocate for justice that restores, bringing hope to others living behind bars—in or out of prison—by showing them there is a God who cares deeply and will never forget us.
If the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed. John 8:36 NASB
About the author: Dawn Lynn Mann serves as a Justice Ambassador for Prison Fellowship and a Celebrate Recovery leader. Her story, “Breaking Free” is published in the compilation book, “Faith and Freedom.” She is currently writing her own book, and shares her story of God’s miraculous intervention and work in her life with many churches. She has a passion to see others set free and is on a mission to win souls for the kingdom of God.
Join the conversation: Have you experienced a healing from addiction? Please share!