God walked with this mom whose dreams shattered for her child.
God walked with this mom whose dreams shattered for her child. (Carrie O'Brien)

The SpiritLed Woman podcast is empowering women weekly to follow their purpose in Christ and boldly walk in faith. Listen at charismapodcastnetwork.com.

My son's desperate act changed our family's future. But God, in His mercy, brought redemption when our former dreams died.

I don't tell the story of my son in order to give anybody the impression that he is a hero—that is far from the truth, in the traditional sense anyway. He shot and killed a man in broad daylight. Instead, I tell it to share with others the painful, incredible passage of faith my family and I have trod for half a decade.

I tell this story because everything I believe about God has been tested by fire, and has withstood the flames. I tell it because my heart has been bruised and broken by sorrow, and then restored by grace.

Our journey began on Oct. 24, 1999. The telephone rang at 12:30 a.m. My husband answered, listened and informed me that our son Jason had been arrested for the murder of his wife's ex-husband. I stood to walk to the bathroom, then fell to the floor in shock.

We wanted to believe that for some reason the news was erroneous, but it wasn't. Our only son—who loved Christ, who was a model student, who lettered in sports, who was president of the National Honor Society, who graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy, who donated his time, his money, even his blood to help others—had become so obsessed with the man who had molested his two stepdaughters that he followed him to a busy restaurant and shot him in plain view of passersby.

Six days after we learned of Jason's arrest, I finally heard my son's voice. A digitized message told me the call was coming from a state institution and asked if I would accept the charges. Jason wept into the phone, "Mom, I've just been beaten up by 10 guys here at the jail. They jumped me and started kicking me in the face. My two front teeth are broken off and these guys stole all my stuff. They took my deodorant, soap and toothpaste ... They just kept kicking me in the head."

My pain was too deep for words. We cried together, a mom and her boy, 1,100 miles apart, embarking on an odyssey of anguish, strife and prayer. When that first conversation with Jason was cut short by the institutional telephone system, I sat at my desk motionless as a deep, guttural wail rose from within. A shroud of grief and fear engulfed me.

Relinquishing the Dream

Maybe it was my training as a pastor's daughter, maybe it was my prayer life or the years I spent reading Scripture. Perhaps it was God's mercy—but through the darkness, I found a path to redemption in the story of Abraham and Isaac.

" ... God tested Abraham, and said to him, 'Abraham!' And he said, 'Here I am.' Then He said, 'Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I will tell you.'

"So Abraham rose up early in the morning and saddled his donkey ... Isaac spoke to Abraham his father and said, 'My father ... Here is the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?' Abraham said, 'My son, God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering.' So the two of them went together" (Gen. 22:1-8, MEV).

I know that my son is not a picture of Isaac, who was blameless. I do not excuse what he did; I know his actions would not have been God's plan for his life. Yet Jason is my personal "Isaac."

God enabled me to lay down my claim to him with complete trust and submission, even while my mother's heart recoiled at letting go. In doing so, I recognized that what I sacrificed on the altar was actually my own desires: prideful ambition for my child, longings for family holidays and dreams of an idyllic future.

Abraham trusted God so completely that he was willing to surrender what he loved most deeply, even unto death. And through the blackest vale, I learned to trust like Abraham. Almost immediately after learning of Jason's devastating plight, I made a critical decision that the enemy would not win. I would choose hope. I would choose faith amid unthinkable circumstances.

I wrote a letter to my family proclaiming victory: Included in this walk through the valley of what feels like death is an awareness of His presence I have never experienced before. I can almost hear the sound of angel wings.

All of us have "Isaacs" that we need to leave on the altar—heart sacrifices that challenge us to the core. You probably haven't received a middle-of-the-night phone call informing you that your child has been arrested for murder, but I'm sure of one thing: You have had to let go of a cherished person, opportunity, position, habit or dream. True heart sacrifices involve identifying something precious to us (our Isaac), letting go of our control over it, embracing God's love in the process of the release and resting in the outcome—even if we do not understand the reason behind the sacrifice.

Draw closer to God. Experience the presence of the Holy Spirit every month as you read Charisma magazine. Sign up now to get Charisma for as low as $1 per issue.

Get to know the Holy Spirit and how to interact with Him on a daily basis. Learn to enter God's presence and hear His voice clearly for yourself! Go deeper in your faith with Life in the Spirit and change your life and destiny. Are you ready to start your journey?

Your Turn

Comment Guidelines
View/Add Comments
  • Chuck Pierce is calling the month ahead "critical."

    Chuck Pierce Prophesies 'Short, 10-Year Window' in the Nations

    Russia is a big part of what he sees.

  • A bit of flirting may seem innocent, but it can lead to destructive behavior.

    3 Do's and Don'ts When Communicating With Women Other Than Your Wife

    Do you and your wife have any other rules for communicating with the opposite sex?

  • The Things That Hold Us Back

    The Things That Hold Us Back

    The rich young ruler, like many of us today, was in a “quandary.” He wanted to follow Jesus, but he loved the lifestyle his money provided for him.

  • Warring angels

    Prophetic Word: 'I Saw Angels at Almost the Speed of Light'

    Here is why you must pray them through for yourself and for your nation.

  • Get the answer to your challenging circumstance in this insight from James 1:5.

    Early Warning Signs You're About to Make a Terrible Decision

    Is Holy Spirit sounding off these alarms in your life?

  • Cindy Jacobs is encouraging intercessors across the country to pray to keep the nation stabilized through December 19th.

    Cindy Jacobs Issues Critical Post-Election Prayer Alert

    Will you keep watching and praying?

  • This revivalist had a vision of hell.

    Revivalist: I Went to Hell in a Dream

    After God took him on a prophetic journey, John Burton left with an important message for the ...

  • Fidel Castro

    Castro Couldn't Kill Christianity in Cuba

    The sober truth is the world is a safer place now that Cuba's dictator is dead.

  • Don't let pornography impede God's plan for your life.

    How Watching Pornography Ruins the Destiny God Has for You

    If the devil can seduce you, he can reduce you.

  • Continue Your Journey with the Holy Spirit

    Continue Your Journey with the Holy Spirit

    Follow God on the most fulfilling journey of your life with Encounter the Holy Spirit! Break away from past hurts and press into the One who wants a personal encounter with you.

  • Dream the Unimaginable In His Presence

    Dream the Unimaginable In His Presence

    Reach your full potential and be led by His Spirit. In His Presence takes you to a deeper understanding of who God is and how he communicates with us.

  • Set Your Spirit on Fire

    Set Your Spirit on Fire

    Receive the power and gifts that come through the Holy Spirit Baptism. Don’t go empty-handed; accept all that He has for you! His power is available to those who ask.

  • Put on the Full Armor of God

    Put on the Full Armor of God

    Break every stronghold with the power of the Holy Spirit. Use the power of your tongue to declare and decree the Word of God. Witness heaven move on your behalf.

Use Desktop Layout
Charisma Magazine — Empowering believers for life in the Spirit