After You Have Done All You Can —

In the Aftermath of My Parole Hearing

by Jessie Mabrey
January 2009


How do I begin to write my feelings regarding my parole hearing? Some might say, “Just start from the beginning.” What no one realizes is there is no beginning and no end to the depth of uncertainty for a lifer.

Leading up to my parole hearing this past fall, I was prepared mentally, physically, and spiritually. My choir sisters went to several women on the compound and asked them to write Bible passages on paper crosses, and then they placed them all over my bed. My child drove hundreds of miles to attend a parole hearing on my behalf, and then visited me afterward. My tapestry sisters, friends, and family wrote letters of support, while women in my unit – sisters in Christ – prayed with me moments before I left for my hearing. Christ carried me down that winding hall to learn not my fate, but my destiny: 29 more months.

Above all else, I walk in truth today. I am responsible for my actions. I am responsible for the devastation of two families. I am responsible for who I’ve become and what I value no matter where I am. Life is filled with uncertainty inside these walls. But, as I walked out of my parole hearing, one thing was certain: God is in control.

I will stand positioned for God’s grace and mercy. I will continue to restore, rebuild, and reinvent where needed. Why? Simply because that is God’s will for me.

Please don’t misunderstand. I have not come to prison and found God. I have found my place with God in spite of being in prison. I have found acceptance of my wrongdoing, thereby accepting the outcome of my parole hearing. I know that there is more God wants me to do for myself and for others. Today, I have faith and humility to stand in the valley awaiting further instructions, instead of creating my own.

After you have done all you can, you just stand.


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