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At first, I wanted to hide. I didn’t want to face people anywhere, not at the grocery store, not at work, not even at church. I was ashamed, hurt, and humiliated.

It was after that day not so long ago when one of my sisters called me, sobbing so hard I could barely understand the awful message she was telling me. He’s been arrested, she was saying. We need to go tell Mom. Oh, God, no. Please, please, no. How can this even be real?

But it was real.

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And if you haven’t been there, consider yourself blessed. If you have been there, know that I get it. I’ve been there, and I’ll be here for a while. I felt the initial reaction of disbelief and shock. Then the deep hurt. It’s a hurt for all those who are affected by this sin and crime. They did not deserve this pain. And paradoxically, a hurt for the one who committed it. Hurt for what could have been and what should have been.

There’s anger. Anger because it did not have to be this way. And so much shame. Shame in knowing that the Facebook post and all those painful comments were about my family and my loved ones. Shame in wondering if the people you see are blaming you in some way for what happened.

But there is also love. I held my mom’s hand as she sat outside on her porch swing and watched as she faced this devastating news. I watched as she heard how her only son would be going to prison for many years. It is a whole new kind of grief, the kind that grieves the loss of a loved one who has not passed away. I never once saw her love falter or fail. Love never does.

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Not that love excuses. We as a family make no excuses. Guilty is guilty, and there must be consequences for our actions and penalties for our crimes. But to the families with incarcerated loved ones, we understand in a way we never could have before. We also see the ones who have reached out to us with love, compassion, and true care. You know who you are.

I do not feel like I need to hide anymore. I’m okay with whatever people think or say, and it really doesn’t matter anyway. God is a God of justice, and He is also a God of mercy and love. He has used people to prove that to useven in the middle of all this. Did I say consider yourself blessed if you don’t know this kind of grief? Yes, that is true. But God has also blessed us. He can use even the worst of circumstances to prove that He is still a God of love.

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So God Made a Mother's Story Keepsake Journal

Pam Whipple

I am a wife, mother of five, and grandma of three. I stayed at home to raise my kids but also helped out in our family business, a local newspaper. I still work for the paper some, and also have another part-time job. But my greatest love and full-time job is being a mom and now a grandma to two precious boys and one precious girl.

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