Alice was raised in the church and grew up attending her local Christian school. At nineteen, she married a preacher and started a family. From the outside, she appeared to have it all together.

Alice had “played with drugs” in her teen years and left that life behind when she got married. But after the birth of her second son, she found herself again experimenting with drugs.

It didn’t take long for Alice’s life to spiral out of control. “I left my family and church and went full force into a world of drugs and prostitution. I did whatever it took to get drugs.” For Alice, “whatever it took” included dealing drugs and running a brothel.

After years of chasing the next high, Alice felt empty and depressed. “I thought about how I destroyed everything . . . I was hurting and cried out to God.”

In that moment, she experienced God’s love. “It felt like it melted my whole heart. I felt peace for the first time in many years,” Alice said.

Yet, Alice continued with many of the same destructive patterns and ended up in prison. “And for some reason,” she wrote, “I felt peace about being here. I have time to spend with God every day. He has changed me. He has given me a new life, hope, forgiveness and a future. I still struggle every day with old attitudes and behaviors. However, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Crossroads Bible studies have helped me stay on the right path, and I am thankful for that.”

Throughout scripture, we see countless stories like Alice’s. In the first set of Crossroads lessons, Who Are You?, students are asked to consider the ways people look for meaning and purpose. They are introduced to the story of the prodigal son and taught that God loves imperfect people and empowers them to do incredible things.

In the story of the prodigal son, we see God’s heart—He doesn’t force us to stay with Him. But His heart longs for us to experience the fullness of His love. He wants to extend grace, mercy and healing – all components of the deep love that Alice described feeling when she cried out to God.

God knows our tendency to turn away, yet He loves us anyway.

And, just like in the parable of the Prodigal Son, He is always waiting with open arms for our return.

As Romans 5:8 says, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

Not only does God choose to welcome us back, but He also gives us purpose. He qualifies and equips us to share the same love He has shown to us. Even when we feel unqualified.

If you look throughout Scripture, you will see that God has a history of calling the unlikely characters, the ill-equipped. God uses those who you would not expect.

He uses barren women and prostitutes. He uses deceivers and doubters.

He chooses the people who society overlooks.

He chose Abraham to father a nation at 100 years old.

He chose Jesse’s youngest son, David, to be king.

He chose Leah, the wife Jacob did not choose, to carry on Abraham’s blessing.

He used Moses, even when he doubted himself.

He chose Alice, and he chose you.

Is God calling you to help share His love with men and women in prison? Consider becoming a mentor or partnering with us financially to help our students like Alice discover meaning and purpose in Christ.