Upgrades Despite Injustice
I am sharing the following testimony from Christy Johnston, a godly daughter, wife, sister and mother. The enemy tried to steal her destiny, but as you read, notice all the Upgrades she got because of her choice. Had she followed her even valid emotions, she likely would have had a different outcome, but per choice she took her deep, painful emotions to Jesus and supportive people and came out with many Upgrades. Her testimony is timely given all the hatred toward cops and today being declared a day of rage…
“Just so I can be in full disclosure with everyone… There was a time when I was mistreated by police officers. But before you keep scrolling and write this off as another cop hating post, keep reading.
About 8 years ago I was falsely accused of a crime I did not commit. It all started when 2 police officers “interviewed” me (later determined in court to be an interrogation) for 2 hours in a closed room with no windows in the hospital where my son was being treated for internal bleeding. You see, sometimes if answers don’t come easily, some people want a “who done it”, and I was an easy target. I was a young girl, only 22, naive, and pregnant. Easy target.
I was lied to. Threatened. Called terrible names. This all ended with a few state workers coming into the the hospital and taking my son from my helpless arms. The workers were cold. Emotionless. Expressionless. As I watched my 10 month old baby get carried away I held back the tears and screams that were surfacing inside. All I wanted was for my baby to not be afraid like I was, so I was as strong as I could be. Perhaps then he would know everything would be alright. But I didn’t know it would be alright. I didn’t know if I would ever see him again.
Days passed. Months passed. Tens of thousands of dollars in court and legal fees- gone. Time with my baby- gone. Fear covered my life like a thick, dark blanket. Every morning I woke up and it was all I could do to try and push the darkness away so that I wouldn’t suffocate. I did what I could to stay strong, even though every morning I woke up wondering what the day would bring. My husband did his best to stay strong too. How many times he held my limp, tired, pregnant body as I sobbed in his arms. Would my baby heal? Would my unborn child be taken away too after birth? What could happen next? My life was a whirlwind.
Then there were flashbacks. Flashbacks to the hospital. Flashbacks to the interrogation.
Those two hours with the cops replayed in my mind again and again like a bad song. What if I would have done things differently? I thought over and over again about how my naivety and unknowing played a roll. Why didn’t I know what they were trying to do? Why didn’t I say this? Why didn’t I do that? I was mad at myself. Maybe if I had been more street smart things would be different. Or would they?
Guilt piled on. And of course hatred made its appearance whenever it could. After all, I was innocent! I deserved to be mad. I DESERVED to hate! My life was legitimately destroyed. I had a criminal charge hanging over my head. Parental rights were revoked. My degree in education was nullified. We had to sell our home and move in with family. People who didn’t know me by my heart judged me as “guilty” in their mind because well, let’s face it, I was denying what the cops were saying; that just didn’t look very good. The looks came. The comments came. Friends and family who I thought legitimately loved me cast me aside like a black sheep. Their glances and snarky remarks pierced my heart. Not to mention the mental and emotional anxiety that came with everything. Oh, and then there was anxiety’s lovely little friend named PTSD that crept up whenever it felt like it, too. Cops driving by equaled panic attacks. I would have to pull over and let the panic attack pass so that I wouldn’t cause a wreck. Tears while washing the dishes suddenly turned into hyperventilation and in an instant became a trembling ball of shattered dreams huddled on the kitchen floor in the corner. Afraid to breath. Afraid to speak. Paralyzed.
Yes, hate made its appearance. So did rage. And every time hatred crept its way into my mind and my tender, tattered heart, the skies above me only darkened. Every time hatred spoke up with its smooth, enticing voice, it whispered softly in my ear things like, “But your innocent… You don’t deserve this. It’s their fault… They are the ones to blame! They should be brought to justice… You are innocent” Hatred’s words were so seductive, so charming to hear. Hatred will also distort things. Rather than acknowledging reason and truth that in reality there are a few cops with bad intentions and a vast majority who have done an incredible service to our communities, hatred will distort things and say things like “Authority can’t be trusted. Especially cops. They are evil”. Hatred will do this to you, and more. These thoughts were like poison, slowly dripping into my mind. Every time I took a sip from the glass Hatred handed me called Revenge, my heart became harder. The light would leave my eyes. Tears of sorrow would turn to bitter tears of contempt in an instant.
And every time I allowed hatred into my heart, my mind, my spirit, something changed. But it wasn’t my situation. No, hatred didn’t bring my baby back to my arms. Hatred didn’t heal my son. Hatred couldn’t comfort me of all my losses. Hatred wouldn’t change any of that. But it did try to change other things: it tried to change who I am. It tried to tear away at the fabric of who I am, my identity. Hatred tried to take my forgiveness and turn it into bitterness. It tried to take my selflessness and turn it into self-righteousness. It tried to take my humility and turn it into pride. It tried to take my sorrow and turn it into revenge. It tried to take my joy and turn it into anger.
One thing about hatred, if you haven’t yet tasted of its fruit, is that it never satisfies. Hatred grows. Gets uglier. Gets more intense and desperate. And soon, very early on (thank you God) I realized that hatred was not me. It wasn’t who I had ever been, and it wasn’t who I wanted to be.
If you have ever overcome hatred, you are one of the strongest people on this planet. It takes an incredible strength to overcome hatred and the fear it uses to lure you in. It is no small thing to say you have overcome hate. If you are struggling with hatred or the fear it uses, please know, I’ve been there. You are not alone. If you have been mistreated especially by an authority or governmental power, I understand the feelings of helplessness. I am sorry that you had to live through that, and it is true, you don’t deserve to be mistreated by anyone like that. Although I cannot identify with your experiences, I can say to you that I know hatred is not who you are. It will blind you, and tear you apart from the inside. It is like a cancer that eats away at your soul. It will make you into someone you never wanted to be. Soon you will not recognize yourself in the mirror if you let it take hold of you.
As far as my family, things eventually turned out okay. My family is able to live together again. Charges disappeared, because they had been made up and couldn’t be proved. Hatred and anger didn’t do any of this for me. Only the God of goodness, love, power and mercy and grace can do this. Things turned out okay. But I still bear the scars. I still have the memories. And I still have a choice. I have chosen to stay strong and be who I am and not bow to what hatred wants me to be.
So I say to you, be strong. Be one of the strongest people on this Earth and be who you are. Do not be overcome with darkness, but overcome darkness with light. Yes, pain will come. Grieving will come. Sorrow will come, and that’s normal. It’s okay to experience grief. Sorrow will last through the night, but I promise, I promise… A new day is coming if you stay strong. In the midst of sorrow, resist the lure of Hatred. Be strong. I did it. You can do it. Be strong.”