Mother of son who murdered speaks about hope

Georgene Rice of KPDQ-FM interviews Carol Kent, author of “Between a Rock and a Grace Place: Divine Surprises in the tight spot of life” about her life and dealing with a son who is in jail for homicide.

Georgene: I feel like this is such an excellent book becuase they are so many times that we feel overwhelmed and we feel so cut off from God that there is no possibility of restoring any hopefulness or usefulness. This book says otherwise.

Kent: Thank you for catching the essence of why I wrote this book…I think whenever you face a crisis, when your child has made a very wrong choice, or you have a health crisis, you ask, “How am I ever going to find the energy to find a place of grace?” I want to encourage our listeners to look for God’s divine surprises, everyone of the chapters talk about the divine surprises in our journey….Here he is locked up without the possibility of parole sentence for taking the life of his wife’s first husband, it was a murder…He was fearful that his two stepdaughters were going to have unsupervised visitation with their biological father, a man who had multiple allegations of abuse against him, he just totally unraveled and did the unthinkable act and he is now serving life without parole sentence.  It was Christmas time, and my doorbell rang, we opened the door and we saw a beautiful gilded package with a bow.  It said “to mom” and my son is not allowed to send any kind of package from prison and we opened it together and inside was a gorgeous silk jacket and it fit me perfectly, and when I opened the card, it looked like it was in my son’s writing, thanking us for our investment in him, and due to the help of a friend, he was able to get something for me.  It is a precious reminder that in the middle of devastating circumstances, God does surprise you with something wonderful.

Georgene: I appreciated reading Jason’s letter in which he describes to you and your husband how he got to the point of taking the life of someone who is threatening to harm his two step daughters.  He doesn’t make excuses, he explains the process that led him to that conclusion that was fueled largely by fear.

Kent: He talks about how arrogant and self-righteous he had become in the weeks leading up the murder but it really stemmed from his lack of trust in God to intervene on behalf of his family….He shares how his thinking got deranged, thinking that he was the only one who could save the girls, instead of trusting in the Lord…”

Georgene: You also include stories of others who find that they are in a hard place as well.

Kent: One thing I want this book to be is not only a story of our ongoing journey but to let people know when they have struggled…Two years ago, in Atlanta, I was speaking and two weeks later I received a letter by email from a woman named Tammy Wilson, who told the story of her mother who 13 years ago was killed in a Eckerd Pharmacy in a botched robbery and it was devastating to her family, and she said that she looked up where my son was serving his sentence and the man who killed her mother was also serving his life sentence without parole.  Then she said, I have been praying for him to come to the faith in Christ, I wondered if your son would share his faith with Matthew Ben Rodriquez…I printed the letter and mailed it my son and I asked him if he knew him and he said, “Yes, he’s one my best friends, he’s in my biblical counseling class.” Jason then gave the letter to Matthew and when he read it, he began to weep and he came and talked to me and told me how happy he was that I gave him the letter.  He had already written a letter to send to Tammy Wilson but I had no address to send it to.  Since that day, there have been many letters that have gone back and forth between Tammy and Matt, and there has been forgiveness, redemption and reconciliation that we can only explain in the supernatural dimensions.

Georgene: You write, “Faith must have feet on it and developing the faith in the hard places of life requires practice, for us that means choosing to get up every morning and put one foot in front of the other, trusting that God is at work.

K: A lot of people ask for advice for people who don’t have the energy to go on to put one foot in front of the other.  My best advice is that you need to get up everyday and find one person who needs help worse than you do and do a tangible act of kindness and you will be amazed at how it will brighten you spirit…It is very important to do something for others and do with a loving heart….You find comfort and a sweet spot of grace.

Georgene:You have a chapter on the secret power of gratitude and that you were surprised by thanksgiving.  He writes about thanksgiving and being grateful even when it is very difficult.

Kent: He has been very active to go out of his way to be a letter writer….and we have discovered that if we watch our attitude, there are many things to be thankful for. We are also grateful that we have a prison that we can give hugs, rather than being behind glass or watching each other on computer screens, like they have at some facilities.  No matter what your circumstances are, you can find something to be thankful for.  And if we make a point to be thankful, it helps us to maintain the fact that there are some good things to keep us thankful.

Georgene: You write about a different kind of liberty…Jason is in confinement, 24/7 and yet, you have been surprised by freedom.

Kent: Freedom on the inside, that’s what so exciting.  I am so thrilled that we have experienced the freedom to soar. And I mean that because I watched Jason ministering to others.  A woman came over and said, “I heard this is the prison where there is a Godly man name Jason Kent, is this your son?” I said, “Yes it is”. And she reached her hand out to him and said, “Thank you for the influence you have been on my son in this prison.” And I am so grateful that there is a freedom in knowing that because of Jesus we don’t have to be stuck in a rut, even though our circumstances aren’t perfect. The day after got the news [of his sentence], he put his arm around me and said, “Mom, if I walk in freedom in this lifetime, it is not going to be because we had the best attorney, it won’t be because there were politicians in Tallahassee who looked on us kindly, it will only be because God opened a door where there was no door and if that never happens in this lifetime, this life is just a drop in the bucket of time and we’ll all be home soon in heaven, so let’s live for what matters right now.”  I call that freedom on the inside.

Disclaimer: Articles featured on Oregon Report are the creation, responsibility and opinion of the authoring individual or organization which is featured at the top of every article.