By Sharon J. Davis
While serving time in a federal prison, Sharon J. Davis learned to survive through prayer and creative expression. Her books God and Me and the autobiographical story Sentenced to Pray were written to help inspire others who may be going through similar challenges in their lives. Davis is also the founder, editor and publisher of Falling Forward Magazine, a publication in which she explores the topics such as politics, entertainment, and health through the lens of faith.
Recently, Davis took on a new role, as she executive-produced the film adaptation of Sentenced to Pray. Starring Kimberly Avery (ATL Homicide) and Keya Hamilton (Hallmark's Christmas in Harmony), the film follows a woman's journey to overcome her struggles with Post-Traumatic Prison Disorder after her release from incarceration. Here, Davis reflects on the opportunity that a second chance offers, and how to rebuild one's life upon reentry.
A Second Chance After Incarceration
Missteps and failures happen to each of us every day. Sometimes I fail, but life has taught me to recover and move swiftly toward renewal. I get up and move as fast as possible toward a better me.
The worst misstep was incarceration. Most people would rather venture out of space than into a prison cell. However, I am here to tell you that it is possible to overcome incarceration, resume your rightful place in society and prosper according to your hard work and devotion. What a blessing! Right or wrong, it is possible to resume your life and continue the pursuit of your dreams under the dark cloud of a return to freedom, sometimes called a second chance.
Freedom has a completely different meaning when you are released from incarceration. Yes, in most cases it is a scarlet letter representing the stigma that comes with your freedom. Everything about you is now suspect in the free world. You are, literally, starting over again – blessed with a second chance.
How Can You Plan For A Second Chance After Prison?
I encourage you to start your mental reentry long before your release or immediately when you return home. Forgive yourself, make plans for your future and leave incarcerated life behind as a learning experience. Know yourself, your strength and your weaknesses and have faith in your ability and rights to the legitimate livelihood you want.
A strong plan can be all consuming. It is a full-time job learning new skills and making new plans. Also, it is one of the few times in life that you have more than enough time to focus on your future.
Sentenced to Pray: The Book and Film Exploring Post-Traumatic Prison Disorder and Survival Through Faith
As a prayer warrior, I used my time to write prayers – every day. It eased my pain and kept me closer to God. After two years I had a collection of prayers, enough for two books. After release, I published the book, Sentenced to Pray.
My dream has always been to make a movie. I never wavered from that goal, although it was the underlying cause of my incarceration. My faith is strong and I bounced back with prayer, more knowledge, better communication, and the right help. I learned that if I study, focus, and meet hard-working people like myself, everything is possible. My leadership skills helped elevate me to a place of leadership as producer of my first movie, Sentenced to Pray.
My vision never changed. Sentenced to Pray is the result of much prayer and revelation. I was determined to stay the course. Not based on a future movie, but a sincere effort to be a better version of myself. It worked because God never fails to help those that ask. Because of him, I fell but landed squarely on my feet. His grace is available to everyone.
Incarceration is not just about drugs and murder, it can happen to anyone.
This movie will provide an inside, realistic view of prison life and the sometimes appalling circumstances incarcerated people face every day. I hope my movie will be available in your area – or even on TV one day. Sentenced to Pray is now complete and ready for public viewing in the very near future.
And in your future, I pray you will be kinder and more knowledgeable when you encounter a second chance experience. Please feel free to share your story and your thoughts with me at email@example.com.
For more information on SENTENCED TO PRAY and Falling Forward Magazine, reach out to Sharon J. Davis at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Find Out More On Social
Featured image: SENTENCED TO PRAY movie poster, courtesy of Sharon J. Davis