Sunday, October 7, 2012

My First Court Appearance

I had my first court appearance nearly two weeks ago--it's taken me this long to blog about it 'cause frankly I was totally embarrassed! The whole thing was a misunderstanding really. 

Here's the story: my driver's license was apparently suspended--stop judging me, it was an accident; I didn't know, honestly! Literally the first week I had moved to Tennessee I got a ticket for pulling a U-Turn, in and area that totally did not have a sign posted saying that I couldn't pull a U-ey! Not fair! So...I got a ticket, forgot to pay it on time because I am a crazy Mom/Army Wife/Community Volunteer, and the great state of Kentucky suspended my license. Upon hearing this news, I quickly paid the ticket and thought life was peachy once more, UNTIL my wreck happened over a month ago. Yes, yes...hearing that you have been driving on a suspended license after you have just been in a car wreck is pretty devastating and pretty much a big bunch of horrible. Visions of jail-time flashed before me and I literally burst in to tears all but begging the officer not to arrest me or at least let me call someone to come get my daughter. Fortunately, Mr. Policeman was MUY BIEN nice, and just gave me a court date saying "You HAVE to appear!" in a crazy deep voice.

So I appeared. I rehearsed my story to present to the judge. I printed out a copy of my driving history proving that my license had been reinstated--I had to pay the great state of KY $40 to get my license activated again; $40!! Can you believe that? Do you know how many Chai Tea Lattes I could have indulged myself with for $40?  Ten! That's how many! So...back to my story.  I dressed in my court best, placed paper towels underneath my armpits to absorb the nervous sweat--I sweat like a beast when I'm nervous-- and walked into my first court room. It was a humbling and somewhat crushing feeling. I sat on a bench with other "offenders." Ugh...I felt criminal! Names were called. The people rose and stood in a line to await their moment in front of the Judge. Not only was I embarrassed to be there, but I was embarrassed for the people as the judge read aloud each person's offense. His voice boomed--he could have at least whispered.  "Drug charges," "domestic violence," "DUI, "violating parole " and a few driving violations. The Judge's word was sovereign--no one dared to argue with his sentence, or to speak when he was speaking. They were careful to address him as "sir" or "your honor."  Respect--it's what he demanded and what he received. 

I couldn't help but to be nervous! This man had the power to change my life for the worst! My name was called--that's a sinking feeling. I stood in line, waiting, sweating, rehearsing what I was going to say to make the Judge understand that this had all been a misunderstanding, and that's when the thought hit me. One day I will stand in front of God...we will all stand before Him--The Supreme Judge who demands honor, and who is worthy of all honor. Will my knees be knocking? Will I be preparing my excuses and explanations? No matter what the explanation, what the excuse, the truth would be, just like the truth was standing in front of this very human judge, was that I was guilty. No explanation changes the fact that I was guilty, and there will be no excuse for me, but one.  When I stand in front of God, guilty of breaking His laws, the only thing that will save me is Jesus. As He reads aloud what I have been accused of and asks me how I plead, I can say "Not guilty, only because of the blood of Jesus."

However, on this day, I wasn't in front of God, and when the Judge read my charge and asked how I pleaded, I had no one else to cover my hiney and I had to say "Guilty, your honor." He asked if I had handled the situation. I assured him I had, and then he just dismissed me as he called the next name. I stood, frozen for a second, expecting something else--advice, a wave, "don't do it again," something! This whole scenario played out in seriously under 60 seconds! I had just been judged and SET FREE! I had been dismissed! While I was completely elated, I couldn't help but feel for those who had not been as fortunate as I. There were others who would be spending many months and years in jail for their crime, and I couldn't help but wonder if they were believers. Who would reach them with the hope of Christ? Did they commit their crimes because they had no hope? How can I share the hope that I have with them?

I left the courthouse that day with a different perspective of God and a hearty dose of great respect for Him. My view of "criminals" had been altered too. Walking out of the courtroom doors, I found a place to discretely throw the soggy, sweat soaked paper towels under my armpits away, and pondered how I could make an impact of those are behind bars. Any suggestions? 

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