A prison sentence can mean the end of a life for many people, but for others, it can mean the beginning of a new spiritual journey through renewed faith in God. One of our clients shares her story that started with a crime but ended with a lasting relationship with the Lord and a newfound strength through her faith.
My name is Tahlia Walton*, and here is my testimony. I was indicted in 2013 for conspiracy to commit tax fraud. My life was completely changed the day I was ambushed by the authorities. The door to my home was busted open, guns were drawn on me and my 16-year-old daughter, and I was then placed in handcuffs, arrested, and taken to federal holding in Broward. This was the most horrifying experience I’ve ever had to face, but for some reason, God strengthened me to find out later that it was all part of His plan for my life.
I took a plea deal to protect others and was given 34 months in federal prison. In September 2015, I was 18 months into this sentence awaiting release when I was indicted again. This time there were no doors bursting apart, no guns, and no arrest – just court all over again. During this go-around, they charged me with 23 more counts pertaining to the same entity, “my tax office,” and offered me 110 months consecutive to the 34 I had already been sentenced to, totaling 144 months. I wondered if I had killed someone! At the time, I knew murder would be worse, but a murder conviction carries a five-year minimum sentence. During my time behind bars, I had educated myself on my case and the severity of it, and I was strong enough to fight back.
Eventually, the plea was reduced to 78 months, which I took but still fought. Basically, I was really going through a spiritual battle. God was talking to me, seeking my devoted attention, and He desired to make some changes in me. I rebelled against those changes, which I believe, resulted in the second indictment. I know God can do all things, even change hearts of judges, prosecutors, and lawyers, but it wasn’t my time to be free. Not just yet. I still had unforgiveness, bitterness, and crazy thoughts. My attitude was worse. I had a bad temper and I was outspoken, but I considered these traits my strengths. Eventually, God revealed to me so many other ways to live and go about life. Now, 61 months later, I am very different. I have no regrets as to what He allowed me to go through, and I understand more of my purpose. Most of all, I have established a new relationship with Him, my own personal relationship with Him.
Please support positive second chances for clients such as Tahlia. We need community support in order to continue our spiritual, employment, and counseling services and resources. Consider a donation to Riverside House today. Donate here: https://riversidehouse.givingfuel.com/donation-page
*Name has been changed to protect the privacy of our clients.