The picture we are always shown, the one that is featured in movies and on TV, is of a convict being released from jail and hunting down their arresting officer for revenge.
What we rarely hear about are the convicts who were stuck in a cycle of crime and feel gratitude to their arresting officers for forcibly breaking that cycle.
How a Woman Completely Turned Her Life Around
Jocelynn James had spent years as a hardcore drug addict and criminal. She was in and out of jail 16 times between 2007 and 2012, dipping her toe in all flavors of criminal activity — with the exception of murder.
“I didn’t care about anything in life, and who I wronged. Robbery, theft, receiving property… Everything but murder, pretty much,” Jocelynn said.
When she finally hit rock bottom, it was a wake up call.
Now, she’s been clean and sober for a decade. She’s also made it her life’s mission to help other troubled women on their road to recovery.
Jocelynn spent years rebuilding her life, and when she stumbled on a Facebook post in December of 2020, she knew that she had been given a second chance for a reason.
A Fateful Facebook Post Would Help One Woman Make an Impact
Terrell Potter had been her arresting officer on numerous occasions during the darkest years of her life. Instead of resenting him, Jocelynn credited him in part with saving her life. Without prison, she would very likely be dead.
The post was made by Potter’s daughter explaining that he had kidney disease and would die if he didn’t get a donor soon. Potter had been searching high and low for a donor without success. He was on a transplant list, but it might take eight years to get an organ that way, and by then it would be too late. Immediately, Jocelynn knew what she had to do.
Jocelynn got tested and found that she was a match for Potter — her kidney could save his life!
“I just knew that it said he needed a kidney, and the holy spirit told me right then that I had that man’s kidney,” she said.
Jocelynn and Potter had successful surgeries, and the two were bonded for life. Potter was overwhelmed by the generosity shown to him by the former convict, and he knew from that moment on that she would always be considered family.
“It’s like she’s another daughter. I mean, she’s just a part of us. It’s made a great relationship and a bond between us that can go forever. There’s no doubt about that.”
How One Woman Showed Up as a Better Person
Jocelynn James hasn’t stopped changing the world. She is the Founder and Executive Director of The Place of Grace, a non-profit that helps women recover from addiction and re-enter society as productive members. On the website, her impressive biography reads:
“Jocelynn James Edmonds has been clean of opioids since November 5, 2012. She has made it her mission to help as many people as she can with substance abuse. Since August 2013, has had the pleasure of helping 803 women and 146 men get into facilities to seek help with their addiction. She also has an active jail ministry at the Franklin County Jail in Franklin County, Alabama that she started 5 years ago.”
Jocelynn’s story is an inspirational one. It shows us that it is never too late to change course, or to show up as a better person. She is also an example of the healing power of helping others. When you live to serve your community, the rewards are priceless!
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