My name is Paula Jones, and I am currently an inmate at the Utah State Prison for kidnapping, which carries a sentence of five to life. I have been here for six and a half years. I don’t regret not one day as through God’s love, and the many people who bring it to us here; I am now becoming the daughter God has put me here to be. I am very blessed and amazed at all the love and faith others have had for me and in me, even when I had none in myself. One of those being Dave and Linda Donaldson who bring Real Transitions here to us who want to change our lives here at the prison. It teaches us five areas of our lives that we need to have a foundation in so, when we are released, we know how to implement them in our lives. Most of us have not had this or seen this, so we are unable to make it happen on our own.
I’m getting better and have goals in my discovery book. I learned how to accomplish these goals as well as set new ones. When taken one piece at a time, I can and have learned to dream. Throughout my life, I never felt I could accomplish anything, and if I did, I felt I did it wrong and was wrong.
Through trauma and abuse throughout my life I have been unable to possess any self esteem. Being able to accomplish these goals and continue making new ones, my self esteem has risen tremendously. I find it easier to believe in myself due to the love and acceptance I have been shown by the mentors.
I never knew what love felt like until I received and accepted the love of Christ. I now know what it feels like to be encompassed in love. I am being loved by people I don’t even know, and given opportunities I never dreamed would be available to me.
Stability has been a foreign word to me. The last time I left prison I moved in with a man who I barely knew. He, like so many in my life was violent. Growing up in an environment of physical and sexual abuse, it was what I knew. I quickly became violent. He tried to burn one of my grandson’s hands and I jerked him away. I was then choked out feeling I deserved it and believing the lies, I stayed until I was beat up one night and the cops helped me leave the residence. I am now blessed with an opportunity to live in a tiny home for the next three to five years. I will not have to walk through this vulnerable time alone. Not only do I have the love of God, but he has placed a loving couple to help guide and love me on my journey. There will be rules and regulations set to help guide my journey. Not allowing me to have men stay as overnight guests stops me from having people living with me, which I have done most of my life. I felt I could fix them, in turn avoiding looking at myself. Being the first one allowed this amazing opportunity. I hope to let others know how much this chance can change our lives, as well as the ones offering help and being an angel among us, whether it being a mentor or offering financial help to bring this to fruition for others.
I will never be able to express all the gratitude for all who allowed this to be possible for me. I only pray I can live a life showing how thankful I am in all I say and do. Serving others will now be my life’s purpose and showing the love that God has shown me.