Life can be strange sometimes, you’ll be going along doing what you think you’re supposed to be doing and wham out of nowhere things get flipped upside down. It reminds me of the scripture in proverbs 16:9 that says “a mans heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps”. We forget sometimes that if we have given our heart to the Lord, then we’ve given him our lives to do His will. This is what happened to me 3 years ago when God directed my steps right into Jury Duty! While I cannot give you any details about the trial itself I can tell you of my experience.
It all started with that “dreaded” jury duty letter. The last time I got one of those my children were very young and I was their primary care giver so it was easy for me to get out of it with a simple letter. This time however my kids were independent and I had no excuse or reason that I could not attend the jury selection process. It was back in May of 2015, I had to send the portion in that said I would be part of the process as they let you know clearly it really isn’t a choice, unless you have a valid reason that makes you ineligible. A couple of months went by and I hadn’t heard anything back from them and I really believed I was in the clear. Then in the middle of August I got a letter letting me know that I had to show up for jury selection in September. Now I have to be honest I had no desire to be in this process because, periodically throughout my life I had only heard negative things about jury duty and that “you better hope you don’t ever get chosen for it”! This became my mindset, so when I got called to the courthouse I was not happy. It was early in the morning on a Tuesday that I had to be there. When I arrived I was surprised at the sheer number of people there, I estimate between 100-120 people, not what I was expecting. With that many people there I was put at ease, because I thought what are the chances out of all these people that I would get picked, after all they only needed 14 people. I had also prayed and told God that this wasn’t my thing so if He could get me out of it that it would be much appreciated. The morning started as they gathered all of us into a small court room where we were seriously packed in there like sardines, I mean, you couldn’t get away with not touching the person on either side of you it was very uncomfortable. They then informed us that it was a murder trial that we were being considered for. They also told us what the jury selection process looks like and what to expect. They broke us down into 4 groups of 20 (they weeded out quite a few people in the very beginning, people who had heard about the incident in question, or people who knew of and were acquainted with the victims, police offers, lawyers or any other person that would be involved in the trial). You were not referred to by name just by number. I really wanted to be part of the first group called because they were going to get out of there first and I just wanted it over with. Well, as it stood I was not chosen for the first group, so I prayed ok Lord put me in the second group, but that didn’t happen, I wasn’t chosen for the third group either! As I was sitting there and they were calling the final numbers for the fourth group I started to think my number might not be called at all wouldn’t that be great. Then I heard my number and it was the third last number of the day! God has a sense of humour! Out of ALL the people there how did I get picked almost last!? I kept myself calm as I was overly confident I wouldn’t be chosen for this. I wasn’t happy that potentially I wouldn’t be out of there until 6 pm and I had been there since 8 in the morning. Finally it was time to come before the judge,the defendant and the lawyers, (on a side note I just want you to know that I ended up being the very last person to do this… THE LAST person of the day!) As I got in front of them I was not worried of being chosen. I was sworn in and asked specific questions when I was done it was time for the yay or nay, let me explain here that the defence lawyers and the prosecuting lawyers have to be in agreement as to who they want on the jury, so if the defence said yes and the prosecuting attorneys say no then you are not selected and visa versa. I looked over at the defence lawyers they had the first say and I saw them nodding their heads, then I heard my first yes and with bated breath I looked over at the prosecuting attorneys and I heard the words yes from them the next thing I heard was the judge say “you have been selected “ and the madame registrar turned to me and said “you are juror #_ be here Monday morning at _ o’clock”. I was stunned didn’t God get my memo? Ummm hello!? I didn’t want to do this, what just happened !? I would be lying to you if I said I wasn’t upset, I was very upset. I could find no reason in my head as to why I had been chosen, why I had to do this. This was going to interrupt my life and I didn’t want that. I drove home and I questioned God, I told Him I didn’t understand and I had a melt down of sorts. My family was also less that happy about it, none of us knew what to expect, but we expected the worst (oh by the way I did get home after 6pm as was predicted). As that evening went on I began to calm down and started thinking that there must be a reason why, and just because I didn’t know what it was God knew so I decided to just relax about it. Monday morning rolled around and the trial started, I sat there still kind of numb to the idea of being there, that was until I heard inside of me not audible, but in my heart I heard “ Lisa, you were born for this” the second I heard those words I knew God was speaking to me, I sat straight up, leaned in and listened intently. I thought if I was born for this then I got what it takes to do it and from that moment on it all turned around for me. The trial was 7 weeks long, and we were sequestered for 4 days, no family contact, no tv, radio or cell phones just me and the 11 other jurors and 2 chaperones, we had to stay away from the public as well, we were only allowed to speak to waiters or waitresses to place our meal orders, that’s it. It wasn’t an easy process coming to a verdict, you have 12 different people with different opinions and perspectives. When we finally reached a verdict it was quite a relief, we were confident it was the right verdict. It was over and we were happy that justice was being served. In the midst of the trial and deliberations I saw my purpose in being there, I knew why and I was so glad God chose me to be part of that jury. It was a learning and positive experience, an experience that I would not discourage anyone from having. To end this blog I want to leave you with one of my favourite verses in the bible Psalm 139 :16 “your eyes saw me when I was formless; all my days were written in your book before a single one of them began”. God indeed directs our steps, He knows what’s best for us. So if you find yourself with a life interrupted, trust that God knows exactly what He is doing, You were born for this, you were born to win! So, Remember sister/brother You got this, because God knew about this and He has you in His hand!