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McKENZIE (February 28) — Christie Dawn Shepherd, 41, of Kenton has a storied life of drug use, drug sales, jail time in 12 jails and two prisons. Today, she is out of jail and evangelizing for …
McKENZIE (February 28) — Christie Dawn Shepherd, 41, of Kenton has a storied life of drug use, drug sales, jail time in 12 jails and two prisons. Today, she is out of jail and evangelizing for Jesus. She visited The McKenzie Banner on February 28 to tell her story and offer help to others.
Christie was an inmate at Carroll County Jail when four ladies from the Huntingdon Church of Christ witnessed to her. It was Pauline Crum, Sue Crockett, Janie Hardy, and Jennifer Butler “loved her more than she loved herself.”
The Cedar Grove native was once a student at West Carroll. She said she started using marijuana while in the sixth grade and selling drugs at the age of 13. She cared nothing for school and even defied the advice of Dianne Hicks, guidance counselor at West Carroll, who encouraged her to stay in school. She told Mrs. Hicks she could make more money selling drugs than Mrs. Hicks could as a teacher. Christie said she used the school’s computer class to make fake report cards to take home. In her mid-20s, she joined a gang.
She even admits she momentarily died from an overdose, however, her brother resuscitated her. Her brother’s wife died of an overdose and one of Christie’s daughters was a user. Christie turned in her daughter to authorities to start the process of receiving help.
From her website, www.aintgodgoodprisonministry.org, she writes, “I began using drugs at 13 years old. That led to me dropping out of school when I turned 18. I married at 19 and had four children in five years. The course of my life only got worse and by 33 years old I was a homeless heroin addict. I had been indicted by the Feds and lost my children to state’s custody. I felt like I had nothing left to lose and nothing else to gain.
“I had always believed in God but never sought out to serve Him. In 2015, I was arrested on heroin trafficking charges and was facing 25 years in prison. I didn’t know Jesus but I knew that the only way I could survive prison was with Christ by my side. It was in a cold drunk tank that I hit my knees and called out to Christ for help. Thanks to wonderful women volunteers bringing me Bible studies, devotionals and Bibles, I sought out Jesus Christ through prayer, meditation and jail church services.
Little by little my relationship with Jesus smothered my old sinful ways out of my life and filled me with a newness that I had never felt. (2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come. The old has gone, the new is here! “). With this new life, I began to have a desire to share the second chance I had been given with other women. As the Holy Spirit began His work in me, I began to tell others about the miracle that had happened to me. Since I was in solitary confinement I couldn’t openly tell others, so with the help of prison guards, I began writing Bible studies and words of encouragement for other women inmates.
“This movement of God took off and followed me into the West Tennessee State Penitentiary where I was able to meet with and connect with other Christian women on the inside. Through prayer and fasting we all banded together and built what is now known as Ain’t God Good Prison Ministry.”
She said the name of the ministry came from an incident in prison when she was witnessing to an inmate in a nearby holding cell and through a vent. When she saw the inmate, she knew it was someone to whom she had sold drugs. The female inmate said, “Ain’t God good?”
In 2016, Christie was in Carroll County Jail and was participating in adult education classes. She received her high school-equivalency diploma and was highlighted as one of the graduates of the program. She promised she was going to use her diploma for good use.
When the FBI helped make a case against her on charges of Intent to Drug Traffic, Conspiracy to Distribute Heroin, she landed in the West Tennessee Women’s Prison at Henning.
Jennifer Butler, who still mentors Christie, said the former inmate is working to help other inmates and to tell her story to whomever will listen.
“She has a servant’s heart,” said Mrs. Butler, who noted the personnel at the West Tennessee prison have high regards for the former inmate.
Today, Christie is married to Rusty and has restored her association with her children and one grandchild.
She is developing a program to help inmates through an “adopt an inmate” program and an inmate mentor program. She is uncertain how God will use her in the future.
If your church or group needs a program, contact Christie at 731-535-0503 or go to her website or Facebook page.