Updated: Aug 23, 2020
My name is Amber Browning. On August 31 2015 my life changed. I was FINALLY arrested for the first time. I say finally because for 10 years prior to that, I lived a life that should’ve put me under the jail. I had just turned 33. There I stood in the worst hell hole you can ever imagine being in on this earth, Pickens County Jail. I can’t even put into words how terrible this place was. Once Wednesday rolled around, the girls started telling me that it was “church day”. I liked church. I was brought up in church and would actually still go even in my addiction. There are a lot of Christians addicted to something, you would truly be surprised if we all got honest. I was so ready to see what church in jail was like. In walked five of the most beautiful women. Mrs. Talya Ball was one of them. These women quickly became part of my survival mode. See, I didn’t get bailed out for 8.5 months. That’s how done my family was with me. So I clung to these women for about 35 weeks. They meant so much to me that I would “get ready” for church. I would shower, brush my teeth and hair and look my best before they arrived. Mrs. Talya was always speaking life over us and the words giving to her by God were always healing, encouraging, promising and comforting. It didn’t take me long to realize that Jesus was all I had in there and I began to study and memorize scripture I was challenged with by “the church ladies.” I made up my mind that I wanted to be a different person and allowed God to break up the hard ground in my heart. My days got easier in there and I know it sounds crazy, but I started to become a happy and joyful person. When God gets a hold of you, your surroundings don’t matter, your circumstances don’t matter because the joy of the Lord is your strength. I couldn’t believe how happy in Jesus I was, IN THERE! Not long after my release God began taking me from glory to glory. I got a job cleaning bathrooms, then Captain D’s, then a cabinet shop sanding and assembling cabinets. I really wanted a more professional line of work, God promoted me to become an inventory control specialist at a well known plant in Tuscaloosa. This was a time God used to build my confidence to keep pushing and that just because the world has me labeled as a convicted felon, HE SAID he had more for me. It had always been a dream of mine to work in the dental field and quite honestly the plant job was very stressful was causing me to lose sleep at night. So I pushed one more time to go somewhere the world said I wasn’t suppose to be, I am now the Hygiene Coordinator at a well known dental facility. I am so thankful for Mrs. Talya and all the other “church ladies” for pouring into me week after week. Two Wednesday’s stick out in my mind when I think about Talya. One was when she spoke with authority over my life and told me exactly what God thought of me & the other was when we actually got to go outside. We were sitting on the yard in the warm sun and Mrs. Talya asked us what “the abundant life” meant to us. Well... I’m living it. I left that place on April 16, 2016. I have not had any legal issues since and am still clean and sober. I have custody of my children, my home is paid for, my relationships with family have been restored. I’m in therapy and taking care of myself physically as well. I am a NEW creation in Christ and a huge part of that is thanks to Mrs. Talya and the church ladies. Jail ministry is so important and it is SPECIAL. For someone to volunteer to come in that stinking place and subject themselves to all the things (spirits) those women are carrying is selfless and brave and I thank them for it and I LOVE THEM for it.