The Gift of Second Chances

by Intern Breanna Berry in Leading Hearts Magazine

Interview with Authors Sioni Rodriguez and Schelia Singley

IMAGINE YOURSELF IN A POSITION YOU NEVER WOULD HAVE THOUGHT TO BE IN. Had you known the ultimate outcome, you would have never allowed it to become an option. While feeling stuck in this position, you are going through feelings of grief: rejection, anger, hopelessness and loneliness.

A sense of being forgotten overwhelms your mind.

The grief inside you grows to the point where it could burst. But who or what is it that has been taken from you? The answer is hope

This is where Scheila Singley found herself when she was incarcerated.

However, even though Scheila felt alone, her mother, Sioni Rodriguez, was doing everything in her power to restore hope in her daughter.

Rebuilding What Was Destroyed

In their book, Rebuilding What Was Destroyed, the story of Scheila’s experience behind prison walls is revealed to its fullest as her mother uses all her resources on the outside to restore her daughter’s hope on the inside. It even tells stories of women Sioni has reached through her church’s prison ministry and how they connect with Scheila’s story.

When learning about the position Scheila was in, Sioni was devastated. “The pain she went through, I went through,” Sioni said. Although Sioni was across the country from her daughter, she was able to find a local pastor who could restore hope in Scheila’s heart.

The restoration was so big that Sioni now does the same for others.

She visits women who are incarcerated and offers them the hope that can breathe life into them once more.

As she sits down with each woman, she asks them to rate their day on a scale from one to 10; one being the worst day and 10 being the best.

“The reason I ask them is that I want to find out what they are feeling that day. My goal in prison is to speak life into them, to give them hope and say,

‘You know what? God has a purpose in your life,’” she explained. “We have to see people through the eyes of God and know that people can change. We cannot give up on people because God doesn’t give up on people.”

Throughout the entire experience and authoring the book together, Sioni and Scheila’s relationship has grown stronger.

“As her mother, I am so proud of her and feel much closer to her now,” Sioni said.

Scheila expressed her deep appreciation for her mother because of the spiritual battle that she faced to help her regain hope. “I realized she was stronger than me,” Scheila said.

“Christianity is not for the faint of heart, and she beat that devil down.”

Overall, the message of Rebuilding What Was Destroyed is meant to bring hope to the women who are incarcerated and experiencing the grief of losing hope.

Rebuilding What Was Destroyed is for anyone who needs the reminder that it is never too late for a second chance.

“We can be sanctified, redeemed,” Scheila said. “We are His daughters. We are His princesses. We are future queens. There is no reason we shouldn’t keep fighting and never give up.”

WATCH an interview with Sioni Rodriquez on Christian Book Buzz.

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