Prison life was hard, Mercer admits. Fear was a constant struggle, and she speaks of being terrified during the interrogations. She also battled doubt and wondered, "Why?" when war made their situation even more precarious.

She cried out: "God, are you really real? Are you who you say you are? Do you really answer prayer?"

During this phase of her imprisonment, Mercer describes herself as "a mess." There were days she felt she'd rather be dead. "I fought with God. I fought with Him hard. And I lost."  That was the turning point, when she surrendered it all to Him. "I had the choice to either grow up and find God in the situation, or to become bitter. I chose to find God. He built character in us and gave us hope. And I experienced freedom like I never knew before."

But to come to that point of surrender and healthy resignation, Mercer says she "had to start with the presupposition that God is good, that God's ways are higher than mine. Without such a foundation, wrestling with God becomes an excruciating ordeal. You have nothing to stand on."

Curry agrees. "After the Sept. 11 attacks on America, and then again after the United States started bombing Kabul, I had to regroup. I determined that I would believe in God's goodness. In prison I said, 'Okay, Lord, I believe that You are good. I trust that if I die right now in this situation, then it must be the best thing for me.'" *


Renewing Our Minds


Such trust is really a choice, a choice to believe what God says rather than what we feel. Guthrie points out that the struggle for us as humans "is a constant battle between what we feel and what we believe."


She admits, "Even when I believe in that eternal future, it still feels bad that my children died. Even when I believe that there's a purpose in whatever God allows to happen in life, it doesn't feel good.


"I think that's where a study of God's Word comes in, so that more and more of what we believe and know to be true as revealed to us in God's Word is allowed to transform our minds," Guthrie says.  "As we inform our feelings by having our minds transformed by the truth, then that dichotomy between how we feel and what we believe starts to come closer together."


Troccoli agrees that words bring life or death. "I believe that's why the Word says, 'Think on things that are pure and lovely and good.' What we read, what we watch on TV, that brings life and death."  She chooses daily to feed her soul with good things. "Women don't realize how much light they can put into their own lives by their own choosing. We don't take the time to see where we can get our thirst quenched. Before we know it, we feel our spirits shrivel up."