Jocelynn James met Terrell Potter during a dark period in her life, a five-year stretch when the Alabama woman was arrested 16 times on drug and theft charges.
Then God entered her life, and the onetime criminal and the police officer who locked her up went their separate ways.
Last November, Potter, now retired, learned he needed a new kidney. He faced a wait of seven to eight years.
“We began praying about getting the right kidney,” Potter said. “We were looking all over the Southeast.”
James was looking on Facebook and saw a post that made her aware of Potter’s plight.
“I just threw my phone down and the holy spirit told me right then that I had that man’s kidney,” she said.
She was right. Tests showed they were a perfect match.
“If you asked me 100 names of who may give me a kidney, her name would have not been on the list,” Potter said. “It’s just unbelievable that she was willing to do that.”
“It’s not a coincidence. It’s just God,” he told WTVM-TV.
James, who once had a stint on the “Alabama’s Most Wanted” list, agreed.
“In my mind, I was just doing what God told me to do,” she said.
“For God to use me as a vessel to extend Mr. Potter’s life is my greatest accomplishment. I should be dead. Instead, God helped me save a life. I am overwhelmed,” she said, according to a Facebook post by Rick Karle of WTVM.
The transplant took place July 21.
“All the numbers were great. It started working from the time it was put in,” Potter said.
The two are now as close as family.
“It’s made a great relationship and a bond between us that can go forever,” he said. “There’s no doubt about that. Her giving me a kidney, It extended my life.”
James said her faith made the miracle happen.
“God restored me from the inside out, and to be able to give another human a kidney to extend his life is really rewarding,” she said.
James said when she and Potter first met, she was lost.
“I was just living a really bad life, doing a lot of really bad things that I shouldn’t have had no business doing, and I was just a really lost person,” she said.
“She was out running crazy, stealing and doing drugs and things she shouldn’t be doing,” said Potter, formerly of the Phil Campbell Police Department in northwestern Alabama. “I locked her up a couple of times.”
The arrests became the catalyst for change.
“I was sick of living that life, and I wanted to do something different,” James said.
She now runs a nonprofit organization for women called The Place of Grace.
“I want people to realize that there is help out there for them,” James said. “It doesn’t matter what happens in your life. You can always turn it around.”
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