Trusting in God's plan
By Terri Steinberg,
Mother of Virginia Death Row Inmate Justin Wolfe
I could not go out of the house for many weeks. I was devastated, exhausted, embarrassed and so very sad. As a mother, I had failed to protect my children. I couldn't face anyone. I went to different grocery stores, a different church. The murder trial was all over the local papers, which said horrible things about my son. It seemed like there was no place that I could turn where I wasn't bombarded with it. Before the arrest, I had always been very active with the kids - volunteering, coaching, room mom, and whatever else needed to be done. Now my job as mother is consumed with protecting my children from the horrible truth that our state is working really hard to kill their big brother, a brother they love and looked up to; trying to help them grow up to be normal” when the death penalty has stripped "normal" from their lives.
We have many in the community that support us; yet it still hurts that there are those former friends that no longer want anything to do with us. We were not welcome at some neighborhood functions and some people blatantly looked the other way as we passed. In some ways, I understand. It was hard for me to talk about it, so I can imagine it would be hard to know just what to say. But I always felt a simple "hello" would have been nice.
Last July, a Federal court judge finally recognized that Justin is innocent of this crime and vacated his sentences. Unfortunately, the state is appealing this decision, so he still sits on death row, in isolation, where he has been for 11 years now, and will celebrate his 31st birthday on March 17. The Fourth Circuit Court hearing is scheduled for May 17, and we continue to hope.
I know God has a plan for Justin and our family. I pray every day that I can follow His lead and do as He asks, to be His servant with this cross He has given. Each day, I pray the Our Father and focus on and sometimes struggle with the words – "Thy will be done." Those words carry so much meaning and responsibility for me. But I have to believe that God will carry us as we carry this cross. I know that one day Justin will come home; he will be free of that place. What I don't know is who will he come home to - me, or our Father in heaven. I hope he will get another chance at life here with us, but I know I have to trust in God's plan, whatever that is.