The piercing sound of the phone cutting into a peaceful sleep awoke Carol Kent and her husband, Gene, in their Michigan home.

The news they received that October night in 1999 would forever change their lives.

Their only child, Jason, had been arrested on murder charges and was in a Florida jail.

After seven postponements of Jason’s trial, he was convicted and sentenced to life in prison with no possibility of parole.

Jason had been the ideal son, and was a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy. He had married a divorced woman with two young daughters, and the birth father of the young girls had threatened to take them from their new family. It seemed in Jason’s mind, the only way to protect his family from the abuse the birth father was accused of was to eliminate the source of the problem. He tracked down the girls’ father and shot him in a restaurant parking lot.

At least three books have come from Carol Kent’s experience in dealing with the devastation of her son being in prison—When I Lay My Isaac Down, A New Kind of Normal and Between a Rock and a Grace Place.

Kent will be a featured speaker at the Women’s Emphasis at the State Evangelism Conference at Moore, First, Jan. 25.

“All of us experience tight spots when life turns out differently from our dream,” said Kent. “When we face the overwhelming obstacles of life, we can experience the last thing we ever expect—the sweet spot of grace.”

When I Lay My Isaac Down is the story of the Kents’ desperate response to this shocking news of their son’s arrest. Kent clearly and openly communicates the pain they suffered through this tragedy. Feelings of hurt, shame, guilt and unspeakable horror left them devastated, she said

Kent’s A New Kind of Normal continues this harrowing story of rebuilding life where no “normal” exists; where holidays and Sundays are spent in prison visitation lines, and where pleas for leniency go unheard.

As a result of their experiences over the last 11 years, Kent established a new ministry, Speak Up for Hope, to help inmates and their families adjust to their new normal.

“We exist to provide hope to inmates and their families through encouragement and resources,” said Kent.

Also speaking will be Cheri Fuller, an international speaker and award-winning author of 42 books, including her newest, Mother-Daughter Duet: Getting to the Relationship You Want With Your Adult Daughter. She has also authored a number of books for moms like: The Mom You’re Meant to Be, The One Year Women’s Friendship Devotional and the bestselling When Mothers Pray, A Busy Woman’s Guide to Prayer, Connect With Your Grandkids, as well as The One Year Book of Praying Through the Bible.

A former Oklahoma Mother of the Year, Fuller has been a frequent guest on “Focus on the Family” and other national radio and TV programs. Her articles on prayer, family, marriage and children have appeared in Focus on the Family, Family Circle, ParentLife, Guideposts, Today’s Christian Woman, Better Homes & Gardens, and other publications.

Her ministry and course called “Parenting From Behind Bars” gives hope and purpose to mothers in prison. She and her husband, Holmes, have three grown children, six grandchildren and reside in Edmond.

Others on the program include Becky Badry, a LifeWay Ministry Multiplier and director of women’s missions and ministries for the Colorado Baptist Convention; Kelly King, women’s missions and ministries specialist for the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma and Angela Lind, worship leader at Lexington, First.

The general sessison will be from 9-11:30 a.m., with workshops at 1:30 and 3 p.m. and a dessert break at 2:30. Kent will conduct a special session on “How to Communicate Evangelistically” for women speakers at 1:30 p.m.

Childcare is offered by making reservations through Moore, First at 405/793-2600.