“I don’t want to come back to jail.” Was her response to, “What’s your plan for 2015?”
“Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.” Proverbs 29:18
Yesterday was my third visit to the county jail.
I’m yet to find the words to express how much I L-O-V-E visiting the women in jail. If you could only be a fly in my car each time when I leave and drive home crying, talking out loud to myself like a snotty slobbering loon. Yea, it’s something like that.
Visiting the jail keeps me humble. The hunger for Christ from some of the women in there is so refreshing.
When I look into their eyes I see how very similar we are and am reminded -the journey for each of the souls there, began with one step.
The title of the yesterday’s message for the inmates led by my brave friend,
“What’s you plan for 2015?”
Fitting for the last Sunday of the year.
Many of the women echoed the answer of the first brave soul who said she didn’t want to end up back in jail when her time was up.
I applauded her response and encouraged her with, “BRAVO my friend! You have a start. You have set your plan in motion with one decision.”
The women were still gathering around the cold, steel picnic tables when I noticed one of the women studying me. She politely interrupted the conversation of introductions with a question for me, “Hey where are you from?”
As she spoke my mind raced backed twenty years.
Her laugh is infectious with a personality the size of Texas, this woman; I hadn’t recognized was a dear, dear friend of mine twenty years ago.
She tried to hide her face from me as I grabbed her. We smiled, hugged, laughed and then she began to cry.
I couldn’t believe it. It was all so surreal. I’ve heard my parents speak of their friends who had taken to wrong path, made poor choices and ended up in jail or worse, dead. But this woman, I didn’t even recognize was my age. We had hung out together, spent many hours laughing and enjoying life together. She attended my wedding. I held her firstborn. She has a family that loves her and a personality that could take her to the moon and yet she is in bondage while I am free.
Apologetic for interrupting the message we settled back down when I said, “Girl, we’ve got to talk!”
Many of the women were very eager to engage and participate with the message in planning for the New Year.
When I recognized the slumber of one in particular. I saw myself in her bitter expression so I asked , “What’s got a hold of you? Why are you so down?”
At first, I didn’t think she was going to answer. So I asked her again and then we waited.
“Grief. Grief’s what’s got me.”
She hesitated as she began to spill her sorrows. She shared her losses. There were many.
And then I shared, “I know grief. He’s terrible. He chokes you some days to the point you can not breathe, right?”
She nodded through her tears.
“Have you told God how you feel?”
“Why should I? I don’t trust Him.”
How would you have answered her?
I answered as humbly as I knew how, “He is trustworthy. He is the only one who is trustworthy.”
Our exchange continued.
“How do you know? How did you do it? How did you trust Him after he let you hurt so bad?”
“One moment at a time. One hour at a time. Reading and praying His Word back to Him, one- at- a -time.”
Through faith, by His grace I was able to believe and now testify to you, God truly is good.
“I prayed these verses out loud. On days the ache kept me from speaking, I journaled them. My dear new friend, a precious sister in Christ recently shared with me,
“God is GREATER THAN..”
and just so you know, there is absolutely NOTHING, N-O-T-H-I-N-G you can do or have done that will separate you from His love. Try these, you will see, He is good.”
“Call upon me in the day of trouble and I will rescue you and you will give me glory.” Psalm 50:15
“The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away…blessed be the name of the Lord.”
“All things work together for good for those who love The Lord and are called according to His purposes.” Rom 8:28
“The Lord is close to the broken-hearted..” Ps 34:18
One day at a time.
One verse at a time.
And then be ready because one day, the pain will be a tiny bit less painful and you will be able to breathe again.”
There was more and I could talk about God and His goodness all day but my challenge to the ladies and for you is one I am challenging myself with …
Is my word for 2015
“Do for ONE what you would do for a thousand.” –Lysa TerKeurst
Offer one kind word a day.
Make one generous gesture.
Dream ONE crazy wild dream.
Complete one-act of service.
Offer one apology.
Lead one person to Christ.
Surrender one bad habit.
Start one healthy habit.
Pray one BIG prayer.
Visit one person at a time.
Do one BRAVE thing a day.
You get the idea?
The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. -Lao Tzu
If one+one+one+ one+one+one+one+ine+one=endless ripple effect
Have you made yours?
What’s your grand plan for 2015 my friend?
Share yours with us in the comment section.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!