Tuesday, November 3, 2009
what can i say?... i can't imagine living there
It was sweet. But sad. I left wanting only to cry. It was a small group. Only 6 ladies, plus another teacher, and me. I prayed for the ladies before I got there; but I prayed all the more fervently all the way home. The looks of their faces are stayed on my mind. It was there that I met real people, real girls, with real hearts and real names. I didn't find out much about them because the study took all of the time. I hope as time goes on I'll find out more. I do know this, every one of them have children. And every mother there missed their babies no matter their ages! That's what haunts me the most. The prison walls have to be incredibly intimidating. The razor-wired fences horribly humiliating. The steal bars terribly traumatizing. The security checks and lack of privacy dreadfully degrading. The cold cinder block cells empty and frightfully lonely. The meanness and madness awfully discouraging. All of it has to be far more nightmarish than I can imagine. But to be separated and caged away from your children???.... surely that has to be almost unbearable!
Just in case it's not clear what I've been talking about. Tonight (after several months of working toward it... and years of knowing before that that I was called to go) was my first night into a Maximum Women's Security Prison for a Bible study. Is it possible to say that I loved them all even before I met them? And now that I have, I love them even more than I did then. How can I explain that except for God? I'll be honest, I wondered if I'd be accepted. I wondered if I'd repulse them by just walking in. I don't know, I wondered if they'd even care to hear what I had to say. I wondered if they'd have the attitude of "Who do you think you are to come in here and tell us anything?" But I can't tell you how precious they were. How gracious. How kind. How welcoming. How very hungry to hear.
My prayer now has names and faces. I pray for my new friends. I pray that God will fan His fire within them and that their passion for Jesus will be contagious and used to turn that prison around. Who says that God can't take a Maximum Security Women's Prison and turn it into a Maximum Security (in Jesus Christ) Women's Facility?! I pray that God will rock the house and loose the chains that bind them; because even while still behind physical bars He's able to release them from their spiritual ones! I pray for their hearts, their minds, their hurts, their loneliness, and those left at home without them. I pray that God will take these few and multiply them into many!
Acts 16:22-26, "The crowd joined in the attack against Paul and Silas, and the magistrates ordered them to be stripped and beaten. After they had been severely flogged, they were thrown into prison, and the jailer was commanded to guard them carefully. Upon receiving such orders, he put them in the inner cell and fastened their feet in the stocks. About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everybody's chains came loose."
Don't even think to tell me that Jesus doesn't have plans for people in prisons! I'm praying hard for everybody's chains to come loose!!