What kind of date is that?
It's a real date. Though, in reality, not really. In reality, it's no date at all.
I was looking at some information of the girls that I teach in prison that was emailed to me. I took notice of their birthdates, and the dates of their release. That's when I ran across this date for three of the girls in one of the prisons that I'm teaching in.
Upon seeing the date the first time, I wrongly assumed that someone had forgotten to enter it and it had been left blank. But when seeing the second one... and then, the third,.... and then the intials "LP" written out beside it, it dawned on me the reason, and what the initials stood for.
"LP" - Life with Parole.
Better than Life w/OUT Parole, I'm sure. But it's not a date that would seem encouraging to most people I know.
It's like, it's a date that doesn't exit!
If asked, "When do you get out?" "What's your release date? Mine is in ____ years."
Their answer if verbalized would say, "There isn't one."
What do you say? How do you handle that? How do you answer that? Worse than that, how does it feel? Is there a panic to the feeling? Surely a sorrow that's overwhelming. Surely, its something too huge for the mind to process. A heaviness that always hangs over you.
All of the girls in my group are longtimers. They've all been inside the prison for a whole bundle of years. One girl in my group's release date is in 2038! Hard to imagine! That's a long time way off!
Another's is 2051! Woosh, too huge to fathom!
But for the ones whose date is 00/00/0000?
Basically.... I have no words!
Of course, like I said, some are worse off than Life with Parole, some have Life with-OUT. And there are others that are literally on Death Row.
One of the girls in my group was once.... was on Death Row. After her first appeal, it was Life w/o Parole. After her second, she now has a release date. And one with an actual year that doesn't end as 0000.
I am not naive enough to not realize that obviously those girls committed a horrendous crime or the sentence wouldn't be so steep. I don't doubt that most of the family members that were affected and hurt and horrified and traumadized by what they've done do not pity their years.
But there is nothing we can do that God can't or won't forgive and release us from. No sin rates too big for Jesus to wash away. Nothing, no matter what we've done, has to carry the 00/00/0000 for a release date if we'll believe God and give it over to Him. He can ransom it all, restore all, and redeem anything.
Tonight though, this is my wonder. Sometimes we decide alone how long our sentence is. What is it that you[re imprisoned to? Maybe that you're addicted to? Your stronghold? Your thing that holds you and seems not to let go? That you're riddled with guilt over? Or embittered to? Or refuse to turn from?
What's your release date? And do you honestly have one?
When will you be released from the thing that you've allowed to imprison you?
This is a date that only you decide. You hold the pen to scribble its date.... but only if you want to.
What's your "release date?"