I'm exhausted. Totally so. I suppose the 3 1/2 hours sleep I got last night doesn't help matters. It's been a wild day. I just got home... and yes, already put my jammies on. Soon, I'm headed to bed. Hopefully! At least, for a nap anyway, if nothing else.
I feel like I've stepped onto a train when I heard what I felt was God's whistle blow.... and the train is moving faster and to more places than I ever dreamed it would. I do feel confident of Who my Conductor is, but I can't (at this point) say that I truly know where all exactly it is that this train is going and what all it has planned.
I'm a bit overwhelmed!
Actually, who am I kidding? I'm not a bit. I'm a whole lot overwhelmed!
Can I just be honest?
I wanna cry.
I can't remember when I didn't believe that God was calling me to the prison ministry. Looking back, I can see tracks headed this way all over the place. Puzzle pieces have been accumulating for years and years to create this picture. So many. Some big. Some small. Some subtle. Some loud. But, so many.
For a while I just assumed that if it was God's call, that He'd pave the way, that He'd provide the avenue, and that He would, I guess, just send someone to my house to grab my hand and say, "It's time. You're ready. This is where we're going. Let's go."
From time to time I would seek an avenue in. But, I didn't know where to look. The prison ministry that we have at church didn't have much room for a girl. They were geared toward men's prisons. But I could bring toothpaste, and shaving cream, and toiletries to bag to give to the guys if I wanted. That's kind. That's fine. That's good. That's needed and appreciated, I'm sure. And yet, it really wasn't what I had in mind. It wasn't where I felt God was calling me. Not that I couldn't do that. But I felt that that wasn't it. I felt there was more.
I would shelve the vision of my calling most of the time, and every now and then, bring it down to visit again. To wonder about it. To mull over it. To ponder. The fire inside would flame in its want-to. Only to be douched to a simmer when there seemed no way to get there from here.
Like I said. That was years of my life. When I would pass by those dressed in stripes on the sides of the roads picking up trash, every single time I so badly wanted to stop to tell them, we've all been imprisoned (or are in prison now!) over something or another. It's just that most of us have invisible bars for our prisons and we dress in street clothes to disguise ourselves to appear to be free. Yet "inmates" we are... or were.. or will be....... It's just not as obvious to others. And even sometimes we're even able to deceive ourselves.
Sometime this past summer (2009), out of the blue, though I hadn't thought about it for eons, I awoke with a refueled passion. My eyes were barely opened yet, but I grabbed my computer and started googling. Looking for someone in town that was working in the prison ministry. It didn't take long before I landed on the place that God had planned for me to. When I called, the president of this ministry that I'd found told me that I was his answer to prayer.
By the end of October I had been through the required "training" and my criminal background had been checked. I had the "Go"... and the avenue. QUICKER, I've heard, than almost anybody!
November 2nd was my very first visit! Wow! I'd finally made it in and met with wonder a precious bunch of girls who are wanting to change their lives and live for our Lord! It was a sight to behold! I left sobbing in my soar!!!!! I was elated, enamored, encouraged. But also saddened by the horror of the hole where they're held. It was hard to imagine. And after the glimpse I'd been given, I hardly slept at all that night after coming to my nice home.
I meet with those girls on a weekly basis now. These are my Monday night girls.
By January 6th (two months later) I was already invited into another prison, my Wednesday group. It's a long sweet story, but I've already given these preciously BEAUTIFUL girls a name (Have I talked about that already on here???), I call this group of girls: PWHDs (Princess Warriors in Human Disguise). They loved it! And I do too!
Last Tuesday, in the wildest of ways God introduced me to a man that is basically offering me the keys to every prison in my state that I am willing to go into. I mean, the hold up (if there is one) will be me! It's unheard of. I am by-passing the schooling, the training, and the jobs working my way up to this level of entry. Today, he took me on a tour into the depths of two of the prisons. One, a maximum security women's prison. Another, a men's!
I was sitting here a second ago trying to take all this in. I literally counted on my fingers how long I'd been in the prisons. NOT EVEN A FULL THREE MONTHS YET! And here God goes and introduces me to a man that doesn't know me from Adam, giving me access to every door to go as far as I want to go. Is that wild, or what??? Most unheard of, surely! This doesn't happen! And doesn't make sense without Sovereign intervention!
I'm praying for wisdom. For direction. For discernment. For God to make me smarter than I am!!! I know nothing about this world. I am trusting God to give me a WHOLE LOT of strength in my weakness! For Him to make up for what I lack. It's not about me anyway. As I keep saying, He just wants a willing vehicle (vessel) to use, and I am honored to offer Him mine.
Mostly what it shows me is God's concern for those being held captive! Psalm 69:33 is a HUGE verse to me. It says, "The LORD hears the needy and does not despise His captive people."
And forever(!), Exodus 2 and 3 have been some of the sweetest verses I know. Today, I feel it personalized. Today, I feel like God is saying this to me:
"The Israelites groaned in their slavery and cried out, and their cry for help because of their slavery went up to God. God heard their groaning.... So God looked on the Israelites and was concerned about them...." Then the Lord finds Moses in the desert and says to him, "I have indeed seen the misery of My people in Eygpt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. So, I have come down to rescue them... and to bring them up out of that land.... So now go, I am sending you... to bring My people out."
At moments I'd like to join Moses' "Who am I" band. For who I am to send to do anything?
I don't know much. But this I do:
God LOVES people. Period! And He cares for those imprisoned! And Jesus died to save and set the captives free. And He also works through people.
Here am I, Lord, send me. Use me when and where You will! Help me to love as You love. To see those as You see. To have a passion that comes (come-passion!) and a mercy that runs to all those in need.