Friday, June 11, 2010

He saved me! And He loves the captives!

 Wow! My God will always continue to amaze me! I stay woe-ed and whoa-ed at the wonder of Him! He is beyond comprehension! Ever loving! Always faith-full! Endlessly compassionate! Forever caring. Continually stretching. A constant wonder!

How GOoD He is!

How sweet He was to me today!

Full of fear still? Yes! But still, I went!

On the way to the prison I still wasn't sure of what I would say! Worse yet, I didn't know my opening line. Not that I normally prepare one. But seriously, I didn't have a clue (even at this late hour) of where to start! I was scared beyond saying! And I sooo wanted to know what I was going to say!

I got to the yard a bit early. I was to go to the "visiting area" which is different than the main part of the prison that I'd been to before.

I was to go to the tower... and when I got there to "holler up to it." (Can you picture this?????) And then, after telling the guard who I was and what I was there for, he was to buzz me into the gate and the director would meet me there.


I thought.

Only... when I drove up I don't know exactly what I was expecting. All I could see was a sea of men and I was going to have to walk what seemed like 8 miles beside them before even getting to the tower that I was to holler up to!!!!!

As crazy as my mind thinks, this is what was going through it. "There are people! EVERYWHERE! And, oh my, they're all walking around!"

Now, I don't exactly know what I thought they would be doing. And why them "walking around" surprised me so. Nor why it paralyzed me. I'm not sure. But honestly, I did not think that I would be able to make myself get out of my vehicle! I didn't know how I'd be able to do it!

Perhaps I didn't. But God did! And when it was time to (not a minute before!), I found myself walking the "8 miles" beside the wires that held the multitudes (or so it seemed!).... who weren't only standing there walking around,... but now, everyone of them were staring at me!


I heard one inmate holler to me asking if I were there for the Pre-Release program? Yes, I told him, I was. And for some crazy reason that calmed me. I guess I thought it was okay if he were expecting me. What I didn't know then, that I quickly found out, was that he (and all of the other multitudes staring) wouldn't be part of the Pre-Release crowd that I'd be talking to. Thankfully there were no vulgarities yelled. I felt that God had graciously (for me!) closed the mouths of the lions in their den. No disrespect intended. But I know that seeing a girl walking up after being locked up so long, surely provoked some mouths wanting to "say."


I got to the tower... dreading the "holler" that I was supposed to yell, but thankfully, the guard hollered down to me before I had to holler up at him. (Of course, on the way out I had to holler... and holler a whole bunch of times before he could hear. Oh, how embarrassing!!! Are you remembering that I have an audience of the multitudes watching me in their yard?!) He was all ready and set for my arrival. I had no problem at all getting in.

He buzzed me through the gate to a huge yard of I-haven't-a-clue-of-where-to-go-next opening. I looked back up him, asking him where I was going, and though he didn't verbally tell me, his hand pointed that way. I walked toward the pointing... and hoped I would find it!

After a few more miles (another exaggeration) I saw more inmates hanging around. Obviously these were the guys that I was being sent to. They, too, pointed the way.. and after what seemed forever I arrived at my building.

Woe, I opened the door with more people inside. A whole new bunch of them! Sitting around at picnic tables (set up for "visiting")... staring just like all the others had done! Every eye in the room held fast and fastened on me! Welp, at least I had their attention.

What to do next, I wondered?

And that's when I saw the director walking toward me. I've never been so excited to see someone I knew (or at least, someone I'd met before) in my life.

She introduced me in a lickity-split second, and boom, I had the floor!

All I know is that I opened my mouth not knowing what would come out... but to my excited amazement something did! I couldn't tell you what it was now. But it sure seemed to work for them then!

These guys were great. Perfectly attentive. They all smiled. Laughed at my weird humor. Nodded when they got my point. Awed every now and then at some points that hit harder. Raised their hands and commented along the way. I must say, I don't think it could have gone any better! I felt welcomed, heard, respected, and loved automatically. I liked them all instantly! I feel I now have their faces engraved on my mind. And now, as before, I would like to go back and talk with them again. I think this time it would be easier. And this time I could tell them how much more I care. Because this time, more than before, they're even more real! I now have a whole new bunch of boys that my heart bleeds for! I will hold them tenderly... each one in my prayers! I'll carry them to the foot of the Throne of Grace and beg God's mercy, His grace, His deliverance, His healing... they already have His heart and His love! May they feel more woo-ed to Him! May He draw them ever nearer! May He use them when they get out (and even while they're still there) mightily!

How can you love so deeply... guys you've only just met?!!! For already, they've stolen my heart.

"The Lord hears the needy and does not despise the captives" (Ps 69:33)!

Now... saying all of that... this is how I felt today: "Then the LORD said, "I have indeed seen the misery of My people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned with their suffering. So I have come down to rescue them... the cry of Israel has reached Me, and I have seen the way the Egyptians are oppressing them. So now, go, I am sending you.. to bring My people out" (Exo 3:7-10).

Oh Lord, will you indeed release and free them! And set them free to stay!


  1. Okay... so I know I'm making a comment to my own post. But my heart feels huge! And I NEED to!

    Always after I leave those guys, I ALWAYS WANT TO GO BACK!!!

    I cannot quit thinking about them! And since I've left, I've thought of more that I want to say! There is so much more that wish I had said. There's so much more that I wish I'd had the time to.

    I'm at home by myself. Everyone else is out of town. I was in the kitchen a minute ago telling the Lord about it as I opened the fridge. I kept talking to Him about them. Telling Him much I care. Telling Him how much I felt I already loved them. Telling Him how much sense that didn't make. Telling Him that I can't help but still see their faces. And I kept telling Him of what I wanted to tell them. And then finally I laughed with Him telling Him this, "Simply, Lord, I want to preach!!!"

    But not to just anybody. I want to go back and have a session with them to simply talk only of Jesus and nothing else!

    That wasn't all that this morning's session was assigned to be about. But I want to go back with bearing no bars and have my total freedom to say all that I want to of my Savior!

    Oh Lord, how I want them to love You. To know You. To be enamored by You. To be crazy about You. To fall for you... completely.. hook, line, and sinker. Draw them to You, Lord! Help them to know what I don't have the freedom to tell them. Help them. Deliver them. Free them. And send them out to free other people!!! Oh, Lord, as much as I feel I love them already... You love them more! You died to save them! You... it is YOU... that is wooing Your people! And You, obviously You, that is compelling me to get on my knees and intercede for them! How great is our God Who sees the misery of those held in prisons! Who still rides in to rescue! Who still seeks to save!

  2. Sharon, this is great. God has so touched your heart with love for these people and they soooo need love! I was talking to a friend recently with a prison ministry amongst women and she said the same - they are so hungry for love. The reality of being locked away. May Jesus help you to release them into His kingdom even though they may still be behind bars physically. To be set free from the old way of life and born again into the new.
    God give you grace and open doors!

  3. Dear Karen,

    Thank you so much for your comment. Yes, indeed, they are hungry for love. Aren't we all?! Like your friend, I mostly do ministry in womens' prisons. It's more rare for me to go into the men's... though God is surely opening doors (without me having asked Him to!) and sending me to them. Being "locked away" as you put it feels animalistic to them. It's degrading daily. Humiliating. Humbling. Shameful. They feel that those on the outside see them as "beneath" them. It's a hard place to lift your head from. And so many harden their heart for survival... in hopes that they won't feel it. But they do! They can't stop the feel no matter the want to... and so they attempt to harden more. Some seem to succeed. But truly, no one ever is able! Bottom line is just like you said: we all need LOVE! We all need mercy. We all need grace. We all need forgiveness. We all need a zillion second chances. We all need a Savior! May the "feel" God's love... and despite the sense of it, may God make them feel beautiful if even behind the bars of a prison!

    Again, thanks for stopping by... and leaving a piece of your heart. Bless you for caring!

  4. What an encouraging post!!!! God is indeed using you for His kingdom and praise God you are willing to be used for His glory!!! Halleujah!