Wow, glancing back over my blog, I realize that there's so much that I have not posted about. The last couple of weeks have held one whoa-ing wonder after another. I hate that I didn't make myself stop long enough to record it. It's way too much to attempt to gather into a cup to serve now. But wow, I so wish I had.. I so wish I could!
I feel like I've been around the world and back. But that's a great exaggeration. I've stayed within the limits of my own state, yet let me say, we've put some miles on some wheels in the last 14 days. We've been in lots of prisons. And oh at the people that I've had the opportunity to be touched by! I LOVE my "job"... even if I don't get paid. :) The rewards I'm blessed with far exceed what silver and gold have to offer me.
Back in Tutwiler for another Wednesday night service was such fun! Who knew that prison would feel so much like "home"? I've said it a thousand times and will say it thousands of times more, I love those girls that God has graced me the opportunity to serve!
I took a young girl (22 yrs old) with me on Wednesday. It was her first visit. Her first experience. She got in the vehicle afterward wildly ecstatic! She said, "Oh my goodness, you were all over the place in the lesson, but I can't believe how every next thing, every next verse, every next example, every next story so perfectly intertwined and fit and tied together!" She said, "They loved you!" She said, "My heart was burning!!! I mean, it was burning!! It literally hurt!! My heart has never burned like that before!!"
I reminded her of the two men that Luke 24 tells us of on their walk to Emmaus after Jesus had been crucified. I reminded her of how at first they didn't recognize Jesus when He appeared and walked with them. I reminded her of how we're told that Jesus started with Moses and all the Prophets and explained to them all of what was said concerning Him in all the Scriptures. And then I reminded her of when their eyes were opened and they recognized Him and He disappeared from their sight what they said to each other: "Were not our hearts burning within us while He talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?"! That's the kind of burning in our hearts that only Jesus can give! That's the kind of burning inside that I long for, and constantly long for more of!
She loved it! She loved the ladies! She could so relate. Her mom had spent some time in prison. So had other members of her family. So when she had the opportunity to pray with any of those girls that asked her to, she was all over it! She was beckoning the power of Heaven to come down on them. Let me tell you something, that girl can pray!
It was awesome! We had a tremendous time together! She was like me, when it was time to go, neither one of us was ready to leave.
One particular girl came up to me afterward. Her name was Sabrina, the same name as my youngest child. She said to me, "I want to do what you do!! I know that it's what God is calling me to!"
Wow! Powerful! I told her then to take advantage of every minute of time that she was given here! To keep her face in God's Word, to stay seated (like Mary) at the feet of Jesus! To not only serve her time here until her sentence was done, but to serve her Savior in the place that He's got her! I prayed that God would mold her unto a mighty warrior and that He would use her in ways her mind cannot even begin to fathom.
I left there thanking God a zillion times. I've said it ["Thank YOU"] over and over and over again to Him since Wednesday night's service. I go to bed thanking Him. I wake up thanking Him. And thanked Him thousands of times all throughout my day... even when I wake throughout the night. I can't tell you how awed I am of Him and all that He does! I get so scared beforehand every time! Although I have all the want-to in the world to do it, when it comes time to, I always hope that someone else will step in and take over. Fear swallowed me again so fiercely on Wednesday afternoon. I was so afraid that I could hardly stand the thickness of the fear. I was a basket case. I texted and beckoned prayers from my best-ever-out-of-state friend. On top of all else that she prayed for, she prayed for my peace. And literally within minutes I felt peace wash over me. So much so, that I put all of my notes away and refused to look at the lesson or study or prepare anymore. My trust was in God to do HIS thang... and not for me to do what I hoped He would! And wildly, HE DID!!! He DID! HE did it again!! Just like all the other times!!!!!!! And yesterday, I figured it out. I figured out why I get so afraid. It's always SO GOOD! So incredibly GOOD! So beyond me GOOD! That I think that it surely it can't be that GOOD again! And yet, of course it is! It's HIS WORD! It's ALL GOOD! Why in the world would I think any less??? I'm blown away by it still! And thrilled that my God would let me be a part!!!!
I again say what I so often do, God is raising an army within the prisons! He's lighting a fire! He's growing a passion! He's teaching them, equipping them, empowering them, and sending them out! Oh, that they are still faithful when they get beyond those barred gates that right now keep them fenced in! I am more exposed to the women prisons than the men's... And yet, I realized last week that He is perhaps doing even greater things in the men's. I grin as I type this because of the memory, but woe, last week I saw the multitudes praising and hailing our Savior... awed by the wonder of His love, amazed at His grace, and loving the Son that God has sent them! I watched the captives that are truly set free worship Him freely in prison this week!