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Posts Tagged ‘Prison’

Sunday afternoon, since it was the second Sunday, I went to take part in the prison ministry church service that Knox Presbyterian leads for women.  I opted to bring my journal so that I could share a few stories about myself.  I normally sing, however, I wanted to share a few things about my life with the ladies.

When I went to check in, there was a newer guard who was still learning the ropes.  Apparently, he didn’t know that I was not allowed to bring in a journal (full of my personal experiences) into the prison, and we lost about 45 minutes waiting for the request to bring my journal in, which was later denied.  Suffice it to say, I was discouraged, and I was ready not to say anything to the women because we were already behind schedule.

When we got through security into the general population, I had no idea what God was doing with me there.  I didn’t want to sing, I didn’t know what to share, I was just going to sit there and read prayer requests that the women fill out before each church service in order for people to pray for them.  When we entered the room, I sat on the stage with the rest of the team, like a lump, and didn’t know why, but I asked for the guitar.  I didn’t know what I was going to sing, I didn’t know what I was going to share.  I ended up telling them the truth of what I had planned, and found myself singing ‘I Could Sing of Your Love Forever’.  While Pastor Mike was giving the sermon, I started reading the prayer requests.  There was a random stack of loose papers handed to me, and the second one I read was this one:

Sharon

I knew exactly who it was from, and I remembered that I had not written her lately.  I didn’t know what God was doing, but I knew that His spirit was speaking.  If you want to know more about the story behind the above note, please read this and this.  Pastor Mike left me just enough time to sing one more song, acapella.  Some of the lyrics included “I am a sinner, if it’s not one thing it’s another.  Caught up in words, tangled in lies.  But You are a Savior and You take brokenness aside and make it beautiful, beautiful.”

As I left the prison, I still didn’t know what He was doing, but He caused me to sing what was in my heart to share that day.  For that, I’m grateful that the Spirit Spoke and I am reminded that He still speaks for me.


With every breath I breathe

With every song I sing
I wanna shout it out, Lord I am listening
To every word You speak
I’ll go where You will lead
To love the least of these
Is my greatest offering
(All Sons and Daughters)

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As I prepare for this journey on Wednesday, I find myself thinking about a friend that I lost.  For those of you that know me, understand that I think about her constantly and she had an impact on my life as well as my friends that knew her.  For those that just happen to glance at this blog, her name was Lisa.  Lisa was killed in 2006 at the hands of her mother, Sharon.  Sharon is in prison in Ypsilanti.  I know this, because I have been writing her for over a year now.

For some reason, about four months after Lisa’s death, she sent me a letter from jail.  She wanted to make amends, she wanted to send her apologies to all of Lisa’s close friends.   At first, I felt that I should try and do something with the letter, that I should give it to the friends that she mentioned…but then I felt like that would be a tremendous burden to have to give these people her letter and not know what to say…

I decided the best course of action would be to meet with people that would know what do to with the letter and how to distribute it.  Her first letter was one of desperation, she didn’t want to live, she only wanted to die to be able to see her daughter again.  There was no hope in this first letter, only the wish that she could find a way to end her life.  Sharon troubled me so, that I contacted her case worker, I contacted her mother to make sure she was alright and I wrote her a letter.  Ever since, Sharon and I have been writing.  At times, the whole process can be absolutely overwhelming.  Yes, she took one of my closest friends away from me, she stole the life of someone very important to me and very close to many, but then…..

Sharon changed.

I got a letter from Sharon this past week.  I was nervous to open this one as truthfully, my last letter to her was letting her know that she needs to change, she needs to move on with the rest of the path the Lord has for her.  In this new letter, she spoke about her grief, her sadness, her endless misery.  Then she spoke about this hope that I honestly found so refreshing, I smiled at her letter.  She spoke about her new roommate, a believer who had lost her way, that was bible trained, was a missionary in two foreign countries, and somehow was brought to Sharon in her very prison cell.  Now while I continue to wonder how this particular bible school trained woman ended up in a correctional facility, I was very moved by her recent letter.  Sharon is making an effort to understand God’s word and is now beginning the steps to forgive herself for taking the life of her daughter.

For those of you that did know Lisa, I understand that this may be difficult to read and even more difficult to understand…however, I believe (as does Sharon) that the Lord has forgiven her of her sins, however, Sharon needs to learn to forgive herself so that she can move on with what the Lord has for her now.  It has been really hard for me swallow, but I am learning about how wise the Lord is, how great and perfect He is, and how much He loves people; even when they seem unlovable.

lisa-rad-poster-mod.JPG

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