More and more I reflect on the time in jail and the day I walked out. I remember being led down the short hall from booking to the lobby and out to the front counter where one comes to jail to visit. I sat down on the small benches inside and looked around. The activity was familiar. It was just after five so family members were gathering to be escorted up to the visitation halls. But I just sat there watching and waiting for someone to tell me what to do.
In a few minutes I got up and went to the phone, dialing the number of Pastor Joy, hoping she was awaiting my release and my call. Then I sat back down on the bench. I was sure any moment someone would come along and walk me back to some unknown area, telling me I had no business being out there. I just sat. I had no idea how far away Joy lived so I couldn't begin to know when she would arrive, so I sat quietly. I watched the activity, wanting to move but so certain someone would yell my name and stop me in my tracks.
Slowly it came over me that I was free to go where I wanted and I could step outside to wait. No one was going to grab my arm or slap cuffs on my wrists. I had served my time and I was a free woman, as much a free woman as I could be on an extended period of 5 years probation. But I could walk outside without repercussion. I could walk out the dreaded door that led to freedom and a new life.
I have since found life to be much like that busy lobby with doors all around; walk through each one for different life experiences and outcomes. Some you have permission to walk through, some you would rather not walk through; but all of them are doors of choice. Months ago I made the choice to commit a crime. Months later, lives changed, I walked out a new door and into a new reality that was filled with faith, hope and Christ.
I had read in John 10:9 "Yes, I am the gate. Those who come in through me will be saved. Wherever they go, they will find green pastures."
That gate or door provides a new life in Christ that changes everything about the women who walked into jail in cuffs and out the front door as a saved sinner. I am ever mindful of His role and place in my life. I had tried for 46 years to open the doors I chose to open. It was time to watch for the open doors that God created for me. Living on my own volition damned me to a life of fear and uncertainty. Living for God front and center made my life choices so much easier.
I will always remember that day, and I am reminded of it each time I have the honor to pick up a woman on her release day. I am reminded the fear and uncertainty that washes over each face as the day comes when the gates swing wide and the world is again beckoning. Often I hear the plea in letters long before they see that day, what had become familiar in the regimented schedule to a life of choices again...oh the fear! And with each letter I share with my sisters in white the joy of choice when Christ drives our lives.
Always I will remember, and always with Christ by my side; we share the joy He intended.
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