My last post.............New Years. Yes a New Year it has been. We've been through cancer surgery, my son's engagement, my husband's lay off and shortly after 5 days in ICU for something we are still trying to diagnose. His oldest daughter's impending birth announcement rounds out four short months. Challenge after joy after challenge. A whirlwind. A storm.
But I am free. I am 10 tens from freedom from 5 years probation which started this journey with Christ and this ministry. I am free to enjoy the wedding and a new baby; free to walk with my husband through his lay off and his cancer surgery and all that goes with walking through life with a loving partner. I am blessed. I am without a doubt in a good place despite its outward appearances because I have the love of God walking with us.
This week I was again in Woodman State Jail, working with the women in our new faith based dorm and freedom is something they are fighting. Freedom in Christ while behind bars, while being yelled at by guards each and every day, while being corralled like livestock from one place to another and seeing freedom in their lives is almost impossible. And describing freedom in the spirit, in the heart is so hard. The letters pour in from family; deaths, divorces, children astray, family estranged. Change and life go on about outside those walls and they are not free to participate in a meaningful way and they fight and they clamor for word from anyone who will listen to them. They desire to be mothers, sisters, daughters, helpers, friends, lovers, wives. They desire to take what little faith walk they have begun and instill it into a new life but often...so often, before they get a chance to walk it out, their faith is tested and tried by so many and the smoldering fire just now ignited is tamped out by unknowing or unequipped staff.
It is 3:34 am in Georgetown, TX and I lay in bed, husband next to me and all I can think about is the tears I have shed today over my physical struggles, my husband's physical struggles and a family misunderstanding that has both of us in a place of emotional pain. Yet, with Facebook and text messages and a phone laying beside me in bed, it is hard to whine and whimper when answers are instantly at my disposal. And the ladies I watch tear up each time a new situation occurs where a call can't be made and they wait, hoping for a letter which could be timely or weeks after something major in their life has changed.
Everything in me knows, both in my life and in theirs that God is sovereign and in control. God knows my needs and their needs. He hears our hearts and he weeps with us as we struggle in this life. He knows what He intends for us and He knows what He cannot do for us in this moment and what we must go through in order to develop into who we must be. Yet, those tiny faces, blurred in a sea of white broadcloth uniforms, taking all sense of individuality away from each of them, they stay with me as I drive home and each word I spoke that night comes back to me. Was it what God wanted to say, did I allow the Holy Spirit to operate or did Leslie operate tonight? Did I surrender the microphone to God or did Leslie preach her sermon? Did anything touch any heart? Did someone hear something that will get them through this moment?
And today, what words did I remember as I cried, ached and laid in bed in pain from my own personal physical challenges. Did I listen for God or did I forget what I taught? Is God asking something of me I feel ill equipped to handle or did I surrender so He could use me as He wills? Did I hypocritically stand up and say one thing and experience something else entirely when it came my time to take on the will of God, His burden on my shoulder?
Four months is only 2/3rds of the time I spent in WILCO and it drug by there but flew by out here. Now these last ten days are slowing down, each one dragging along and what a silly clock to watch it seems until I remember that it is God's glory in my life that brought me to this place of freedom I never thought I would see. I will be restored a citizen of my country with all the rights and privileges of citizenship I once thought gone. I leave the 120 degree dorm in which the women, clothed in heavy broadcloth lay at night hoping to make it another night in a heat beyond what we think we can endure; and I climb into my Ford Escape, turning the ignition on and immediately cranking up the A/C so that I might feel the cool sooner than later.
Joy walks in my life as I never thought I would see. I look at the smile on my son's face and I know God restores all and all I can do is pray that each of the women I interact with get the chance for restoration to those that they yearn for and desire. I pray that cool air passes over them and I pray for their joy to be felt deep in their heart more than the trials of life inside takes a part of them.
God my heart is yours to pour out, so teach me how to give freely of it, without restraint. Give it the way Jesus did as He encountered each and every person. Let my heart reflect His. Let my words become His words. Let my life become His instrument. Let me just get out of the way and walk in your will for my life. Let me know and cherish joy and let me walk through the breaking as it needs to happen.
Let me be still and know...........and know you are God.