She helps out in the chapel, during classes and works a job that starts at 3:45 am. She still smiles though. She feels the love of God and she knows that something inside has stilled her spirit. She's been working on a journal to document her journey and she has kept all the workbooks that she's finished. She's read them and re-read them.
She's an inmate.
She's been talking to a church member from her home town for two years now waiting for her parole answer to come back a "yes". She has a place to go and people ready to help her with all the challenges she will face. She is scared but she knows this time she's found a key she's never had before. She has someone, a Christian mentor, a woman willing to take her in, a plan with a real support system.
She's in love with God and she's learning to give her testimony. She turns red every time she does but filled with the Holy Spirit she's finding the boldness God gives to glorify Him. She's not waiting anymore. She's serving God by telling her story long before she gets out but she's counting the days. Even the Warden will miss her; everyone has come to know her as a true warrior for God and model inmate. Her behavior and demeanor has changed over time and she even sees the difference and wonders at where her patience and kindness is coming from.
She doesn't recognize herself. She's not the girl off the street. She's not the one turning tricks for a fix. She's strong and yet quiet. She reads and studies and is ready to take on the task of discipling others. She is ready. She has friends. She has a family that she hasn't met yet.
God's got her.
She is quiet the day she's released. She even cries because she feels she's leaving people behind, people who need her. She looks at the woman taking her back to her county and hometown but to a neighborhood she's never been. It's a Friday and all she can think is "Why can't this be Sunday, I need to praise God right now!" and then she remembers what she was taught, she can praise Him minute by minute, alone in her heart and she smiles and the car rolls on.
God's got her.
When she gets to church, she's introduced to the pastor and his wife, women in the women's ministry and other members of the congregation her mentor knows. Her head spins as they all hug and smile at her. They aren't making fun of her or talking about her, they are anxious to hear her testimony and how God worked in her life. They want her to attend their bible study, it started a couple weeks ago but they'd love her to join them. She smiles as everyone sings praise songs and she feels strangely at home.
God's got her.
Someone in the congregation has some home repair work they need done and they offer her the opportunity to earn some money until she finds something full time. She paints a couple of bedrooms and gets to know them. They like her and she likes them. She works hard and remembers that passage about working as though working unto the Lord and she does. They watch her hard work and her meticulous skill. They tell some friends and another church members mentions his home decorating and repair business. It takes a few weeks but they offer her a job and she immediately says yes. She took classes on simple home repair, landscaping and painting interior and exterior work. She has the skill.
And God's got her.
It takes some time but slowly she saves money and another church member helps her find a car she can afford and her mentor takes her to get her drivers license. She's working and meeting once a month with her parole officer. Her PO is impressed with her progress and asks, "How is it you are doing so well?"
"God's got me."
Things Radiant and the Sweetness of God
5 days ago