Friday, June 10, 2011

Thoughts from a woman in jail

How did I end up here?

     This can NOT be happening. I am in sitting in a jail cell. What am I going to do? I don't have any money for a real lawyer, and God knows my mom sure doesn't. I am guilty!  How will I ever get out of this mess? I am not not like these people. I have a job, well, I had one...  I have a lot of  responsibilities. I'm not a drug dealer or a murderer. I have bills to pay- I  have to pay my rent, and car payment. What about my daughter? What will happen to her? This is going to hurt her and she is innocent. This is unbelievable.

     My family is going to be so hurt and ashamed.  No, not going to be, they are. My grandma, my mom... who is going to help take care of mom now? Daddy is gone, and Mom is sick. That hurts me the worst. I made one stupid mistake and now I am here. I am so ANGRY! Why, why did I do it? What was I thinking?

   I never thought I would get caught, that's the thing. I thought I could outsmart everyone. I thought if I did get caught somehow I would be able to talk my way out of it, like I had all the other times. I could shed a few tears, show the boss my dimples... I never imagined this.  It has all come crashing down on me now.  I wish I was dead. No amount of money is worth this.

      This place stinks. Literally, it smells awful. I don't have a trial date yet and since I was denied bond I have to stay here who knows how long?  I am in a ten by twelve foot cinder block room with four bunk beds, and a toilet. The toilet is right by the head of the bed. There's no curtain, no door, nothing! No privacy!  My cellmates are horrible. I swear they are all insane. I can't do this! I will probably  starve to death.The food is served cold, and it tastes bad. I can't get a drink when I am thirsty. I have to pay to get a pencil and paper and buy a stamp. Guess what?  I have no way to earn any money here. I have to rely on my family or a friend to send a money order and then wait until they put it in my account. All I do is sleep and cry and yell at these horrible, stupid women. I am so bored and tired. I wish I had a book or something.

   Someone mentioned I might be able to get a Bible, if I filled out a form and asked for one. I don't see how that would help me. I quit going to church a long time ago, and it doesn't seem fair to go now that I am in trouble. Jail house religion- so lame. But... maybe it would do me some good with the judge. I have to think of something. Maybe they would see that I have changed if I read a Bible and went to the Bible study. I am  completely and utterly depressed. I feel hopeless.

Two months later...

  I got a Bible to read out of sheer boredom. All my yelling and fighting with those crack-head room mates got me in trouble and labeled "difficult".  Now I am in a maximum security unit, and can only leave my cell for two hours a day. If I am good they will move me back into the general population, but things move slowly here. I feel so lost, and alone and horrible. The other people here are all so messed up. I did make one friend, she was actually nice. She prayed for me, HA! It was so  weird, but somehow good. I cried which was awkward but I am so worried about my little girl. Afterward she invited me to Bible study, maybe I will go.

A week later...

     Last Sunday I went to the Bible study hoping to see my friend again, but as it turns out she goes on a different day. A few other women were there, about six of us.  I just sat there with my arms folded. I was mad that my friend wasn't there and I felt uncomfortable.   Then one of the girls sang an old hymn that I still remember from a long time lifted me. I cried when I heard it. Something kind of cracked open inside of me The lady who did the study said some things about second chances, and forgiveness, and God loving me no matter what I have done, that encouraged me. She prayed for us and promised to write and keep praying. I need it, this place is so hard; I think I'm losing my mind.  I miss my little girl so much. Her daddy won't keep her, and Mama can't, so she is with a friend of mine. I don't know how long she can take care of her. My life is a wreck. Oh God...

Two weeks later-

     I was in my cell and I remembered something I heard in church once. Some verse about "go to your room, close the door and pray." I thought to myself, well, I am in a room and the door is definitely closed, so I got down on my knees and prayed. I asked God if He was real, and really there for me, then I desperately needed a touch from Him. I asked Him to please forgive me and help my little girl and my mom.  I cried and cried. Then suddenly, I swear, I did really feel something. I felt different. I felt better. I felt peace like I had never known. I really do feel like He touched me. I looked for my Bible and started reading the Psalms. I stayed up all night reading. I do have hope now. It's jail house religion, but it's REAL.

Three months later...

     I have been looking forward to Sunday since last Monday. The folks at Hope Aglow brought me a Bible Study that I can fill out and it gets graded. I can actually get a certificate when I finish. They sent me "Our Daily Bread" devotional, and a book on prayer. They come to the jail every week and have a ninety minute Bible study with us. They write to us and pray for us. When I get released in December I am invited to their church, Hope Aglow Fellowship. They have a Celebrate Recovery program that meets once a week and I know that will help me.

 You won't believe this but I thank God that I was caught. If I hadn't, who knows what all I might have done? I needed this wake up call for my life. I was headed straight downhill and didn't even realize it. I thought I was not like these other people but I am. The only difference now is I am forgiven. I realize so many things now that I didn't before. This has been very difficult and no one should ever have to go through this, but it was good for me. I hope my family can see that I have changed. I am taking my little girl to church with me when I get out. I love Jesus!

He sets the captives free

     This fictionalized story is a compilation of testimonies of the women we reach out to at Hope Aglow.  I have heard the story above told to me over and over. These are real women and they are really hurting.  They need Jesus, and He is absolutely there for them. He is so close to the wounded and broken hearted. The Holy Spirit roams the halls of the jails seeking, listening. He is on the move!

The gospel changes lives. Some people have to go down to the "gates of hell" before they will repent. We want to reach out to them when they are hurting and share the life changing truth of Jesus Christ. Every person created by God has value, worth and dignity because they belong to Him. Jesus Christ gave his life for everyone. The pedophile, the bank robber, the drug dealer, the prostitute, the Senator, the embezzler, the priest. You and me.

free at last

     Please support the ministries of Hope Aglow with your prayers and if led, financially. We do a good work with your donation- the work of sharing light in dark places. We travel many miles and visit places that are very dark, but the light is needed there. We have a thriving body of believers in the jails and prisons of America. They need us to love and support them while they are there, and to help them reach out to other inmates.

 Thank you and for every prayer you pray for us and every penny you send we pray the Lord blesses you a hundred fold.

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