Posts Tagged ‘Redemption’

“Happy birthday!” I told her. No present though. Not a cake and ice cream, or even a card or a hug. She told me instead how it’s a stressful day with people detoxing and in bad moods on the block. Not your typical birthday party.

“I finally heard from my fiancé,” she said. I was glad to know he wasn’t dead because she had been nervous that he might be. “He’s with another woman now.” She said as if that’s what she deserved since she was in jail.

“I lost a daughter 10 years ago.” She said seemingly unrelated to our conversation. So then we talked about that. We talked about how 11 days before her due date the baby stopped moving. The cord had wrapped around her neck and then she had to deliver a dead baby. She talked about how she knew it was dead, but still had hope it would wake up and cry. How she held her sweet daughter for two hours before saying goodbye. Today she cried. She said she hasn’t cried the whole time she’s been in jail, and that she needed this. It’s amazing how long it can take us before we are willing to talk about the pain in our past.

“I was clean for two and a half years,” she said as the tears started to flow. “But I came back here and I used and I can’t remember Sunday through Thursday…I don’t know what I did. I feel so ashamed. Did I sleep with people for money? I can’t remember. Then when I was sober again and I got picked up for something else and brought back to jail.”

“I didn’t call or anything, I just stood her up,” she said about visiting her four year old daughter who now lives with a different family since she was taken away as a baby when her Mama was addicted to heroin. “I know she was there wondering, ‘Where is my Mommy? Why didn’t see come?’.” This woman is left hoping her daughter knows she loves her even when she’s failed to show it.

5 stories. All hard. Jail stories are hard. Sadly, these are just one day. Every day has so many stories. And they’re hard. It makes my heart happy that Jesus offers hope. I could never go in and hear about this pain again and again without having hope of redemption.

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“Sometimes when it gets real bad I curl up on my bed, hide under my covers, suck my thumb and sing Jesus loves me. It’s all I can do,” said one of the 30+ year old woman I meet with every Thursday in jail.

Anxiety sucks. post it
Jail sucks.
Addiction sucks.
Mental disabilities suck.
But Jesus loves.
And God is faithful.

As I read Psalm 91 again and again with the girls in jail today verse 15 kept jumping off the page at me. “He will call upon me and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble…” God doesn’t promise that we won’t have trouble, but He does promise that He will be with us, even in our trouble. And he will deliver us and redeem us.  This is a fact we can cling to. This is truth. God is bigger than our feelings, greater than our problems and stronger than our fears.

Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so. Yes, Jesus loves me….yes, Jesus loves you too.

Easter.

New life.

Resurrection.

Sometimes I think it gets confusing.

Sometimes I think the meaning gets lost.

I mean, there’s the eggs.

The bunny.

Dressing up for church.

Switching from dark clothes to light and bright ones.

But what is the true meaning of Easter?

On Easter we celebrate Jesus’ resurrection.

But that’s not all we celebrate.

It is not ONLY that Jesus lives forever.

But that because He died and rose again for us WE have a chance to live forever too.

We’ve been given more than we would have even known to ask for.

We’ve been given NEW LIFE.

We’ve been redeemed.

We can’t earn it.

We can’t buy it.

But He doesn’t force it on us either.

We have to accept it. 

Let me tell you a quick story of New Life this Easter. My sister is visiting and we walked to church and were just a little late when we got there. Easter is kind of a big deal at church so by the time we were looking for seats most of them were taken. I didn’t see two open ones left by my friends so instead we went to sit by strangers. The sermon was great and at the end of it they played a little clip of someone sharing her story. It was a story that brought me and many others to tears, but also a story of joy. Man did I cry though. Then after that we were encouraged to get into groups and pray together. As my group prayed to be “Agents of the Resurrection” the boy in front of me was an “Agent of the Resurrection”. As we prayed behind them, this boy prayed with his Mom and brother as they accepted Christ to be their Savior! I was in tears all over again as I rejoiced with them. And for the rest of the service the boy in front of me could not hold still. He was dancing as we sang and continuously looking over at his Mom and brother and smiling. We believe that Jesus came to save. He didn’t save just one. He offers salvation to all of us. Don’t give up on those around you who haven’t accepted the gift of salvation yet. Christ died for them, you can give your time and energy to share that truth with them. Easter Sunday was a win. I celebrated Jesus, got time with family, and witnessed people making the best decision of their lives. Now that Easter is over I thank God that He doesn’t just offer salvation once a year on Easter, but every single day!