My sister is incarcerated until September unless a bed opens up somewhere for her (please pray on that). Well a couple of months ago I told her to ask if anyone there needed a pen pal. It is an all women’s facility and I prayed God would lead me to people to write. I didn’t want to judge but I wanted to err on the side of caution about who I wrote to. This isn’t to boast like “Hey, look at me! I do something good!” This is because it has turned out in ways I didn’t expect and I wanted to share.
So she found one woman who wanted someone to talk to who has no support right now and someone she has gotten to know there. Then she found a second person who she actually knows on the outside as well. Both are Christians and attend worship services there as well. They will be in a bit longer than my sister, but I don’t mind writing as long as God wills.
So these woman were all excited to have someone write to them and share their stories with. My intentions were to be there for people who felt alone and encourage them in the Lord. I even told my sister…. look for the people who don’t have support. Those are the ones I am led to write. It wasn’t to be some hero or fix them or change them, just give them encouragement. Letters and pictures can mean so much to someone who is incarcerated.
They have shared themselves with me and we relate so much despite our different situations. I can literally sense the emotion behind the letters from them. I set out on this journey expecting to help others and in turn, this experience, God, and these girls are helping me. I can see the prayers they pray for me helping. I can see them writing more about God and opening up more as I am doing with them as well. And I let them know they are helping me too and God can use them anywhere.
I find myself much more empathetic and realizing we are all people and we all make mistakes. Some lead us down roads we wish we never had to travel which may include incarceration however, we are never out of God’s grasp if we trust in Him and obey and repent. If we believe Jesus died and rose for our sins and ascended into Heaven and is now seated at the right hand of the Father.
So my sister and the girls get excited for letters and guess what? Now I do too. It is a pleasure writing to such deep and thoughtful women who want to do right. God knows more than me and I do understand I must be cautious, but I am always wanting to be prayerful for these women and I would love it if you could say at least one prayer for them too. They have good hearts, they messed up but there is still hope and I think more people in prisons and jails…and all over the world, need to know this. Not so we just willfully sin as in “Oh God will forgive me so I will do whatever I want.” No, that is not what I mean. I mean that God can use us anywhere, heal us anytime, answer our prayers, and give us faith anywhere and anytime. He can literally do anything. I may have some pretty crummy moments but I believe this with all of my heart because He helps me to believe, not of my own doing.
So please take some time if you can not to sound bossy, but maybe to pray for the incarcerated because no one is too far gone from the Lord….ever.