Breaking down the walls!

I recently had the opportunity to be the guest speaker of a monthly celebration meeting for a local women’s recovery center. The women who I had been asked to share with were not your typical pastor’s wives gone bad drug addicts. Most of these women came from the streets, ex gang members, convicts and dealers were more like it. The majority of these women had been court ordered into the program because of the severity of their addiction, which almost cost them and their children their lives.

It’s one thing to choose to enter into a program but when one is forced by law to give up something that one deemed necessary to survive brings with it walls that are thick, high, and hard to break through. As I sat in the room amongst the ladies listening to them share their dates of entry into the program and the dates they gave up their addiction, from days to months, I prayed for the Lord to give me an opportunity to break down the walls and connect with these women immediately.

Right away it came to me, thank you God for answered prayers! As they introduced me, I walked up, greeted them with a smile and informed them that I had just returned home from prison five days ago. I then stayed silent for what seemed like an eternity to let it settle into those, who had, without words questioned my credibility, I saw it in many of their faces as they looked me over when I stepped up to the podium.

In my silence I could hear the walls coming down and feel the tension in the room come to a rest. The connection was instantaneous and I just entered into my role as a participant in their story that day as I shared how I ended up in prison myself. OK, mine was not court ordered and I choose when and where I go but I had just been in prison and that was all they needed to know at that moment to bring them to a place of trusting and connecting with me.

I spent the next thirty minutes sharing about my past and how God had turned it into a present. I shared the process of walking through the discovery of excuses, to explanations to purposeful living based on a past that use to hold me captive.

Though these women were from the streets and I was from the pew the one thing we so desperately had in common was our brokenness, by the time I left there I had once again witnessed the most precious, beautiful broken women in places where most people never look.


Renee Swope said...

Love this story. I know God used you in a powerful way to love on these women. His redeeming love is so beautiful in you!!

I hope we can talk soon. Should we give ourselves a phone call for Christmas!?

My half-marathon was great. Loved it!

I leave for TX on Mon and come back late Tues. Things should calm a little between then and Christmas. Let's try to connect soon!

Love you!

Deanna said...

I always enjoy reading what you're up to! You are an inspiration to many! Sherri and I were just talking about you the other day on the phone. Were your ears burning? Hope you're having a wonderful holiday season! Merry Christmas!

cautious1 said...

I love reading about how God works in and through you in your prison ministry! How did you become involved in this??? Your compassion and ability to be "real" with those that you meet with is so apparent in your posts. You have a great way with words.

God Bless! Merry Christmas!

Sheri said...

wow! thanks for sharing!