Thursday, April 19, 2007
"Sometimes I wonder if God is punishing me," that was the question asked last night at Bible Study that really got our discussion going. We were in the middle of our lesson that was based on Deut 30:19. That scripture talks about choosing life not death, blessing not cursing. In response to the question asked I was able to show her that many of the tests and trials that she has faced in her life were the direct result of the choices she made, and ultimately what making those particular choices kept her from. I shared with the ladies how the devil likes to throw the stones (tests, trials, challanges and circumstances) at us then hide behind God. So when we turn around we see God standing there and think He was the one who threw the stone. When actually He is waiting there for us to come to Him and receive His help out of our trouble. We also talked about how God allows us the freedom to choose any life we want. He doesn't force us to love Him but He always loves us (He may not necessarily like our actions/choices)! We talked about Psalm 91 and the covering of Gods protection, like wings or an umbrella, and how some of our choices move us out from under that protection. When bad things happen to us it doesn't mean that He doesn't love us it just means that we may have made some wrong choices that moved us out from under His protection. The ladies were really blessed by our discussion and I believe that they will examine more closely the decisions they make in the future. Choose life not death, blessing not cursing and always know that God is never the one punishing us...He's there to help us!
Sunday, April 15, 2007
Last Wednesday at Bible Study we had a Dream Session. I do this periodically with the ladies and every time I am so inspired and encouraged by what they have to say. After we finished our lesson I had them close their eyes and imagine their dream life. A life where money is no issue, education is limitless and there is no criminal record to take in to account. Then we went around the table and each woman shared what she had dreamed. I had to help them along in the beginning with some encouragement because this was the first time many of them had done anything like it. We talked about dream homes, cars, clothes, and careers. We had so much fun with each other. We were laughing and high-fiving each other just having a blast. For a moment even I forgot that we were inside the ACJ!!! One lady really tickled me. She just wouldn't/couldn't get with the dreaming big thing. I kept encouraging and pushing and pulling trying to get her to just go with it but she always came back with something negative to complain about. So finally I decided that ultimately she would run for public office one day and she could change the system that she so despised. With that idea she finally broke and ran with it. We were imagining the platform she would run on and her entire campaign. All the ladies were in on it. We even convinced her that she would live in a nice house and drive a nice car. All the while we were having a blast! When it came time to close I gave them the assignment of going to bed each night dreaming about this life. I told them that God has big things planned for them and that no man can stop what God created them to be. I told them not to be afraid to dream big, to push themselves to dream big. And NEVER put the limits of man on God. He is bigger than anything we could ever come up with in our minds. How awesome it is to watch the Light come on in these ladies!!
Monday, April 9, 2007
At the bible study last week I had a chance to explain unconditional love to the ladies through demonstration. As we were finishing up our lesson we were sitting there laughing and fellowshiping and this incredible urge came over me to tell the ladies how much I loved them. I stopped everyone from talking and asked them to listen to me I had something important to say. Everybody was quite. Thats when I said, "you know I love you...don't you?" Every one of them nodded their heads some had already started crying. I went on to explain that I love them not because of anything they've done or will ever do. I told them that nothing could ever stop me from loving them, that I am rooting for them, I am praying for them, I have their backs. I told them that when I look at them I don't see them were they are I see potential and promise. I don't see what they did to get where they are I see what they could be. I see beauty in what God created them to be. By this time we were all crying, me included. Then I dropped the bomb on them. I said through my tears that the love I have for them is NOTHING compared to the love that God has for them! I spent the last few minutes we had together lifting them up in prayer and encouraging them. It was an awesome move of the Spirit that took place on the Q Block that night. I hugged each one of them and left for the evening, but I believe that none of them will ever forget the meaning of Unconditional Love!
Last week I took about 50 TOS flyers to the jail and the ladies devoured them! They were really excited about it and the fact that it is free was a huge blessing to them. The ladies that know they won't be out at that time took flyers to mail to their family members. I am taking more back this week to distribute to the men and guards. I believe we will see awesome things happen as a result of this conference!