They gather around freely sharing hugs and smiles, eager for love, hope and more of God. They split into small groups to bare their hearts. Hearts trapped behind bars, some for months and some for a lifetime, yet they bare their hearts that are free to give and receive and hope.
There is no other place quite like prison to learn how one needs to grow up and live life.
Maybe for them, but especially for me.
They release their shame, some slowly and some willingly. They know they are made for more and so they reach for more.
How often do I settle for less?
Her faith and understanding are still so new. She asks me, taking nothing for granted, “Is this what it means when the Bible says…?”
How little I even know about what the Bible says.
She speaks about learning how to memorize Scripture, with a friend, she says. Maybe she is too old and her memory too far gone to remember something new. But we pray for God to grace her with the ability to hide His Word in her heart. And we believe He will.
May God grace me with the ability to shut down my own excuses.
She wants so much to hear His voice. Her quiet times, if she gets any, are lonely and silent. Does she wait, straining to listen for minutes or hours, I wonder. And she asks, “Am I doing something wrong?”
How often I run off to my day without hearing from God and without asking that same humbling question.
“Do you know any verses,” she says, “that will increase my faith? Because I really want to work on that.”
Those words from a heart behind bars, reaching for something better and more because she knows she deserves it and God will give it.
She wants to increase her faith. Do I?
I may be titled “Mentor” and with others I prepare each week to teach. But my heart has discovered how much more I have to learn, how much more I can receive. From behind bars, these women are teaching me and their searching questions become my own.
I love walking this journey with them, my sisters in prison. Together we are learning to become more teachable.