Jun 17, 2008

Amazing and Amazed

Sometimes I'm startled by how hard the enemy works to keep us from experiencing the miracles of God. And then I'm amazed at how God works in spite of him... and in spite of us. I have to work on that second part - I never want to STOP being amazed by God's power, but then again, why I am ever "amazed" any more after a lifetime of watching Him do amazing things? Interesting conundrum.

After the enemy's attempts at stopping (or at least stalling) the prison event on Saturday, it was awesome to see what God did. In addition to having four brand new shiny volunteers added to the team, we also had the privilege of having Studly Man's dad come in with us for the very first time ever. Since he lives ten hours away, it has been hard to schedule an event when he'd be in town. But this time, it happened. His concept of what we do in the prisons was, to say the very least, a far cry from actually happens. Now he is able to understand more of what we do, and more importantly, why we do it. He's always been very proud of his firstborn, but this experience elevated that to untold levels. I'm glad for Studly. The most common denominator among the incarcerated kids we see is an absentee father. Absenteeism can take many forms: absent from the home, absent from the child's life in any capacity, present in the home but absent from the child emotionally, or some combination. That made the public expression of Studly's dad's pride even more precious.

So many things occur on each one of these visits. It is so hard to pick out just one or even two that impact me each time because SO many things do. However, this event was a little different. There was one precious child who stole my heart.

As I shared my story (including parts I will not ever post here), one young girl began sobbing. She told me later it was as if I was telling HER story. As I tried to comfort and encourage her, she begged for help. She was desperate, and she was speaking out for the very first time. She needs several different kinds of help. Her mother doesn't understand (or believe) what she says, and therefore has never done anything to help her daughter. I was able to impress upon this young girl to keep.asking.for.help. until she gets what she needs, even if it means asking many different people. One of the guards, who thankfully is a Believer, came over and took notes. I believe my new friend WILL get the help she needs now.

Seeing her downtrodden face and sad eyes, I remembered walking the road she now travels. The fear was so real, I could taste it. The memories, so fresh, it was as if it had all happened to me just last week even though it has been more than 20 years. But I was able to give her a glimmer of hope and share with her how the Lord had grown me through my darkest days and delivered me to a life of hope and joy and blessing. For the first time in her life, she imagined that she also could heal and that her healing would begin... in prison.

Isn't that interesting? God used incarceration as a way station along this girl's journey to facilitate the help she needs. While she is locked up, she is being protected from who and what hurts her. For the first time, she was able to be grateful... grateful... for her current circumstances. She is learning that not all people in the world have hurting her as their primary goal. She is learning how to determine who is trustworthy and how to give voice to her pain. She is asking questions about how to "get on with life" and how to forgive those who have wronged her. She is listening to the Truth for the very first time.

And all because the enemy's attempts at derailing my commitment to be there were thwarted by an almighty, all-knowing, loving, merciful God Who knew this little girl needed to hear my story.

I'm amazed.


Suzanne said...

Wow Jenn, something you said in your comments to Sheryl on her web site prodded me into posting more of my story today and then I came to read this and it just confirms even more my decision to do so.

Kim said...

I found you through "The Perch" and I'm glad you did.

What an amazing ministry you and your hubby have!!! I will be sure to remember you in prayer.

I also couldn't help but notice "Samson"! Too cute....I too nave a yorkie...her name is Annabelle.

blessings to you.


Sheryl said...

I love it, love it, love it!! God gave me a heart for youth and I am so glad you were able to reach this girl with your story. Your willingness to be transparent will help her find her "freedom". Isn't that amazing? Well, I guess that's the word you used.

What you said about her seeing her circumstances differently is so pivotal for all of us. She is being protected now for what God may do later. Cool.

And I love that your husband's dad got to come along with you. He must be so proud of his son AND his son's wife!


Anonymous said...

Jenn, this post took my breathe away! Praise God...she was heard and heard God thru you. I am going to pray specifically for this young lady tonight, that she keep on keeping on....easier said than done as you and I both know.
Love you and your heart!
Ruby's Fairy Godmother