Dangerous Thin Lines

Last month I had an opportunity to attend a two-day women’s conference held in a state prison. I have never imagined myself ministering to women who have been incarcerated and was not sure how God would use me in that setting.

When the Ministry team and I arrived, the experience became completely surreal! Being stripped of things I take for granted daily, being ordered around and told what to wear, reminded of what to leave home, being searched and shaken down. We had to walk through heavy metal electronic doors. Hearing that chilling sound of the same slam behind us then lock up, definitely struck a cord or two! The experience surged through my core creating apprehensions that this life for many truly does exist!

The corridor leading to the chapel where the inmates were waiting for us was very dull and gloomy. Although not maximum security, it was clear that the facility was far from modern in every way. Those unfortunate to call this place home are offered no more than the bare necessities to survive. 

To my surprise, when I entered into the chapel the women were already engaged in praise and worship. I was taken aback because of the ignorant perception in my mind of what I thought I would see. The women had their hands raised and eyes closed in reverence of the Lord. They were clearly open and ready to receive! Any mental defenses I had up immediately fell as I silently whispered to my Savior, “Lord, use me in this place!” I was in complete awe of their genuine tender hearts and was willing to serve in any way possible. 

As I took a seat and waited for direction from The Ministry Leaders, I scanned the chapel. It was quaint, warm and inviting. The presence of God was without question in this place! Had it not been for the guards, warden and state uniforms worn by the women, I could have easily felt like I was simply visiting a new church. The atmosphere really helped to ease my preconceived notions I had conjured up in my mind days leading up to the visit.

I then scanned the faces of the prisoners. I was in shock as I considered them. Many looked like me! Normal, non-threatening, sweet, mature, beautiful and loved God. They were mothers, wives, girlfriends, grandmothers and more. What the heck are they all doing here?? I’ve got to be on “Candid Camera” for there is no way ALL of these women are capable of unthinkable acts….

I discovered that I was amongst physical abusers, drug addicts, alcoholics, thieves and yes, even murderers…

As several shared there stories of how they arrived at this place, my heart broke as their tears fell reminiscing on the days they simply made the wrong decision that drastically changed their regular lives forever. It only took a second, a fleeting moment in time that caused them to put dangerous undo pressure on some very thin lines.

I am very familiar with those moments, for I have had several throughout my life. In fact, The last, not that long ago. Outraged beyond reconciliation , responses without thought when I am offended; wanting to plot revenge against one who has hurt me; basking in unforgiveness, hate, cruelty and near insanity! My own thin lines could have very easily placed me exactly where these women are.

Although thankful that my Savior has saved me from myself today, I need Him tomorrow and always to teach me to respond the way He instructs: 

With soft answers that turn away wrath -(Proverbs 15:1)

Love my enemies – (Matthew 5:44 & Luke 6:28)

Leave revenge to The Lord – (Romans 12-19)

Forgive as He has forgiven me – (Colossians 3:13 & Ephesians 4:32)
And so much more…

My prayers remain with those women that have had such an impact on my spirit. As I was there to minister to them, they actually did the same for me. They are currently living through their testimonies and God STILL wants and loves them. I can only pray that I will encounter at least one in the future to see how God turned everything around for their good. (Genesis 50:20 & Romans 8:28)

Are you walking dangerous thin lines today? If so, please stop and consider your future. God has the answers to all that troubles you. Don’t allow the matter to eat away at your soul like acid. If you do, you can easily find yourself in the state of one of these women or worse. No matter how offended, hurt or unfair it all has been, seek God to stabilize your path; He will turn those thin lines into concrete boundaries that only He can sustain.

16 thoughts on “Dangerous Thin Lines”

  1. God is amazing in that even when we respond to the desire He places in us to be a vessel, He still ministers to everyone including the vessel. I loved the post and take with me how easy it is to take things for granted. From being able to get up when we feel like it, leave the house, change our clothes, eat what we want as well as the other needful things. Gratitude should be a treasure for us on a daily basis.

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  2. I had to take some minutes to ponder on these things after reading. Wow! Just today I walked on some thin lines of unforgiveness! And ah the women in the prison! My heart goes out to them! I’ve visited the prison once and I totally understand the gloom you described so well! God be blessed for His abounding mercy and grace that has saved us despite our own thin lines. I’m glad you had a wonderful ministration there and it seems you came to the blog in the same might! God be praised. This has struck so many cords and I’m sure going to keep thinking on these things. You’re such a blessing Chanel!

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    1. Thank you Dainty! That meant a lot and so glad that this post allowed you to reflect! This was just one of many lessons I took from this experience. God was so good to reveal himself in multiple ways. Blessings my friend! I so appreciate you!😊

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  3. This is a great and powerful post 🙂 One always hopes that prisoners are capable of reform and based on this post, you have have absolute faith that they can If they try. You truly do have a kind and compassionate heart and let us hope and prayer that these prisoners can redeem themselves and move towards the spiritual. Anyway, keep up the great work as always 🙂

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  4. A most compassionate post. We all have feelings and thoughts and some times people do something and regret it sometimes they don’t. I think Prisons should focus on rehabilitation. I know it is an on going argument. But the whole ‘eye for an eye ‘thing just smells of revenge. Is that the message we want to give out? Thanks for posting this. Enjoyed reading it

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    1. I agree Daisy! Prison ministry deals with the spirit of a man/woman and is a form of rehab but it’s only a start. The Physical and mental aspects are grossly neglected. They need hope and direction that after leaving the system they won’t return! Housing, jobs, rehab transition….. All these referral sources are so critical but to the government, that’s just too much like the right thing to do! Thanks my love for stopping by as usual!☺️

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  5. Praise God for taking you on this path, that you may share it with the other members of His Body that He has performing other functions at the moment. Praising Him as always for you, that we are seeing His Son Christ Jesus through you, Chanel. Be blessed!

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