Below is a post from my www.newhopeforwomen.blogspot.com November post. I revisited with the inmate again. This time she was able to come to my office because she is no longer in protective custody. So we are making progress! She has had her ups and downs, and struggles to stay out of PC. She finds herself "egged on" by other inmates who want desperately to get under her skin so that she will react. She is working on practicing to surrender daily to Jesus, not an easy thing for this young lady, and certainly not an easy thing inside a prison. She has to get through the next 2 weeks with no incident so that she can get a visit with her 2 young daughters. The challenge I posed to her was, "practice submission" for 2 weeks, and watch God reward you. She has not see her daughters for close to 6 months. She will be joining my weekly Bible Study and then into my office for some personal one on one. Underneath this rough exterior, is a sweet young lady who is extremely sensitive and just wants to be loved and accepted. I am determined for her to see our loving Father's heart toward her through my actions. I believe that the love of Christ will melt her rough exterior and warm her heart to want more of Jesus. I am amazed at her hunger to get something right with the Lord, and I know she really wants more of Jesus. She needs for everything she has ever learned to drop from her head knowledge of Christ to a revelation heart knowledge. She is a very smart lady and remembers everything she reads in the Word and everything I tell her. She can repeat back to me just about everything I tell her the following week. But she has to get her anger issues under control. So we discussed how to call upon the Lord in the heat of her angers. We will see how well she does. Please pray for this young lady so that she can turn her life around, she would be an amazing testimony of the POWER of the Living God.
Another Day in the Life of a ChaplainToday wasn't much different than other days. I went into my office and looked over my request forms from inmates wanting to see the Chaplain for various reasons. As I was setting up my appointments for this morning, I came across a name of an inmate that I visited two weeks ago. She was requesting to see me again, so off to the protective custody unit to visit this woman who is locked down 22 hours a day. She is basically a trouble maker and been in multiple fights, therefore she is confined to her cell on a unit where she can not be around other inmates. So when she meets with the chaplain, she has to have cuffs on so she can't get into trouble. But here's what I see when we spend an hour together, I see a woman who has a tough exterior which is a facade to cover her real sensitive and fragile personality. This young woman allows me to speak into her some hard truths, and I see she really wants to change. She is tired of her very long lifestyle of playing the "bad girl", and she wants to be a better role model for her children. We looked at Ephesians 4:17-31 "So this I say in the Lord, that you no longer live like the heathen do in their perverseness of their minds. Their moral understanding is darkened and their reasoning is beclouded. They are alienated from the life of God because of ignorance that is deep-seated in them, due to their hardness of heart. In their spiritual apathy they have become callous and past feeling and reckless and have abandoned themselves to unbridled sensuality, eager and greedy to indulge in every form of impurity. But you did not so learn Christ. Assuming that you have really heard Him and been taught by Him, as all Truth is in Jesus." We stopped here and I asked her if she can say her actions reflect Christ- like behavior or does she appear more like the heathen just described in the above scripture? Her accurate assessment of herself was difficult for her to admit, but she knows that as a child she was taught differently. As a child her mother taught her to believe in Jesus, and that she was to act a certain way. She had failed her mom, her children, herself and her God. So we continued on, verse 22; "Strip yourselves of your former nature, which characterized your previous manner of life and becomes corrupt through lusts and desires that spring from delusion. And constantly be renewed in the spirit of your mind having a fresh mental and spiritual attitude. And put on the new nature created in God's image in true righteousness and holiness." Once again we stopped to discuss how do we strip ourselves of our old nature, and what does it mean to put on Christ's new nature? I told her when her anger and rage buttons are triggered, then she needs to ask Jesus to calm her, give her peace in her storm and to ask the Lord to be her strength when she feels weak. I told her this would require her to practice self control when she finds herself in stressful situations, and as she gets control of her rage, she will begin to show more respect for the correctional officers and they will begin to allow her more privileges. Continuing on, verse 25; "Therefore rejecting all falsity and being done now with it, let everyone express the truth with his neighbor, for we are all parts of one body and members one of another. When angry, do not sin; do not ever let your wrath last until the sun goes down. Leave no room or foothold for the devil. Let the thief steal no more, but rather let him be industrious, making an honest living with his own hands, so that he may be able to give to those in need. Let no foul or polluting language nor evil word nor unwholesome of worthless talk come out of your mouth, but only such as is good and beneficial to the spiritual progress of others as is fitting to the need and the occasion, that it may be a blessing and give grace to those who hear it. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God by Whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and indignation and wrath (passion, rage, bad temper) and resentment and quarreling (brawling, clamor, contention) and slander (evil speaking, abusive or blasphemous language) be banished from you with all malice or baseness of any kind. And become useful and kind to one another, tenderness, compassionate, understanding, forgiving one another freely as God in Christ forgave you." That was a lot for her to absorb, but as we continued our conversation I shared with her that I thought she was intelligent and after looking at these verses carefully and asking God to help her understand them, she had the capability to turn her out of control life around. That's when this "tough as nails" inmate began to cry. Sometimes I have found that the combination of reading God's Word and a kind word of encouragement, these woman soften and I am able to see the real person emerge making it easier to minister instead of trying to make headway with a created fictitious character. We prayed together, and then I asked her to try to work on these issues and see what changes she notices. She will be taking note on how others begin to treat her. Next week we will look at her progress. I told her she has a responsibility to work on putting to death her old nature, and putting on the nature of Christ. This much I know, if she sincerely tries to work on her character defects, and asks Jesus to help her, all of heaven would be working on her behalf to help her get this right. I will meet with her again, and I am hopeful that this young lady will have something good to share with me. She has a long way to go, but God takes us just as we are and skillfully uses His Word to chip away at our old nature convicting us by His Spirit so that we want to make changes, and the end result is - He gets the glory for a life redeemed, and restored and a mindset renewed by the reading of His Word. Today was a first step, but a step in the right direction.