Yes, where IS God in all this? Have I again left Him out and taken the reins of my life back? It appears so.
When I was a youth, I was into church and studying Christ. I even taught Sunday School when I was in high school as the Methodist Church was low on adult volunteers. Plus the fact that I was into scripture and sharing it. Then I went away to college, a place where many turn from their roots, and I experimented with many different religions, attempting to find the one, true answer to why we were here. Of course, without Christ at the center, I was never really able to find any answers, only temporary solutions that pointed back to me being in charge. So I went about directing my own life, relying on my own understanding rather than God’s. I actually took it to a new level of arrogance and selfishness, resulting in my instant offense. (IO)
So now, inside corrections, I read the Bible and go to Protestant Services on Sunday. I attend Sunday night, Monday night and Thursday night Bible study where I usually see the same group of guys attending, with some variation. A group of about 18-20 go to the various studies on any given night. The Sunday night leadership alternates between a volunteer lady and an outside pastor. Monday’s is run by three men who have been volunteering to come in and minister to inmates for about 5 years. Thursdays, my personal favorite, is hosted by a reverend from the outside who is really alive for Christ and been helping guys for over 10 years. So I am definitely getting inspiration from my studies. So why not give everything over to Christ? Why not make those necessary inside corrections and “Trust in the Lord with all my heart” as my new mantra from Proverbs 3 v5 tells me? Good question.
It’s so easy to fall into old patterns where I make the decisions and follow through, leaving little room for others. I do what I think and say most of it too, though I am much more guarded in here than on the outside. Only after the fact, in quiet meditation or prayer do I ponder the events of the past day or week and see how and if it measures up to a Christ like standard. I know it would be easier to check with Him first and avoid so many pitfalls, but I am still learning to do that.
In fact, with all this new intensive sex offender program stuff coming at me it would be advisable to do just that, pray first and seek direction rather than just plow ahead. So far in the program we have learned some new terminology and concepts, things we later will apply to not only our IO that brought us here, but also to our lives. At least that is the hope of the counselors and some of the inmates. I am one of them. But as I say, I need to involve Christ earlier in the process is what my Christian counselors tell me. I agree. But doing it is another thing.
So why is it so difficult? I never got to this point as an adult on the outside, not really being a true Christian and following His word, so I am definitely out of my league here. And it’s not like I do not know of the benefits of doing so. I have found a peace that defies logic. Less than a year ago I was terrified of prison, unable to function without drugs. I did not think I would make it through another day, even my bid let alone get to the point where I felt I was at peace with this place, all because of my new faith, the one and only thing that gave me hope. I could not give it. No one around me could. Even my family was at a loss. (understandably so) Only the hope in Christ that little Peruvian priest told me about made any difference, made me see that God had not forgotten me, not deserted me because of my actions as I thought He had, though I would not have blamed Him if He did. This peace allowed me to take pause during transitions into a new facility, new jobs, switching dorms, losing property and getting into the program I so greatly desired. It allowed me the peace of mind that nothing else could do.
That was the hope I carry today. The hope of getting through all this: prison, the program, daily life inside corrections, all of this. So it was important for me not to forget He who gave me that hope.