I should have known this day was going to exceed my expectations! While in the check-out line, my eyes spotted a sticker on the cellophane wrapped around the roses: FREEDOM. Never before have I seen the name of the variety of roses lon the side of flowers, but this day they did! Beaming, I shared with the grocery clerk: “My friend is getting out of prison today and I am taking her freedom roses!” (I know she must have thought I was a bit out there, but she smiled at me and said, “That is wonderful!”)
The day that Kathy and I had talked about so many times was finally here! Her release day meant building a new life after prison walls, with Jesus on one side and her sisters in Christ on the other! As we began unpacking her few items and putting them in her closet, I thought about how many times during our phone calls we had talked about this day.
My friendship with Kim began a couple of years ago when I had the privilege of becoming a volunteer with an organization called Changed Choices, whose mission is to help women build new lives after prison walls. During these years, Kim and I became sisters as we shared phone calls, a few visits, and many times together studying God’s word. It has been the gift I never saw coming!
I don’t know about you, but sometimes when I read God’s word, especially the words of Jesus, I don’t take them literally. Like this passage in Matthew 5:34-36, when Jesus is sitting on the mountain, speaking to his disciples: “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’.” I tend to jump over the passages that make me uncomfortable so I can get to the promises I like.
I been learning: these uncomfortable passages have profound promises too. When I love my neighbor as I love myself by feeding the hungry and thirsty, welcoming those not welcomed by many, clothing the naked, visiting the sick and ministering to people in prison, I, in fact, become the person who is truly blessed.
When I get outside of my small circle, the 5-mile radius that most of my life operates in, and the even smaller circle created in 2020 by the pandemic, my life is more fulfilled. The beauty of impacting the life of another is that I am the one truly impacted.
No matter where we call home, there are people who need to know that they are loved by Father. They need to know God sees them and has not forgotten them. You and I are called to be His messengers; the carriers of His love. What small step can you take today to follow Jesus in giving His love to another?
Is making a difference in another person’s life something you’ve been thinking about doing? Changed Choices offers unique opportunities to help from home!
Make a Difference
- Pen Pal – Develop a pen pal friendship for a woman incarcerated.
- Card Writer-Write cards or notes to our clients in need of encouragement. You will receive a list of 12 clients to write to each month.
- Mentor-Become a mentor to a client in transition
Interested in learning more? Email Changed Choices at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more!
Getting out of my comfort circle has been beyond hard. Factor in COVID, and we’ve got even more reason to just love on those closest to us. But maybe you’re ready; wanting to learn how you can make a difference in your world and needing God’s confidence to do it? Me too! Studying amazing women in God’s word has made all the difference in my life! You can gain His confidence as well through Make Your Move: Finding Unshakable Confidence Despite Your Fears and Failures! Learn more about this Bible study for women about women here.