a letter from a prisoner

My father has challenged me to write in my blog everyday for 60 days..I was (and still am) a bit nervous about it. Writing is something I have always found joy in doing..but it is also a task that drains me..it requires a great deal of thought as well as time..the level of concentration it requires transforms me into an extreme introvert. I dont like to write about things that are pointless or shallow; for me to be able to “scribble things to life” (as i like to call it) I have to be passionate about the subject, and with a 5 year old running around and a 7 month old demanding my time constantly, as any of you who are raising or have raised children know, it can be pretty stinkin hard to find passion even for your husband, let alone for something to blog about. How am I supposed to work something, that asks so much of me, into my daily schedule without compromising it..When I voiced these concerns to my father..he simply said, “it’ll come to you”..and.. Like always, my father’s advice has, thus far, been right.

I was talking to a friend of mine today, when she told me an odd story..thankfully she shared this with me, because until she did, I had no idea what I was going to write about today. She told me about a letter she received. The letter was from a person that she has not spoken to in quite some time…it was from a guy who is now in prison. In the letter he asked her to please call his parents..he wanted her to tell them how sorry he was and that he loved them..he wanted her to ask his mom to please come and see him. My friend can be somewhat shy at times and she told me she was nervous about calling them. My advice to her was that she should do it. The next text I sent her read..thats sad that they havent gone and seen him..shame on them. No matter what your kids do you dont give up on them. If Rory was in prison for murdering someone i would still love him…as I pressed the send button..I knew what I would write about today.

When I look down and see the beautiful face of my son, I forget that one day from his smooth little chin whiskers will grow..as Jonathan hangs Trinitee’s towel up to dry after giving her a bath, Im sure that the last thing he thinks about is how this nights completed bathtime is just one more check on a short list…before he knows it daddy’s little girl wont be so little anymore. No matter how much we beg for the clock to stop and for time to exclude our children it cannot be done. The little hands that reach out for me..the tiny hands that hold onto mine so tightly..this lays upon my soul such sadness to say..but, one day these sweet little hands could become the hands that take a person’s life. If this dark scenario were to one day become reality, my love would not lessen. No amount of evil or wrongdoing done by my child could ever cause me to deny him..I would never fail to be there when he reached out for me..no matter the amount of sinful blood dripping from his hands..I would never let them go.

For almost a decade, I was the constant tears that flooded my mother’s heart. I was the pain that cut into my father’s soul. I was the constant prayer on their lips. My parents never gave up me..they never stopped praying for me. They never gave up on the promise they were given by God. Ive failed my parents more times than I can count..but to them, I have never been a failure..and in the back of my mind, I always knew that. If any parents are reading this who have children that are running from God..dont ever give up on them. Let their name be the constant prayer on your lips..regardless of the evil that has them blinded..dont ever stop being there when they reach out for you. No matter the distance into a pit of despair that they have fallen..never let their hand go. The progress and the change that the Lord has made in me shows the power a mother’s prayer can hold.

If the love of a mother and father can be so unconditional…think about the love that God has for us. If you are reading this and you realize that you are a prisoner trapped in the despair of your own guilt and self hatred..just know..there is no distance that one can travel to that God cannot reach. There is no amount of sin that God cannot cleanse. Even if you are unsure of who God is..in written words or spoken words write him a letter..tell him that you are sorry..tell him you love him (or that you want someone like him to love)..and if you ask him to come and see you(or for him to help you understand who he is)..i promise that he will. The darkest most disgusting crimes will not stop God from answering your letter..The thickest bars and the highest razor wire cant stop the love that God has for you.

I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness. – Jeremiah 31:3

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on sadness and redemption part 2

Before I go any further I must make a few things clear..first off, I am not a bible scholar. I am speaking from my heart..from my own personal experiences. I pray that the things I write are pleasing to the Lord and that they match the direction that He would like me to follow..be it so, I’m sure that some of my lowly mortal ideas are not one hundred percent on target. Please do not hold any of my opinions as being undeniable truth unless, of course, it be a direct quote from the bible or a statement obviously made with biblical truth to back it..for example- ”Jesus loves you.” How I interpret things may be completely different from how you see it..but now, that is why I started a blog..so that I can say what I feel like saying. The second thing, which I’m sure my writing thus far has already proved..I am not an english major,if I was id probably be failing terribly. My grammar is ”briana grammar” and if you know me..then you know nothing about me is proper…ever. I may need to copy this onto the front page of my blog because I’m sure that the need to say this will be a repeated one. So now..after all that is said, let me move on to why I am really here..sadness and redemption part two.
When my life was ebbing away, I remembered you, LORD, and my prayer rose to you, to your holy temple. – Jonah 2:7
The story of Jonah and the whale is a story that children who are taught the bible (which unfortunately is far too few these days) are fascinated by. The idea of a man being in the belly of a whale is an exciting concept for children and i was reminded of this the other night. Trinitee and i have an illustrated childrens bible that we read every night before her bedtime..i think i enjoy it almost as much as she does..but, a few nights ago we read the story of Jonah. She clung to every word..her eyes grew wider with excitement the more i read. It got me thinking..as an adult,you really don’t hear about ol’ Jonah too often. Could it be that the idea of a giant fish throwing up some dude on a beach somewhere is just too far-fetched for a sophisticated adult to believe? This is a perfect example why the Lord urges us to come before him as a child would. The story of Jonah is breathtaking..it is a story so many hurting, lost people need to hear. The bible does not lie. The truth it holds is so concrete that even the catastrophes of Armageddon could not (and will not) shake it. It grieves my heart to think of all the souls that are blinded by pride or by scientific “reason” who curse our Lord and spit hatred onto the sovereign word of God..it will take these catastrophes of Armageddon mentioned above to finally open their eyes to the bibles truth..and sadly by that point, it will likely be far too late for many of them to recant their stubborn choice to refuse the Lord’s invitation to lifesaving redemption. Why so many hate christianity i just can’t understand. It is a message based on selfless love and nothing else..so many people skew the word of God to make christianity into something that it is not..but it is simple..God loves us so much he sent his son to die an agonizing death so an evil humanity could have the choice to believe and to be freed from the chains of sin. He loves us so much he had his son butchered just so we could choose to have life.
If i woke up tomorrow morning to news reports proclaiming the outbreak of a virus that, without exception, was deadly..a virus that every baby born on this planet would have and every person alive would eventually catch, i would be devastated beyond description. But what would be even more devastating would be a knock on the door from men telling me that Rory was the only human on this planet that possessed the supernatural antibody needed to create a cure but “unfortunately mam, the child will have to sacrifice his life for us to have access to the antibody, this is humanities only hope of survival..the child will feel no pain..it will be like he is going to sleep.” I cannot even imagine the affliction that would drown my soul..but i would have to say yes. i would first make sure that my son’s life would not be taken in vain..i would mandate that this miracle cure be given to EVERYONE, whether they want it or not. If my son is going to give his life to save humanity then this virus shall not make a mockery of his life! Not one person shall die from this virus if my son gives his life! Any parent who reads this i’m sure can understand. Think about God..God is not some all controlling dictator who forces us to accept the cure that the death of his only son has granted us. He loves us so much he allowed his son not to be painlessly “put to sleep” but to be mercilessly slaughtered just so we could have the choice to live. And Jesus.. before his resurrection he was a mortal man..he could have chosen to walk away. The night before he was crucified he was scared..our Lord was scared..he cried and begged God to let his fate be different. but, it could not be different..Jesus gave himself as a sacrifice for us. The blood that dripped down the cross..the cross that Jesus died an excruciating, agonizing death upon..was filled with the selfless, pure antibody that is our only hope for life..the only cure..yet so many reject it.
Just like Jonah, my life was being chiseled down..almost to nothing. I was so barred beneath my sin..but through that black void of my life i continued to cry out to God..even though i was sure that i had gone too far to be recovered..even though i believed that i was too torn and dirty to be refurbushed..i knew he was there. My cries..the prayers that came out of my filthy mouth – He still allowed them to enter into his presence – He heard them. That selfless, pure blood of Jesus.. it reached down into the hopeless pit of death that i was in and it cured me from the certain death that i deserved.
 WORTHLESS. HOPELESS. INSIGNIFICANT. ABANDONED.  BARREN. DISGUSTING. DIRTY. FULL OF SHAME. EMPTY.
 Jesus does not discriminate..he does not reject one who asks him to save them..no matter how filthy they are..no matter how dark their sin. The redemption that has brought me back to life is available to ANYONE who asks. Jesus loves you no matter how much you belive that you don’t deserve it. What he has done for me he will do for any who asks. Because of Him i am now
WORTHY. HOPEFUL. SIGNIFICANT. FOUND. FRUITFUL. DELIGHTFUL. CLEAN. FULL OF LIFE.

on sadness and redemption part 1

To begin this entry I am going to share a very private journal entry from my past. It is from a time in my life that I am not proud of…a period of somber darkness. The date I wrote this was December 18, 2008.

What do you do when you feel as though I do? Heartbeats stop all together. The severity of this situation has consumed me entirely. I am a mess, truly damned beyond return. My world is nothing but a crumbling Atlantis. The never-ending fiery arrows of hate and worthlessness have maimed my being beyond repair. I will never again be worthy. Oh! how I pray to be still worthy. At what moment in this whirlwind of happenings, that i call my life, did i wave a solemn farewell to my Lord? Does He remember my face? Is my name still moist upon his lips? Or has he cast me aside like the unwanted trash that i have allowed myself to become… The tides of survival have washed my sand castles of hope into oblivion. The true disease of my well-being is something that my pen cannot breathe life into. But still – I mark into this book a stamp of my current mind.

WORTHLESS. HOPELESS. INSIGNIFICANT. ABANDONED. BARREN. DISGUSTING. DIRTY. FULL OF SHAME. EMPTY.

I have composed this mortal symphony of waste, and now in this mournful requiem i must reside.

When I opened my old journal the other day, to say that the things i read were shocking would be an understatement. The declarations of despair held between the leather bindings of that book is my life – or better said – was my life.

The soul who sins shall die…the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself. – Ezekiel 18:20

It is hard for me to pinpoint when I decided to walk away from my faith. Through the years i have tried to figure out what happened to me – what caused the drastic change…i have always failed to find the answer. It definitely was not like the stereotypical scenario that many think of – a child stands in the candy isle, a pack of sweetarts clutched tight in a shaky hand..the child has no money..but no one is watching. On one shoulder a little man in a red cape dances around – above the other shoulder floats a beautiful blonde lady wearing white. It definitely wasnt like that. I was raised..or better said..i was born into loving Jesus. The example shown to me by my parents empowered me to have a deep relationship with Christ at a very young age. I loved the Lord – He was the joy of my heart as a child. The dark force whose one goal is to drag you and me to hell (aka satan) was far too smart to try and derail my salvation overnight – it was a gradual descent. It was a slow deception that led me into the bleak wasteland that nearly became my grave. I remember on multiple occasions crying out to God..begging him to allow me to just go back – to find myself – to find that little girl who had once loved him so. Sin had blinded me to the point that I, with great sorrow, accepted my self-imposed sentence of irreversible damnation. I was dead. Emotional death, mental death, spiritual death, the only one that the grace of Jesus allowed me to dodge was physical death. Even though there were many times I pleaded with God to end me – to snuff me out. Thankyou my most merciful Savior! He had other plans for me.

My rambling mind is far too long-winded for me to finish this tonight. I will continue tomorrow, Lord willing…until then I will leave you with this:

In my distress I called to the Lord,
    and he answered me.
From deep in the realm of the dead I called for help,
    and you listened to my cry.
 You hurled me into the depths,
    into the very heart of the seas,
    and the currents swirled about me;
all your waves and breakers
    swept over me. 
 I said, ‘I have been banished
    from your sight;
yet I will look again
    toward your holy temple.’ 
 The engulfing waters threatened me,
    the deep surrounded me;
    seaweed was wrapped around my head. 
 To the roots of the mountains I sank down;
    the earth beneath barred me in forever.
But you, Lord my God,
    brought my life up from the pit. – Jonah 2