Sitting Next to An Ex-Prisoner


I’ve gone to church every, well almost every Sunday since I was a little girl.

I’ve sang the same songs over and over. I’ve heard the same type of sermons over and over.

I’ve sat in the same type of pews for a countless amount of hours in my lifetime.

But this Sunday, this Sunday–God made sure I stood up from those wooden pews a different woman.

The words spilled out of my mouth and echoed in the small church room:

Yes, I am free.

I am free to run.

I am free to dance.

I am free to….

I looked over and noticed that she was sitting next to me. An ex-prisoner was sitting next to me. She had been in prison for many years.  I never learned the reason. The first time I had heard about her was when the pastor requested for a family to consider “fostering” her son. The boy would have to live in prison with his mom if she could not find a family to foster him for the time she was incarcerated.  Her son was now around three years of age and running around in circles–oblivious to it all.  She was now out living the life a free woman trying to start her life over again.

That brief encounter and reminder left me in awe of Him. Suddenly, I couldn’t sing the words to that song in the same manner. His Grace hit me like a rushing wind, blowing me over and knocking me to my knees–stirring within my soul. Only because of His grace can we both stand there praising Him.

Both of us prisoners in our own way.

Both of us not truly understanding His Grace.

Both of us having freedom, but at times still living like prisoners.

Both of us in need of our Savior.

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With a changed heart, I bellowed the words “I am free…”  with inexplicable gratitude and tears of joy for what my Savior has done for me, for us, for all who call on Him. Yes, there is freedom! Therefore, there is now NO condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Romans 8:1

We can walk in freedom, it’s ours–let’s stop living like prisoners to our past.  Let’s start walking towards the Light, the freedom that He has given us.

Lord have your way in me.

Help me stop running in a frenzy.

Help me stop and surrender.

Help me get a glimpse of who you are so that I can taste your freedom.

To taste the hope that lies before me, only when I am living in HIS strength and not my own.

Today at church, I was reminded that He listens to us not because of what we have done or not done, but because we are His.

I’m forever grateful.

I surrender.

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