The last few days I have felt a sense of overwhelming despair. A very deep sorrow. I can see so many people lost and hurting around me that, at times, I get overwhelmed. There is a vulnerability when we open ourselves up to others. There is a vulnerability that comes through loving others. But there is a great need.
I became a little frustrated today. I was pondering this great need. This need to reach out. This need to give. I was slipping into depression. I was eating lunch with someone and this person was buried in his/her cell phone. It was as if I were dining alone. It made me very sad because it seems that everywhere I go, I see the same thing.
People burying themselves in cell phones. Or lap tops. Seemingly unable to see the needs of others. But I know that I cannot and will not judge. I"ve been there.
My walk is just beginning. It is in its infancy. I have just begun to reach out to others. To peer into lives of hurting and already it is very daunting. To give, to serve....requires a very very very special person. One that is willing to share in someone elses suffering.
Who is willing to reach out in that great way? Not many. But I will tell you a story that I learned yesterday. About why reaching out is so important. I continually remind myself when I become sad, that this walk is NOT about me. It's about you. I keep going because He tells us to. He tells us that the reward will be great. He plants a love inside that is deep. That keeps people reaching out and extending themselves.
Here is the story:
I have begun to get involved in prison ministry. I can see this population of people that has been forgotten. I went to Open Door Ministries yesterday and I got to peer into the lives of different people. The women, volunteers, that keep the place going. They give thier time. Thier efforts. They work long, extended hours because they can see that lives are being changed. They gave me a window into what they do. I got to see faces. Faces of these women in prison. Women who have been raped. Molested. Women who have been abused. Who have gone through great hurts. Women who have acted on that hurt. Women who have landed in prison.
One the volunteers told me that she would often write letters to these women. She said that the women were so happy to recieve the letters. So excited to receive the hope of Jesus. So overjoyed to know that someone cared, that they would sleep with the letters under thier pillows. Those letters. That dedication gave them something to hold on to.
God Bless the people who give. Because you let yourselves be vulnerable. You let yourselves hurt along with someone else. You have the ablility to see beyond what someone has done. You see people as God would have you to see them. You have the spiritual eye.
There are days when I think that the things I am doing..the things I will do aren't making a difference. But I am called to plant the seed. And I am Trusting in my God to water it. To make it grow. So I will go. I will do. I need prayers. I am hurting for people that I do not know. It isn't easy but I am believing that lives will be changed. And one day the reward will be great.
I encourage anyone who has a heart for prison ministry to contact Open Door Ministries in Lake Charles. 337-436-6700. There aren't many people willing to help. Right now I work extremley long and crazy hours, but I'm making time to write letters and send birthday cards to these women. Soon I hope to tell one of thier stories.
Matthew 25: 34 – 40 “Then the King will say to those on His right hand, Come, you blessed of 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 took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me. Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You? And the King will answer and say to them, Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.” (NKJV)
Today in the midst of this sadness, I was tempted to drown it out with noise. Turn on the radio and not think about it. It is easier not to. But I'm learning that, In silence, we truly learn to hear. We can listen to anything. Anytime. Anywhere. But the voice of God, comes into the quiet.