I have invited my friend, Joy to be a guest blogger on this site because she is an inspiration to so many others. Joy's story is in my upcoming book: The Women of Block 12: Voices From a Jail Ministry. http://www.thewomenofblock12.com/. I know you will be inspired by her writings.
I believe God will use you wherever you're at. . . if you let Him.
My name is Joy. I am currently serving a revocation to my probation at the House of Correction. My violation was having 5 margaritas and driving my car under the influence. I received my first drunk driving ticket. It seemed like a small thing to me considering the life I used to live (see "Joy's Story" in the upcoming book The Women of Block 12), but my violation is and was against the law and my probation. I took one day and detoured from God's will which always has consequences.
As I look back, I was backsliding months before this incident. I was not going to church on a regular basis, neglecting my devotions and time with God (a place where I get my strength), isolating and saying 'no' to God's call to ministry. In other words, I got lazy. 1 Peter 5:8 says "Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy, the devil prowls around like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour." That's just what happened.
Now that I am here in jail, I see so many women, of all ages, hurting and lost. They are looking to fill a void somehow - with alcohol, drugs, men, cigarettes, gambling etc. In here, a lot of them turn to other women to feel good. As a result, there are many lesbians in prisons and jails. Coming to jail really puts my life back into perspective on how far I have come and I use that knowledge to minister to and work with women who have needs that only God can satisfy.
I tell them about Jesus and what He has done in my life. Some have no families. Some have burned their bridges with friends. In many cases everyone has given up on them. I give them the Good News that God hasn't given up and He never will!
It's easy to live for God in jail when you don't have the influences of the world. But I tell the women, "We have to put up a good fight and surrender our lives to God. He gives us instructions on how to live. We have to die to our flesh and allow God to have His way."
For some reason, I always seem to get in the way of His will for me. Thank God He loves me so much He sent Jesus to be my Savior so I could still have a relationship with Him. He knew I would never be perfect and would fall short time and time again. He still loves me and will use me - even in the midst of my own created messes. He has started a good work in me and He promises to take it to completion. I am still a work in progress.
I encourage and pray for those reading this blog to raise up and pray for the incarcerated. I hope God will put it in your heart to sponsor an ex-offender through your church or community group. When an inmate is released, they need mentoring and guidance to go in a new direction. The statistics show the majority of offenders will go back to old behaviors unless they learn something new. Please don't give up on us!
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