Friday, May 14, 2010

Society Has No Mercy - God Does

Guest Blogger - Joy

It feels good to be back to work. I thank God for this opportunity. There was a time, after my release from prison in April 2007 that I thought I would never get a job. My past criminal record isn't the greatest and no one seemed to want to give me a chance. I am trained as a dental assistant and I have done some factory work. I filled out so many applications, but every time they'd do a background check, I wasn't considered. I wouldn't even get an interview. If I did get an interview and I told them I was a felon, I never heard from the employer again.

So, I just worked in a local restaurant that hired me back, off and on for many years. It was only part time, and it wasn't much money, but it provided. I just kept praying God would open a door for me....And he did! The company where Linda works gave me a chance. I'm a housekeeper and I loved my job! I think they like me too. Praise God!

My next hurdle is to find an apartment. I applied for a 2 bedroom. The lady was so nice when I went to look at it. I was honest with her. She called me that night and said, I could rent from her. I was so excited, because my living situation (at the time) was so dysfunctional. I told her I would drop off the deposit the next day. She called me while I was at work and left a message. She had changed her mind. I tried to call her back to find out what I already knew - she did a background check.

I can't tell you how much it hurts to be rejected over and over because of my past. I guess, I do understand their thinking. I am a felon. They are afraid of me. It's just so hard to stay positive when society looks at us as not capable of changing. I've served my time and would like to start a new chapter in my life.

As ex-offenders, we beat ourselves up for the things we have done and the devil loves to fill our heads with lies that we are no good and don't deserve anything better. Why should we even try? So many of us go back to old ways because we can't get a break.

Today I stand on God's word. "I am a new creation in Christ. The old is gone, the new has come." I keep trudging forward because I know God is faithful. I am a testimony of what he can do.

I will not let society taboo me or allow the devil to fill my head with insecurities. I deserve to be treated like everyone else - even if others don't think so. God loves me and will get me through every trial.

Please continue to pray for ex-offenders. And pray that God will give me wisdom. I would like to start a ministry, some day, to mentor others.

* * * * *
For more stories from the Women of Block 12, please visit:

* * * * *

Monday, May 10, 2010

Decisions, Decisions

Daily decisions. We all have to make them. Nothing too difficult.

  • What should I wear to the office today?
  • Cheerios or a scrambled egg for breakfast?
  • Should I leave work early to go to an appointment?
  • Which bills to pay first?
  • What can I make for supper tonight?
On the other hand, some decisions are seemingly impossible. An ex-offender friend earns $10.00 an hour. Four dollars goes directly to her supervision on the bracelet. With the remaining $6.00 she must decide:

  • Groceries or gas?
  • Medicine or phone bill?
  • Car repair $600 (so she can get to work) or Leave an abusive partner and pay her own rent?
* * * * * * *
Visit The Women of Block 12 at:

* * * * *

Sunday, May 2, 2010

God's Grace In The Lonely Places

A recent article in Christianity Today "Asking The Beautiful Question," by Joel Van Dyke and Kris Rocke is a must read for all those interested in prison ministry. You can find the story at:

The article asks the question, "What does the gospel look like when it invades the margins of the world?" The margins they speak of are populations of imprisoned gang members in South America, prostitutes, street youth, and families in extreme poverty. The authors reveal some surprising insights into God's work in the world.

Those of us in prison and jail ministry will recognize, in these examples, how the grace of God flows in both directions when we minister to the least of these.

* * * * *
Visit: The Women Of Block 12: Voices From a Jail Ministry.

* * * * *