My first visit to the men’s house went great, and after there was a 12 step meeting for the “self-centered” Before we ate, we met briefly, (I was late), and I got the house rules and a feel for what they thought was needed to run a house. They were not so concerned about the hows, but were helping me to understand what it would take to run a women’s house. It’s more than a full time job.
There was a man there, Tom, who was blind who was in charge, among other things, of the food. The man that runs the house told me that it took awhile for them to get to a place where they could all eat together, but its been a tremendous blessing and help to the community. I sat at a table where a few tabes had been pushed together so the men in the house across the street could join us too.
They gave me the name to a home for women getting out of prison in Saginaw and the house rules for that place. I’ve sinced called and am scheduled to visit Saturday. She thought volunteering would be the best way to understand what it would take to open, run a house.
When she did it, she had a partner. She said she couldn’t have done it without a partner. She said it would be even better if I had a team of 3 women. I’m praying.
She made the comment in the course in our conversation, when explaining the idea that these women’s background had a lot to do with why they were in their current situation and that when they get their needs met, they don’t commit crimes, “they’re not like us.”
Recently I’ve had the honor and blessing of talking to a lot of religious recently, and I know what she meant. Most of them I know come from big and stable families. Maybe not all, but a lot. I haven’t. I’m actually more like the women in the jail and, considering my background, could have easily gone to jail a few times and probably didn’t because I got sober before I could legally drink. I was encouraged to know that the men that run the house also are more like me and less like a religious, but it hit me how holy successful leadership has to be.
At the jail yesterday a leader that has been ministering for the past 10 years gave me a book called “Unbound” by Neal Luzano that I’m reading. I start one on ones on Friday and he is hoping I so this with the women I am working with. I certainly am going to have it as a tool in my kit but sense I need to pray over and get a sense for where the women are at and ask them what they are looking for spiritually. I’m going to bring a bible, the Liturgy of the Hours, a big book, the ideas from my spiritual exercises class, and the “keys” from the Unbound book.
The Unbound book scares me a little, but I trust God is bigger than anything I’ve done. He’s got a hold on me and whenever I start to get freaked out, I remind myself Who already won all battles.
My spiritual director asked me about my prayer life. I get up praying, pray throughout the day, recite a chapter of James in my head during the week, study biblical Hebrew and am on a Bible in a year reading plan. He asked me if I had any unproductive prayer time. Although I take 5 minutes out here and there on my knees, I have not made time for meditation in many months. That was my homework. To read Scripture and then just stay with a few verses for no set time. 5 minutes was fine, so was 20 minutes. Both yesterday and today the Psalms were what I stuck with, in very different places.
This big impossible thing God is doing is still unbelievable in my heart, but joy is here.