Gilead

cloakThis past week was an intense one.

One of the women I minister to has a very violent history and is in for that kind of crime and another one has very extended abuse in her past. Both of them suffer from victimization at a very young age. Both have incredibly tender hearts toward God.

The violent one threatened another inmate and is having to face a more gradual healing from the Lord. She is shocked at her own sin, expecting God to remove it totally, (as He can and does with some things but not with all.) I urged her to continue to trust Him and allow Him to have the control. She was not honest with the jail leadership about how serious she was about following through with her threat, but she was with me. The gravity of what I am doing is very much on my heart and mind.

The other woman and I are working with the Bible, an AA Big Book, and some material from Alcoholics for Christ, and she did a 5th step with me Friday which I am now sorting out and praying over, to bring her the 8th this Friday.

Yesterday, a friend of mine and I visited a transitional home and learned a lot from this amazing nun, Sr Marietta, that runs Emmaus House. As we were leaving one of her house managers also talked with us about it. She asked if we were going to open one, and I said, Lord willing. She said, “Lord willing?” with a tone of – what kind of silly answer is that? I smiled and said, “well, yes I hope to.” She then switched to, “well I guess you have a grip on what you are doing then…” as if she didn’t belive it.

So I responded, “No, I don’t have a grip on what God is doing, but I very much want to start the house, the need is huge.” She encouraged me not to doubt and then started to reference a James scripture which I recited a longer part of, (because a person who doubts is like the waves thrown up in the sea by the buffeting of the wind. That sort of person, in two minds, inconsistent in every activity…” and paused and she finished it with “shouldn’t nothin’ from God!” I said Amen and she smiled. “What’s your name again?” was what she said next.

I found it interesting that saying Lord willing also comes from the book of James too. (“Insted of this you should say, if it is the Lord’s will we shall be alive to do this or that, but as it is how boastful and loudmouthed you are…”) Still, I felt very encouraged to be bold, to trust God’s hand in this, despite any discouragement and opposition.

The practice is never to make an amends that could be damaging, so as I continue to work on this 8th list, I’ve put many people into groups, that are connected with the patterns of behavior. She’s to pray for the names in the group individually for a few weeks, do three things that will make her feel good about giving back and connected to the disservice she did herself and that was done to her and then she is to destroy that group list and move to the next one.

Before I go into all this, I will have to explain it’s not formulaic, it’s not about earning, it’s about developing discipline and acting in different ways. She asked for my suggestions and I get when someone doesn’t have practice they need structure, but I also pray the Spirit will give her ideas too.

I suggested to her to, when a person on the list popped into her mind, if she’d not done the good action yet, begin to think about doing it in connection with that person. The actions won’t heal her, but rather are an invite to the Holy Spirit to dwell in that wounded area of her heart.

I’m really praying the amends connected to the rapes. After some scripture reflections, I think I am going to put donating to a group working agaist human trafficking, watching the movie “Furious Love,” and giving a woman she knows a compliment unrelated to how she looks, something about her strength of character.

Father God I thank You for Your Son. I thank You that He paid the price, won the battle. Help me to shine light into the darkness. Help the women to grab onto You as you light up the deepest hurts in their lives. Grant that Your healing, transforming balm works miracles. Grant that the words I say are from Your Spirit alone. Grant that these women look to You as the answer for all their longings. Thank you for spiritual hunger. Thank you for spiritual food

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