Tuesday, July 20, 2010

A Changed Heart

For years she has risen at 4:00 a.m. to be numbered among the inmates. She trudges to a prison job that earns her $7.00 monthly for treasures like shampoo and toothpaste. The bright colors she craves are not to be found in a wardrobe of only gray and khaki. Each day she pulls on her ill-fitting black boots and renews the blisters on her feet.

In the cold of winter she shivers through the night. In the heat of the summer she soaks her 1-inch mattress with sweat. Marriage at 14 allowed her escape from an abusive father, exchanging that nightmare for an abusive husband. His death sent her to prison for decades to come.

Date night for my husband and me is Monday nights. We go to the women's prison and have a Bible Study and worship with the ladies. One cold Christmas evening as I looked out over the crowd of women I was about to teach, I realized that my husband was right. Though dressed alike, they resemble any other crowd of women. Some seek truth, some want fun, some friendship and some are just along for the ride.

And some, though their stories began in horror and pain, are the salt of the earth. They have discovered Jesus walking alongside down the broken road. God can use them now that they are healed far more than without the pain. They are "out of the salt shaker", full of grace, eager to share the good news. Nobody on earth spurs me on toward love and good works like Christians who are changing their world from prison.

You, too, can be better used by God healed than you ever would have been without the pain. The only sound heart is a broken heart, a heart that Father has mended. Make a difference. Don't wait until you're good enough, smart enough, pretty enough, strong enough. Step out in faith and change your world.

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