Monday, February 25, 2013

Awake In Prison

photo by Steve Rotman
Loving women to Jesus inside prison walls is surreal, yet it's there that I am most awake.

My husband and I spend each Monday night in a women's prison. The room looks much the same as any chapel with a stage, instruments, a grand piano, a whiteboard and microphones. The women look much the same as any group of seekers, except they are dressed in khaki and gray.

Murder. Abuse. Rape. Greed. Prostitution. Neglect. Drugs. Behind each face is a story, a story that now includes me.

As years pass inside the prison walls, some of our regulars come week after week. We are their home, their family, their church, their soft place to heal.

In prison some women determine to stay alert, awake to their surroundings. Other women disappear behind a mask, walking in their sleep for years. Ordinary days sometimes find me walking in my sleep, too.

As a writer it is my job to notice things, but there are times when I seem to notice nothing at all. Times when every moment is concerned with daily routines and tasks, the business of survival.

Moments have a way of sliding past quickly whether they are noticed or not. Weariness keeps me from seeing a broken heart. Fear keeps me from loving a shattered soul. I sleepwalk through a world that is alive with opportunities to meet people, to celebrate nature, to experience history as it unfolds.

I step through the security gate of the prison, pick up my body alarm and walk into the air lock. The sound of the heavy metal doors slamming closed awakens me. Even the air seems charged with anticipation and excitement.

As I walk across the prison yard, greeting the guards and prisoners, my heart is wide awake. Every moment is an opportunity to be fully aware of the presence of God walking alongside me.

Every journey is an adventure. Every step is a step of faith. Not because I must carry a body alarm or because guards watch over my every move, but because the God of all creation said if I will go to the prison, He will go with me. He says if I follow where He leads, He will show me the way through the wilderness. If I die to self, I will be alive in Him.

The Bible is true. God is real. Jesus is alive. He is awake. Every day He is walking with me on my journey over uncharted paths. And I would choose to sleep through such an adventure?


  1. As always,I am inspired by your thoughts. May I share this?

  2. Oh, yes! Let us all learn to live life wide awake to God's presence!

  3. Here's the link!