Lent Day 22 Reflection
Kyna Saul is a covenant member of Harris Creek and a proud cheerleader for her family and the Red Raiders. Because of today’s prayer prompt to seek God for prisoners and their families, I’ve asked Kyna to share about her current outreach experience as she ministers to ladies incarcerated at a local jail. Kyna insists, I AM NOT A WRITER,” but I beg to differ.
I observe the new group of ladies that God has placed before me searching their faces for some insight into where they are in their journey. Some of them appear to be attentive and ready, some nervous, some weary and guarded, and some I can’t see because their eyes are cast down. I grab the key around my neck and think about the word stamped on it: freedom. Freedom is my word of the year. As I ask God to break me free this year from what holds me captive, I am always reminded of the ladies God has sent me to serve at McLennan County Jail.
Freedom is their greatest need, not just because they are locked in a cell. They were imprisoned long before they came to this place. For many of them, their captivity began generations ago with addiction, neglect, abuse, poor choices, desperation and now it carries on with them and, sadly, to their children. Did I mention only 4 of the 29 ladies we have served so far do not have children? These 25 women represent over approximately 70 children. I tear up as I type this stat. More than seventy children are without their mom. Some may say they are better off without them and being raised by someone else. Shamefully I have been that person. But that was before these women had names and stories, before I looked into their eyes and heard the words over and over again when asked about their goals for when they are released.
“I want to be a good mom.”
“I want to be there for my kids.”
“I don’t want to be like my mom. “
“I want to be a sober mom.”
“I want to make my kids proud.”
“I want for my kids to speak to me and have a relationship with them.”
“I want to get my kids back.”
Those are just the words spoken. Imagine what is left unsaid. The hopes and dreams that they dare not say because it seems too good to be true.
The brokenness of these precious women overwhelms me at times. There are times when God breaks through and chains are broken. I see with my very own eyes His Word: It is for freedom that Christ has set you free. While a beautiful sight to behold, I do not want to glamorize it. It is messy. It is ugly. There are times that I cry out to Jesus with groans on their behalf. The sobering reality is that freedom is easy when you are in jail. It is when they get out that the test comes. I am reminded of the rest of the verse in Galatians 5:1…Stand firm then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.
Nevertheless, I cherish every moment spent with my sisters in jail. I remind myself often that they are really no different than I am. I am one choice away from being where they are lest I begin to think too highly of myself. I love them. I tell anyone who will listen that I feel like God has been preparing me my whole life to do exactly what I am doing. While I have never been incarcerated, I do know what it is like to be chained to sin, heartache, regrets, fears, worries, unforgiveness. The list could go on and on.
But God has set me free and continues to set me free.
It is for freedom that Christ has set me free.
My freedom becomes their freedom…
and their freedom becomes their children’s freedom.
What a beautiful picture of how God connects us!
God wants the same for you, for all of us who are called Christ followers. He wants to use the freedom we have found in Christ to set another free. While God may not send you into a jail to actual prisoners, I promise there are captives around you wherever you are. They are just not wearing a striped suit and plastic flip-flops. My prayer for us, as His church, is that we would become passionate for the Savior who sets us free, that we would desire freedom from whatever it is that keeps us in chains, and in turn God would use us to…
Preach the good news to the poor.
Bind up the brokenhearted.
Proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners.
Proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.
Let it be Lord Jesus just as your word says.
Kyna is able to go into the county jail because of Christian Women’s Job Corp, and if you are interested in becoming involved with the prison ministry, Kyna encourages you to please contact Becky Ellison (firstname.lastname@example.org).