I Think We Met in Prison

Leave Hope I thought I'd be nervous.

I thought the bars and the razor wire and the concentrated mass of humanity would make my insides shake, and I thought my hands would show it and my voice would betray me.

But they didn't, and I wasn't.

I saw your little sisters there, all innocent and smooth-skinned with ponytails swinging and doe-eyes smiling. I saw them shocked when we cheered and greeted them with high-fives and hand shakes.

I saw them cry because they were the center of our attention.

I was shocked, too. And surprised when I saw your grandmas there in wheelchairs, or trudging slowly with toothless grin, gray hair all astray. With cloudy eyes squinting to see a familiar face or a fresh hope, they came last in line and headed for the bits of shade.

I may have cried.

Your moms were there, and your daughters and granddaughters. Your neighbors. I don't know what age I expected them all to be, but it was the sheer range of years that affected me first.

Then I thought for a split second that there were men there, but there were not. Women with stolen identities and shaved heads, women with huge biceps and angry eyes, women trading beauty for power were there, everywhere, but I expected that.

We gathered in the yard (and I may never say go play in the yard again) and there was division, and light battled darkness because some ladies wanted to sit and listen, to follow the rules and be respectful regardless of their tattoos and girlfriends and stereotypes, and some stood out on the fringe and ignored the program. They ignored the requests from the front to please sit down, please enjoy the speakers and the music, and please listen because God has a message for you.

We wore purple as if we were royalty and they wore prison-blue, a blanket of bruised humanity all spread around in the bleaching sun.

By the end of our time there was nothing shocking anymore. A docile lady in her 60s, with white hair and purple shirt, was surrounded by 5 or 6 girls with tattoos and shaved heads, and the smiles and conversation were as though they had just shared milk and cookies together.

Some sat in groups of 10 or 12, some were one-on-one, and God met every personality and every phobia. People with similar life experiences, similar interests, similar languages, all had a place to minister regardless of the color of their skin or hair or shirt.

Women in blue brought chairs to the tired and scorched visitors. They were concerned with our water and with the bugs in the grass and with our long trip home. They were thankful for listening ears and bolstered by messages of Hope, but this was real life to them.

"You'll be gone tomorrow, Tresta, and I'll still be here."

I want to leave Hope in the places I can't stay.

There were those who refused to listen , who crossed their arms and averted their eyes. There were those whose only purpose was to intimidate or separate or discourage, and they will always be there trying to mingle among the Hope-ful.

I saw you and I there, too. Because bars are real and man-made and all of us have chosen to be in or out of them, at one time or another.

And maybe still. Good girls and boys, all of us on the outside imprisoned by the bad girls and boys on the inside.

They live for justice or mercy or re-trial or letters to the governor or pardons or next week's program or maybe a visitor.

Some live in truth and are free, walking the hardest walk.

Some live in denial and won't cross the Nile where Egypt is purged, won't face the Promised Land because they know about the 40 years of wandering, and their eternity started already and it ain't pretty.

But you and I are there, believe me.

We want justice but need mercy and forget that He said there'd be trials and maybe someone will write the Govern-er for us, and we work for a pardon so we get ready for next week's program and then we'll visit an orphan or widow. Or prisoner.

And a run-on sentence followed by a fragment is such irony here. 

A death sentence made you free and it lasts forever. Let's not live a fragmented life or even a fragment of death.



Linking up with Grace Laced Mondays, The Mom Initiative, Soli Deo Gloria,Titus 2sdays,MercyInkThe Wellspring, Imperfect Prose and #TellHisStory


Where All the Broken People Get Fixed

old broken things It's been on the counter in my laundry room for months because there's no glue and no way to reattach the broken pieces.

It made it all the way from Kenya and it's too precious to throw away, so we keep that broken lion figurine in hopes of someday remembering to pick up some super glue.

It wouldn't be that hard to fix.

And people need brokenness to be fixed.

Everyday of this week leading up to Good Friday there's been a breaking. It's been Matthew 18 and Galatians 6 all week and these people, all of us, we're too precious not to be broken. Too valuable.

Sometimes we're held together too tightly though and it takes Mighty Blows to break us, but then. Then we have communion.


A week full of brokenness leads the weak to repentance and the beauty of wholeness, holiness.

I am terribly unjust and incredibly indignant at injustice, all at the same-conflicted-time.

But the Man on the cross was broken for unjust-me, and the veil was torn and now we all see his face, seek His face, and a broken people can be made whole that way.

First the breaking. Then the wholeness.

And I never thought so many good things could come from broken people but wow. Remember Sunday?


and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, "Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me." - {1Cr 11:24 NKJV}


{Sharing this jumbled mix of words with the wonderful community at Lisa Jo's, where we take five minutes to write whatever comes from the weekly prompt. Today, we write about BROKEN. Click here to read what other's have to say or to link up your own five minutes.}

Five Minute Friday: Cherished


For all the struggles and squabbles, there is a grace to keep going.

The moments when you play legos though you're "too old" for that. The two, three, four of you down on the carpet, building your colony and being good neighbors.

The spontaneous moments a mom could never plan, when a tug on your sleeve from little brother or sister brings a softening and relenting, when you give in to the playing and the time is quality. Pure quality.

There is grace to keep on when I catch you snuggling during the movie, or when I peek in the door Saturday morning to see you all piled up and listening to Odyssey.

When you read that story together, when you share that memory, laugh at that joke, and even when you join sides in coercive plots against me.

Trust me, I see. Because I'm looking for it, looking and hoping and filling the ears of God with requests for this: that my children would be friends.

And you are.

Friends who live and work and play together almost 24/7 and yes, friends who rub on each other and annoy the heck out of one another sometimes. But friends, nevertheless.

I wonder, and I'm pretty sure, that God cherishes when His kids are friends, too. A mother's heart comes from the Father.

For every disagreement and stomp of the foot, for every selfishness and self-will and Precious Self, there's something in the memory to pull out and cherish. I forget a lot of things, but I remember the things I cherish.

And we're all growing up together, making moments to forget and ones to remember. Here's to remembering more.


Linking up with Lisa Jo and the Five Minute Friday community. Follow the link and write with us for five off-the-top-of-your-head minutes!