Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Prison

Our singing group was asked to perform our Christmas program for the women's RS Christmas activity at the prison tonight. I was excited for the opportunity to serve and to help. I hope the women felt the Spirit of the season and the love their Savior has for them - I sure did. It was palpable.

I was writing in my journal earlier this week and wrote: "I have a deep sense of love and respect for these struggling women - because we all struggle with some aspect of our lives - and their choices have just resulted in a very visual and outward consequence."

I don't fear them women in prison - though I know some do. I have done bad things in my life (nothing jail-worthy) and I have hurt people (even just their feelings or self-esteem or the like). The consequences of my personal actions might not be broadcast and publicly recorded in court transcripts - but I still have consequences to bare.

Then my good friend Meghann (whom I love so much more now that I have read her ENTIRE blog and feel like I really know her) pinned a quote on Pinterest that says "You are not the mistakes you have made". I truly believe that - and that is how Heavenly Father sees us. Now, since we are trying to be perfect and like him, it would be nice if we could "see" that about each other.

As we sang tonight I couldn't help but feel indescribably blessed. Some of those women must have come through rough time or grown in rough childhoods and I couldn't help but think - that could have been me. I spent over 11 years in the foster care system - I know rough times - what have I done to deserve the deliverance of God?

I own my home, married the man of my dreams, have a debt-free bachelors and masters education, a flexible job that allows me to be with our daughter, food on my table, and so many more uncountable luxuries. I know the Lord guided my path and protected my life to have come out so well. I feel saddened for those women and understanding of just how hard it is to fight against those temptations. They are not the mistakes they have made - it could just have easily been me - and I get it.

The greatest spiritual gift I was given was to be forgiving. I truly believe that one divine attribute that I posses has set my feet right and transported me to the fairy tale life I lead. I love the sinner - even the ones who have done so much personal harm to me and my family - but I just hate the sin. I can honestly say it's easy for me.

Serving at the prison has reminded me that repentance is real, we can be forgiven, and we are all part of a heavenly family and should love each other. I am glad to have found time this season to take pause and to really FEEL the meaning of the season and find quiet ways to serve and love.

May I look back on this moment when my life seems rough and my trial unconquerable and witness just how far I have really come and how the grace of God in undeniable in every facet of my life.


Meghann said...

Well now, that was truly lovely and up lifting. What a beautiful post about so many truths. I'm grateful I got to be there with you Heidi! It was a powerful experience.

Kandis Mortensen said...

PRICELESS... Lucky to count you as my friend (AND example...)