I would consider myself a pretty ordinary person. I am a preacher’s kid, married to a godly man, and the mother of two wonderful children, but a few years ago I found myself in the last place imaginable: behind bars. I did not commit a crime or break the law, but an unforeseeable accident resulted in time away from my family. I cannot begin to explain how this felt. I was no criminal, yet I was being treated as one.
Despite my circumstances, the Lord never left my side. He provided me with comfort and hope. After several difficult and extremely long years, I was joyfully reunited with my family.
As a result of my ordeal, I have been given a desire to meet the needs, both spiritually and physically, of those behind bars. While away, I not only became aware of the spiritual needs of those around me, but I also witnessed firsthand the failings of the prison system.
Most people assume that the state prison system meets the needs of the women in their care. However, this is not the case at all. Women are given a handful of necessary items once a month, including a bar of soap, a toothbrush, feminine products, and two rolls of toilet paper. I know from personal experience that this is not enough to meet their needs. So I joined with a friend in ministering to the women of the Washington County Correctional Facility.
We collect personal hygiene products and present each inmate with a bag of much-needed extra items. This includes one or two Bible verses. The chaplain hands each lady a bag and does a short devotion with them. In doing this, we hope that we can be the hands and feet of Christ to those who know no earthly freedom.
Jesus can be found in the hearts of people in our churches, in businesses, in homes, and yes, even in prison. In Matthew 25:35-36, Jesus Himself reminds us, “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.”