July 1, 2010
Thursday, 9:30 p.m.
Letter #142: More Living Water Needed
Greetings! Thank you for praying for me! For starters, my ankle is feeling much better, praise God! My sweet future sister-in-law, Sandi Weldon (Boudreau!) counselled me to wait several weeks before attempting any strenuous activity. Since she is smarter than me and actually trained in this type of stuff, I decided to listen. In fact, because I knew if I went outside, I’d end up playing basketball, I didn’t even set foot outdoors for four weeks! (Have you ever stayed COMPLETELY indoors for an entire month? I welcome all challengers). 🙂
Well, today I decided to give it a try and strapped my feet into my hi top basketball shoes, laces tight and Velcro straps snug. If I so much as slipped, I knew I’d break my leg before my ankle ever gave way, I had those shoes so tight. I walked out to yard like C-3PO from Star Wars and warmed up. Gratefully, I wasn’t missing any of my basketball shots, so I got picked and got to play two games of basketball … and I feel much better! I’ll still be careful …
Monsoon season hit Florence Correctional Center this afternoon. Weird that the rain outside lasted maybe 15 minutes, but it hasn’t stopped raining in our pod several hours later. Serious flooding took place in many cells, but not serious enough to allow us to go swimming (a non-prison activity: banned years ago after several mysterious “accidental drownings”).
Gratefully, my cell stayed dry, but I took the opportunity to help get water out of others’ cells with towels and mops. We found out this apparently happens every time it rains, and it has for years. Exciting! My little garbage can is serving as a waterfall-catcher for now (it filled in half an hour on one of the slower leaks). I had fun, pretending it was a field trip to a water park. Except without the sunburn, wave pool, or modesty issues.
Recently, I’ve been experiencing something strange in my walk with God. I couldn’t figure it out, which is why it has been over a week since I last wrote a Dear Family letter—a first for me in over two years. I started one last week, but it just didn’t seem right. I felt that I was slipping back into my old pattern of faking my relationship with God: “wearing the wedding ring” in public, but not on real close speaking terms with Him, my Bridegroom. This behavior was common for me prior to prison. I’d show up at any church activity, put on my charming personality then skate by seeming to be on fire for God. Gratefully, there’s not a lot of “competition” in church, and I seemed to be doing great no matter where I went.
Prison is even easier. No one could ever guess if I’m not really feeling “on fire” for God or not. So, it was to be just between God and me to figure it all out.
In the meantime, God being gracious, He’s allowed me to have an impact on several guys. In fact, this past week has seen some powerful breakthroughs for Christ.
- I challenged Freddy to fast for a day with me and pray for his marriage, which he did.
- God brought three new guys I invited to the Self Confrontation class this week—and they’d done the homework for the four weeks they’d missed, too, including memory verses!
- The letter I wrote to the chaplain, elders, and deacons two weeks ago has been passed around, and I’ve begun to receive positive feedback from it so far (regarding the confusing lack of direction or oneness of spirit in bringing new members into ministry opportunities in the chapel). My heart intent to shed light on what I saw as a problem was received in the humility with which I wrote it, praise God!
- I had conversations with a few guys challenging them in their walk, and one old tough character is starting the Emmaus Correspondence School’s Bible Study Course. I plan to get others on board with it soon.
In all of this and interactions with staff—including sharing my testimony—God has graciously gleaned glory for Himself and allowed my little life to produce praise to Him … all the while, my personal relationship has grown cold. Speaking with a godly Christian brother this morning, it really hit me that I have not been investing time into my relationship with my Savior.
In the Self Confrontation course, I was studying Jesus’ own prayer life and how He kept communication with this Heavenly Father a top priority, throughout His earthly ministry. It seems that among all the distractions and activities competing for my time—those both good and simple time-fillers alike—my “me-time” with God has been slowly but consistently crowded out.
Sure, I read the Bible. I attend church services. I listen only to godly music. I sing praise to Him. I talk about Him. I pray. But I haven’t taken time to be still before Him. To listen. To talk heart-to-heart. To seek His cleansing power deeper in my life.
Please pray as I embark on this critical step back towards the Lord, focusing on my own growth instead of on ministry opportunities so much. Thank you! Take time with the God who loves you!