image Every week, our church (in partnership with God Behind Bars) goes to the Women’s Homestead Correctional Facility to put on a church service, and this week I got to go twice…[Pause] In 2008, while driving in the middle of a downpour, I saw a homeless man. I asked God to give me eyes to see hurting people the way He does.  A dangerous prayer if He answers it. Praying that prayer meant volunteerring my heart and eyes to feel people’s pain without actually going through it. Compassion can be a bittersweet thing. [Unpause] So at the prison this week, I had to look away and bite my lip a few times to keep tears from falling. Make no mistake, for these women, justice was served when they were sentenced. My compassion wasn’t wrapped up in that. My compassion came from the circumstances they were born into they had no control over. My compassion was feeling in my joints and breath what confinement and captivity (in some cases, for good) must feel like. But it wasn’t all tears! I was also filled with insurmountable joy that I got to serve them. Yes, you read that right! There is a dimension to serving that we don’t discover until we do it for people who haven’t earned it. A powerful case-in-point would be Jesus when he washed the feet of his disciples (even the one who’d betray him). Additionally, my joy was found in being a part of a church that brings a message of eternal freedom to women who may never have earthly freedom. Romans 8:1 says, “Who Jesus sets free is free indeed.” These women may have a barricade around their lives, but many of us have barricades around our hearts. These women didn’t chose prison, per se, but many of us keep ourselves in a proverbial prison. Either way, it is in the name of Jesus that ALL of us can have freedom. A heart that is free to unleash itself in the reckless abandon of God’s love. I hope you know Him. After seeing joy in the faces of these prisoners this week, I can’t think of better proof!

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