Weirdly enough I am now at a place where God is preparing me for the things He had inscribed on my heart years ago. Since that time I have only ever had glimpses of what He has wanted me to do but in the past few months and especially now, I am slowly seeing it all come together and I am left in awe as I have seen how He has prepared the way and started to bring it all together.
I am very excited, feeling like a child on Christmas Eve, too excited to sleep and constantly thinking about what gifts await my opening them the next morning. So yes, I am super excited as I feel the time nearing to what God has laid on my heart. Not only have I been excited, I have also felt nervous and scared…the kind of scared because I am ready but I fear I’m not…So once again, I am filled with mixed feelings…
Obviously with all this, there is a requirement of preparation – so continuous research is being done. Reading articles, rapports, books, journals, watching videos made about prisoners and gangs…it is a lot on an intellectual and emotional level but there is a lot of preparation required spiritually too. It really means getting rooted in the Word and in my relationship with God before I go…it has meant looking at myself in all honesty…People and relationships are important. The Body of Christ is important. Very important. The parts of the Body of Christ help in supporting one another and establishing key characteristics needed in everyday life.
In this preparation I have learnt the importance of sharing with others and the importance of including others…if you don’t – they feel left out and like you are shutting them out, which might sound weird in a sense, or at first it did for me – because I did feel like this was something God has for me and it has nothing to do with anybody else…it is my gift, my treasure, something God placed in MY heart…but the more I look at it and think about this issue, the more I realize it isn’t just mine…that I am being selfish…in the beginning it was mine, given to me, but God wants me to share it…it is like grace..He gives it to us and first when we find the little treasure, we want to keep it and cherish it…constantly opening our own hands in which it was placed, to just look at it and admire it and just soak it all in, but once you have and you’re saturated and you realize just how beautiful it is…you can’t help but want to share it and feel you need to share it because if you don’t you just might burst. It would just be selfish not to, right?! It is so good, you just have to!
I guess I didn’t want to share it because it was mine, but also because you would then be able to see deep into my heart. Deeper than what has ever been seen before. And I’m not sure I want anybody but God seeing that deeply…why? Because it makes me VULNERABLE. Vulnerable is great but it is scary..it means that I could get hurt… It means I could get laughed at or mocked… And I try protecting myself from that and also from the negativity and death people could speak over me… But even that, God has shown me, is no excuse for shutting myself to the world…to family..to friends..to Jean… I have to open myself up…that is what love requires… And love casts out all fear..so why do I still hesitate…? Isn’t it selfish? I have always been transparent, with all my issues..because being vulnerable, making myself vulnerable and transparent makes me admit everything, putting it all out there myself, by choice, takes it away from others..gives me control and shows I’m okay with me, that way, no one can really harm me… but with this…this piece…this command God has put in my heart…it is the only thing I have been reluctant to share…the only thing I have chosen to be selfish with and not fully shared with people. People know bits and pieces of the story and what I feel God leading me to do, but no one knows the whole truth…
So what am I talking about? I want to work in the prisons… I am all for supporting the raped, the hurt, the victims…but long ago, God placed the other side of that coin upon my heart…the murders, the liars, the convicted, the rapists…that is what I want to do…the gang members…the youth that go into the gang life..who end up in prison and those who live on the outside of prison… That’s as far as all people know. Many cannot understand that.
But I have come to know many like them…I have also watched enough footage to feel something different for these people… Watching and observing these people, I have come to know they are no different from us…We all want the same things and they are just as scared, if not more than us, of vulnerability… They shy away from it, just like us, but we all do long to be vulnerable…all of us do…and we long to be accepted even when we are vulnerable and only when that happens…that acceptance and love that takes place when being vulnerable, does change come. Vulnerability is what ties us… And vulnerability doesn’t have to be as bad a thing as the world has made it. And the biggest lesson I have and am learning is that – if I can’t be completely vulnerable in front of God or others, no preparation in this world will prepare me for what God wants to do with these people and with me on this journey of working with convicts in prison.
So to those I have not been able to be vulnerable with, I am sorry and I hope I will have that chance again. I hope others will be able to learn from this too. Love casts out all fear. So as God has showed me and said to me, I will say to you – DO NOT FEAR.