Tracey and I went to a gathering called a day apart this past Saturday. Several people came to teach and be taught along with some laid back fellowship. Brian and Tandy Coatney hosted the event they call “A day apart.” It’s a time set aside to gather and share physical as well as spiritual food with each other; a time of nourishing our bodies and spirits.
There were four of us designated to teach, but it was actually a time for all of us to pitch in with thoughts and insights. The real teacher, the Spirit of God, dwells in each of us and teaches through anyone if we’re only willing to receive.
It was also the scheduled day for Tracey and I to go to the women’s prison; so after our time at the Coatney’s we met up with our Pastor. Our service at the prison runs from 6:00 to 7:30. We usually arrive just before six in order to sign in, get our badges and go through the metal detector. There’s medium and minimum security; so we split into two groups to cover both sides. Tracey and I take the medium security with a couple others and the other group goes to minimum. They are the ones that work the farm and are a little freer to roam the property during the day. Usually they are finishing up their stay so they aren’t under as strict scrutiny.
We meet in the building used for visitation. Sometimes we have to set up chairs and get the room prepared for the service, but this time one of the ladies was there and had already gotten everything ready. Tracey spent a few minutes chatting with her while we waited for the others to arrive. She said, “I got my parole!” She will be leaving in August but said, “I’ll be able to come to one more service.”
While it is exciting for her to be released the future outside of prison is always scary and filled with anxiety. She is going to move to a halfway house and isn’t sure what to expect. I admit I haven’t experienced being released from prison, but I do know what it’s like to be released from the bondage of addiction. It took a little time for me to learn how to live outside of drugs and alcohol; so I understand a little bit about what she’s facing. Either way we are hopeful for her and look for God to do some miraculous things in her life in the future. She was faithful to come to the services and always paid close attention, so we have to believe she is looking to Christ for her life.
Of course the next morning was time for Sunday school. We had four new people in our class two of them were a couple. Before class started the wife asked Tracey “Are you still going to the jail?” Tracey said,” How do you know that?” she responded “I saw you there!” She had spent a couple months in jail and recognized Tracey from the church services. The other two came in after the class started so we didn’t get to talk with them much. One guy was there because he was going to be sealing the parking lot, and the other lady had been involved with Vacation Bible School throughout the past week. Although they didn’t say much it is always great to have new people in attendance.
Around 5:30 that evening I went to pick up Brian for our scheduled Bible study at the local jail. We have a small group study with the men deemed “Violent offenders”. This night we had six guys to come and we read and discussed Mathew 12. We normally read verse by verse through a book in the Bible, and I usually walk away with some pretty amazing insights. The time with those men goes by so fast for me. I never tire of reading and talking about the Bible. It really is as Jesus said, “The words I speak to you are spirit and they are life.” Even when we are tired in our fleshly bodies our spirits can be rejuvenated by the Word.
Talking with Tracey Sunday night I said, “Who spends their weekends the way we do?” Don’t get me wrong I love teaching the Bible but sometimes it dawns on me how our lives and priorities have changed because of Christ. In my past life I would have never spent my weekend in this way because I had no interest in spiritual things. Now it’s as if I can never get my fill and long for others to catch the excitement of how Christ doesn’t want to give us life—He is our life!
Written by Louie