Last night was my biweekly visit to Alouette Correctional Centre for Women. The women I have been visiting in the past few months have all been released and so I began new friendships with a couple of women who have requested a visitor through W2 (Woman to Woman, see link for M2W2). As always it was truly a blessing to get to know them better. They are both women I have spoken to in the past when I've been visiting other women, and one of them I have prayed with before.
It's so amazing how God works. With every relationship I have formed through my prison visits I sense that it is God's plan to bring us together. I am able to see where God is working in their hearts and lives and, by His grace, to speak words of encouragement. Of course, the reason I am there is to point the way to the One and Only who can heal them and comfort them, and transform and redeem their lives. What a privilege to represent Him there in that place! Although many of the women feel undeserving because of the crimes and the behaviour that put eventually landed them in prison, I know that God passionately loves every single one of them! He sent His only Son to die on the cross in order that they could be forgiven and set free.
And thankfully some do get set free and manage to stay free. As I was talking to one of my new friends last night, she gave me some news about Denise, a woman I was visiting over the spring and summer months who was released a couple of months ago. As I wrote in an earlier blog post, I gave her my contact information and encouraged her to stay in touch but she hasn't done that yet. However, according to the news I heard last night, Denise has managed to stay free! She's still clean and sober! Praise God! I know that she has Christian friends and relatives and that she was planning to go back to a spiritually alive church family when she returned to her home town. Thank God she hasn't been sidetracked by the lures of the enemy or the unhealthy relationships of the past. God has a wonderful plan for her life and I'm so happy that she is continuing to walk in it.
Thanks to all those who lifted Denise up in prayer. I know that it is only by the power of God that Denise has been able to stay on the paths of righteousness and all of your prayers have helped to give her strength.
He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.
Hallelujah!!! Our God is great!