Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Hope for the Hopeless

This is an article I wrote recently for the St. Simon's Newsletter on the subject of the "Power of the Holy Spirit"


I see the power of God at work through the Holy Spirit as I allow Him to place me strategically where He wants me to be. Recently while I was at the Alouette Correctional Centre for Women (ACCW) with a group of W2 volunteers, I found myself with time left over before we were to leave. My self-focussed wish was to head out to my car and rest and listen to praise music while I waited for the other volunteers to finish; it had been a long day. Instead, I decided to offer myself and my time to God for His purposes and began to walk around the grounds praying and asking God to show me if there was someone He wanted me to reach out to. It often happens that women who are broken and searching will feel drawn to one or more of us and ask how they can arrange to have a W2 visitor too. These are almost always “divine appointments”!

So as I circled the prison grounds and prayed, a woman who was standing alone in a gazebo far from the main activity of the prison called out and asked me what we were doing there at ACCW. I stopped and told her that we visit women every other week and talk and listen and sometimes pray with them. She told me she wanted to sign up for a visitor so I explained how; then I told her that I had some time left if she wanted to have a visit right now. We sat down on the benches in the gazebo and she told me a little about herself. She told me that she was struggling with being back in jail this time and was dreading her sentencing hearing, which was coming up in a couple of days. She was afraid that she was going to be given a long sentence because of the charge that she was facing.

She told me that she felt ready, finally, to get clean and sober and live her life differently; she wants to be involved in her children’s lives again. I told her that God cared about her and about her relationship with her children, and that most of the women I meet at ACCW see their incarceration as God’s rescue from themselves and from their addictions. I suggested that perhaps God had rescued her too and had a plan to save her and help her to change her life around. She agreed; she told me that she had decided to sign up for some of the programs that are offered at ACCW like Emotions Management and addiction related courses. I shared a little bit about what God has done in my life and asked if I could pray for her. We spent time together in prayer for all of the things that were on her heart, and all that the Holy Spirit gave me to pray for her. She wept. I believe that God heard the cry of that woman’s broken heart that night, and that by the power and the leading of the Holy Spirit, He sent me to respond – only because I made myself available - so that He could minister His love to her.

I expect to hear the story of how He moved in answer to our prayers the next time I see her. It happens all the time; I’ve heard many women share with breathless excitement how God responded to our prayers during my last visit – He is good and He wants to demonstrate His love and His care to them. I pray that this desperate woman who’s found herself at the end of her own strength will apply to have a W2 visitor – maybe me - who can help to shine the light of hope and of God’s love into her life. I know that God will provide for her needs if she looks to Him. What an awesome privilege it is to be a small part of this God-given ministry of reconciliation through the work of M2W2.

In Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us.
2 Corinthians 5:19-20

For more information about the ministry of M2W2 click on the link to the right or go to http://www.m2w2.com/

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