Tuesday, May 05, 2009 marked my six month anniversary…no, I am not married and
it may not seem very significant to the average person but, to me…it
is a six month mark that speaks volumes in my life. You see, six months
prior, I walked out of prison gates and into an uncertain future.
People told me “Susie, you will never be able to get a job in this economy.
You will not be on your own for at least a year or so and you might as
well hang up trying to get your kids back. That will never happen because
you just won’t be sufficient enough.”
BUT., the day of my release I came home to piles of new clothes, hygiene, cosmetics,
etc. I began volunteering the day after my release for a non-profit foundation
and that night, I was given a car. One week after I was released, I had
not one but, two jobs. Three weeks after my release, I was GIVEN a home
of my own. It needed some work, but the community outreach was outrageous.
I began to obtain furniture, appliances and household items from all
kinds of sources. Five weeks after I was released, I was promoted to
the Program director for the non-profit organization of which I volunteered.
Six weeks after my release, a business paid to have my electric turned
on. Seven weeks after my release, I was self-sufficient. Within 8 weeks
I had both my girls living with me again. My DCF case moved towards closure
faster than any they had ever seen come through the DCF system. I have
now been handed over the Foundation for which I volunteer and because
I am running the foundation, DCF calls me and asks me to help their clients.
The judges and DCF workers are also urging me to facilitate several betterment
programs in our county which will enable others to improve
their lives like I have. I am truly honored. But, even more so…I am blessed.
You see, people said lots of things. BUT GOD spoke blessings
over my life and had I not had been encouraged to open my eyes, ears
and heart to him…I may have believed the lies that Satan spoke.
I grew up in a Christian home. I knew the word better than
many bible scholars. I knew God. But, I never truly believed in the power
of his love. Mostly, because I had never seen it so profoundly. Then
I went to prison. My family, people in the church, my so-called “friends,”
none of them were anywhere to be found. They had all turned their backs
on me. They gave up. Because I knew God, I turned to him. I prayed and
submitted my life to him. My life was all I had left and I told God that
he could have it . I knew that God was promising me many things but,
I didn’t know where to go from that bunk where I had prayed. I simply
trusted that he would somehow show me the way.
Along came Passion for Prison and other prison mission workers.
These people were complete strangers and yet, they treated me like family.
They came to see me regularly even if it was a hardship on them, they
still came. My own family didn’t even come to visit. These missionaries
gave so unselfishly of themselves for us…..us prisoners….people whom
the community considers outcasts, they showed us love. They became my
true example of God’s love. Not only were they an example but, they taught
how we can use situations in the bible and apply them to our lives. They
never tried to look perfect before us, they came and told us their faults.
They spoke of struggles they too had in life and how God pulled them
through. It showed me strong faith and how true faith is the key to
having a life filled with peace. They taught me how to study and apply
god’s word to my life rather than just memorizing what it says.
I came from a family who, by popular opinion, had it “all.”
We had a big house, vacation homes in exotic places, new cars even as
teenagers. I have relatives who serve in highly acclaimed positions in
life. But, I have never experienced the true peace and happiness that
is offered in Chirst because my faith was in people or things. Passion
for Prison taught me to put my faith in God, to show love for others,
regardless of who they are because we are all God’s creations. Passion
for Prison taught me not to give up….not on people and not on God because
he is always working things out for our good. They taught me how to have
faith, how to believe and how to love. I became a true believer.
From that point on, I never believed what people spoke over
my life. I only believed that God would pull me through and he has. He
has pulled me through the darkest of all storms and has shone down brightly
his blessings on my life. He really does care for his children. My life
is now more than I could ever have imagined it to be. All because I am
no longer in control.
Yes, I still have rough days. He never promised that I wouldn’t.
He just promised to bring me through it. And when I get down, guess who
is there for Christian support….Passion for Prison and those missionaries
who were there inside the gates of prison. They didn’t just forget about
me after my release…they have been there for encouragement and support
long after. I watched their example and have seen how greatly their lives
touched mine and how I have changed because of their willingness to give.
Now I have a desire to touch others in the same way. I have convinced
the board of directors at my Foundation to implement programs for prisoners
to encourage and teach them while they are inside the gates and to continue
to assist them in meeting needs after they are released. Even if I only
reach a handful who change their lives and those handful go on to touch
others lives in the same way……imagine how many people in the world this
chain reaction could touch….and it all started with some people who cared
enough to go into the prisons and tell me that they loved me.