Note: Each month we get the privilege of hearing from one of our friends who as an inmate in a maximum security prison. We connected with these women through the Lipscomb LIFE program, an educational program that enables women who are admitted to earn an associate of arts degree in seven years. Erika is a very special person with a heart for helping others. She writes about family, loss, prayer, acceptance, and grace through God’s loving presence and divine intervention in her experiences. These are her thoughts:
When I think about what God has been teaching me, the lessons have been mixed; some were good, some were a bit on the bitter side. I talked about my mother in this last blog and that lesson was one of the bitter ones. Losing her brought finality to my world. I felt like an orphan because now both of my parents had moved on to the next world. I believe that I will see them again one day but now I had to reevaluate my own identity. For as long as I can remember, my parents were my heroes. My father had survived not one, but two tours in Vietnam and was a police officer for over 30 years. My mother was a long-haul trucker and later worked in corrections and moved up through the ranks. Both were hard workers and their presence commanded respect. I remember watching people’s facial expressions when my father walked in the room and I knew then what confidence meant. My mother was easy going, easy to talk to and always ready to tell a joke but she meant business when the situation called for it.
Now that they are gone, I had to find growth within myself. What were my goals, dreams, fears and insecurities? What were my interests? It was difficult and a long journey but I found my way through. I often wonder how many times God wanted to hit the “mute” button because I prayed so much. Acts 6:4 says “but we will give ourselves continually to prayer and to the ministry of the world.” So I prayed. I missed the foundation of my family.
But then something happened that opened me up to a whole new world, a whole new family. I moved in with one of my friends and through conversations between us and then between her and her family we found out that her uncle and my father served in Vietnam together, both tours. They went to boot camp together and most shocking of all, my roommate and I met each other as very young children. This can only happen by Divine Intervention. Without God our paths may have never crossed again. Now, I have a new family. A family that knows about what is good about me and what I have done wrong and they accept me anyway. Now, I no longer feel like an orphan. That is what God has done for me.
To hear more of Erika’s story read: http://selahspiritual.com/erikas-story/