Transitioning from one cherished and satisfying season to another is often painful. It takes me a while to catch on—to change directions—and sometimes, evidently, I need a 2-by-4 upside the head. Such notice I received last week.
Now, I know God has a plan. He always has a plan. He has dealt bountifully with me, and so I return unto my rest. Or try. I continually remind myself that God is in this, and he has FUTURE for me.
He hems me in behind and before; such knowledge is too wonderful for me. It is on the foundation of this long and deep history with God’s faithfulness that I eschew the bitterness tempting me to set up camp.
How it all started is, well, I’m not exactly sure how or when it started. Some of the shine, the “want-to” of prison ministry, particularly the administrative and office aspects, had dulled in recent weeks, but the need appeared so great, I didn’t think it was a good idea to retire. At least not now, with nobody in sight to fill the gap.
For four years, with short breaks between courses of study, I taught a Bible study class at a unit of about 200 inmates. It was an opportunity to affect lives and help prepare them to function successfully when they were released into what they call “the free world.”
We always had a good time, singing along with the DVDs I brought, sharing movies sometimes, Beth Moore studies other times, and generally growing in Bible understanding and in appreciation for one another.
In the last few classes, however, I noted a drop off in attendance and an escalation of tension. The inmates often requested prayer for unity on the unit. That and my waning want-to should have given me an inkling that it was time to check with Father concerning my plans.
Then, the last evening there, I felt emotionally threatened and physically intimidated, and I knew it was my last class.
I also realize this season of my life is over. My eyes swim. I don’t know what’s next. I don’t know what to look forward to. I’ve always had something I was working toward. Now I don’t.
My passion has always been for the Body of Christ. The Community of Believers. Relationships. Now what?
I should clarify: I am profoundly sad. And yet I do still have the peace. God is good, and what’s ahead is good. But I’m sad.
I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you. Do not be like the horse or the mule, which have no understanding but must be controlled by bit and bridle or they will not come to you. Psalm 32:8-9