About a year ago God placed something on my heart. I have shared it with a few people but unlike my usual boisterous ways, I have not shared it on a larger scale. The reason has been I was concerned it was not something others would understand. However, as I have tentatively shared this with those closest to me I have found a wellspring of support and even some looking for more information. Maybe not everyone will find this calling I feel as odd as I had anticipated?
The calling I feel is for prisoners, specifically those with extended sentences or even on death row. I do not personally know anyone living that experience and yet God has been relentlessly placing these people on my heart. I am a stay at home mom and that is where I am needed and where I want to be, however, if I were not I would love to be a counselor working in a prison. Maybe when my babies are grown and have flown the nest. That was my first idea of a solution to this calling, a vocational solution that I cannot really do anything with right now. Having found that solution did not quiet this calling though. So how can I help? How can I do anything for prisoners while home with my littles? That is when I stumbled upon the idea of writing a prisoner.
I had exactly zero ideas on how one goes about writing someone in prison, especially if you do not know anyone in prison to write to. That is when I found the website Write a Prisoner and discovered that for a fee prisoners can create a profile in the hopes that someone out there will write to them and offer a small, tenuous lifeline to life on the outside.
One question I have gotten is why? Why would you want to write a letter to someone you have never met, who has committed (most likely) a horrific crime? My answer to that valid question is that those people are still human beings, they are still children of God and they are people whose entire existence is ruled by the worst thing they ever did. I am in no way condoning the actions that lead them to prison nor am I discounting the importance of the victims being honored. I simply feel called to be there for people in prison.
I have been playing with the idea of writing a prisoner for a while now and I had not actually done it or started the process. I felt a sense of urgency lately and I felt especially called to death row inmates. For those unfamiliar with death row, death row inmates are in their small cell for 23 hours a day completely isolated. There are many who will argue that any one who committed a crime that got a death sentence does not deserve anything better, however, I again assert that they are still human beings. I could write a novel about the flaws of our prison system and the backwards focus on punishment not rehabilitation or growth, however, that is not the point of this post.
I have found two prisoners to write to, I selected a man on death row in Texas and a woman on death row in Florida. My decision to write to them both came after prayer and asking God to show me who to write to, and I feel these two people are where I am meant to begin. I am not sure what, if anything, will come of my letters but I know I need to send them.
Have you ever felt a calling to do something unexpected? What was it and did you follow the prompting of the Lord?