Stories: Inside and Out
Reflections from Davina G.
Why So Calm?
The dim light bulb illuminated the quietness of them sleeping, dreaming of home or family. Maybe. I think so. It is where they go to hug mom, or the kids, and get puppy kisses. In their dreams they are free to experience those moments that they want to relive over and over agian. The happiness fills the room if only for a moment, but you must get up very early to feel it.
Dressed and packed up! Drinking the last bit of my coffee. All acquired possessions passed on to those you want to comfort until their time comes. Ready? The final walk through the courtyard past the window where you worked commissary. Well, they called it work. But it is where you got to laugh and encourage and take a little of the scary away. From that window, passing out the goodies where you cried; watching the happy "going home" dance and hurt watching the bowed heads of those denied.
There it is, the front door and a bag of clothes to wear home. Now in jeans once again and a brand new pair of tennis shoes you get to walk out in. This, the moment you have thought about, dreamed about and prayed a thousand times a day for. One might think there would be such jubilation!!!! At least one of the dreams you had dreamt a million times should come true. But it wasn't like that. Not for me anyway. I remember at the time asking myself, "Where is the WOW moment?" Where is the exclamation point?
Why so calm?
Fast forward six months....permission granted! I am going to my family reunion. Where is that excitement? It is lost in the worry and concern of judgement and condemnation. In the fact I let them down somehow. That I am somehow not the person they once loved and cared about. Well, evidently I had way too much time on my hands or on my mind. They were my family! And they acted like it. I got the same hugs and smiles and miss you that I always did. Maybe even a little bigger and longer hugs. The calmness returns.
Another six months and I am in my mother's living room surrounded by my beautiful family. It is Christmas time and this memoir is my gift to them. It is an expression of my love. An explanation of my heart. You see I am still calm. Why?
It is an accumulation of a million prayers answered in His time, in His way, and in His love. It is His promise. It comes with understanding. Once you have faced the person you are, becuase of where you have traveled through choices and consequences, that you are His, He loves you, and He walks with you no matter what.
It is His Peace, Given through His Grace
Thank you for your prayers. He heard. He answered.
My name is Candace and I am a 40 yr old mother of 3 beautiful little girls. In July of 2014, I was sentenced to three years in prison for a drug charge. At that moment, I felt like the life I had longed for was long dead and gone. There was no more fight left in me. While still in the county jail, held in "the dungeon" as it was called, I started breaking down. I was crying out, begging for God to forgive me for all the hurt I had caused. At that time I gave up, not on life but I gave up control of my life! Our journey began at that moment. God had so much to teach me in just a short amount of time. I had been running my life for 30+ years so He had His work cut out for Him. But, I had no clue of all the amazingly blessed teachers and now friends that He had already set in my path. They were there to encourage me in my lowest and darkest time. They had come to teach me and actually equip me with tools that would help me to live a better life. They were there to pray for me about any concerns on my heart. What I cherish the most from each of them is how they inspired me. I want to impact someone's life like they did for me. I found that my hopes and dreams were not lost. It was me that had been lost. Now, I found myself in prison, of all places with the guiding and loving care of the ladies God called to do His work. Ms. Pam played a song for us in class called "My Fight Song". I think back at how, in the begining, I had no fight left, no clue and no hope. But how things change. Now I have my own personal fight song and I have taken back my life! To be honest, life has not been easy since I have been home, but the relationship that I gained with God and the confidence that I have developed through all the positive interactions with so many amazing people in prison gave me a new assurance that I CAN DO THIS AND I'M NEVER ALONE! I've never had this before in life. So now I stand up proud of myself and of the places that God has brought me through and to. So, I close by saying, "Be encouraged, Jer. 29:11 is your promise and his plans are limitless for each one of us....
Reflections from Candace:
While living in the faith based dorm, I asked God to give me a new heart and mind. To be delivered from drugs and cigarettes. Being out 2 months, I can tell you God has delivered me! He has restored my relationship with my son. He has also given me an interview with a Brookshires Manager, to which I know now that I will start in a couple of days! Plus, I also now have a part-time job at my church. I see Gods hand working everyday in my life. God changed me in Bridgeport. I am so amazed at what he has done in my life.
Matthew 6:33 says " But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added."
I am praying for you girls. I am a walking testimony that God will Change you if you let Him!
Reflections from Sherry West
I want you to know I was once right where you are.
I was sentenced to 5 years for 1st degree fraud and drug conviction, and for the last 18 months I spent it in Bridgeport which I thank Jesus for! I know what you are thinking "this place is lame" or "I would like it at a regular unit better." Well, the grass isn't always greener on the other side. The Lord has placed you where you are for a reason, and He has actually given you a break. He has Blessed you!
Roseanne lead me to Christ, but before meeting her my heart was hard and was coming out of a world of meth, gab, selling and cooking meth, hitting licks, and so forth. But I became a new creation while I lived in the faith dorm. Jesus took a broken person like me and placed in me a talent for art that I didn't even know I had, and now I sell my art! I made the decision I would never return to prison again because I was shown the love of Christ by Pam and Roseanne. I am here to tell you that there is a better way than all that you have sought after, and what you do right now determines your future.
I have been out over a year and God has restored to me my family, happiness, self respect, and everything that the devil stole. It all came back to me ten fold, through my obedience to Christ. Focus on Jesus and nothing else, and do not let the enemy distract you with drama. Focus on your creator.
Love you all my sisters in Christ, keep smiling and fighting the GOOD fight of Faith.
Reflections from Emily
My Bridgeport Sisters,
I am honored and blessed to be asked to share my testimony. I have spent the last 10 years of my life in active addiction and the last 5 in and out of programs, institutions, and jails. While at Bridgeport, I had to slow down and take the time to really look at my life and where it was going. It was there that I found the fork in the road. My life could go one of two ways: back to prison, or a path to freedom.
I know the struggles of being right where you are. Take this time to grow spiritually and find out who you are and who you want to be. Working on identifying who you do not want to be is a great start. I was so broken when I entered into the system; feeling like another number, another face. But, since being out I have chosen to move forward in my identity in Christ.
I have had my fair share of struggles, but when I am faced with a struggle, I continue to press forward and lean on Christ. I am now an apple certified technician and an assistant manager a local computer repair shop. My faith has grown, and so has my community. It IS possible! Choose to not be another number. Choose freedom and the journey to discover peace. Find out what you like to do and enjoy fellowshipping with other sisters. I developed a lifetime of sisters at Bridgeport. Love each other and cherish this opportunity. Dig into your faith and heart.
My Love Always,