Locked in Solidarity: Grace
Her eyes welled up with tears, years of pain and shame and hope at war in her heart. Could there be something more than this? Was she worth it? Could she ever be forgiven? I've seen those questions ripple across faces at the local jail so many times when we talk about the grace of God.
And, even though my experiences are very different than theirs and even though I get to go home at the end of class, I've realized that I recognize those questions in my own reflection too. Grace is a universal language we all yearn to speak.
I didn't know the specifics of this woman's journey, but I knew there were children left behind and broken relationships left in the wake of her addiction. There were so many hopes that had been replaced with regrets, but in that moment, when her tears spilled over, I could see one hope still barely holding on: that grace might be enough.
I felt her desperate yearning for hope in my own heart. I may not know addiction or being separated from my children, but I know regret and I know the dark voice of defeat that whispers you will never be enough, you will never get it right.
In that moment, I knew we were sisters with the same Father, asking Him the same questions, and I knew we both received the same answer in Jesus. There is hope for us both. There is grace enough to fill the oceans, to restore lives and repair relationships, and to banish the lies that claw at our hearts.
The space behind bars, where the weight of judgment is heavy, isn't where we might expect to find grace, but that's only because we don't understand grace. Grace lifts the burden when it is the heaviest and lights the way when things feel the darkest. Grace doesn't segregate people based on levels of "neediness," it pours over us all with the same force. There's not one of us who wouldn't be lost without this hope.
I don't know where that woman ended up after her fleeting time in our class, but I feel like I am with her on that journey toward hope. I pray God is reminding her, as he is reminding me, "My grace is all you need."
This year we are joining CCDA's efforts to create the space needed to listen to stories of people in our communities who are directly impacted, to learn about the greater impact of mass incarceration, to pray, and to engage public sector officials who have the power and position to impact change. Check out their resources here.
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