Every Friday evening, Carrie cries as we sit with her in Bible study at the jail.
Her mistakes, her addictions, her sins…….they’ve taken a toll on her life.
Indefinite jail time, an angry son, an uncertain future……just a few of the results of her life choices.
But she cries mostly because she cannot forgive herself.
This past Friday evening as we were ending our time with the girls from her cell, she opened up about her struggle to forgive herself
– tears falling much more freely
-still sitting in the circle of inmates
– none of her inmate friends reaching out to her. ( I think tears are a pretty common site in jail.)
As I looked at her pitiful face, I sensed a nudge to hold her on my lap.
I remember almost shaking my head as if I were crazy for having such a thought, but then I felt it again. My heart started beating so strongly that I knew I was resisting the Holy Spirit.
So I stood up and said, “Please don’t think I’m crazy, but I feel as if I am suppose to hold you on my lap.”
There was a chuckle as I took Carrie’s hand and brought her over to my lap, but as soon as she sat down, this woman who is in at least her mid-30s, fell onto my shoulder and began weeping so loudly and holding me so tightly that all I could do was rock her back and forth and hold her tightly too.
Abby, one of my friends who was part of our study, gathered all the inmates and ladies from our church around her and began praying the most beautiful prayer.
In the prayer she said something about God carrying all of our burdens.
When I heard her say the word “carry,” I couldn’t help but think of the significance of Carrie’s name.
God wants to carry Carrie.
God wants to carry you.
As we closed our time with these girls, I whispered to Carrie this promise.
Later in the evening after we had met with another cell, the guards came to tell us that someone from the other cell wanted to be saved.
We watched as the door opened and not one but four girls came back to give their lives to Christ!
One of them was Carrie!!
We prayed for the girls and made arrangements to baptize them Sunday night, and as they were leaving Carrie said, “Thank you for holding me so tightly. I haven’t been held like that since my mom held me when I was a little girl.”
Last night we went back and ended up baptizing five girls!
Today, my prayer is that you will allow God to carry you.
Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.