Sitting on the hard floor with my feet extended,
the contrast of my warm winter boots nestled between two sets of rubber flip-flops on bare feet struck me. One inmate had carefully written her initials in ink above her toes, because even though they were only rubber flip-flops they were hers, and she wanted to be sure everyone else knew.
Her toenails, peeling shades of different colors, showed hints of a former life where polish was an option –
a life where she was free to do what she wanted.
Now, all of these girls, held captive behind locked doors and wearing matching scrubs, are quickly learning that freedom is something they need in their heart.
They’ve learned in a very real way that drugs and abuse don’t bring freedom even when the doors of life are unlocked.
I’m learning, too, that freedom is something I experience from the inside out.
And that’s why last night, I had to go to jail.
I needed to be surrounded by these girls who are hungry for peace, for joy, for God.
I needed to be reminded that God is working in big and mighty ways in the most unexpected places.
I needed to hear their weak but hopeful voices singing praises to a God they are just learning to love.
I told the girls last night they do more for my soul than words can express.
They inspire me.
They make me laugh.
Most of them have every reason in the world to have fallen into a pit,
but they are learning to own up to their mistakes and search for ways to make a better life for themselves and their family.
They are finding freedom in jail.
And if they can find freedom in jail,
can’t we find it here in our day-to-day life where doors are unlocked and we can move freely from one place to the next?
Can’t we raise our hands to the sky and say,
Today, you can find freedom in the arms of Jesus.
He came to earth and walked with man.
He died a cruel and painful death for each of us.
And then He rose again,
conquering everything we fear, everything we dread, everything we don’t understand.
All we have to do in exchange is believe in Him and His promises.
I went to jail last night because I needed a reminder of what real freedom looks like.
They’ve found it in jail.
And it’s beautiful.