Sunday, April 12, 2015

#69 - The Pride Cycle (Journal from Sunday, March 30, 2014)

"5 minutes 'til breakfast!" woke me up coming from the loud speaker... followed by the routine reminder in my head, "Wake up and be different!"  The phrase has helped my mornings seem purposeful.  I never know what lies ahead for a day in jail, but at least I know where I stand and what my standards are.  Like Joseph B. Worthlin says, "Come what may and love it!" 

In church today we sang these songs:
In Moments Like These
Above All
We Bring the Sacrifice of Praise

The pastor has recorded a CD of songs of him singing and playing his guitar with his congregation so that we can sing along with them.  The songs aren't the hymns I'm used to, but they bring a welcoming feeling and if I closed my eyes I might even feel like I'm in a real congregation. 

We talked about the similarities between 2 sacrifices: Abraham taking his son Issac to be sacrificed; and Christ dying on the cross as a sacrifice for us.  In my mind, I also asked "What sacrifices do I offer?" 

Issac carried his own wood to the place his life would be taken; Christ carried his own cross to the hill on Calvary.  What hard pains am I asked to bear?  Do I do it with such grace as these 2 did?  Do I keep an eternal perspective of why I'm being asked to do something hard? 

Abraham and Issac walked for 3 days to find the place of sacrifice; Christ was resurrected after 3 days.  The number 3 intrigues me within the gospel.  The Godhead has 3 personages - God, Jesus, and the Holy Ghost.  I heard it illustrated before that if you marry a man and woman, like two pieces of rope intertwined, that when you let go of the ends, it unravels.  If you include God in that marriage and braid the three strands of rope, when you let go of the ends it still stays braided.  The groups of three make my brain work. 


This afternoon we watched Ladder 49 with John Travolta.  It was a feel-good, emotional movie that left 1/2 the girls in tears.  As I looked around at all the emotion, I don't remember it ever feeling so 'soft' in here before.  It definitely wasn't my first and second weeks here.  What has changed to let them show some emotion?!  A couple girls that had been in their cells reading during the movie came out and saw the tears.  They said, "Oh **** no!  I'm not watchin that movie!  Look at ya'll!"  We just laughed.  The movie was a good escape from jail for a couple hours.


Rachel and I sat crocheting at a table today and talking about all the drama that went on before I got here.  She said she told the girls, "We just need Krissi to come and calm us down."  It made me feel good, but I wish they could find that calmness within themselves.  It's in there, but it can't come out when there's chaos.  They have to find time to regroup and recharge themselves before they can calm anyone else down.  Rachel's leadership skills have kicked in more than once already since I've been here and she's been able to put out fires before they start between girls.  Doesn't she know she also carries with her that calmness and serenity?  I think she underestimates herself.  Toward the end of the conversation she put her yarn and crochet hooks in her lap and looked at me.  "What are we going to do when we don't have you to look forward to each month?!"  I'm sure I looked at her with a blank stare thinking the same thing - as hard as it is to leave my husband and kids, what am I going to do when I don't have her and the other girls to look forward to?  I never saw this coming.  I only know that all at the same time that it's stinkin hard to leave my family, and that I love being here with the girls.  I know the extreme sadness of not being there to share the funny moments of my kids, and the equal amount of joy on the other end of seeing these girls progress.  Funny that this was supposed to be a punishment.  The Lord works in mysterious ways. 


Rachel's Bunkie came to show me a picture today.  It was of an old, shriveled up lady who looked to be about 50 years old.  She had grey-ish green skin and sunken in cheek bones with a body frame that couldn't have been over 100 pounds.  As I looked at the old woman for a minute, Nicki said, "I keep that picture to remind myself to never go back to that."  I couldn't believe it was her!  Here stood a cute, wavy haired blond girl with a funny sense of humor and healthy figure.  She said, "You know those commercials - 'Meth. Not even once.'  Ya, that's me completely strung out and thinking I looked hot.  Now I say - Meth.  Not even once!" 


After last night's prayer group that we gathered up, Tuck was feeling confident.  Tonight she took her scriptures with her and knocked door-to-door on each cell door frame asking if each inmate wanted to come read with us.  She is a short, spunky girl with choppy dark hair.  She was all business with a pep in her step.  She gathered up me, Robin, and Cal to read together.  After her missionary efforts I started calling her Sister Tuck, joking that she needed a name badge.  Really, how often do we go next door to ask our neighbor if she wants to read scriptures with us?  These things just do not happen in real life! 

We read about the Pride Cycle that happens over and over in the scriptures, but I added that it also happens within us too.  We are doing well and things are going good.  If we are smart, we continue to stay close to God, but lots of times we forget where those blessings are coming from.  Sometimes unrighteous pride takes over and we forget to pray, read, learn of Him.  In the scriptures they use the words wickedness and abominations.  After their own plans fall apart, they are humble enough to ask for help again and turn to God. 

I didn't have Pinterest in jail, but here's a sample of the Pride Cycle

We read the verse Alma 21:17 when they are turning back to God, "...the Lord began to bless them, insomuch that they brought many to the knowledge of the truth; yea, they did convince many of their sins, and of the traditions of their fathers, which were not correct."  Then in verse 23 it even says, "...they were zealous for keeping the commandments of God." 

I wanted to rub my eyes to see if this is a dream.  Am I really discussing scriptures and application with inmates in jail?!  It helped me question where I am at too and what differences I need to make so I don't fall into that pride trap.  Even in jail, it would be easy to fall into that cycle.  I don't come in nervous anymore, humble and craving that essential guidance like I did in the beginning.  The girls all love when I come.  I have to remember that it's not me that they love - it's the light of Christ in me.  There's enough conversation and crocheting that it would keep me busy without reading my scriptures so diligently.  I think it's natural to try harder when things are bad and we desperately need God to help us.  It's when things are going smoothly that it's easy to forget all those essential things that we still need to do to strengthen our relationship with God. 


Tonight Tuck taught me a new card game called Garbage.  I'm not much of a card player and it takes me a while to catch on, but I knew I shouldn't be intimidated to let Tuck teach me.  She was patient and even helped me write down the rules so I can teach the kids when I get home. 

While we were playing cards one of the guards came in to count us.  She stopped at our cell to talk to Robin for a minute.  I laughed when the conversation ended with Robin calling out in a Toy Story Woody voice, "Yer my fa-a-a-a-avorite deputy!" 

32 days down, 5 to go.  I'm keeping track in my journal by marking off my boxes.  That part of jail movies really happens in here.  It keeps my mind focused and since I haven't seen a calendar in here the whole time, it helps me remember what day it is too. 


An update on Bryer...

She was casted this past week for them to build a brace for her to wear post-op.  Our goal was to come up with the remaining $10,000 that insurance wouldn't cover of her surgery.  We have broken the $6000 mark as of now!  There's 3 days left to get your Wake Up and Be Different t-shirts.  Go to this link to read more about the surgery, and set a goal for you to Wake Up and Be Different in the month of May.  Wear your shirt through the month of May, but especially on May 13 when Bryer goes for surgery!

A sweet friend of ours set up a Go Fund Me for Bryer also, if you'd like to donate that way.

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