When we don’t see them

Dear friends

Today, when I was once again blessed to go into the prison where I volunteer for chaplaincy to assist with the Sunday Service, I once again had the privilege to pray for the men after the service, even to say a few words to them from the pulpit – the pastor sometimes asks me to greet them and encourage them – I actually prepared for this and I shared with them what I posted yesterday…

After the sermon, we have about 15 – 30 minutes (depending on the officers and how much extra time they are willing to allow the men) to pray for people, to exchange a short update with them or for them to ask a quick question….
Some of them just come up to say “thank you for coming to see us” and one of them, he got saved in prison and is now ministering to his fellow inmates on the wings, they call him “Pastor…(then his name, which I don’t want to mention here due to confidentiality)”, when he gets a chance, meaning when the line queuing up to be prayed for or to speak to either him or me is not too long and there is enough time left before they all have to go back to their cells, he will always come up and talk to me.

I always make sure that I pray for him if I get a chance, because he is always the one praying for others.
He seems to think the same about me and we normally end up praying for each other and he always makes sure that he blesses me with some positive feedback, a testimony, something one of the men have said about my prayers, or some encouragement and to make sure that I know how much my presence there is appreciated and seen.

Today, he said something in his prayer that truly touched my heart and I believe this is something we all need to remember:

He was talking about how much that is CHRIST-like for me to come and to show love to those in prison, but that wasn’t even the best part, it was when he said that when he and the men see me whilst they don’t get to see their sister, their mom and their wife or partner, when they see me, when I visit them, they see the woman they miss, they see her in me and they will be healed and they will know that everything will be ok, and it helps them, gives them hope and gives them strength to carry on, refreshes them and soothes them.
It had been said to me before, some of the other men have tried to express it, but nobody has ever expressed it this way, and I understood deeply as never before why this means so much to them.

Friends, this is not because I am so special and it is not even me as a person doing this, it is GOD.

HE is sending us brothers, fathers, sisters, husbands, wives and children, loved ones in strangers’ disguise when we cannot see them, when they have abandoned us, due to divorce, due to separation, due to death, due to conflict, due to disease, due to mental health issues, due to addictions, due to catastrophes……..

WE are supposed to be this for one another.

We are the body of CHRIST.

We are the bride, the church.

One family.

Brothers and sisters.

Don’t even believe for one second that I am only ministering to these men.
Sometimes I even feel guilty, as I am aware of how much I am getting back from them.
So much appreciation.
When they disclose their deepest heart’s desires to me.
When they trust me to pray for them.

One of them comes every time with a different question regarding a bible topic… this not only makes me happy because it shows me that THE LORD is working on his case and that he is studying and that he has all these questions, it also shows me that I would be seen as someone who can answer questions about the matters of GOD by someone, which is a great honor and confirmation that I am growing and that I am on the right path.

And when they minister to me by being to me what I am to them:
the person that I am missing and not seeing, when they minister healing to me through the encounter and conversations we are having.
The brother that I no longer see, the father that has left, the friend that I have been estranged from, the husband that I have yet to connect with…

We are that for each other, the ones we don’t see…. it’s a blessing from GOD.

It also works the other way round – in an ungodly-as-can-be manner!
When we get triggered by another person without them being the person who caused the problem we are trying to overcome.
When we are “blowing a fuse” it is usually not the person we are cussing out that is causing it, but someone in our past, normally in our childhood, and now, the person we are with currently, is only triggering an old traumatic experience of feeling powerless, hopeless, worthless or unloved.

It’s normally not their fault.

If only we could see that in that moment.

More often than not, we can’t.
We believe we are mad at “this person”, because they wronged us whilst they may only have triggered us.
It takes maturity and self-awareness to understand that.
More often than not, we can’t.
We believe we are mad at “this person”, because they wronged us whilst they may only have triggered us.

It takes maturity and self-awareness to understand that.

It also takes a lot of maturity to understand what this one man said to me today, for him to understand that it’s not me as a person he longs to see, but his sister, or his mom, or his partner.

Some of them are prone to project and to believe it is me they are longing to see…

And outside of prison (outside of a physical, visible prison at least), we do the same thing – if we are not mature enough:

We project.

In a positive as well as in a negative sense – we project our desires, wants, yearnings on people without seeing the real person that’s in front of us – just as we project our negative emotions on them when they trigger us, without taking the time to understand what’s really going on.

GOD is helping us heal.

Through other people.

Other people than the ones who have wronged and hurt us.

HE sends us people we can have a positive experience with.

Thank GOD for the family we have, thank GOD for calling us, asking us and teaching us to love our brothers and sisters as we love ourselves.

Because love heals all wounds.
GOD heals them as HE commands us to love one another.

And when we see someone, or someone in someone whom we haven’t seen, it is GOD we are truly encountering, for GOD is love.

Thank GOD for community, for fellowship, for encounters, conversations, for healing, for learning, growing and for love.

I hope and pray that this will encourage, heal, inspire and bless you.
And that THE LORD will bless you abundantly in all areas of your life, that HE may keep you and shine HIS face upon you and bring you peace. In JESUS’ name I pray. AMEN.

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