All Is Well Today When We Know God Is In Our Tomorrow’s…
Hi precious friends and family, I don’t know about you, but with everything going on in our world between COVID-19, social distancing and all the chaos and panic, if I don’t remember that God is with me today, I will never be able to rise up and not shrink back.
Remembering that with my marching orders, which includes being on the front lines combating this enemy as His pillar of strength, that requires walking out all is well today when we know that God is in our tomorrow’s.
As treasured possessions of God and His Works of Art, being God’s handiwork allows us to rise up and shine during crisis for our loved ones, friends and family.
As Christians, we have never been better positioned to rise up and shine and be the light of our Beautiful Jesus (Isaiah 60:1-2) as the glory of our Lord rises upon us.
And if we really think about it, our co-workers and the beloveds in our communities, they are going to be watching us now for hope. Being His vessels, they will lean in for strength, for love and for a calming comfort, seeking a compassionate ear when their lives are consumed and compromised by fear.
Our secret to a freaked out world: We know all is well today when we know that God is in our tomorrow’s.
Walking out Matthew 6:34 can lead us victoriously through the doors of peace and strength, Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
COVID-19 Is Confirmed In Our California State Prisons!
Why do we need urgent prayers covering our state prison facilities? Because COVID-19 has been confirmed in our California State Prisons.
You might not be able to see when a silent killer like COVID-19 strikes in our state prison facilities, but you can hear this epidemic coming.
Even though the individuals tested positive were correctional staff, as of March 20th, that does not mean our incarcerated are not infected. Receiving proper medical attention in prison is like stumbling upon a hidden treasure.
Ask a mother whose son has a three-centimeter mass in his breast with a family history of breast cancer…
Unless you’ve walked through our prisons personally, either through work, tours and/or detention, you have no idea how close the inmate population is to one another and how stacked on top of each other they are. This is how viral epidemics spread and kill. It’s like living in a Petri dish.
I’m going to forewarn you, the below statement is repulsive and gross, but truth is empowerment.
This is how disgustingly close our incarcerated are: When they defecate in their cell toilets, or urinate for that matter, their cellmate’s head is less than two feet from the toilet. And no, there is no wall or barrier between either.
No privacy. No protection…
It’s like one person starts to cough and/or sneeze. Then a prison guard walks down the hall coughing every step they take. An inmate on the phone in the hallway coughs all over the mouth piece and wipes his nose with the hand holding onto the phone.
Germs are everywhere!
Then another inmate a couple tiers down starts to cough and before you know it, everyone is infected and there’s no escaping it in the wide-open space. Everyone is coughing, blowing their noses, spitting up phlegm. Petri dish of danger!
And if you think they’re equipped with extra bars of soap and hand sanitizer, paper towels to wipe dry their hands and dispose of, you couldn’t be further from the truth. They are only given limited bars of soap per month, and many of them use their bars of soap to wash their clothes.
Did you say wash their clothes?
Yes. If they have it laundered, most of the time they’ll never receive it back. Stolen laundry is a hot-ticketed item.
Many prisoners wash their two state-prison-issued clothing similar to Little House on the Prairie.
There is absolutely no way to participate in social distancing in our state prisons. They are literally on top of one another.
When they eat, they’re like a can of sardines packed together. They share trays AND food. They shower together without any separation. And with being in lockdown, it allows the contamination to spread through open air and tight spaces.
When they’re in lockdown, it does not keep them safe. It’s a cesspool of toxins.
You CANNOT ISOLATE over 2.3 million incarcerated beloveds from one another to contain and keep this virus from spreading, much less have adequate medical teams and/or facilities to treat those who will inevitably become infected.
Please pray for our prison population; they’re someone’s son, like mine…
With the CDCR placing all California State Prisons under lockdown, if you have further concerns or questions regarding COVID-19, you may contact the CDCR through email at COVID19@cdcr.ca.gov and they will direct all inquiries to the appropriate division.
The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation has issued a COVID-19 Preparedness as follows:
As of March 17, 2020, there are currently no confirmed cases of COVID-19 within CDCR institutions.
“Effective March 18, no volunteers or rehabilitative program providers will be allowed to enter state prison until further notice.
All rehabilitative programs, group events, and in-person education classes are cancelled.
The Office of Correctional Education is working to provide in-cell educational programs so as to not interrupt educational credit-earning.
The Board of Parole Hearings (BPH) will postpone all parole suitability hearings through March 20.
All Interstate Compact Agreement transfers of out-of-state parolees or inmates to California will cease for 30 days.
CDCR has activated an email box, COVID19@cdcr.ca.gov, to answer questions from the public, employees, and stakeholders related to COVID-19. This email address will be monitored and questions will be directed to the appropriate divisions.
CDCR’s inmate telephone network provider Global Tel Link (GTL) has offered the adult incarcerated population two days of free phone calls: from 12 a.m. to 11:59 p.m. Thursday, March 19, and 12 a.m. to 11:59 p.m. Thursday, March 26. The youth within the Division of Juvenile Justice already receive free phone calls.”
Please continue to pray for those incarcerated, their families and our correctional staff.
Blameless and Forever Free Ministries will continue to monitor any and all updates and keep you informed.
Until next time…
At least we have some good news: As of March 17, 2020, there are currently no “confirmed” cases of COVID-19 within CDCR institutions. Thank you, Jesus!
Hi Beautiful, I’m going a little stir crazy today, so I wanted to invite you and others in helping me share my Happy Dance celebrating St. Patty’s Day.
Sorry to interrupt your scrolling – well, not really – but come do the happy dance with me as we shed a layer or two of these toxic germs and shackles while speaking a word or two of love and affirmations.
I just wanted you to know that I’m doing the Happy Dance praising God for you and your life. The world would be so much gloomier without your radiance and sunshine!
I know you don’t hear it enough, but YOU ARE ENOUGH just the way you are and SO LOVED!
Missing you dearly. This social distancing sucks. I guess we’re getting a taste of what it’s like being prisoners, so to speak, but it’s only for a short while. It just reminds me and emphasizes how much I am blessed to sojourn this side of heaven being friends with you.
You are so loved and precious! Never lose sight of that, okay?
I’m praying for a release of blessings, great favor, wonderful health and a soaking of God‘s Great Love to follow you everyday!
Being a catalyst of change requires strong influencers who stand on lasting values that the good news of the gospel presents.
God’s Great Love Changes Everything!
Bringing my Lord’s presence into a domain (prisons) that the enemy has held captive for centuries is daunting, but worthy of the challenge because after meeting hundreds of prisoners, they’re beloveds just like you and me who have made horrible mistakes and deserve a second chance.
Most prisoners develop a deep and sincere desire to change their life circumstances through hope and motivation from family and/or religion. Focusing on this link and alternatives opens many doorways of opportunities in having goals filled with lifestyle changes.
“Sometimes the heart sees what is invisible to the eye.”
H. Jackson Brown Jr.
Prisons are set up for punishment, profit and containment. Prisoners need hope, motivation and rehabilitation.
Could you be caged up like an animal and live in close quarters with hundreds, if not thousands, of others and accept being told what to do, what to eat, what to wear, when to sleep, when to wake up, when to work, when to shower and when to talk to loved ones on the phone, while being surrounded by criminal conduct and make sound decisions once released?
You might begrudgingly say they’re lucky to have a cage to live in and food in their bellies after committing their crime, but…
How is that teaching them the power to rewrite their stories, you know, through recasting the drama and redirecting their actions?
Having the opportunity to impact their lives is the greatest reward possible and one in which requires softening up great opposition.
Discrimination, racism and negative social policies and laws have labeled returning citizens “once a felon, always a felon.” This caters to the belief and reason why our recidivism rates are so high.
When we force our returning citizens into this category, we wonder why they recommit and/or become homeless.
We are what we believe, and when we’re told over and over that we’re bad and menaces to society, it’s no wonder we find ourselves living under the spell of deceit and lies.
Good decision-making skills requires options. Surviving in prison surrounded by criminal conduct pretty much means association with the wrong crowd. It’s hard to make good choices when there are minimal options available to us. That requires many opportunities.
Prisons are full of beloveds who lack support, encouragement and visitation from loved ones.
Could you sustain hope and peace of mind without a covering of love?
When I was rejected and unloved, my decision-making skills needed help, too. Every decision I made was based on fear. That’s all I knew.
When you’re surrounded by criminal conduct, and most decisions are already laid out for you, without a covering of love, there is no hope or reason to strive forward in making changes.
Strong support and dedication is a rare and unique gift of hope that all incarcerated need.
Reentry process is more like a survival process. Survival of the fittest! This is why it’s imperative to surround ourselves with people who are going to lift us higher.
How can we expect our returning citizens to be productive members of society when we judge, ridicule and turn our backs on them? That doesn’t influence them to become better individuals, become assets to our communities or even make our communities safer.
Unconditional acts of kindness and love opens doorways to new lives and behaviors.
During times of challenge, frustration and failure, knowing that someone believes in you helps you try again. Introducing others to the love of Jesus provides this comfort in faith.
Every day we have the opportunity to make a positive difference in the lives of others. Replacing discrimination with rehabilitation and hate with love will restore precious lives and teach us a thing or two about ourselves, too.
Prisoners need society to understand, I am more than my mistakes!
Imagination – Preview of Life’s Coming Attractions
Sitting isolated in the back of the inmate medical care unit, back pressed up against the cooling cinder block, my body aches with cheeks burning through flushes of fever. My breath quivers between the spell of violent shaking. I wasn’t certain if the unsettling chill that was running down my spine was due to the fever or from the tiny glimpses of thrilling freedom that lay outside the prison’s walls.
My delirious mind imagines the wind of icy fingers running through my hair as I watch the flag become a cape in the strengthening wind. The freedom of the American flag clothed me with hope while my parched throat swallowed what’s possible if I keep leaning in and looking up.
“Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life’s coming attractions.”
There was a time when there was no hope for me, but somehow I encountered God who lit a fire deep within me. This flame was so glorious, it blinded the darkness lurking in my heart. But here I sit; I was set free. What once was so dark turned into an everlasting blaze of radiant light.
My mind bolts back to the kind and empowering words shared with me, “God must truly love you, and I mean A LOT!!! Our Lord doesn’t allow someone to go through these kind of adversities that you’ve experienced unless He has one special and unique calling on your life.”
The sting of the tease of what life feels like through the blowing breeze of freedom that would some day be possible lingers. The illusion of what is possible wars with the recognition of what freedom actually looks like when you’re shackled and imprisoned doing time for your crime.
Power of Purpose
The power of purpose helps keep the focus looking upward from the love and support of a community who refuses to throw away the keys of second and third chances.
Would you run and hide from the exposure of your own character flaws or would you be willing to develop a plan to make your dreams come true and be all who God created and designed you to be?
Now, realizing that in order to become a great leader, you had to learn and earn an advanced degree at the University of Adversity, your faith ushers evidence to, I can do all things through Him who gives me strength (Philippians 4:13).
Finding a place in society is overwhelming. The first few weeks after release are the most stressful and demeaning as you try and fit in making what others might consider “normal decisions,” but when living institutionalized with minimal choices, it’s easier to make good decisions when they’re already made for you. Yes, even though you’re surrounded by criminal conduct.
It breaks my heart and messes with my head that you fear me. I get it!
But I imagine a community filled with patience, guidance and support. I don’t want to fail, trust me! Prison is hell. Some of us want to change. Imagining the extension of grace with compassion to fail along with the opportunity to get back up and start again is courage to succeed.
I imagine a Body helping me experience my plan and purpose from prison to community.
I’ve completed time in prison for my crime. I imagine my community supporting punishment’s end.
But that decision is yours to make.
The laws of discrimination are permanently seared into my life, so…
I just hope and pray you contain the diagnosis of criminality to loom inside the prison walls and not foreshadow my daunting prognosis.
I can only imagine what it will feel like when my community finds it in their hearts to allow me the opportunity to start over without the looming shadow of defeat and judgment. That was my companion in prison, but now I’m free and looking forward to experiencing what freedom looks like.
Good question! Returning citizens are beloveds reentering society, our communities, from their time served being incarcerated.
Time to make a change!
Since returning citizens are reentering society after serving time for their crime, creating safer and stronger communities must become a top priority for the success of their reentry and reintegration.
Successful reentry and recidivism is dependent upon a community-centered approach that requires bridging the gap between church and state; community organizations and governmental entities.
Why should we concern ourselves with those who are a menace to society and who obviously didn’t care about following the rules and broke the law?
Walking alongside of those who have done time for their crime helps facilitate success promoting rehabilitation and sound decision-making skills for securing employment and being productive members of society.
They have paid their debt back to society through the punishment received in serving prison time.
We all want safer communities, right?
We all benefit when our returning citizens who leave prison have an education, a chance at higher education, a good job and a place to live.
Being productive members of society, it helps drive down future costs of corrections, reduces the crime rate, most definitely helps improve public safety, but it’s building a sense of community that our returning citizens need for lasting success.
Everyone needs and deserves to be surrounded with love and support! Re-offenders lack relationships, so it bodes well for all of us to walk alongside of them by not discriminating, but instead through rehabilitation.
Our returning citizens have been isolated for the most part during their incarceration and reminding them that they’re supported by their communities confirms that we want them to succeed. This introduces them to support and offers encouragement that they’re on the right path and there’s no longer any need to go through life alone without accountability.
Generous hearts believe that today’s offender will become tomorrow’s neighbor, so embracing our returning citizens by coming alongside of those who are exiting the criminal justice system provides the greatest opportunity for success.
We all have choices and love not only transforms from the inside out, but it leads to action.
Teaching others the value of walking together so that the world can believe in the power of God’s Great Love (John 17:23) is vital to a dignified life.
With advocacy and justice being at the very core of who God is, our prisons can no longer be considered a place solely to punish and reject. We must meet our offenders right where they’re at reconciling them to God.
We can’t just pretend to love others. We have to really love them! Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good (Romans 12:9).
After all, recidivism promotes public safety, builds stronger communities while strengthening collaboration with other agencies.
We’re better together!
Reentry provides those in our criminal justice system with a path towards becoming productive members of society after they have served time for the crimes committed.
Embracing Freedom Without Stigma!
If our Statue of Liberty symbolizes freedom, it embodies hope and opportunities for those seeking a better life in America. Liberty and justice for all represents that the most basic human dignity starts with the land of second chances.