"Letters from Inside" is a blog series featuring incarcerated women at Minnesota Correctional Facility–Shakopee, where Prison Fellowship® runs one of its Academies. Over the coming months, you will hear perspectives from women who are not only serving time for crimes but are now trying to live their lives for Jesus behind bars.
This is the third installment in the series. For more "Letters from Inside," click here.
COMPLETE FREEDOM IN PRISON
by Angelina of Shakopee
My name is Angelina, and I have complete freedom, even though I am in prison at Shakopee.
I can say that I honestly did not feel this way when I first arrived. I was in bondage to my crime and knowing that I had years to do. I was so uncertain of how my life in prison would be, that I sought freedom with God. I gave Him my cares and worries, and as soon as I did I started feeling content with my life.
As Billy Graham said, “The happiness which brings enduring worth to life is not the superficial happiness that is dependent on circumstances. It is the happiness and contentment that fills the soul even in the midst of the most distressing circumstances and most bitter environment. It is the kind of happiness that grins when things go wrong and smiles through the tears.”
FREEDOM IS AN INSIDE JOB
One of the ways I experience inner peace and spiritual freedom is by choosing to go to God in prayer. I also reach out to women that know about experiencing freedom regardless of their circumstances in life.
A lot of women see the peace and serenity in me. I always smile when they ask me how I can look like I have peace, and I always reply, “I have freedom even if I have to be in prison for life. I have God by my side and He walks with me each and every day. I can call on Him anytime I need to. I have been forgiven, and I am no longer in bondage. That is why I have freedom.”
FREEDOM IN PRISON
I like the Scripture that says, “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed” (2 Corinthians 4:8-9, NIV). I have looked at this Scripture so many times when I have felt oppressed and in bondage. And then I go directly to Proverbs: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and he will make your paths straight” (3:5-6). I read that verse over and over again.
And then I go out and reach out to other women and show them the Scriptures. I just know that I have found freedom inside of prison!
*Angelina is serving a life sentence in Shakopee.