"Letters from Inside" is a blog series featuring incarcerated women at Minnesota Correctional Facility–Shakopee, where Prison Fellowship® runs one of its Prison Fellowship Academy™ sites. Hear from women who are not only serving time for crimes but are now trying to live their lives for Jesus behind bars.
For more "Letters from Inside," click here.
FROM STUMBLING BLOCKS TO BUILDING BLOCKS: HOW CHRIST HAS TRANSFORMED SUSAN'S LIFE
By Susan of Shakopee
When I was out [of prison] in my addiction, I would run hard the month of May. I justified my actions by telling myself it was my birthday month. But the reality of it is that Mother's Day is right after my birthday. That was a day that I just wanted to either sleep through or have it come and go fast so I didn't have to feel.
OPENING A WOUND
Mother's Day was always like opening a wound and putting salt in it for me. You see, my mother was an addict, and I followed in her footsteps, as they say. I blamed her for everything that went wrong in my life. I mean, why not? She was a heroin junkie that caught HIV. At 11 years old, I had to take care of a parent when I should have been the child.
I was mad for so long. Too long. You see, my mom died when she was only 40, and I was 21 and pregnant with my first child. And I went off the rails. Blame, resentment, and anger fueled my addiction. My choices [ended up] putting me in and out of jails and prison. I was never a good mother.
But by God's grace and mercy, I can be now!
BUILDING BLOCKS OF TRANSFORMATION
The Prison Fellowship Academy changed my life. Finding God and who I am in Christ changed my life. I needed forgiveness not only for myself, but for my mother. I needed to open my eyes and come to the realization that my mother did the best she could fighting the demons she had. Daily, I thank God for the chance to feel the lightness in my heart for my mother. Even though she isn't here with me physically, I know God has her.
As for me, I'm learning how to be the mother I need to be. I'm not making up for lost time. I'm building a foundation with my children--one that is Christ-centered so that they can feel safe and secure in the fact that I'm not who I used to be. I'm growing into who God made me to be.
It will take some time, but Philippians 4:13 says, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." And with [Christ] as my foundation, nothing can knock the relationships we are building with each other. We may have stumbling blocks along the way, but we will turn them into building blocks.
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