"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.
BECOMING A BETTER MOM IN PRISON
By Jasmine of Shakopee
People might believe mothers in jail weren’t good mothers to their children.
I’m the mother of a witty 15-year-old son and a bubbly 8-year-old daughter. As a single mom, I proudly took on all the responsibilities of parenting. I attended parent-teacher conferences and involved my children in sports and other activities. After working long hours at the hair salon, I’d treat my children to dinner at their favorite restaurant. My favorite memory with my children is when we’d have dance contests with each other.
Then one night, my life changed in the blink of an eye.
THE PAIN OF SEPARATION
I made a serious mistake. That choice led to a 12-year prison sentence. Once I was convicted, I questioned if God was real. I thought that God would not allow me to go to prison.
One of my biggest struggles in prison was being separated from my kids. While I was in prison I found out my daughter had leukemia.
My wonderful, supportive family agreed to raise my children while I was away, but I still had thoughts like, No one can love my children like I do. There were many days and nights that I wanted to die. When I missed my son’s 8th grade graduation, I cried on the phone and explained how sorry I was.
I have often sent candy packs, colored pictures, and cards to remind my children how much I love them and think of them. Eventually, I was able to join a parenting program behind bars, which allowed my children to take turns being dropped off on Saturdays for four hours of fun and quality time with me. Still, I was experiencing complete turmoil and having a hard time accepting that I was in prison.
THE PATH TO HEALING
By the grace of God, I was often granted video visitations with my daughter. As time went on, I knew I needed help to walk this path of motherhood in prison.
I enrolled in the Prison Fellowship Academy™, where I learned to believe Romans 8:28: “We know that all things work together for good to those who love God.” I became an even better mother. I learned how to communicate better with my children, and to tell them I love them no matter what. My children feel comfortable telling me when they do wrong, because they know how much I love them even when I scold them. They know my love is still present.
I know now that words are powerful. Even though I’m physically away, I can still speak life into my babies. I know I’m important to my children and I can still “be there” for them. I can’t wait until we can be together again.