After finishing my third message at a retreat center in Estes Park, I left while the women were praying in their small groups, for I was completely exhausted. All I wanted to do was to sleep. As I headed out, I realized I wasn’t sure how to get back to the chalet, and asked a young student for directions. Zach offered to walk me back to the chalet.
And then he shared his story, a story that was the fresh wind of the Spirit to my weary soul, renewing my strength, showing me once again that we belong to a God who orchestrates meetings, who has compassion for the broken-hearted, and wants to give strength and encouragement to his workers. Suddenly I wasn’t tired any more.
Zach told me he was 23 and that his mother had been incarcerated since he was 11. She wrote him a letter when he was 12, but the letter filled his heart with so much pain that he decided not to write her back. Now she is up for parole, and he is filled with fear. In the past, he dealt with his pain through drugs and alcohol, even spending a night in jail.
Six months ago God directed Zach to this retreat center, but he only planned to stay a week. Yet the spiritual food he was given fed his hungry soul and he eagerly received Christ. Now he was growing. He soaked up my messages. After hearing Karla’s testimony he left in tears. Now I had approached him for directions, and he knew God was giving him an opportunity to speak to me. He asked for prayer to forgive.
Oh how Jesus loves us. He places us in families. He divinely orchestrates our paths.
Zach became a spiritual son. Shortly after the retreat a woman with whom Zach shared our story wrote: “Zach told me all about what happened and said, “I’ve never experienced a Mother’s love before.” He also emailed me, thanking me, asking me to picture his excitement in “truly experiencing the love of Christ from someone.” Zach is already ministering to others, to those who are using drugs to anesthetize their pain in being the children of incarcerated parents.
How deep is the love of God. We can be the love of Christ to those who feel abandoned both inside and outside of prison walls. When you see the difference it makes, and the rippling effect of Christ’s love, indeed, you will find your strength renewed, and you will soar on wings like eagles, you will walk and not faint.
Prayer Request: We are taking a team to Louisiana Correction Institute for Women in November with the goal of establishing a new program in our dorms and prisons. Hannah’s Gift is designed to help incarcerated Mothers reach across prison fences to their children. God’s timing is always perfect as it was only a week or two after making that decision that Zach came across my path. Thank you for your ongoing support. It enables us to press on and develop even more effective ways to minister.