By Dawn Reed
I am honored to be a part of a team of faithful ladies who serve and teach the women at our local jail. This is a story about one of our girls.
I thought she was asleep when I got there. She slowly opened her eyes. They grew wider when she saw my face. I tried not to stand too close so I wouldn’t scare her.
She stared like she was trying to place me. In a quiet voice, I told her hello and smoothed her hair.
“Do you know who I am?” I whispered. She just stared with no movement. An IV was hooked to one arm. “I’m Dawn from Bible study at the jail,” I told her and waited. She rolled to her side.
“I’ve been praying for you,” I went on. “Lots of people are praying for you.” I quietly began to sob. I rubbed her hair again and she stared off.
This was one of our girls from the jail. I’ve seen her off and on during our years there. She had overdosed before. I still pray for her when I pass by where it happened. She was back at the jail a couple of months ago, and rail thin. At least she had come to Bible study! I had hugged her and tears filled her eyes that day.
Two days ago, the girls at the jail told me she had overdosed again. This time she was on life support. I had to take a minute when I heard the news. It was impossible not to cry. I HATE DRUGS!!! I HATE THEM! I HATE THEM! I HATE THEM!
If I could choose any super power, it would be to unleash the hold drugs and alcohol have on people-not just in our area, but everywhere.
Her aunt came in as I wiped away tears and I stammered through an introduction. (It’s awkward telling someone you know their loved one from jail.) My young friend had been taken off the vent and was now breathing on her own, which was good. I’m not sure if she could speak; she did not make a sound while I was there. They were going to do some tests to see if there was brain damage. Clearly, she was…I don’t know how to finish that. Something was still not right.
Our lessons at Bible study have been different each time but end the same way. “Oh, put your trust and hope in the Lord…instead of someone else, something else, drugs, or alcohol.”
There’s a verse that I’d never really paid attention to until we started going to the jail. It’s I Peter 5:8: “Be sober and alert.” For real. NOT being sober can cause lots of trouble. The last part is: “Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” Some of the girls we meet have definitely been attacked by the enemy. I imagine invisible teeth marks on them. The devil has been tearing them to pieces!
Before you start feeling smug, can you remember times the devil has kicked your butt, drug you down or torn you asunder? We all make mistakes.
Last week, when we left Bible study at another place with some girls who are working through their addiction, I was over-whelmed with the responsibility. I sat in the pew at church and silently prayed, “Lord, how can I help people who are addicted to drugs? I’ve never had a drug problem?”
After a moment, as surely as I sat there, I felt like He spoke to me: “Jonah had never been a Ninevite.” My head snapped. It had come out of nowhere. I whispered, “Jonah had never been a Ninevite.” That may not mean anything to you but it did to me. Jonah-the whole story-is one of my very, very favorites. It’s a really dramatic true story with lots of unexpected twists and turns. At the end, Jonah shared the Word and all the Ninevites turned to God!
I may not know about drugs, but I know about God. I know Him personally. I know what He can do. He has brought me out of Egypt. He has pulled me out of the pit, the fire and the lion’s den. He has carried me when I couldn’t walk. He has pulled me when I was afraid to take a step forward and pushed me when I was too stubborn to move. He has dried my tears and set my weak feet on solid rock. He is my super hero and my very best friend. I know that He is my only hope! Whew and praise the Lord!
We want good things for the girls and their families, praying for them regularly. They know we don’t want them to go to hell because we tell them that every time. They’ve been living in hell for a long time already. (The stories they tell me make me shiver in horror.) Most of them have lost a lot. Some have lost everything and everybody. I would think Jesus and heaven would be an amazing, wonderful and freeing choice.
As cheesy as it sounds, I pray they will be addicted to Jesus. I tell them and they smile. I’m not kidding.