I've been in prison. No...not the literal type with the metal bars and barbed wire fencing. But, I've been in prison nonetheless. Not only have I been in prison, but I've been in shackles too. Barely able to move...
My prison has been my home filled with pictures, smells, reminders of my sweet Chris who left me 23 days ago.
My prison has been my closet filled with reminders of the clothes he used to put on each morning.
My prison has been the memories in my mind that continually interrupt my daily thoughts and take over any available cavity and crevice in my brain to render me useless in accomplishing anything else.
My shackles are my dreams of what could have been but now never will be.
My shackles are the unending task lists that are created following the burial of a loved one.
My shackles are my emotions that tend to control me rather than the other way around.
My prison...is my grief.
I feel like I've been sentenced to a prison called Grief. It's a lonely, painful, sad place to be. I don't know my release date just yet, but it seems like it's an eternity away.
During my time with Abba this morning, I almost heard His audible whisper...don't forget Paul and Silas. What Lord? Don't forget Paul and Silas.
Yes Lord. I know all about Paul and Silas's time in prison in Acts 16. It just happens to be one of my very favorite stories in all of scripture. And...I read the story again.
"After they had been severely flogged, they were thrown into prison, and the jailer was commanded to guard them carefully. Upon receiving such orders, he put them in the inner cell and fastened their feet in the stocks. About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everybody's chains came loose." ~Acts 16:23-26 NIV
They praised their way out of prison. The greek word for hymn in this passage implies they celebrated God in song.
After being led back to this passage, I fell on my knees...raised my hands in praise to God and asked Him to meet me where I was (as ugly as I might be right now). And, then I began...
to pray to Him
to thank Him
to speak His Word back to Him
to celebrate Him in song
to PRAISE Him!!
And...the shackles started to come undone, and the prison door slightly opened, and He picked me up and carried me out the door.