New Life

"What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the Master calls a butterfly." Richard Bach

Monday, November 8, 2010

The letters...

My brother suggested I write her last summer.  It was in July of 2009 that I wrote the first of many. 

He thought it would be good for the kids to write her too.  I never thought it would end up being such a personal thing, for me.  I didn't even know her. 

This picture is not an honest portrayal.  She is very beautiful and my sketch just doesn't capture her beauty or her glow.    She shines like a light, in the picture I have of her, and I imagine her lighting up a room when she walks into it.  I can feel the 'light' in her words whispered on lined paper.

Getting to know her this past year has been such a blessing to me.....  Meeting through messages.
I didn't always know what to write.  It seemed awkward at first.  I had so many questions. 

Soon, I just began writing.....  My thoughts, my feelings, my hopes, my fears and she began to write hers too.  I asked her about her day; when she rises, her schedule, and when she sleeps.  It helped me to visualize where she is during the day and I can pray for her as I think about her and what she may be doing.  She works very hard, physically.   And she gets tired too, just like me.  Prison isn't exactly as I had imagined.

I love receiving her long, handwritten letters.  When they come, I selfishly try to find a place away from everyone and everything so I can read her words and soak up the scripture she writes.  Funny how she always seem to have the right verse I need at that moment.

This was one of my favorite letters.  She let me see inside so much of her thoughts and feelings.....her world.
I still can only imagine what a day in her life is like...
...even though I have glimpses from all the letters of the past 16 months.

This is her 3rd year of a 7 year sentence. 
This writing journey changed my perspective on freedom and forgiveness. 
"The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong." - Gandhi

Just going outside and breathing deeply is appreciated more.

I asked her once what she missed.  She misses many things.   Important things.
But one small thing that stuck with me, seemingly insignificant, was her mentioning missing being able to open a refrigerator and getting seconds of orange juice..... I don't think I have ever been grateful for that before.
Until now.

Knowing her impels me to be grateful for abundance where I had previously perceived lack.  It encourages my collection of simple praises.

She is a talented artist and frequently sketches along the envelopes or makes bookmarks that we use everyday.  My girls and I adore these illustrations.   I love Jeremiah.....

I treasure reading about her hopes and dreams for the future.  But what is most meaningful is reading how she prospers day by day,  how she is healing, what she is learning about herself,  her accomplishments, and sometimes..... just how she gets through the day.

It takes a week or more to write her.  There is an art to writing letters by hand that I have missed in our techno world of blogs, emails, and facebook.  I steal snatches of time here and there
and when I can.

My pen pal has become a believer in the truest sense of the word and can see the adversary for what
She fights discouragement and uses it to encourage others.  She encourages me.  If only we all did that.

"Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: 12 I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. 13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. " Philippians 4:11-13
Funny, our sermon this past Sunday was about Paul being in prison and how our circumstances, no matter what they are, work for the good of those who love Him.
"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.  " Romans 8:28
I wonder about my own circumstances...
I am here for a reason.....  In this place.
In the middle of this muddle, managing my messes, precisely where God has planted me.
So are you.  And our influence is broader than we know.

She mentions that they are not allowed to hug each other or even hold hands during prayer.
So they touch their shoes instead.

Imagine that.
I think that is beautiful.
It makes me look at my feet differently.

Paul's Chains Advance the Gospel
 12Now I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel. 13As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. 14Because of my chains, most of the brothers in the Lord have been encouraged to speak the word of God more courageously and fearlessly.

Simple Praises...continued... #187-#193
my pen pal
reading in quiet
the letters
being encouraged
seconds on orange juice
Jeremiah bookmarks

If you are interested in writing to and inquiring about my friend's testimony, please contact me.


Ruth said...


Did you ever hear that phrase "our soles touched"? I can't recall the whole story but it was something on the lines of people in church who have nothing in common but one shoe brushes another's who is next to him in the church pew and their "soles touch" and how, really, when we meet for worship, if our hearts are in unison and the Word is preached and we are changed, we could say "our souls touched". That was what I thought of when you described the shoes touching.

Anonymous said...

Love your writing, Christina. It gives me a "stolen" quiet time right in the middle of the day. Please keep sharing what He shows you. - Di

Ann Voskamp @Holy Experience said...

Your life blazes with Him and kindles me too.

Thank you for the gift of who you are...

All's grace,

Christina Parker Brown said...

Thank you, Ann, that means so much coming from you.

Christina Parker Brown said...

Ruth, I love the image of 'soles touching' ! How profound!

Christina Parker Brown said...

Thank you, Di!

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