No more playing the victim–BE A STRONG GIRL!
Karla has a passion for helping girls and women recognize their strength in Jesus Christ.
Each Saturday she blogs about what it means to be a Strong Girl and she chats with other Strong Girls on the Strong Girl Facebook Page.
CASA–Court Appointed Special Advocate
Karla is a CASA volunteer. Learn more about this important program and be a voice for children in need of services: CASA.
Join Karla in her quest to help families with incarcerated loved ones…
No one can know what it’s like unless they’ve been there…
Unless you’ve ever had a loved one in prison, you can’t know the pain it causes. The grief is overwhelming.
And unless you’re the mother of a prisoner, you simply can’t grasp the deep, primal pain that sits in your chest and rises as a lump in your throat, constantly itching to prompt a fresh flow of tears.
Gone are the dreams and hopes for your child. If they’re a felon they will never be able to vote, go on school activities with their children (most schools require a background check), get a decent job or accomplish any of the dreams you had for them when they were small and you were able to protect them.
The hopes you have for your child fade into a nightmare of prison visits and expensive timed and recorded, telephone calls.
My identity as a mother changed. I thought I was at very least a good mother. I homeschooled my children, I was devoted to them, I spent all the precious moments I could when they were small meeting their needs. I raised them in the ways of the Lord. I wrestled with God for many months over my son’s dreadful choices in life. And then the Lord reminded me that He was a perfect Father and yet his children in the garden went their own way, too.
Every other week I visited my son doing time in prison for a drug charge. I dreaded the walk up to the prison doors, the full body search, and the goodbye at the end of the visit.
It hurt hearing him tell me how lonely it was to lie next to a cement wall every night, how much he missed his children, how hard it was not to be with them during the holidays. I hated seeing him wearing that prison jumpsuit. It was hard to not let my emotions show, to be the bright spot in his day when I was feeling nothing but anguish.
When my son was first put in prison, I looked to the Internet for support for mothers of prisoners and I found very little out there.
But the one person who did have resources available was an absolute lifeline for me.
Her name is Carol Kent.
If you have a loved one in prison, I highly recommend her books and ministry.
Jesse is Home!
Through the years of my son’s incarceration, I have asked for prayer, and your prayers were answered! Jesse is home and thriving. He was given a job and has already been promoted to a management position. What a miracle!
Please continue to pray for him as he navigates life as a single dad going through divorce.
Jesse’s Prayer Needs
[ ] For his daughters
[ ] For Jesse to grow in the grace and strength of the Lord
[ ] For God to send Jesse Christian mentors (someone besides mom and dad)
[ ] For God’s protection, grace and strength to overcome temptation
[ ] That Jesse will hear God’s voice, know what his purpose is and what God would have him do with his life
[ ] That Jesse will find a church home he can be comfortable in and that he’ll grow better not bitter toward those who forgot him while he was incarcerated.
Carol Kenthas lived every parent’s nightmare. After her only son was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole, Carol’s life took a permanent detour. She and her husband, Gene, have been adjusting ever since, moving to Florida to be near the prison, starting a new ministry for prison inmates and their families, and sharing the faithfulness of God with anyone who will listen.
A New Kind of Normal begins with the story of that horrible night when Carol and Gene learned their son had been arrested, but it doesn’t end there. In fact, Carol knows what it means to live with an unthinkable circumstance that will never change-and to still make hope-filled choices.
Through the eight chapters in this book, Carol will use their own story, the story of Mary mother of Jesus, and stories of women who have experienced their own “new normal” to share how God has led them to choose life, gratitude, vulnerability, involvement, forgiveness, trust, and action.
Words are Important
If you have a friend with a child who is incarcerated, there are some things you may not want to say. Here are a few phrases that were/are
particularly painful for me:
- I sure hope he’ll learn his lesson
- He’s a big boy. He knows better.
- He should have thought of that before he did what he did
- He did the crime, he needs to do the time
- I don’t feel sorry for him
- Maybe this will straighten him out
- Maybe this is just what he needed
- Things I wish folks would have said or would say:
- I’m so sorry
- Let me know if there’s anything I can do
- Let me know his address so I can write to him
- You are in my prayers
- I’m praying for his family and for you
- It must be very painful
- Let me know if you need someone to listen
Ways you can help parents of incarcerated children
- Prepare a food basket and drop it off
- Slip them a $20 now and then. Supporting a child in prison gets expensive: phone calls, stamps, money to give the prisoner for necessities such as soap, shampoo, deodorant (must be purchased through the prison system)
- Give them a gift card for gas — the trips to visit get expensive with rising gas prices
- Pack them a lunch for the car for the trips to see their child
- Pray for them
- Ask them what they need or what you can do
- Don’t judge
- Don’t give advice — just listen
Between a Rock and a Grace Place
“Speak up for those who
cannot speak for themselves;
ensure justice for those being crushed.
Yes, speak up for
the poor and helpless,
and see that they get justice.”