Here is a blog post written by a volunteer at CRDF....
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She tapped my husband on the shoulder and quietly said, "Tell your wife I was broken today." The woman's words ring in my head like a song. I have been replaying those words repeatedly in my head, for several days. What a bold statement. One that required no thought, simply a reaction. A reaction to one who had just been stripped, in a matter of an hour.
Behind the walls of Century Regional Detention Center, the largest women's jail in the United States, lies a wealth of misery. Women broken by this world. Women who are cheats, liars, master manipulators, lost and unwilling to be found. And yet, in this hell, amongst the filth, lies small pockets of women whose names are written in the Lamb's Book of Life. Women who have truly been washed by the blood of Christ and who will one day, with pure hearts, will sup together at the Wedding Feast of God. Behind these unforgiving walls are women who find themselves in the midst of their own personal Hell by divine order. Women who have essentially found themselves in this place in order that they might come to a saving knowledge of Christ. Women who, by divine appointment, needed to be taken to their lowest, to be broken in order that Christ might lift them up.
"Tell your wife I was broken today," the woman said, as a result of learning about the woman with the issue of blood for 12 years in Mark 5, the paralytic who had been let down through the roof in Mark 2, and the shame and guilt the Prophet Ezra faced because of the very sins of his people, including both the religious and political leaders at that time, in Ezra 9. So ashamed Ezra said, "I fell on my knees and stretched out my hands to the Lord my God; and I said, O my God, I am ashamed and embarrassed to lift up my face to You, my God, for our iniquities have risen above our heads and our guilt has grown even to the heavens." (Ezra 9:5-6)
Brokenness is necessary in the life of any man or woman who desires to know God in a most intimate way. It is necessary in the life of any man or woman that desires to be used of God in such a way that men would look at the life of a Believer such as this and marvel, saying "That could only be by the hand of the Living God."
A term that is virtually unknown in this day an age. A word that is despised and rejected by the masses. A word that denotes weakness and loss in the mind of the common man. A word that very few are willing to embrace because of the heaviness that comes with it. It is a state in which a common man finds Himself before a Holy God in a helpless state of affairs. A state in which the pride of life has been stripped from him only to find himself naked and unveiled before the Lord.Brokenness is a lonely state. It is one in which the loneliness and heaviness of having a deep and intimate relationship with the Lord will be revealed. And even in a dim light, this lonely state of existence will almost be too much to bear. We find this very state in the Garden of Gethsemane when Christ sweat drops of blood from the anguish and brokenness He was experiencing, "And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt." (Matthew 26:39) Brokenness is necessary for any man that desires for God to do the impossible in and through His life. Brokennesscan only be present in the absence of pride. It can only manifest itself in the presence of a Holy God.Brokenness cannot exist apart from the working of the Holy Spirit. It can only occur in the heart of a man that, even for a small instance, realizes his state in the presence of the Almighty.
Oh, how we need to be broken! "How often we bewail and bemoan the sad fact of broken lives, but find later that only broken things are used by the Lord and that only after we are broken are we our very best for God." (Broken Things, M.R. Dehaan)
God has been speaking brokenness into my life as of late. At every turn I find myself being given the same message. I need to be broken before the Lord if I desire to move mountains. I am not sure what this means. But He has been speaking so clearly. He desires to take a praying man or woman and take them into the depths of brokenness in order to reveal Himself, to reveal His very heart. It causes me to wonder why it is that God, very God, the Living God whom I serve is so broken. Not in a sense of weakness or loss, but why it is He mourns to such a degree. The answer is simple.
The sin of man and the love of God.
The overwhelming love of our Creator causes an overwhelming brokenness over the Creation. Deep love cannot exist without deep sorrow and brokenness when the relationship has been marred by sin. True brokenness is not a state of being that manifests itself through emotion, rather it is an ongoing state in which man is taken to the brink of sorrow over the sin of man and is yet brought back to life when He finds Himself in the presence of the overwhelming love of God. Was it not that Christ had to be broken, almost beyond repair, in order to save sinful man? What then is it that is calling us to brokenness?
"Tell your wife I was broken today," the woman said. The words ring so clearly in my head, much like lyrics to a well known song. Quite a bold statement for a woman who lives behind concrete walls, only able to breathe recycled air, who day in and day out witnesses the severe consequences of sin in the life of fallen man. Quite a statement from one that you would have assumed had already been broken for some time due to her state of affairs. Quite a statement. I wonder if I will ever be able to make the same, in order that I might know God in a most intimate way. He has made it very clear, I must know Him in His suffering, as this is the very place where I will begin to understand the depth of His overwhelming love.
"I come, God, I come
I return to the Lord
The one who's broken
The one who's torn me apart
You struck down to bind me up
You say You do it all in love
That I might know You in Your suffering"
"Look at the nations and watch-- and be utterly amazed. For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told.“
God is looking for faithful men and women, those that desire to die to the flesh, as living sacrifices, whose minds are set on the things above (Colossians 3). We are in the midst, my brothers and sisters, of perilous times, where men have waxed cold and the abominations of the Lord have become that which modern man seeks after. In the midst of this great darkness, God, who is merciful, gracious, slow to anger, and abundant in love, desires to do a work through faithful men and women that will bring glory and honor to His name. A work in which men are called to repentance, a work in which the Church rids itself of its pride, a work in which we are humbled before our Great and Mighty God. Bowing our knee in humility before the Lord, as broken vessels, in our last ditch effort to plead for the souls of this nation, the souls of our families and friends, the souls of those who we minister to behind the walls of CRDF, and perhaps even the souls of some that sit idly by in the pulpits. I plead with you Brethren, that during the month of September, we commit ourselves to fervent prayer. That we pray to the Lord for revival in our own hearts, for an uprooting of our souls unto humility, and for the saving of lost souls. Let us pray in one accord, for the moving of mountains. For God to begin to move in such a way that we can scarce but proclaim, “It was only by the hand of the Living God that such an act could occur.” Let us pray with great boldness and humble hearts, with repentance and fervency, for the Lord to pour out upon us, working in us, through us, and around us, that which could only be done by the hand of our Great and Terrible God. Let us acknowledge the Scripture and hold fast to the promises of God, as it is written, "And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” (Matthew 16:18)
“Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God. Whenever I pray, I make my requests for all of you with joy, for you have been my partners in spreading the Good News about Christ from the time you first heard it until now.”
Hello Fellow Believers,
As the year zooms by the Gospel message has been proclaimed day after day. The message of the Cross never grows old and you have been a part of the work through your prayers and faithful support. As Paul expressed his heart to the church, I too want to express my heart to you. Thank you again for answering the call with me and letting the Lord use us as His vessels for His Glory. The ministry is huge and a mighty work has been done and will continue until He comes. So let us put our hand to the plow and not look back because there is a work to be done in these dark days. Jesus said “ I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world”. (John 9:4-5)
Coming back from the mission field was a heart changing and mind blowing experience. As I returned to what God has called me to do here I realized that it is mind blowing and heart changing on a daily basis. So many things happen daily in my life as Senior Chaplain. Doors open and shut and people come and go. Times are good and at times bad. Solomon wrote “ He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end”. (Ecclesiastes 3:11)
When we trust in Him, He sees us through. As I do my “one on ones”, I see about 150 inmates in any given week. That does not include what my other chaplains are seeing. I wanted to give you a little insight into the scope of the ministry and for you to see and hear what the Lord is doing in the women’s hearts and lives. It is amazing! I was counseling and an inmate expressed how she was moved by one of our Sunday services. She said the teacher prayed that God would break them. She looked at me with her big blue eyes and said “I am in jail, lost my kids and everything I had. I thought I was broken. ” Then she lifted up her eyes and hands and said “Lord then break me some more.” WOW! God is at work!!
Last week I, Chaplain Mrotzek and a team of faithful women passed out “Angel Tree” forms to the entire jail. This is a wonderful ministry through Prison Fellowship where children receive Christmas gifts from their incarcerated parent with a gospel message. There were 1,980 forms filled out from each inmate for their child to receive a gift for Christmas. My body is still sore from this big task. Paul wrote that our body groans and mine is groaning. Praise Jesus for those that come alongside and make the load easier as I get older.
Last week I had a call from one of the floors, in which an inmate had received some troubling news. When I had finished with her, I was asked by a Senior to talk to an inmate who was on suicide watch. As I approached she was crying and overwhelmed. I prayed with her and then returned to my office. When my assistant arrived to work, God place it on my heart to go back. Earlier I had heard this song “The King is Here”. I grabbed my boom box and off Rayna and I went. We approached her cell and when I called her over, she started to cry again. I said “I want to share something with you” I played the song and whispered to her...”You are not alone; the King is here in cell 5”. Tears streamed from her face as she lifted up her arms before God and genuinely began to pray and cry out to the Lord. Rayna and I were overwhelmed as the inmate felt the presence of the Lord that day.
We are on this earth for kingdom purpose. Let us honor Our King in all we do!