When my world is shaking
Heaven stands
When my heart is breaking
I never leave Your hands

i listen to her newest favorite and wonder why i must understand.  ‘understand?’ you ask.  yes, i understand in a small way because my world is shaking.  and my heart is breaking.

my nice comfortable Christian world was shaken as i sat looking through the bars at a boy i’ve grown up with.  my heart was breaking as i saw him nervously rub his neck and the eyes that didn’t want to make contact.  my world was shaken as i my life touched the life of brokenness, hopelessness, and despair.  my heart was breaking as i watched him hold hands with my dad, a tear slip down his cheek, as they prayed together.

i visited a prisoner yesterday.  i filled out a pass and gave my social security number and walked through a security gate.  doors magically were unlocked as i passed through halls proving the watch the correctional officers had on the building.  we were given a number and we filed through one more door — into the room for visiting.  the inmate sat on one side of the metal bars and you sat on the other.

the prisoner is my cousin.  we grew up together.  he would come for a week or two during the summer and we’d play out in our tree fort.  he called me “weasel”.  he laughed and i never did.  he went to church functions and children’s crusades.  and now i wonder how much one remembers years later after those summers of spending time at uncle ricky and aunt darlene’s.

my cousin isn’t an innocent prisoner.  he committed a crime and the state says he deserves his fifteen years.  but it’s strange sitting across bars from someone who seems just a boy — just two years older than me — and picture him trying to start a life at an old age.

he commented on how much i’ve grown since he’s last seen me.  he said he liked my hair.  he always did get along best with me.  and as he held my hand and smiled as we greeted each other i felt guilty that i had not wanted to go see him upon waking up yesterday morning.  guilty that i hadn’t wanted to deal with the gamut of emotions i encountered.  guilty that i hadn’t wanted to be waken from the pleasant life where nothing ever goes wrong world i’ve been living in.

but there are broken people.  there are fallen men.  there are people filled with guilt that eats away at their souls as they lay awake at night.  there are people filled with fear.  there are people filled with absolute despair — desperate to just end their stay on this earth so they won’t have to deal with it anymore.  it was that kind of person i held hands with yesterday.

and my heart broke that i hadn’t wanted to go.  because i — i know the answer for all those problems.  i know the one who can deliver, set free, make whole, and give purpose.  and i selfishly was going to hold that back just because i like being blind to the fact that i’m not in heaven yet.  i like my perfect life.

i like it a lot.

he told us that he’s been reading the Bible.  his eyes filled with tears as he said that he had been crying out to God for forgiveness every night and is now blindly thanking Him for His forgiveness although he doesn’t feel it yet.  tears slipped down his cheeks as he held hands with my daddy and prayed.  he grabbed our hands so tightly as he said he loved us.  and with a huge ‘ole grin on his face — the one i remember so well — he waved at us as we left with all the other visitors.

and as i turned once more to catch a glimpse of this boy cousin of mine, he blew me a kiss.

and i knew then that i was so glad i went.  grateful for the reminder that there are people to share my grace filled world with.  and blessed because as his world his shaking and breaking, he’s starting to get a glimpse of One who wants to hold him through it all.

Your hands that shape the world
Are holding me, they hold me still

4 thoughts on “

  1. Louissa….I almost cried as I read this. I am so sorry for all that your family is going through. When your father told me about this last month, I just about cried right then and there. I could no imagine what you are going through, but just know that you and your family are in my prayers. God bless.

  2. Oh Louissa. Thank you for being so open about your cousin and what you went through emotionally that day and are still going through as well with this. We are all stronger than we think we really are to see and endure such trials in life, but you did the right thing and now you know that. You are a very sweet and special woman and I love you. My prayers are with you, your cousin and your family throughout the duration of this entire process. That you can be sure of as well.

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