Sadly Sweet.

The sound from the strings resounded against the jail walls… somehow, emanating purity, gentleness and strength. My guitar sounded sweeter inside the jail walls than it ever did outside.

Four women sat on their wool blankets on the floor as the music drifted through the air and into their hearts. My blind friend gently strummed the strings of my guitar as he sang and talked of God’s goodness, love and grace.

The Holy Spirit gently moved about the room…

Tears gently fell…

Hearts were softened…

Lives were changed…

I’ve had my guitar since I was a teenager. It was my first major purchase. My brother and I went to the music store and together we picked out a quality guitar. It was a Washburn acoustic. It had a cut-away and a plug-in for an electric amp.

I cherished it even more when my brother took the time to sand down the bridge so the finger action would work a little better. My brother worked in the professional music industry… “It’s got studio recording quality” he said.

It was mine… it was a reminder of my brother’s love.

I never took the time to learn how to play it. I would get it out once in a while… play it… learn a few chords and then let life put it away again.

Last night… my heart was broken as my guitar was played by my good friend. He spent years in and out of jail and prisons. Now, he can’t wait to get back into jail – to tell the story of God’s absolute love and mercy.

God has a wonderful adventure in store for him… I can feel it.

Later, as we walked down the long hallway towards another pod I asked him how he liked playing my ‘precious’ guitar. “You have no idea how wonderful this thing is, Rachel! Thank you for letting me borrow it!”

I smiled… knowing the LORD was asking me to walk my faith-talk. Sometimes obedience can feel sadly sweet…

“It’s yours,” I said.

Love always,

Rachel

Be devoted to one another in brotherly love;
give preference to one another in honor;
not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord;
rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer,
contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality.

Romans 12:10-13
NASB

My Brother.

“When you gave your heart to Jesus, you became my brother!” I exclaimed.

I was talking to a young man in Cook County Juvenile Detention Center. He was surrounded by several other young men who had given their hearts to Jesus the night before.

“You are my brother,” I said. The message for the day was one of encouragement. He belongs somewhere – to Someone. He is God’s child. He is loved more than he will ever know. He has a new family waiting to be discovered.

His eyes brightened… “Really?” he asked, as though this news was too good to be true.

“Yes, and if I never see you again on this earth; I will see you in heaven. I will see you all in heaven.” I carefully looked at each one – eye to eye.

I was in a facility where hundreds of children, ages ten through sixteen, lived. Almost all of them felt abandoned by their parents or their families. Many didn’t have families.

Drama is cool there. Being tough is cool. Having the worst story is cool.

Under all the bristle and the forced laughter they feel…

… lost,

… alone,

… and empty.

Such a small message… can make the difference of a lifetime.

Seventy one youths gave their lives to Jesus on Saturday in the depths of that detention center… it’s a start. It was the first day of the rest of their lives.

Love always,

Rachel

Now that we are his children,
God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts.
And his Spirit tells us that God is our Father.
Galatians 4:6 CEV