Yesterday our local Kiwanis Club, which Brandon is a member of, had a wonderful Christmas concert that was open to the public at the First United Methodist Church of Forsyth.
The choir that sang was no ordinary choir.
This choir was the Georgia Women's Metro State Prison Choir, the Voices of Hope.
You read that right-these are women in prison who audition and must pass various musical and behavioral tests to be a part of this amazing choir.
They are incredible. Please consider donating or purchasing one of their cd's.
I filmed these videos using my iPhone and I was surprised at how well they turned out all things considered.
I cried through the entire concert because so many thoughts were running through my head.
I cried because I wondered what they had done to get there.
I cried as I wondered how they are able to lift up and glorify the Lord unabashedly, then I realized it's because He has forgiven each one of them who has repented.
Isn't He merciful?! His love knows no bounds.
I cried because the same God who saved me from condemnation for my own personal "big sin" in my life is the same God who freed these women from condemnation, too.
I cried as they sang Christmas carols knowing they will likely never get to have a normal Christmas again.
I cried thinking about the weight they each carry knowing that it's because of their own doing that they are imprisoned, and then I cried because by listening to them sing to and for the Lord it's obvious that He has lifted that weight from them.
I cried thinking about the sisterhood they share with each other and how they are now family.
I cried as one lady in particular sang "A Rose in Bethlehem" because all the locals knew that she was "the woman" who killed her own baby and left it in the streets in Macon over 20 years ago.
I cried thinking about what a testimony these women have.
The truth is that Satan is the only thing that can truly imprison us, physically and spiritually.
God can free us even if we are physically behind bars.
The ONLY thing these women are doing when they are outside of prison is singing for the Lord.
What if our only interaction with the outside world was singing to the Lord in front of a crowd?
Can you imagine not even being able to really look out the bus window when you live in a prison?
They actually have a CD that's available to purchase. They are $15 and all proceeds support the women's ministry as well as the Children's Center in Metro State Prison.
I think the main thing this reminded me of is that we are ALL sinners, and while I fully believe in justice, everyone is fighting their own battles and our God is awesome.
He is awesome enough to use each of their voices to glorify Him and serve as a witness to others in His name.
We don't have to be perfect to share His Word. It's impossible. We were born sinners.
He is awesome enough to forgive and redeem even in the darkest of places, such as prisons.
I can't fathom how easy it would be to guilt yourself sick if you committed such a heinous crime to land yourself in prison. I imagine I would want to die.
But, God has sent loving people to share the Gospel with these people and help them to realize that regardless of your situation and where you are, you have a voice that can be used for His glory.
Am I using my voice? Are you using your voice?
I hope you were as blessed by this as I was.