Jul 162015

When you are in jail you aren’t allowed to whistle… people who whistle are usually CO’s and the inmates who whistle are risking being injured or even killed. Singing is fine though, even encouraged, making music and lyrics is part of life. When I asked a friend, Gerry, why you can’t whistle in jail he told me straight out “because birds are free and they whistle, you can only whistle when you are free.”

This has always stuck with me. Possibly because I own a bird and I have had many birds through my life. My bird likes to climb out of his cage and sit on his roof and whistles, or talk, he often says my sons name which is funny since the bird is terrified of the kids. Every night when Tweety comes out and sings a song or whistles along with me while I am cleaning or working I am reminded that having his door open gives him the love of singing, of being free. He is a domestic bird and always has been so to him the room is the world. He doesn’t know what horrors he would face outside of here and he is content in this room of ours.

It makes me sad though, that inmates can’t whistle, because when you’re serving a year or two or life and you find God all you want to do is sing form the rooftops that you are in fact free. You want to whistle Jesus Loves Me because you have learned that the walls that surround you are meaningless to your soul and that when you have achieved true freedom it doesn’t matter where you are, it simply means you are God’s child and you know it!

My friend, Gerry, has been in and out of jail now since he was 8 years old, one day over the phone we calculated his time served for all these petty things and it was nearly 40 years of his life, and yet each week when I receive a letter in the mail, or a new piece of art from him, I see how free he truly is because of his walk with the Lord. He makes life seem so simple and happy and easy when I know for a fact it is not. He draws me pictures of wildlife and the things he misses from the outside world. His letters are always about me, my family, how I am doing and my walk with God.

He is the Paul in my life. Writing to me from what many would call the depths of hell to encourage me through the power of the Holy Ghost. I remember writing to him years ago, that even Jesus had been arrested and therefore I could not judge. Part of me had been set free upon our friendship beginning and through the grace of God that freedom persists, the letters come, the art goes up and the prayers are felt.

I am free today, tomorrow and eternally all through the One who died in captivity.

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  20 Responses to “When You Find Freedom in a Scary Place”

  1. This was absolutely beautiful, Marisa! I was drawn in my your description of prison life, Tweety, and your relationship with this Paul figure. What a blessing to have a friendship like this to speak truth into your life and freedom over you even when he is behind bars. Really, just like Paul did for the first century church. Thanking God tonight for this lovely man!

    • Thank you for your sweet words Asheritah!! I have learned so much through all of my friends, and the biggest lesson has been that God is always in control, and that the situation is what we make of it!!! Hallelujah!!

  2. Powerful message! Thank you for sharing!

  3. Marisa,
    thank you for sharing such a beautiful story. Wow. I don’t have words to describe this, but you moved me. Thank you for letting us see the beauty of redemption.
    (your #fmf friend at #6 this week)

    • Thank you Tammy! I think that people as a society often feel that jail/prison means you are bad to the core, and it doesn’t. It means you made a mistake, it gives you an opportunity to walk with God. It teaches you to not judge others because you know that so many are looking down on you. You find company in God because he died a prisoner, he gets it!!

  4. What a beautiful story, Marisa. I will be praying for your friend, that his light would grow brighter and brighter and that he would influence many for Christ.

    • Thank you Marie, he has been very sick this past year with liver problems and I always fear that I will get a call that he has passed. Through his artwork and his eagerness to see the good in people he has already touched so many lives!!

  5. Marissa, I’ve always seen your beautiful face on the #FiveMinuteFriday linkup and for some reason never clicked your link until today! I’m so glad I did. This is a beautiful story of Gerry, Tweety, and Freedom. I’m with Asheritah. You pulled me in with your story.

    • Thank you for stopping in Betsy!! I have to admit I am really horrible at getting to a bunch of the blogs on the linkup. I try but there is only so much time!! You are very sweet and kind. I am happy this story touched you! <3

  6. wow, such an amazing post.

  7. Love this.
    Whistle while you work…
    Pray while you wait.
    Write while you can.
    I’m glad for your perspective and your grace in writing. Love that you have a pen pal in jail! Wow!
    That is so cool, and what a perspective and special friendship you give one another. <3, Jenn, FMF

    • Thank you Jenn!! I think missions start at home and when people feel cherished by others it helps to heal their soul and bring them closer to God. We see in the Bible soooo much ministry occur from within the walls of a jail, I do not think that we were taught this for nothing. God is amazing and he lives everywhere!!

  8. Wow!! Absolutely captivating.. Dropping in from FMF…

  9. wow, this is amazing! I had no idea about not whistling in jail, and what a gift your artist friend has found. What a gift he is to everyone.

    • Thanks for stopping in Leah! There are so many things about jail that one doesn’t know. The beautiful thing though? There is no bias because everyone who is there knows that something got them there, innocent or not. I once heard a pastor say that God is in prisons in ways that He simply can’t be in church. For a lot of people, God is all they have. No worries or cares, just them and God.

  10. What a beautiful story! When I was in school, I had an internship in a prison and it did seem like folks there had a certain understanding of the basics of freedom that many of us don’t. I guess if many of your freedoms are taken away from you, then you start to think about being free in a more basic way.

    • Yes Amy! You really do witness freedom like no other in those who are simply doing their time and hanging out with God. No dishes to do, no chores, no house to clean, no cooking no errands to run all of that leaving time for spiritual growth and true repentance. We see so many in the Bible writing from the inside of jails and those messages are the most profound and the most relatable to many of us. God is sooo good and sooooo ALIVE!! Hallelujah!!

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