I read of a terrible crime today. I read of a ‘sex-worker’ who has done a terrible thing and will be in prison for a very long time. If found guilty she deserves to be in prison for a very long time. The pain for me is that I know this woman, I have been with her in prison. Since she was 18yrs and I was 19yrs. How our lives are now so different breaks my heart.
At 18yrs, Pearl seemed different from the other women in the art group. A bit more edgy I thought, but actually was just very insecure. She was in for a minor crime and stood with her elder sister as her sister had been in many more times and would look after her. It was a session where we made cupcakes and I brought in barbie sprinkles (!) where she lightened up and spoke to me and I saw her beaming smile, which changed her face completely.
She was released from prison but when she returned she was unrecognizable. The woman who had housed her upon release allowed her to live there for free and slowly encouraged her to take heroin. Once hooked, the woman said Pearl owed her a lot of money for staying there..and for the heroin- so she had better sell it for her. Trapped.
This is when Pearl heard about a good way to get money to pay off her debts, and make sure she would keep getting what she needed as her habbit (as it always does) was now complete addiction.
This is the monologue of my prison girls I always find the hardest to perform, and have often cried after if not during! It was Pearl who sat with another scouse beauty and told me so matter-of-fact about the pit they were sinking in to. It makes my skin crawl to imagine these women, these teenage girls, having been through so much to end up at this place. Hoping I wouldn’t think of them as prostitutes, but not being able to look me in the eye as covered in shame. Shame a 19yr old girl should not have to carry. I find it hard to perform as I never new the end of this story! Pearl was shipped off to another prison and then released. I always had a bad feeling and new I could only pray that she would have found another way.
Then today I read of a terrible story. If you read it you would hate her, and trust me I know she needs to be in prison for a long time. It does not stop my heart from breaking though as I know this girl. I know how she was when she could smile and then saw the destruction of pain and drug abuse destroying her body and spiraling her life into a dark pit.
There are not always happy endings but I will always hold onto Hope.
Also today, I had lunch today with a dear friend Laura, who had a 17yr heroin addiction, did time in prison and by her own admission was walking down a very dark path. Today we had lunch talking about her love of Jesus who has helped her stay clean for 3yrs, her amazing work helping women to feel beautiful and talked wedding dresses as she marries a strong Godly man in September.
That is my God. That is where my Hope lies.
I can still pray for Pearl. I believe God loves her, he hates what she has done, but he loves her. He created her to smile. I hate that instead she has made decisions sending her into the one who comes to steal, kill and destroy.
My God is good. I will pray for her. I will pray for my prison team. I will pray that in whatever way He can, he will help her. I have faith for her life to change around. She is 23yrs old. Her life is not over.