Sunday, May 10, 2015

Remembering prison moms today

Mothers of prisoners

There are 43,000 people housed in the Michigan prison system this morning.  All of them had a mom at one time…many of them still have a mother today.  To these precious and hurting souls, we pay tribute on Mother’s Day.

Many of the mothers will not see their offspring today, for various reasons (fewer than 15% of prisoners get any visits at all!). 

-The state has placed many of the prisoners in facilities too far away to make visits possible.
-Many of the mothers are elderly and/or incapacitated, preventing travel and visits.
-Some are estranged---the kids have no desire to see them, or they now have no use for their kids.
-Some have gone home to glory, not living long enough to see their child in a free society again.

And among those who are fortunate and able to make a visit today---

-Many are struggling with guilt:  “If only I had been a better mother,” or “If only I had paid attention to the early signs of mental illness,” or “If only I had worked harder to keep a father in the family.”  I know this for certain, because I speak with you, I see the feelings of guilt in your eyes.
-Many are just struggling with shame and sadness.  I see it in the visitor’s lounge when you fail to make eye contact with me, a stranger in your midst.

Moms in prison

There are 2,000 women in the Michigan prison system.  Many are mothers.  Many of these mothers won’t see their offspring today, either.  Statistics say that fewer than 300 will probably receive visitors.

-Their families are too far away…the drive to Ypsilanti is just too long.
-Some of the kids are too young.
-Some are not only mother-less, but fatherless, and are being cared for by grandparents or friends.
-Some have grown kids who are ashamed of their mom, and don’t ever want to see her again.
-Some have burned bridges, and are hurting with this loss of a relationship.
-Some have no idea where their husbands and kids have gone.

The above lists are just samples…just the beginning.  Each mother can add another reason to these lists or another variety on the same theme.

So when offering prayers for moms today, I simply ask that you remember mothers of prisoners and moms in prison.  Many of them will not be remembered.  Many feel forgotten.  All are hurting.

To all of them we offer this Mother’s Day gift:  God’s amazing grace.  Our prayer is that each one feels God’s peace and love today, regardless of all other circumstances.  And we offer this prayer in the name of Jesus, who not only loved his own mom, but loves every mother!

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