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Sunday, January 15, 2017

Life Goes On

Hello,

I hope time is finding you all well.
I know it's been a while since I've posted on here... but I wanted to leave a quick(ish) message (in the off-chance someone still checks this blog). Or maybe this post is just for me... but either way---

Dad's been home for a year now. A YEAR! Wow. Sometimes, I still can't believe it's true. It's strange how time passed so slowly for so long and now, it seems to be flying by... it's funny how we all slipped back into the life we left all those years ago. And I mean the life we had 13 years ago. The life full of wonder, potential, and joy. A life I NEVER thought we could all truly live in again. Yes, there are still hard days and we still have to deal with "the fallout" of everything; but we had all forgotten what it felt like to live in a life without fear surrounding every move we made... and somehow, going through it not only made us better people but it showed us how to appreciate the little things and stop stressing about the things we can't change. To laugh and mean it, from the bottom-of-your-heart, mean it! To live in peace- even in a world of chaos- to stay in our "joy-bubble" and be okay with "just figuring it out" as we go. We now know what truly matters in life and we now embrace it.
Absolute fresh air.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

When I started this blog, I couldn't even fathom this day. The day I would sit here and say 'he's home! And we all made it! Oh Lord, we actually survived it.' 
It was a far off dream that I knew we would make it to one day-- but it still seemed impossible. 
And yet today, I just returned home with my whole family (yes, dad too!!) from our first family trip in 13 years. Somehow, this whole blog has become a record of bad memories-- a life I lived in some distant past. Somehow, the impossible happened. Somehow... life went on.

My life was turned upside down when I was 13. From ages 13-19 I lived in a "fear world". Maybe not every second of everyday-- life did go on-- but the fear of my family being split into pieces always lingered in my heart and I carried it everywhere I went... (you all know that story..)
Then from the ages of 19-24, my family and I had to move past the "fear of what if's" and learn how to live in those pieces, in the "prison world". For the better part of my life (maybe 'memory' is a better word-- but who really remembers day-to-day life before that age anyways??) I had to constantly "learn how to live." How to deal with the cards that had been dealt to me... although none of it was my fault or my choice. Funny how life can do that-- keep bending you, keep testing you, keep seeing how much it will take to finally break you. Until you finally find yourself spending time everyday asking God and the universe "How much more can one person really take?! It's too much..." 
And what's even more funny-- the moment you realize that it IS over and that you SURVIVED. No. not only survived but that you came through it at the end as a Champion. Better. Stronger. Wiser. 
The moment you realize that it's not what you do - it's not what the government (society, your neighbors, whoever..) has labeled you as - it's not what you've been through, that defines who you are. But how you chose to respond to what you've been through (are going through) is what defines who you are.


I used to think that if ANYONE who truly knew what I was going through had been through it before me and made it out of it-- somehow, some way-- could have just looked me in the eyes and told me they knew what it was like, I know it would have helped me. Strengthened me.
If someone could have looked into my eyes when I was that scared 13 year old girl and said:
You aren't alone. I TRULY understand and I promise you-- you WILL get through this and you REALLY will be okay...
In the end, I discovered that there was someone who was telling me that very thing, I just didn't realize it yet... There is only one reason why we all survived... our strength was not our own. There was a point we all had to really understand that we are not living for ourselves but for something much bigger than ourselves... and I won't preach at you today, but I will tell you that no matter what you come to face (and whether you realize it or not), He will always be standing there beside you, holding your every tear in His hand, and reminding you:   

"You are not alone. I TRULY understand and I promise you-- you WILL get through this and you REALLY will be okay... Even if it seems impossible! Even if it seems like no one has ever faced what you're facing before! Even if all the odds are against you... and even if you can't see anyway out-- I promise, this WILL pass. I promise, you will be okay."

For me and my family, time did go on. Life went on. And we all came out of it better than when we went in. And you will too. 


Never give up. 
May God bless you,
Shekinah 





-----> My new ministry for Familes of Prisoners begins in February.

Friday, July 17, 2015

The end and the beginning

Hey everyone!

Let me start this post by saying, isn't our God good?!
As of today, we only have 12 days left until we go and pick dad up!!! Yes, you read that correctly! 12 days!!! Like I said in the previous post, we will be taking him to a halfway house much closer to home! We actually get to walk out of that prison with him!! My heart is so light! I almost can't even believe it's actually happening! So many years have passed by with us awaiting this very day and now that it's almost here, I just about can't believe it!
I have to give a BIG thank you to all of you who have so faithfully visited him, written him, asked about him, and prayed for him. Y'all have made these last 4 and 1/2 years eaiser on all of us. God protected dad the whole time, He protected us on all our long drives to see dad, & He provided for us when our money began to deplete. The Lord has been so faithful! So thank you for your prayers! You have no idea how much those prayers kept us going.
I can't believe this is the end of prison life for us!! The next step is bringing dad home! And that will be a beautiful new beginning for all of us. Praise the Lord!

Thank you.

Love,
Shekinah

There is a hope.




Monday, May 11, 2015

A New Day

Hello all!
Well, in my last post I told you all that we applied for home confinement. We knew it was a long shot and it took a really long time to get a reply. Dad did not get home confinement, however, he did get approved for a halfway house! It is only an hour and 45 mins away from where we live and it is such a beautiful and awesome blessing! We will be able to take him there ourseleves!! So we will get to pick him up in July and drive him to the halfway house! Prison will be OVER! That's right! Ah! Wow! What a blessing! He will have a cell phone and get to have his truck! Be able to wear his own clothes and get a job! It is so very wonderful! We couldn't be more thankful! God has His own way of working things out and we are all just so thrilled! Ill be sure to update you all on how it all goes! Again thank you all for your love, support, and prayers!

Keep Jeff Pierson in your prayers! And God bless!

Love,
Shekinah

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

It's All Down Hill From Here

Hello!

Well it's been a while since I've posted on here. I've been super busy and to be honest, I don't know who all follows this blog anymore since it's been 4 years since dad left. But for those of you who do keep a check, here's a quick update;

We've been trying to get dad on home confinement for "up to" the last 6 months of his time. It's a fairly new alternative to halfway house time for those who don't qualify for halfway house time, like dad. Anyway, we've sent off all the paperwork and now, we're just waiting to hear if he's been approved or not... his approval would be the difference in him coming home in July vs. him not coming home until January 2016. What a blessing it would be! So we are all praying super hard on this end! We know God will put him where ever He needs him, but we are praying that the place he is needed most, is back home with his family.

Dad has gotten really good with his leather work! The stuff he is making now is amazing! 
He has also been witnessing to several other guys there. He's been able to lead several men to the Lord. It's been amazing watching God use him for His glory. Dad has grown so much over the last few years. I've seen God change him in so many wonderful ways. Not that he wasn't amazing before... God just made him shine a little brighter. 

We are still visiting dad a least once a month. We would go more but money has gotten harder to come by. The trip is long and expensive... but we always do go see him at least once a month. 

Back in February I started doing prison ministries with my church! I now go to a women's prison every few Sunday's and fellowship with the ladies there. 

It's pretty amazing looking back over these last 4 years and seeing how far this family has come. What the devil intended for evil, God had another plan for... He is using what was a heart breaking family separation, and transforming it into something far more beautiful than any of us ever dreamed was ever possible. My families situation hasn't changed, our circumstances haven't changed, but our hearts have changed. And because of that, we are able to reach other families and other prisoners and help lead them to Jesus! Who would have ever thought?!?! My family has stood together and we are all stronger today then any of us ever dreamed...  God can take the darkest, most hopeless circumstances and make them awe inspiring. 

My family is going to be just fine. We are on the down hill slope of what was a very tiring and difficult up hill battle. We can all see the light at the end now. And that light is brighter than we thought it could be. Never give up hope. Never lose faith. You never know what awesome things God has planned for you. 

Love,
Shekinah

Keep Jeff Pierson in your prayers!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

We're half way there...

Hello everyone!
Well, we've reached the half way mark! Half of this horrible time is behind us... pretty soon we'll be able to start counting down...
I wanted to say a quick thank you to everyone who has been so faithful to us... those who've driven all the hard miles to see dad, those who've written him, those who've stayed updated through the blog, and those who've been praying for him and our family. I cannot express how much it means to all of us and dad. You guys have been so great. Thank you.

Romans 8:38---------------->


So, not really a whole lot to update on... things have been a little crazier at visits lately. The guards are doing everything they can to make visits as short and cheerless as they can. They've changed how we wait in line (which may not seem like much, but trust me, it's a disaster). Some of the guards are nice and understand what we all go through and they are a blessing to us, but so many of them try to do anything and everything they can to make visiting time as miserable as possible... we're working on getting things done but all we can really do is write letters and that doesn't seem to be getting us too far.
What people don't realize in situations like these, is how the family suffers... but then again, most people don't care either. And I don't blame them. I'm sure if I hadn't grown up in this crazy life, I'd probably be the same as the rest of the world. Maybe I'd even be like the guards... I'm struggling with not holding a grudge... God has forgiven me for so many wrongs I've done, I know I have to find it in my heart to forgive those who wrong me...
<--------------Matthew 6:12 , 14


 But other than that, dad is doing okay. Again, time is passing, and that is a blessing indeed. He's been spending a lot of time in the leather shop and he's made some really beautiful things! I've attached a couple of pictures of purses and key rings he's made me.


<--------------One is called a patch purse (used from patches of scrap leather)





The other is an Alabama football purse he made me for my birthday.

--------------->
It's helping him pass time... it's just very expensive and since mom and dad can't afford it, Brit and I are paying for the leather. It makes him happy to have something to do he enjoys and he makes things to give us which makes him feel better too because he feels like it's something he can give back to us.




Me, mom, Grandad, and Brit are going to see him this weekend. Please say a quick prayer that the visit goes better this time than the last one... Again thank you for all you do...

 Keep Jeff Pierson in your prayers!

Love,
Shekinah

Here's a few more things he's made:

 


Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Hebrews 11:1


Hello everyone

I know it has been a while since my last post and I am sorry for that. I have been so busy with work lately it's taking up most of my free time. I also just wasn't very sure how much traffic my blog was receiving and became slightly discouraged. However, I have recently found out how helpful this blog has seemed to be for some and I will be sure to make time to update more frequently.

So, for those of you who don't know, March 9th marked 2 years since dad has been gone. Gosh, it feels like it has been so much longer. Yes, it has gotten easier but in the same light its gotten more difficult realizing that for now, this is our life. Over the past few months I have had some very difficult struggles... mainly with my faith. At one point, I thought I'd all but lost my faith altogether. But I found it was difficult to remain in my struggles when I had dad constantly remind me God has not forrgotten or forsaken us. Sometimes I tend to forget that I am not alone in this. None of us are, even when it feels that way sometimes.

Dad is doing really well (outside of the obvious). Throughout the first year of him being gone, it seemed all we talked about was trying to get him home... with each failed attempt, dad grew more and more weary. We all did really. And now I often find dad talking about the day he comes home (3 more years) and all the things our family will do again one day. We laugh very much during visits. Leaving on Sundays is always hard, but it too in its own way has become eaiser. We've all accepted this life for now. Monday dad started leather classes. He will learn to make and engrave all kinds of things out of leather (belts, shoes, purses, etc.). We've seen some of the things others had made and they are absoulutly beautiful! I know he will enjoy it and it's something he can use when he gets home. All things considered, we are all doing alright. Mom is good. Now that I have graduated college, received my degree, and am working full time, I've been able to help out with cost of trips to go see dad. Me, mom, Brit, Curtis (my husband) and Grandad are going to see dad next weekend for my monthly visit. (mom goes at least 2 times a month). I am very excited to see him.. as always.

Dad has recently been able to email!! We get to talk everyday now! It has made everything a lot easier. I get to tell him little things about my day and how I'm doing... it is truly a blessing! If anyone is interested in emailing with him please let me know. It is very simple and free of charge.

Times are hard, but we serve a God of greatness. Our God is great! We can never doubt. We can never be fearful. We can never do anything but be thankful because God is love. And He loves us all more than we can even begin to understand. We are never alone. We are never unheard. And we are never unloved. We live in a evil word with trials that seem alomost unbearable, but we are all truly blessed. Most people can not understand our life. They can't imagine the things we've seen and they may judge us, but God does not judge. He forgives and loves. And though no of us deserve His love, He continues to give it to us freely. Yes, we are blessed.

If anyone is in need of prayer, please let me know. There is power in prayer. Thank you all so very much for the prayers you have given.

Keep Jeff Pierson in your prayers!!

Love,
Your sister in Christ
Shekinah



Friday, October 19, 2012

Finding reasons to smile...



                                   Hello everyone!

Well, there really isn't much to update you all on, I just wanted to post a quick message letting everyone know that dad is doing okay. The ninth was 19 months since dads been gone and it feels like 19 years.
It's crazy how long it feels like it's taking... sometimes it feels like time has stopped all together... but time is passing and we are still believing that God is in control...

Oh yeah! I'm not sure if I told you all this but for the prisoners who didn't receive a high school diploma before going inside, are required to take classes and get a GED. So a few months ago dad had to "go back to school" and try to relearn the basics... he was very worried he wasn't going to pass the big test and have to take the classes all over again... however, he passed his GED exam! And he is getting to do a cap and gown walk with the others inside who passed too!! Of course, no visitors or family members will be allowed to participate or go, but we are still so very excited for him! He said they will take two pictures of him in his cap and gown and send them to us though! So maybe I'll get to post one of those pics on here. :)
So, next weekend me, mom, Curtis, Matt, and Kayla are going to see dad. It should be a good trip.:) Matt and Kayla are getting to share with dad there big news that Kayla is 9 weeks pregnant! I know dad will be just beside himself happy for them. Kayla was really wanting to tell dad in person so I know she's excited too. I've been sending dad's new celly (the one who just got saved) a few different "bible" books. Things like "how to study your bible", "Holy Bible crossword puzzles", and "bible promise books". Dad said he got them all and was very excited about them. Dad is very thrilled to have a roommate whom he can share the Word of God with. It is truly a blessing for both of them and we thank the Lord everyday for that very wonderful miracle! (See last blog post)

I'm not sure when the next time I will get to go and visit dad again will be. Of course I always go at least once a month but not sure when next month I'll be able to go... money is getting tight for mom and the 1000 mile trips are getting harder on her. So please keep her in your prayers as well... Although, no matter what,I know God will always help us find a way to spend time with dad. But even still, your prayers are very much welcomed and we are very thankful for them.

 I'll post again soon and let everyone know how the trip went. Sorry I don't have much more to report.


As always, if anyone needs prayer, please let me know. There is power in prayer and power in numbers:)

Keep Jeff Pierson in your prayers!

Love,

Shekinah