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February, Issue 1

2017: Inspiration for Her Volume 2

There is therefore now no condemnation for thThere is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit o f life has set you[b] free in Christ Jesus from th e law of sin and death. Romans 8:1,2

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February, Issue 1

Letter from the Editor

She is energetic and strong, a hard worker. She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future. When she speaks, her words are wise, and she gives instructions with kindness. Proverbs 31:17, 25-26 

I just re-read the first-ever Inspiration for Her Letter from the Editor. And I am baffled. I remember Andy reading it over before printing and being amazed at the hope he saw between the lines, and asking where that came from, because it’s not something I exude on a daily basis. Unfortunately, the only answer I can give is that for whatever reason, God has chosen me to be this person – the editor – and has given me the ability to share the hope of Christ with women who need it just as desperately as I do. Seriously, these letters are as much (if not more) for me as they are for anyone else who reads them. I’m not always the most hopeful person (still trying to figure that one out…), but I do know where my hope comes from, and that is from Jesus Christ.  

I was listening to an album by JJ Heller one morning about a week ago while I was getting ready for the day, and a song came on that hit me pretty hard. The chorus goes like this: “Sometimes it feels like forever / When it’s dark outside / Baby, the sun will rise / Baby, the sun will rise / However long the night.” And I remember a time a couple years ago that I heard that song (I believe I was pregnant with Lilly, because it’s on JJ’s “I Dream of You” album, which is like her lullaby album), feeling like the night was never going to end. That I was just stuck in this darkness, in this pit, in this state of hopelessness. And I don’t really remember feeling like that night had come to an end at any point over the next couple of years. In fact, we faced some pretty trying times over those next couple years, and it was hard to just trust God and His goodness. It was hard to see what He was trying to do in those circumstances and situations and with those relationships. Not to say that it’s been all dark for two years, because God has certainly done some miraculous things and blessed me beyond measure with my husband, daughter, soon to be son, and wonderful friends and family. But I was so stuck in my darkness that light was hard to see.

But that morning when I heard that song again, I cried as I realized that the sun has risen. That I don’t always feel hopeless or lost or like I’m just floating through my life. I see that I have a purpose in this life. I see that I am loved by, accepted by, and complete in the One who created me; the One who continues to mold and shape me on a daily basis. I look around this new, warm, cozy house we are living in, watch my daughter play in her bouncy house, and feel my unborn child kicking in my belly, and thank God for the rising sun. And then I thank God for the rising Son; His rising Son.

I don’t always have daily encounters that make me think about and acknowledge the amazingness of Jesus. But something I’ve been experiencing a lot lately is that realization through worship on Sundays. I can’t tell you the last time I was not brought to tears for the majority of the worship service, because the lyrics speak to the wonder, power, forgiveness, and love of Jesus Christ. Because I’m “forced” to remember my dark days of sin and hurt and rejection towards God, and the fact that He sent His only Son to the world to be crucified for MY sake, knowing the exact wrongs I would commit, the sin and hate I would harbor in my heart, and doing it anyways. Hallelujah!

I used the same opening verse in this article as I did a year ago, because I wanted to use that as a goal for 2016, and, well, I don’t necessarily feel like I’ve accomplished that goal as well as I could. So, here’s to trying again in 2017. To being strong, wise, and kind. To being fearless in Christ. I pray you will step out in that journey with me. That together, we can continue to find Hope and strength and dignity in the midst of all our circumstances. Ladies, life is not easy. And Satan will do anything and everything he can to kill, steal, and destroy everything God wants to do in and through us. But God… God wants to restore, uplift, encourage, grow, strengthen, and transform us! And HE is the ultimate power. Satan is not the antagonist – he is not God’s counterpart. He is not the evil version of the “all-powerful, all-knowing, ever-present” God of our lives. He only knows our past; God knows our future! And I really can’t tell you how excited that makes me. Because my past sucks, and I want my future to be better. And I don’t think I’m the only one feeling that way.

We are entering a new year, Sisters. A new season. A new life. And that should be something worth sharing and celebrating! So I want to encourage you to share with the other ladies around you what God is doing in your life. How is He shaping you? What is He taking you through, besides “just being in prison” (which I don’t take lightly!)? Your life doesn’t end on the inside of those walls – it begins! Take this time to explore God and His Word. It is full of truths to encourage you and to give you strength.  

Also, should you feel so called, put your changes on paper and send them to us so we can share it with the other ladies going through similar situations! I’ve heard it said “you can’t keep it unless you give it away.” I know that sounds silly, but here is the reasoning. Joy is contagious. So when you share the joy of the Lord with someone else, not only does it bring THEM joy, but it also brings YOU more joy. It’s the most fantastic domino effect ever! It’s like “pay it forward” – you do something kind for someone, then they do something kind for someone else, etc. But in this case, you are sharing the love of Jesus and the transforming power of the cross. And that’s better than kindness. So get to writing! We love and care for you ladies. Nothing you’ve done will change that. Same goes for Jesus.

Excited and Inspired to get this new ball rolling,

Kirsten Foster  

Inspiration Ministries

Newsletter Features

  • Letter from the Editor by Kirsten Foster
  • Celebrating Recovery by Arlene Samuelson
  • My Variegated Hair by CJ Eaton
  • My Search for Love by Anonymous
  • Will I Ever Overcome by Rebecca Congleton
  • Hearts by Sharon Brooks

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Testimonials

  • wilson gonzalez"We have found the opportunity through Inspiration Ministries to express not just our feelings but also the words that the Holy Spirit puts in our hearts to share with others. I see I.M. as a channel of communication between the church...read more
    Wilson Gonzalez
  • james rogers jr"When I met Anthony Ponds, James Summers, and Rigdel De Lardilles back in 2011, I heard a lot about Brother Andrew Foster, and the Inspiration Ministries movement here at Quincy. But not only did I hear about him and ministry events...read more
    James Rogers
  • robert miller"A year ago my world was shifted. I was discouraged, alone, and in need of something/someone to embrace me. It would be pious to say, “All I needed was the assurance that the Lord was with me,” because reality is sometimes you don’t feel that way...read more
    Robert Miller
  • david owen"The newsletter is an integral part of my daily spiritual walk in prison. I don’t say that lightly and here’s why: “For I know the thoughts I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not evil, to give you a future and a hope” (Jeremiah 29:11 NKJV). The newsletter is primarily written by prisoners and ex-prisoners for prisoners...read more
    David Owen
  • rigdel de lardilles 01"In one word, the Inspiration Newsletter to me means Hope. If anyone has ever done time behind the walls or been down and out, you can relate; there is always someone there to let you know just how bad you messed up, or how impossible it's going to be to bounce back...read more
    Rigdel De Lardilles
  • christopher bachmann"The newsletter means so very much to me because it has been and continues to be a great source of encouragement and inspiration to me. I am so thankful to Brother Andy for his faith in following God’s vision. In turn, he gave it to us...read more
    Christopher Bachmann