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Billie Jo Youmans
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There is a gift we all receive but often fail to value. Can you think what it might be? You have it. You use it. You probably complain about it; most of us do. There is never enough of it. Would you rather learn to you treasure it? Have you figured out what it is yet?
The gift of time is on my mind. We all take it for granted. Life happens within the gift and living for us becomes our focus. Demands upon our time frustrate us. We grasp at the gift, yet it eludes us, slipping farther and faster with each year. Perhaps we can learn from those in prison. For a parent in prison, time is a painfully clear reality. The true purpose of time becomes obvious in isolation. We lose our treasuring of time in the bustle of life; prisoners find the treasure and long for life. We can help each other bring the two together.
Prison Fellowship and Angel Tree Ministries work together to bring good from the wrongs that led to incarceration in the first place. Doing time forces individuals to look closely at the gift of time. The treasure of time becomes an endless emptiness without the treasure of relationships. God created us for relationship. He desired to fill eternity with loving connection. Angel Tree Ministries facilitates the replication of that heavenly desire between earthly parents and their children. We, as children of God, may join the ministry in this harvest field…restoring the hearts of children and parents in earthly and eternal ways.
In prison, parents experience an excruciating longing to connect with their children. Just as the heavenly Father longs for us to connect with Him, the incarcerated parent longs to build relationships for the future. The longing softens, and sometimes breaks, hearts hardened by sin. It prepares those hearts for reconciliation with the Father through their own longing to connect with their children. Angel Tree Ministries becomes a bridge across the earthly and eternal separation. A simple gift is a tool offering hope and reconciliation.
An Angel Tree gift links two treasures, hearts and time. Just as time fades into the background for us, the gift fades into the background as the purposes of God come into view. And that truth is the piece that instructs our heart on how to treasure time. Time is a finite gift with clear purpose. Our time is intended for relationships. Are we using time to love and connect with others and with God? Are we using time to help others do the same? Angel Tree Ministries shows us the way.
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