Anyone who tells you that prison is not a huge barrier for your family is lying to you.
It is an extraordinary barrier to creating a strong, thriving family. And, the struggles do not disappear when your husband comes home. A prison experience will either infect or affect you for the rest of your life. Prison changes everything. If you know how; you can use prison to change your life in a positive way.
There is no denying that this journey will be the most difficult journey you will take. If you are going to overcome the barrier of prison in your family, you are going to have to work hard. Really hard. The only alternative is to let your family fall apart. You and I both know that is not an option. So, roll up your sleeves and get ready to work harder than you ever imagined working. Saving your family from the ruins of prison will be the single greatest accomplishment of your life!
You might think I am being over-dramatic
about the impact prison is having on your family. I wish I were. Consequently, research and statistics across the world have documented the devastating effects of prison on families. It is heartbreaking. If I could change the entire system, I would. I can’t, but I can help individuals save their own families. You can change your family’s destiny. When you do, your family becomes another heroic legacy, and eventually, we will change the world. Be strong, be courageous. This life is not just about you, but about your family’s future generations. If that is not enough—remember that families across the world are falling apart because they give up hope. When they see someone else make it, they find the strength to hope again, and the courage to continue on their journey to save their family.
There are some obstacles you must face...
Although every family has their own journey and their own challenges, there are some common obstacles that every family who is enduring prison must face. When you are prepared to overcome the barriers of prison, your family will be positioned for success!
I know it is overwhelming to face everything and recover. Everything in me wanted to run and hide from all of the pain, the judgment, and the grief of having my husband in prison. I never wanted to be strong, and I definitely didn’t want to have to be courageous. Courage is only needed when you face danger. Who wants to face danger?? Not me! I wanted a safe, simple life. Sometimes, we don’t get what we want.
I learned more about myself in the midst of the danger of my family falling apart than I ever would have if I had never experienced this challenge. Truly I had to be courageous, brave and strong to overcome all of the barriers for my family to make it through prison and beyond. I never imagined I would say that I was grateful for our journey through prison, but I am. We are warriors who have conquered fear, doubt, and insecurity to become a strong, thriving family. Our experience taught us to become resilient, forgiving, and furthermore, to build the fortitude we needed to become unbreakable.
I felt grossly underqualified to save my family.
As I was going through the journey, there were many nights I felt grossly under-qualified to save my family. I thought I was too helpless, hated, and weak to change our destiny. Every day I fought my own mind battles to find the courage to build a new foundation for my family. I often faced prejudice, but also encountered encouragement in unexpected places. From crying outside the prison, to speaking before legislators; from collecting food stamps to speaking in Washington DC—my journey has been a beautiful adventure. I am living proof that it can be done. Your family is also your motivation that it must be done. You must save your family.
In order to get your family on the right track and keep moving toward a better life, there a few things you MUST do.
- Focus on becoming better every day. Keeping your eyes on the goal instead of the circumstances around you will keep you motivated to reach your goals.
- Ignore the hate. When others criticize you for doing the right thing, walk away. Ignore them and their words. Your mission to save your family is more important than their opinions.
- Win the mind battles. Do not let your own imagination or insecurities dictate your actions. You CAN do this.
- Practice gratefulness. Every single day, tell your family the things that you are grateful for. This is so important for setting a culture of hope and anticipation for the future! You won’t find joy in your future if you truly cannot see any in your present. No matter how awful your current circumstances are, there is ALWAYS something to be grateful for.
- Work hard. Roll up your sleeves and then go to work. I mean this both literally in terms of getting employment and in getting your life in order. Good things come to those who are furthermore diligent.
- Grow faith. Spend time studying and praying together as a family. Then, get connected to a church for support, spiritual growth, accountability, and stability for your children.
Prison doesn’t have to be the destruction of your family and your legacy. Your past does not define you, but it can qualify you for your future if you let it. Moreover, use this opportunity to create a new, healthy foundation for your family. Your family is worth fighting for; your family is worth saving.
I am rooting for you!