Santa Monica Observer - Community, Diversity, Sustainability and other Overused Words

By Amber S. Jackson
Lucky Lifer 

CIW Female Prisoner Reveals Her Surprising Secret: "I TITHE Too..."

If we can do BAD, than we can also do good

 

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Christway Church baptism

"Yes, I Tithe. " Does it surprise you that this piece of SCUM in prison would tithe? I'm making it a regular part of my life. I say 'making' because it's a VERB. It takes repeated action. Lately, I see a lot of negativity directed at prisoners by people who don't know any prisoners. So, I'm going to use my life as a LIFER and a current prisoner as an example. Because I'm walking-the-walk. I'm 6 years write-up/(infraction) free. I've also got 6 years clean from all drug use. Yes, 6 Years clean as of May 2021. Does it surprise you that in my private time I send my money to God? Since we're all bad people in here. Capable of doing only bad things. We are limited to forming only the worst of intentions? Every waking moment in my current life is devoted to something that is recognized as rehabilitative activities. My motivations and goals are different. So, these things come natural to me, being the person that I am now. I love school. I love art. I love mentoring young women. These are the fruit of my life at this point.

I voluntarily enrolled in drug treatment because I was hungry for it after going through Covid this past year of hell. It's my first recovery program. I needed the support and I needed the discipline. I'm strengthening and maintaining my recovery. I enrolled in vocational computer related tech. I enrolled in college. I love going to my classes. I'm in a very healthy mental headspace. This is who I am NOW. If we can do BAD, than we can also do good. The same hands that once caused pain can now help heal and feed the hungry.Open your eyes.

I attended a class called "LDS Self-Reliance" offered here at CIW. The LDS Church members would come in here to teach us financial and personal self-reliance. Part of that is giving back to God what is already his. When a Christian hears this, we're convicted in our hearts. We must to act on it. You just know you must act. God is a gentlemen, He will not take it from you. I'm no Bible thumper. But I do love Jesus. He revealed himself to me in 2008. Since, He's rebuilt me. He's given me purpose and a bright future. MY LIFE BEFORE PRISON WAS A DUMPSTER FIRE. Yielding nothing of value. I produced only pain, covered by violence, causing more pain and leading me to prison. My current location. Where I found Jesus and learned to tithe...

Wait, I don't have an income as a prisoner. So, how do I tithe? Simple. When I get a book of stamps, what's 10%? Two stamps. If I get $50, I send $5. Easy. I know a Catholic ministry in need of stamps as well as cash donations. So, I tithe to them. No matter what I have, I send something. I'm proud to do so. I plan to do more as time goes on. It feeds my spirit and even when I feel like I have so little, I tithe anyway. It's become very important to me. In this fallen world, we need any blessing we can get! I'm not changed because I tithe. I tithe because I've changed. It's one of the many personal changes that came with the total transformation of my heart, mind and spirit.

I feel compelled to share more of who I am because I realised that most people would never, EVER think a prisoner would be doing this. Oh, and I have the paperwork to prove it. I'm not just running my mouth. Some folks really think prisoners spend all day trying to outsmart the guards and break rules? I want people to change the way they look at prisoners as a whole. So I'm offering them up a real life example. I normally would keep this part of my spiritual life private. But people need to know what prisoners REALLY DO WITH OUR TIME. We love God too. We pray too! In our private time we don't all do illegal things. Some of us do good. So, I have to share how I, Amber, live to combat the political fearmongering about prisoners and releases. Not all prisoners and former prisoners are predators. Many of us who have truly changed are more like you than you'd like to admit. These early releases are happening. This is real. You can't stop them. But you can change how you think.

So, take this for what it is. I tell it like it is. However it is. You can tell that from my earlier articles. I'll tell you anything I see and feel honestly.

We've done bad to come here to prison. This is a wake-up call for many of us.

We want to be better. We want jobs. We want to feel safe too. I'm a woman too. I've been raped too. We want most of the same things you want. Check your thoughts and your motivations when it comes to prisoners. God gifted me this platform, so I want you to see an example of what happens when someone makes one big, huge mistake, then lands in prison and experiences a true rebirth and genuine personal rehabilitation of the mind, heart and spirit. I offer myself as an example because I'm already walking-the-walk, as they say. Now I'm blessed to have this platform to tell you how most prisoners really live. There's plenty of others just doing the right things and working for success. The truth is most of us are living boring lives.

Boring = good, in my book. Boring is safe. Boring is my daily reality: Classes - vocational, classes - college, reading 12-step recovery books, writing - my many correspondence courses, writing - my healing journaling, art work - I really really love acrylic painting and I pray and I sleep. This is my life now and it will be so out there with the addition of a work job and regular volunteering to help and get to know my community. I have a plan.

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Singing at the Cornerstone Church

I'm happy with these things. College is fulfilling. Jesus fuels my soul with purpose. I love watching and feeling myself change. I don't read any fiction books. Lately, I'm only into self help books. Rick Warrens, The Purpose Driven Life book, changed me forever. My favorite pastime is painting or drawing with news talk radio in my ears. I love it. Oh, and or course I need a hot cup of Taster's Choice coffee, my absolute favorite...

 

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