“What is there to be thankful for about confinement?” I grumbled. “I’m in a cell by myself for 24 hours a day, seven days a week…and for how long?”
The Holy Spirit quickly responded, “Confinement gives you the opportunity to trust Me with your life.”
I’ve been locked up in prison for decades. I’ve had to learn to trust God and give Him thanks daily. It’s the only way I’ve survived the hardships of prison life. But a period of solitary confinement challenged my level of gratitude.
My mother had just had heart surgery and was on a dialysis machine for her kidneys. No one expected her to live. She was sent to a rehab center and then went home under hospice care. I was unsettled. Any time I’d heard of hospice taking care of someone, it seemed that person soon died. I was afraid the same thing would happen to my mother. I prayed, asking God to let me see her one more time.
And then they put me in solitary confinement.
My first week there, I received a letter from my mother. I was delighted to read that she was feeling better and improving every day. She promised that she and my sisters would visit me as soon as I was back in general population. Joy filled my heart.
I thanked God for Mom’s letter and her health. Was I thankful for confinement? Not quite, but I was grateful for many other things. No matter where you are, there’s always something to be thankful for, and I was determined to find it.
I woke up Thanksgiving Day, still in confinement but with thankfulness in my heart. I wrote letters to Mom, my sisters, and my friends. I wrote articles about the things God had been teaching me in His Word and in my life.
I thanked God for His Holy Spirit, who gives me strength to keep moving toward being more like Christ. I thanked Jesus who, though He suffered, remained focused on doing His Father’s will. His example keeps me focused too.
I thanked God for all the blessings He had given me—for the chaplain clerk who had provided an excellent Christian novel for me to read and for the officer who had given me an extra cup of milk. I thanked Him for my friends, Lucy and Roy, who sent me letters. Just knowing others were praying for me encouraged and strengthened me to face each day.
Psalm 92:1–2 says, “It is good to give thanks to the Lord, to sing praises to the Most High. It is good to proclaim your unfailing love in the morning, your faithfulness in the evening” (NLT).
My confinement proved those verses true. As I remained grateful and shifted my eyes off my circumstances and onto God, the days were not as long and lonely. They were filled with God’s peace and even joy. I still can’t say I was thrilled to be in confinement, but I was thankful God was with me.
I didn’t fully appreciate my time in isolation until after I was released, but now I do. It helped me realize that no matter where I am, I can trust God with my life. He’s always in control. His love and faithfulness know no limits—they are never confined!