When I arrived here I was overwhelmed and scared. I didn’t know how to get a laundry slot and my two uniforms (all that I owned) were dirty. A very tall black woman who goes by Too Tall saw how nervous I was and literally took me by the hand and led me to laundry sign-ups. She said, “Come on Baby Girl, I won’t let anyone disrespect you. Let’s go get you a laundry spot.” I felt safe and grateful because laundry in here can get intense. I was assigned a room on the other side of the unit so I hadn’t really been around Too Tall much until I got moved over to E side. Too Tall and I both wake up early in the morning. She cross stitches and I read scriptures. Both of us like to watch the cooking channel at noon. We especially like the “Chopped” competition.  I really like Too Tall, she is such a gentle giant, really a great big teddy bear. Just talking to her makes me feel safe. She’s always calm, kind, and does a great job of keeping order in the dayroom. A couple of days ago an officer was showing a couple of new officers in training around the unit. Too Tall looked over at me and said, “Look Porsche, we got us some fresh meat. It’s going to be up to us to bust those new guys in.” I laughed, there she was sitting at the table cross stitching and I was reading scriptures. Not exactly dangerous criminals:)

I went to the library last night and a woman came up to me and said, “Hey, I know you! Your name is Portia and you’re that blogger lady that the government almost killed because you wouldn’t plead guilty.” I responded, “My reputation proceeds me.” She asked me why I look so good and said, “You don’t look like you went through all of that.” I said, “I am leaving prison a champion.  Failure is not an option for me.”  I told the woman that I have faith in an all powerful God, and that He gives me comfort. We talked for a while and shared war stories and she said, “Well I think you’re amazing to go through so much and be so happy, that’s really cool.”  The fact is, we will all go through trials. Some of them are unfair, others might be exactly what we deserve. With these trials we each have a great opportunity to choose.  Choose to rise above our struggles, because we get to decide the ending. It may be a health issue, depression, or a wayward child. It might be an addiction or a financial struggle but no matter what the struggle is, enduring it well might be the most important thing we ever do. Maybe just having faith that our situation will change at some point is what we need to learn. The pain is always temporary, it will always pass!

I went to a 12 step meeting last night and the topic of discussion was our relationship with God.  I shared that I’ve always known there was a God, but I had distanced myself from him. I thought maybe He was angry at me and that he was looking down at me in disappointment, ready to strike me down.  A counselor said, “No Louder, that was your judge,”  and everyone laughed and I said, “What I know now is that the God of heaven and Earth, the same God who spoke worlds into existence and hung planets throughout the universe is fighting my battles for me. He is my Father in Heaven, he loves me and wants to give me all the good things that life has to offer.” I hear women here proclaim that what happens in prison stays in prison  or, “I’ll get it together when I get out.” I told my friends last night that each one of us has a life waiting for us perfectly designed by a loving Father in Heaven and it’s up to us to live up to it. This challenge we face is temporary, it will pass. How we endure it will be with us forever. I said, “I believe how I face this struggle will determine the rest of my life, it is of the upmost importance!”  Then I shared, “There is strength in suffering and there is purpose in holding our head high and having faith, even in our darkest hour. The sun will rise again, and it will be glorious. Be happy today, learn what we need to learn from this struggle and believe in the power of the most high God.  Believe that He loves us and will bless us. Be willing to walk through your pain so that you can come out stronger on the other side.”

I fought for so many years to avoid prison, I was so scared! I couldn’t see the ending and I didn’t have the faith but I wouldn’t trade the freedom in my heart or the gifts that God has given me even if I could undo everything. The clarity and love that I have at times is invaluable. Our Father in Heaven parted the red sea, he gave David the ability to slay Goliath. Certainly he has a plan for each one of us. I told my friends last night, “Maybe enduring prison well is the most important thing we will ever do.  Maybe we are in a literal battle for our souls? What if how handle this will determine the rest of our lives? I know that It’s going to get so good for us! Everything we do here will affect those we love and we have to fight this battle with our God. We can’t stand alone against the enemy.”

It’s a simple life in prison. Sometimes I feel like I see things more clearly without the distractions of the free world. There are times it feels like Satan is winning this battle, because all around me I see pain. I have friends that want to be happy but won’t give up what they think will make them happy now for long term happiness. So many women are willing to trade short term gain for long term pain. When I get down I remind myself that we already know the ending. We are victors because our Father in Heaven is victorious, we are the children of a King. I love my children more than anything! It gives me comfort to know that I can still influence them by being an example of how to endure my trials well in prison