In the eye of the beholder…

Green tops, green pants. The women of La Vista Correctional Facility filed into the visitors area for our time together. Some entered with smiles, others came visibly bearing their burdens. Several looked fresh out of high school. Blond hair, blue eyes, pretty smiles… and prison garb.  A few wore orange pants, a signal that they had broken a rule and were now separated from the rest of the prison population.

Jodi and Carol, the faithful warriors who serve the women every week, put on the worship music. The ladies lit up. Hands raised, the inmates began to fill the room with praise.

I closed my eyes, it seemed like a hundred women were singing together, so strong and passionate was their song.

I could almost picture the angels surrounding us. Mighty. Glorious. Majestic. It truly felt as if their voices mingled with our own.

I opened my eyes and scanned the room. My eyes lingered on the heavy metal doors locked from either side. And the bathroom to the right with a simple paper sign taped to its door: “Offender Restroom.”

I lingered on the first word.

“Offender.”

I turned to look at the women. Arms raised in worship. Tears on their cheeks.

Back to the sign.

“Offender.”

I bowed my head as the tears slid down my cheeks.

Offender. Yes, each woman there was serving time for a crime she committed. But as I watched these ladies worship, a whole different set of words came to mind.

Princess. Beloved. Cherished. Redeemed. Rescued.

Beautiful.

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