I am a planner. Several months before my release I had cleaned out my locker, figured out what personal belongings I was leaving/giving away, and what belongings I would be taking with me. I figured out how many telephone minutes I would need, what canteen items I would need, and spent every penny I had in certain prison accounts which might not be given back to me. 

I was so organized I began planning events following my release. I had an appointment with the hairdresser the day after my release, my shopping list was ready, I had all the details ironed out on how I would get to church on Sunday, and I even knew when my period was starting. 

Go back with me about two months in time to my final day in prison... About mid-morning my period started. THREE DAYS BEFORE IT WAS SUPPOSED TO! I was not a happy camper; not because I was uncomfortable or miserable, but because it didn't start when I planned it to. I don't remember saying anything to anyone about it, but I certainly let God know what I thought throughout the day.

Wednesday, January 5th was an extremely cold day. The sun was shining, but the temperatures with wind chill were in the single digits. The day of my release was supposed to be even colder. Well that night during rec time I went to the gym to spend some time with Rose and tell her good-bye. We sat on the bleachers and just talked for over an hour. On the way back to our housing units I told her, "You know, out of all the days in the year for God to schedule my release, He had to pick the coldest day of the year. No, I wouldn't want to wait 'til spring to get out of prison, but we've had warmer days this winter. Why couldn't God have planned nicer weather for my release?" 

I sincerely believe that God slapped me in the back of the head at that moment. I can imagine Him up in Heaven rolling His eyes and saying "Has she not learned anything during her imprisonment?" I instantly realized was I was doing and was so ashamed. Here it is my last opportunity to speak with my friend, who will probably be in prison another 11+ years. My friend, who will be so grateful to be released she won't care what the weather is like, and all I can do is complain. I apologized to Rose and later once I was sort of alone, I confessed my sin to God. 

I was being released from prison within just a few hours, and I had missed opportunities to be thankful. A couple days later after my release I was sharing this same story with a friend over the phone. She said she had just heard a message about griping and would I be interested in listening to it. I agreed and boy did God tear me apart once again. I've attached the sermon below if you would like to watch it. It is very convicting. 

Dr. David Gibbs Jr ~ Stop Griping 

I remember getting so upset with the Israelites as God did so many amazing things for them and yet they were constantly murmuring. God has done amazing things for me and my family, and here I find myself just like the Israelites complaining. During my stay in prison the Lord brought these verses to my attention many times: 
"Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content." Philippians 4:11
"Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice." Philippians 4:4
"In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you." I Thessalonians 5:18
“Do all things without murmurings and disputing:” Philippians 2:14
It is so easy when things get difficult or don't go according to "our" plan to find oneself sinning against God by complaining, griping, grumbling, or murmuring. Now each time I’m tempted to complain, God reminds me of so many friends in prison, who would give anything to be in my shoes. Suddenly my motives seem so insignificant.

Here is a cute song that God brought to mind several times, and I would sing the chorus while I was cleaning the bathrooms in my wing.

The Grumbler Song


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