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Rhonda Bear

by Rhonda Bear

Women in Transition, Program Director

I get to say yes.

Every Thursday, Shaunte and I go back to prison to teach our Women in Transition course. No matter what the topic is that day and no matter how many times we’ve taught it, the teaching is still draining for us. We know how important these lessons are. And we know how each woman in the room feels when she hears the truth about co-dependence, boundaries, and masks. We know how she feels when she begins to imagine a different life for herself (and her children) after prison.

Before every class we put out our sign-up sheet for coaching time with the two of us after class. There is room for 40 names and the sheet is always full. We talk to women about transitional living options. We call to make connections for them for after they get out. We answer questions about employment, court fines, and getting a driver’s license.

Recently, I was talking to my last young lady of the day. Truthfully, I was emotionally and physically exhausted. I asked where she wanted to go when she was released so I could call and make arrangements. She told me the name of a homeless shelter in the Oklahoma City metro. I asked if she knew anyone there and she gave me a name. So I got on the phone. I tried three times to get ahold of this person but no one was answering. While the phone rang and I took some deep breaths, I felt my spirit change.

I looked at this young girl in front of me. She is 21. She has long, dark, sleek hair and deep brown eyes. She has two younger brothers who she loves and is protective of.

She told me about her most recent Christmas. After spending much of her childhood in foster care, she walked across Oklahoma City on Christmas Day to knock on the door of her former foster family. They asked her to come back later because they were spending time with family. My heart broke for her.

I asked her if she would consider coming with me to Claremore, to live in a His House Ministry home, to attend church and Celebrate Recovery, to get a job or an education, and to be surrounded by a Stand in the Gap small group.

She looked at me with her big brown eyes and asked the question that makes my job my passion.

“Is that really possible?”

It is possible for a woman's life to change.

Over my last 13 years at Stand in the Gap, I have been asked this question hundreds of times. And every time, it stops me in my tracks. It fills me with gratitude and with hope. It fuels me to go back into prison and to advocate for women like her. Because I, of all people, KNOW that the answer is yes.

It is possible for a woman’s life to change. It is possible for her children, grandchildren, brothers, and sisters to have a different life.

One week later, we got her out of prison. She is working for Shaunte in her small business. She is living in my ministry home. She is imagining next Christmas with a tree and a house of her own where she can open the door to her brothers.

And, yes. It really is possible.

Praise God.

Soon, this young woman will be ready to be matched with a Stand in the Gap small group.

Are you ready to stand beside her?

Find out how you can participate in Stand in the Gap's Women in Transition program

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