Treasures of Darkness–A Prison Journey

This Tuesday, I’m hosting an Aussie author! Can I come visit? Please? Just not in the setting where this book takes place . . . Meet Trish Jenkins.

Living with murderers, drug dealers, frauds, and broken humanity, her prayers for deliverance were not answered the way she expected. Instead the Lord delivered her “through the fire…”Prison was not part of Trish Jenkins’ ministry plans, but it happened. Conned by a fraud and a breach of the Corporations Act meant losing her multi-million dollar portfolio, including her family home. It also meant this Australian mother served 8 months in prison, isolated from her husband and 3 little girls.

Insteadof succumbing to despair and self-pity, Trish chose to believe the Word of God and in doing so, she introduced many other prisoners to Christ. In the darkness, Trish found keys to freedom and courage and a deeper walk with the Holy Spirit.

Trish felt compelled to record everything she experienced. She wrote letters to her family and friends by writing letters to her husband, who then copied the letter to an email that went out to a list that grew rapidly. Those emails went viral, and Trish’s readers shared her journey with her. What she couldn’t put in letters due to their sensitive nature, she wrote in a private journal.

From stories of winning over bullies to the despair of persecution for her faith, Trish shares her journey with warmth and candour.

Today Trish shares her hard-won “Treasures” as an entertaining, insightful speaker and author, inspiring audiences to be courageous in all circumstances. Ministering effectively to both Christian andsecular audiences, she is warm, compassionate and funny! Today, as a well-respected international speaker and author, Trish’s heart-felt and inspirational story filled with practical advice is re-igniting fire and faith in the hearts of her audiences.

Trish and her family were reunited and today are all active members of Citipointe Church, Australia.

If you would like to read an excerpt from her journey, Treasures of Darkness, read on.

Humiliation to Humor
From journal entry dated 30thJanuary, 2009.

Medication is delivered to the unit three times a day. I require a tablet just once a day. When we are given medication we are to line up with our plastic glasses half filled with water. We must show our fingers putting our medication into our mouths, swallow the water, then open our mouths wide, and lift our tongues for an officer to inspect.

It reminds me of the movie, “One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest.” Some of the women take medicine to help with their drug withdrawals and may transfer the pill or liquid into someone else’s mouth as a payment for something.

Such oral practices are not permitted in here.

As per the movie, we seem to have our very own Nurse Ratchet. This woman is a really grumpy, plump, middle-aged “sourpuss.” Her mouth seems permanently held in the position that most resembles the rear of a cat. I’m always as polite as I can be, but one day, she was so rude to me that an officer actually told me not to worry about her.

My humiliations were not quite complete…

I picked up a persistent, barking cough from the watch-house conditions. To add to my indignities, my pelvic floors were not coping as well as they would normally, and I needed something to suppress the coughing. I was too embarrassed to go to the male officer in the fishbowl and explain why I needed to access my cell.
Don’t you do your pelvic floor exercises?” Nurse “Ratchet” demanded in a loud, accusing voice.

Well yes, but I did give birth to twinsand this cough isn’t helping…”

She spoke to me as if I were an idiot and as if my answer was “back-chatting.” I did get a bit testy as I hate poor customer service. I didn’t appreciate my personal matters being ridiculed in front of everyone either. But in here I am not a customer. I am not an equal. I must be subservient, and accept disrespect from staff if I am to survive. It’s hard for a self-respecting person to tolerate such treatment.

I speak to the staff the same way I would if I were dealing with people from another business. We are incarcerated; however, in theory, we are still supposed to be treated with manners. Some officers do, and the women usually respond in kind. However, many do not; yet it is not our place to point out when a staff member is falling short. We have the right to complain, but few do unless the matter is really serious.

I expected the women to be mean; but a nurse is simply doing a job, why would she bother being snide?” I complained to the Lord.

Hmmm. Time for an “Attitude” test.

I began praying for this horrible woman. I am sure she is lovely to those who matter to her. She is probably a sweet grandmother. Perhaps she just hates her job. So I prayed for God’s blessing on every area of her life. Then the Lord showed me a scripture.

That which you do to the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you do to me.” See Matthew 25:31-46 for the full context. It also warns, That which you did notdo for the least of these, you did notdo for Me.”
I felt the Lord ask me, “Who are the ‘least’ in society?”

I think it’s us, Lord,” I answered. “People feel sorry for abused children, the handicapped, the sick, and the mentally ill; but we are despised.”

That’s right, and yet she serves you.” The irony was not lost on me.
What was funnier was when I shared my revelation with the nurse the next day! There is a part of me that is a little cheeky about the things of God, and I wanted to see her response. How could I not? As she served me, I thanked her politely and said, “You know the Bible says when you are serving us, you are serving Jesus.”

She looked stunned, “Well, I don’t believe that!”

I smiled at her and replied, “It doesn’t matter if you believe it. We are the very least in society. What anyone does to us, they do to Christ. Thank you.”

Move along, Jenkins!” I’m sure the supervising officer was hiding a smile. Perhaps the Lord will touch her, and perhaps not. It’s not my call.

Sentient–your word for the day. You’re welcome.

Every morning, this scene plays out in my bathroom. (No, not that scene. I am not about to depict something you will need ten years and therapy to unsee. Trust me.)

The scene is our smallest cat, who follows me in lest she miss any possible action in the house. I close the door. She spies the full-length mirror on the back of the door. And she jumps at it. For five minutes, that cat bats, swipes, jumps, paws, and sniffs at the mirror and at that strange black and gold tiny cat inside it.

Which I found odd, considering she does it every day. I mean, you’d think that, after a while, the cat would catch on. Dude, that other cat? It’s you. She’s always there. Always. It’s not a totally weird coincidence. You will never get to play with the cat in the mirror.

Until I looked at it from the cat’s perspective. To a cat, a mirror means nothing. Cats are not, as discussed at the dinner table the other night, sentient beings. (Really. We do discuss these things. I amraising productive citizens who know more words than LOL and BTW.) The cat has no self-consciousness, therefore no concept of a “me” as opposed to the rest of the living world. When she looks at a mirror, she doesn’t see a “me.” She can’t. So, to her, it’s another cat. In her space. A friend who won’t come out to play.

Which made me think . . . (what? You don’t do deep thinking in the bathroom?)

What if we could live like that? What if we had no concept of a mirror as the end-all depiction of “me”? What if we got another perspective?

Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.” (1 Corinthians 13.12)

What if we remember that we really do have no concept of what we look like? We think we do. We judge ourselves by it. Constantly. But what if—what if we remembered that a being waaay higher than ourselves has the real deal on what we look like and who we are?

The cat has no idea what she truly looks like. Neither do we. When we look in a mirror, do we see this?

And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” (2 Corinthians 3.18)

I, too, bat at the mirror in displeasure. Maybe it’s because I see only dimly what I want to see—what I will be. Here and now, it’s frustrating. But perspective—perspective tells me I’m being gloriously transformed. Daily. We dare not miss it in our furious batting away at something that isn’t real.