Inmate #13780240...

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I had a chance to visit my sister yesterday. She's doing well and is excited to try living life again.

She has gained about 35lbs since I saw her a couple months back. I guess a diet of real food and no cocaine will do that for you. She looks so much better. Her face has natural color to it now. It's still got cow skin on it...but it's looking better.

A couple years back she was shot in the back by a cracked-out pimp. He threw her into the back of his car with his 9mm pistol pointed at her head. This man then proceeded to get into a high-speed chase with police where he crashed his car at approximately 100mph on the highway.

Amie was ejected from the car and slid on the pavement for who knows how many yards. Along with breaking many bones in her body, including her back, she lost nearly 1/4 of her face. After 3 weeks in the hospital she came home with us. Her face was grafted back together with calf skin that has now bonded to her real skin. It doesn't look great. This is one of those losses that will never be right during this season of life.

And that's okay. The most exciting thing right now is that she is not focusing on her external beauty and she's focusing on the beauty that is held within her. She's reading like crazy...she's getting healthy spiritually, physically, and mentally. She's the happiest she has been in a very long time...in jail.

She was super excited to see me. I told her I'd come back soon too...and I actually want to.

Hmm...not sure what else to say. I'm open to comments or questions.

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pee-ess - It's real big illegal to take pictures/use any form of electronics when visiting an inmate...so please don't tell on me. Oh, and any law enforcement that might be reading...uh...um...sorry.

35 waggish utterances thus far...:

Kate said...

Well, as a recovering alcoholic, I can feel where she's at by what you write. AND I can sense your hesitation to open yourself up to being hurt by her again. And it IS hurt that we cause the people we love the most when we're using or drinking. And it's the shame that eats at us for having done that, that often leads back down that rabbit hole.

The best thing my family has done for me has been to love me unconditionally AND set boundaries. Boundaries that were never set before. They allow me to flourish and feel the pride that I never did before when I realize I can live life to the fullest without their financial or emotional help. It's a great feeling. I needed that and so did they.

She's got a chance now. And I pray that she will take it and blossom like I did.

Debbie said...

Having someone love you and care about you and forgive you no matter what you have done or what you are going through is a true blessing. It sounds like your sister is finally getting it. Keep loving her and praying for her but as Kate points out set some boundaries too, she will grateful to you for that.

Sonja Chandler said...

It is great that you went. Even greater that she is doing well.

It's hard to accept life as it is sometimes, but it is only in that acceptance that we find release.
I heard it said once that You are in the place you are right now in order for you to learn what you need to learn as and individual for whatever reason. That the moment your in is trying to teach you something profound, however horrific or spectacular it may be.
Now I just "get still" in many moments and learn what it is I need to learn.

I have always thought that people who tell me I can't take pictures of whatever I want are funny. Funny, funny, funny. I giggle at them. Sorry, that is one rule I always break. I will take pics of whatever whenever. As the saying goes "Thats just how I roll"
Santa almost skipped my house one year because I took pics of my kids on is lap and i wasn't suppose to. But he must have forgiven me cause I got a new flash in my stocking that year.

Keep moving forward Ryan.
You are inspiring many.

Natalie said...

We are all works of art in progress.

lmerie said...

Thank you for sharing. Sometimes the thought of our loved one (that is dealing, well actually not dealing, with his addictions)ending up in jail is heartbreaking. Then again, there are worse things, and maybe that is where God can be found,and healing and cleaning and growth can happen. I am glad you went, even though I am sure it was not the easiest thing to do. So many different/conflicting emotions.

Brad Ruggles said...

Glad she's doing better. Man, what a story.

You may have already answered this but what does she think of you writing about her story on your blog? Is she open to sharing it with people? God has such great plans in store for her. Her story can really help connect with a lot of people who need help.

We'll continue praying for her.

tidbit749 said...

I just got done reading Divine by Karen Kingsbury. I think you sister could really relate to the message shared, basically it's a modern day version of Mary Magdalene's story. Very powerful.

Renee said...

Wow, your sister is so lucky, even in
jail. You are a good brother, I have a brother who decided to steal all my mom's money while living with her, and not working. I pray for him everyday, but I have to remember that God loves him just where he is. Just like he does me. Sometimes it is hard. I love reading your blog. You are so real. Keep up the good work!

Snobound said...

Sometimes God lets us walk into the pit, so we'll let Him lead us out of it.

OMSH said...

Cow skin? Really? Wow...I've heard about taking skin from elsewhere on one's body (my husband's knees are full of his own hip skin - motorcycle accident), but I've never heard of cow skin.

Again, I'll repeat what others have said - she is blessed to have you.

And about the photos...what photos? I don't see no stinkin' photos.

Michelle said...

At least you are going to see her. I don't know what else to say. She's lucky to have people who still care. When she comes out on the other end of this, what a great testimony she'll have.

Lo said...

good ... goodness. i am crying right now. once again i thank you for your honesty, for being so brutal in showing us life. i am so thankful for people like you.

Weibley Photography said...

No matter who you are, you need to watch this video. We sometimes get so wrapped up in what we don't have, how bad life may be right then, not understanding why we are here- this makes us understand just how thankful we need to be. For all the bad things, there are good too. Watch it.

http://www.youtube.com:80/watch?v=2I0DRk8dFjI

Kelly said...

Wow, she looks amazingingly different than I remember. She looks like ahuman being instead of a skeleton walking around. You did a great thing in going to see her. The only advice I can give is to just keep loving her. Love her as she is-just like Christ loves us. He loves us as we are, where we are, not some future version of us. Hm, sound fimiliar?! And don't even put it out there that she may screw up again, don't think it-it is satan trying to talk you out of loving her and trying to take her away from the happiness she now knows.

Scott Fillmer said...

Ryan, wow what a story, just incredible. She is really lucky to have a brother who loves her and I know she has to love being able to see you. I hope you will keep us updated as time goes by with how she is doing.

tess said...

I'm currently reading (for the umpteenth time) "Addiction and Grace" by Gerald May. It's a stunning book that reminds me how easy it is for me to attach myself to things I think will satisfy only to find that I’ve become a slave to them.

Your sister is a visual picture of all of us who are groping in the dark desperately trying to find God in things that are not God.

Thank you for sharing such a painful story. Your sister’s story is not over and I believe that when the final page is written, hers will be a beautiful story of God’s redemptive grace.

MRS. CJK said...

My cousin used to make lots of trouble for herself. She made many mistakes. Teenager mistakes, but bigger. Finally, after being protected by her parents (as best as they could), she made a mistake that landed her in jail.

During her trials and tribulations, her family (inculding me) feared for her, prayed for her, while also loving her and supporting her. Her father found Jesus as a way to cope with the loss of his daughter's youth and for someone to go to when he felt he couldn't protect her on his own. Her mother strengthened her faith, together with her husband.

My cousin spent just six days in jail. It seems like such a short time, but those six days changed her life. She got out, got smart, got a permanent full-time job, and although for many it's not an ideal situation, she got her first home with her boyfriend and they just had a baby boy the beginning of September.

She couldn't have done this without the support of her family and their belief in the Lord. Keep supporting, praying, and loving. Your sister will do the rest.

Love wins.

Bonnie said...

Just keep being a good brother to her.

Valarie said...

I am so glad you got to see her, and praise God she is doing better. :)

ConnieC said...

Thank you for your post. I was starting to lose faith. All I ever see are people calling themselves Christians. Going to church does not make you a Christian. It's your actions the other 6 days a week that make you a true Christian. It's good to know that there are still a lot of true Christians out there. I really need to find some.

Laurie said...

From Micah 6:8
"And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God."

mdvelazquez said...

I'm glad to hear she is doing well. One step at a time, right? I will keep her in my prayers.

Kimberly said...

Thanks for sharing Ryan. It's great to see that Amie is doing so well.

Shana said...

I'm not a big reader, at least not "self help" or "lesson" type things. But I do love to glean from easier reads like fiction. I found some healing from reading and relating with Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers...so if she prefers novels (with a message). There's my two cents.

I'm so sure you are gonna hear "Well Done..." when you get HOME.

klskiles said...

She's one lucky girl for having a brother like you.

sharpmj@email.uc.edu said...

Sounds like this is shaping up to be a great story, Ryan. I personally know a little about dealing with addiction in a loved one's life, and I also know how crazy it can make people surrounding the addict.

You are walking-out a brave and giving yet long road with this young lady.

Prayers your way.

Kristianna said...

I enjoy your blog. But I am new to it, and not familir yet with her history, so perhaps this is not her first stint in jail--but I hope that the forced time helps her decide to stick to recovery for good. You're a good brother, and I wish you all the best.

dlyn said...

What a blessing to see her emerging into the light. I will keep her in my prayers - and you too bro.

Not Too Old said...

Awesome post. Her eyes are so clear and focused. My stepdaughter finally managed to see her brother tonight, in jail for the 4th time. Just remember you can love the sinner and still hate the sin. My prayers will always be for her and for you. May you both find peace with her past life, and may it stay in the past!

mommyknows said...

I am so happy that you were able to visit your sister. My brother was recently in prison and it's not an easy thing to do.

Cow skin? Really? I've never heard of that.

Shot!? Holy moly she's chosen a tough road. She is in my prayers.

The Sprechers said...

This is probably going to sound weird but here goes....your sister has beautiful fingers. Strange, I know but it's one of those things I notice about people. I always try to find something beautiful in everyone.

PS: you're a good brother

Denise said...

Thanks for this update. It reminded me to pray for her. I think she's lovely, and I pray and hope that her life will turn around for the better, for good.
I'm glad you broke the rules and took a picture, even though I'm very much a rule follower, seeing her made the story more meaningful. I can't believe that happened to her...it's so unfathomable to me in my soccer mom life to think of scenes like that--things one watches in movies, but it's really happening out there somewhere to someone's sister.
Anyway, I look forward to more updates about your sister. Let her know I'm praying for her!

Jenny said...

You're a wonderful brother! Blessings to the whole lot of you.

saradickens said...

Much luck and many blessings to Amie and your family on this road to recovery. With God, we all have the power to make amazing things out of bad.

Darth Mom said...

Ryan, When I read this I think about your teaching at church on royalty and I pray that Amie learns who she really is in Christ -- a princess and a saint. Because that is a transformimg, life-changing message.