“Stories Of A Prisoner’s Wife”

Entry Ten

by Diane S.

Miss or Missing

The dictionary defines the word MISS as a verb and a noun:


  1. To fail to hit, reach, catch, or otherwise make contact with.
  2. To be too late for or fail to meet
  3. To fail to perceive, experience, or understand.


  1. A failure to hit or make contact with something.
  2. A failure to be successful. The new movie was a miss.
  3. The misfiring of an engine.

The dictionary defines the word MISSING as an adjective meaning

  1. Not present, absent
  2. Lost.
  3. Lacking, wanting

Wow, two words with so many different meanings. Those two words play an important role in my life right now, in all of their various forms and applications. I find these two words in my mind and my prayers often, and in a variety of ways.

Like, I miss my husband. I miss everything about him.

And I miss my old normal. I miss not having a normal.

I miss my two dogs that had to go to new homes. I miss financial security; even though we have never had much of it, now we have none. I have been missing the little ‘bread crumbs’ God gives me every day. Last night I know for a fact that I missed a divine appointment because I out-right disobeyed God when he told me to move my feet and go to a person who was hurting. I miss things my friends need from me because I have been too focused on me and just getting through each day. I miss opportunities to exercise my faith and my trust. I feel like I am missing what God is showing me and telling me.

My list could on for a very long time with the things I seem to be missing right now. If I studied on the things I miss or am missing I could probably send myself into a pretty dark depression for a long while.

I choose not to do that. I choose to pray about them, change what I can and trust God for what I can’t.

I pray that God helps heal my heart and make the pain of missing my husband easier to bear. I pray that God leads me to a new normal that is more fulfilling than my old normal. I trust that God will provide what I need, and pray that He helps me understand and accept the difference between a need and a want.

I pray that God helps me not to miss His ‘bread crumbs’ and the way He shows me He loves me EVERY DAY. He does show us all every day and I miss it a lot. I pray God doesn’t let me miss when He tells where He wants me to go and what He wants me to do. I pray I don’t miss the good, there will be good. I pray for my husband. I pray that God doesn’t let him miss the things He puts on his path and the people He places in front of him on this journey. I pray Chris doesn’t miss this time God has put in his life to grow his faith and trust. I pray that he doesn’t miss me as much as I miss him. I pray that our marriage survives, and even thrives if that’s possible (and it is with God).

Today I am praying diligently about a divine appointment I missed last night. I have already asked God to forgive me for disobeying when He told me to move. I volunteered with my church last night at a revival for a local mission. Our church worship band came out in full and one of our pastors was there to deliver a wonderful message. It was the first time in quite some time that I JOYFULLY praised God. For more months than I can count, I have always ended up in a heap of tears during worship on Sunday mornings. Tears of sadness, tears of sorrow, tears of accepting His plan while not understanding it.

Last night in that tent with people I had never seen, most much less fortunate than me, God showed up BIG and I was able to PRAISE him without tears. We were all just sinners in need of a savior. I am thankful I have already found my savior and I pray for the ones who were in that tent that haven’t made that decision yet. I was thankful, truly thankful to Him and it was just good. It was the most refreshing two hours I’ve had in a very long time and it was needed.

Anyway, back to the divine appointment I missed.

There was a man sitting about 2 feet to my right with no one between us. During the alter call he did not move to go forward, but he raised his hand when the pastor said if you just prayed that prayer and asked Jesus to change you tonight raise your hand so people around you can pray for/with you. He was in tears and I KNEW God was telling me to go pray with him, no one else was around him. Shamefully I did not. I didn’t move. I was supposed to move and I didn’t. Too many doubts about what would I say, would He accept me to pray with him…etc, etc, etc. I am NOT PROUD that I didn’t listen, but I do recognize it. I’m not sure I have ever been able to recognize it before, so that is something, I suppose.

I wish I could go back and pray with that man. I hope the next time I am at the mission I see that man and I can go ask him how he has been and if I can pray with. Right now, because I missed the appointment God set for me all I can do is pray for the man in the red shirt with the black eye and scrapes on his forehead. I pray that his prayer was sincere. I pray that Jesus did come into his heart and I pray that his life was changed last night. I pray in the coming days and weeks he remembers exactly what last night felt like when he is tempted by old ways (whatever they may be).  I pray that God sets him a divine appointment with someone who will listen to God’s guidance and will pray with that man.

I’ve come to find out that even with all the things I seem to be missing these days, most of them I can change myself. I just have to do it and recognizing them is the first step. I don’t think I’ve ever been as attentive to recognizing things as I have been in the last few weeks. I can change a lot of things by just becoming more aware of God’s presence and listening for Him more.

I can’t change that I miss my husband; I can only pray that God helps me find a way to deal with that and makes the pain more bearable. I can’t change how my husband handles his relationship in Christ or if he misses the things God is trying to show him, but I can pray about it and I do diligently. I can’t change and go back to the old life I say I miss. Really I am not sure I would want to anyway.

Growing with Jesus is a much better place to be.

I’m not sure missing things is really all that bad as long as you are willing to recognize them, pray about them and learn from them. It seems a lot of things I am missing or have missed have led me on a path to find things in my heart I may not have found otherwise.

The message last night touched on the story of the blind man in Luke 18:35 and our pastor summed it up in a very good way I thought. That man was blind and couldn’t see a thing but when Jesus called him he threw off his cloak and ran to Jesus. He didn’t know what would happen, he had no way to find his way back to any possessions he may have left with his cloak, he didn’t know what was between him and Jesus that he could trip over that might cause him to fall down. He didn’t care. He ran to Jesus because he knew that being with Jesus was better than where he was.

I can’t even imagine how many things I wouldn’t miss if I could be more like that blind man and trust Jesus so completely and entirely that when He calls I would go running to Him giving no thought to what might happen.

I have a feeling I wouldn’t miss very much at all if I could be more like that blind man.

“Stories Of A Prisoner’s Wife”

Entry Five



It’s odd to me how much I have lost interest in material “stuff” in the last 17 months. It really doesn’t matter much now. I don’t have to have the latest and greatest of anything anymore. I don’t keep up with the latest release of the newest smart phone as I once did. I don’t drive down the street wishing I had a different newer car like I used to. As far as “stuff” goes, things have become much simpler for me. It just doesn’t seem to matter; there are far more important things than “stuff”.

However, I do still have A LOT of stuff.

I don’t know what to do with most of it so it sits in a storage unit until I come up with a plan. I have moved 3 times in the last 5 months. I went from a fully furnished 3 bedroom house full of stuff to living in one bedroom of my mother-in-law’s home and now living in one room at my parents’ home. Maybe that’s why stuff has become less important to me, because I am tired of moving it!!! I’m blessed to have been able to go back home for a while. In this process I had to find new homes for two of our fur-babies. Thankfully I was able to keep two with me. There have been a lot of good-byes in my life in the last couple of weeks. I am blessed because Chris and I don’t have any children together. I prayed for one for a long time and now I am so thankful for unanswered prayers. I have a 12 yr. old step son who lives with his mother, but no children living in our home who have been up-rooted from their daily lives in the midst of all the mess. I am not downplaying the effect this is having on my stepson because it is enormous. I am simply saying that his daily, weekly, and school routine haven’t been affected and for that I am thankful. Everything else in his world has been turned upside down, so I am thankful for things that are still intact in his life. He is still able to come visit and spend weekends with me at this time. I am beyond blessed and thankful for his mother and step-father who have been very compassionate and wonderful.

Anyway, back to the stuff….

I packed up and moved to my parents 3 days after dropping Chris off at his new living quarters for the next 8 years. This means that I had to pack and unpack all my stuff again….and all his stuff. That is NOT easy to do when dealing with a situation like I am going through. What does one do with all his “stuff”? He obviously won’t need it for a good long while and when he does need his stuff again the clothes he had won’t fit and who knows if he will like any of his current stuff in 8.5 years. I have heard of and know of people that have lost loved ones who leave their “stuff” in the exact same spot they left it the last time they used it because it either brought comfort to them or they couldn’t bear the pain of doing anything with because that brings some reality with it. That might have been nice for me to be able to do for a week or two anyway, but I didn’t have that option. Not that I am comparing him going away to prison to death, but I have found there are some similarities. Things had to be moved in my case; his things.

And it was painful.

It was hard knowing that he won’t wear his favorite hat anymore and he doesn’t need cologne. Really silly things in big picture, but I seem to have found that the silly little things are the ones that cause the most epic melt downs for me. Do I keep his stuff for 8.5 years? Do I give it away to friends or family? Donate it? I had not even thought about that part until I got back to TN after dropping him off down in Louisiana and had to start packing. It seemed weird to give it away when he is alive and well.

So I didn’t.

I packed it in boxes for now. Some of it I took with me to my mom’s, like his favorite hat and the necklace he wore every day. They hang beside my bed. I have all his jewelry, some I wear myself every day now, the rest is just in my jewelry box. No particular reason for it to be there, I simply don’t know what else I should do with it. I took two of his favorite colognes because the smell reminds me of him; every few nights or so I spray some on the shirt of his that I sleep with. I took a few of his favorite t-shirts with me also and my mom is going to make pillows out of them for Chris’ mother, his son, and for me. He loved (See what I did there? It should be loves, he isn’t deceased!) to dress in a nice shirt and tie for church on Sunday mornings. I kept his ties with me, they are in a small box in the top of my closet. I figure eventually I will give away the boxes of his clothes I took to storage to the mission here in town, but ties will always fit and ties don’t go out of style. Or do they???

Now, if you had read only the last half of the section above you’d be sure you were reading something written by a young widow who lost her husband to a death of some sort. It’s odd how similar the process seems to be. There is grieving to be sure, but it’s a different kind. There is closure with death. There is no closure with a husband in prison; life goes on with someone missing that one day will return. You have to move on and build a new normal but you have to find ways to include your spouse because you want them to be involved and informed as best they can be in the situation.

I find myself taking pictures so I can send them to him to show him things, like how I hung a picture in my room. It’s still all very weird. I have in no way, shape or form begun to figure out how I will come to a ‘new normal’ in which I can find some joy and make sure my husband is a part of everyday things that go on in my life and his son’s.

So I have decided I’m not going to worry too much about figuring it out. I’m going to let God handle all that and let Him show me how HE will build a new normal that includes my husband as much as possible and still allows me to thrive in Christ and carry out his will while waiting for my husband to return home. The only thing I have figured out at this point is I know this isn’t going to be easy but I know God will always be with us.

He already has our future written and I still don’t know what to do with all this stuff!!

“Stories Of A Prisoner’s Wife”

Entry Three

by Diane S.

Words 5.12.15

“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”  Ephesians 4:29

“In every encounter we either give life or we drain it; there is no neutral exchange.” – Brennan Manning

I like to write words.

It tends to serve me better than speaking them most of the time. People who know me know they are better off texting or emailing me instead of calling me. I also find it easier to speak kinder when I write, because I can think about what I am saying. I’m sure if you added up how many times my mother told me to “think before you speak” when I was growing up it would easily be well over 10,000. I guess I am lucky technology has come such a long way that I can do most of my communicating by writing words. I am trying to get better with speaking and answering phone calls of concerned friends.

I am a work in progress.

Words are funny little things. If you put the right ones together you can lift someone up but if you put the wrong ones together you break someone’s spirit. You can also leave people not knowing how to take the comments you just made. I find that is often the case in my current journey. People don’t know what to say, so they just say anything. I know most are well meaning, but I often have to take a deep breath and make a conscious effort to not be offended.

It is becoming clear to me that the path I will be taking on this journey is not what most people assume the path of a prison wife would be. It seems the general theory is that I will be married yet single for 8 years and it should be great. I will be able to do whatever I want and he will not know, I will not have to answer to him for anything I do or how I spend money. Yes, many people have said that to me. The first few times I was offended, but I’m not anymore. I just remember I am a Christ follower and I am called to be something different.

So I just tell them that isn’t my path, that isn’t something I am interested in. I am not planning this journey and the One who is isn’t interested in how much I can do without having to answer to my husband about it and I am more than ok with that.  It’s odd to me that SO many people think like this. The other fairly common response is “when is the divorce final” or “has he been served papers yet”. They don’t even ask if that is going to be my path they just assume that I am getting divorced because who would stay with a sex offender who is going to spend 8 and 1/2 years in prison?

The really bold ones say things like, “God wouldn’t want or expect you to stay in this marriage.” I find that one more offensive than the others and it always take me a second to calculate my response so my words don’t meet theirs with the same level of toxicity theirs had on me. It’s a challenging encounter and I don’t always do great. I try, but I am human. I am a Christian but I am not perfect. Sometimes those words feel like a knife cutting straight into the center of my heart and it’s just human nature to strike back. I’m getting better. If I could just make everyone talk to me through writing I’m pretty sure I’d have a 100% record at always succeeding at responding eloquently.

I’ve already learned a great deal and this is just the beginning of this chapter of my life. If there is one thing above all others that I have learned thus far it is that the words you use impact people. You have the choice to make that a positive or negative impact. It is hard to make sure your words are always giving life and not draining it. Even when someone speaks draining words to you, it’s your responsibility to speak life back to them. You may be the only breath of life, the only glimpse of the Jesus’ love they get on that particular day so choose your words carefully.

Some days I want to look at people and yell at them “DO YOU KNOW WHAT I AM GOING THROUGH RIGHT NOW?!?” after they speak negative, draining words to me. I haven’t done that yet and I pray I never do, because anyone I would say that too could look right back at me and say the exact same thing. Everyone is going through something and just because theirs may not seem as catastrophic as my husband being in prison for 8 and 1/2 years, to them whatever it is seems every bit as horrible as what I am dealing with. I try to be sympathetic to that and use empathy when I speak and often times that helps me to speak life.

There really is merit to what my mom always told me, “think before you speak.” This holds true for everyone you encounter, but especially for someone you KNOW is going through a difficult struggle. If you don’t know what to say to someone like me, then just say “I’m so sorry you are going through this” or “I will pray for you and your husband.” That is enough. Nothing more is needed and either of those is much more appropriate than a comment about how it’s great that I can be married and single at the same time.

Words from Tony: Unfortunately, the situation that Diane finds herself in repeats itself on a daily basis all over this country. While I was in prison, it seemed that the number of spouses willing to walk this journey with their husbands was greater than I would have expected, although there were plenty who, unlike Diane, actually did back out of the driveway.

I have no condemnation for those who left. I have no negative feelings toward them either. I am filled with sadness for all parties concerned because all have come out of their relationships with less than when they went into them. I could go on and on, but I will not use up Diane’s ‘time’ for that.

That people would think the way Diane indicated they do, and that they would say the things she wrote about kind of stunned me. Perhaps they all should take Diane’s mom’s advice.

The rush of emotions when individuals go through something like what Diane is going through is pretty intense, especially in the beginning. I have several articles from Diane ready to post, so I will be putting them online in relatively quick succession.

She has a lot to say, and I think she says it well.

I pray we will all listen, and learn, from her, and that we offer her our prayers and support.