Spring is upon us which brings new life in the form of blooming flowers, chirping birds, and green on trees. Soon we will celebrate Easter, when Jesus resurrected and offered new life to all who believe in Him. Along with these things, a site renewal is underway at our Women’s Mission, but every day God is at work renewing the lives of our guests. We asked a few of our Women’s Mission staff to reflect on this question: How do you see the Lord renewing the women that come through the program?
Amy Inch, House Supervisor
When the ladies first come to the Women’s Mission, they are usually pretty anxious and overwhelmed. They usually have a lot of needs, and at times have some difficulty getting oriented and transitioned into a new environment and way of living.
As time goes by, the women and their children are exposed to daily devotions, Bible classes, visiting churches, and just being at the Mission where we rely on God and speak of Him and His Word at any given moment. After a while, we start to see the women and children become more open and interested in God, become believers, or experience a reignited faith that may have previously been dormant.
I constantly watch God bless the women with provisions, improvements in mental and physical health, growth in recovery from addictions, as well as spiritual growth. Whether the women believe in God or not, His faithfulness has been dependable. He’s always blessing, healing, and helping them to get free and bringing them in to a better life. It’s our desire that all our ladies and children know that their Heavenly Father loves them, and that every good thing in their lives came from Him. It’s beautiful to watch the ladies’ growth and pursuit of Jesus. The Lord consistently guides them and opens up doors for their future, so that they can be stable and have prosperous lives. He is good and a rewarder of those who seek Him!
Deb Noble, Counselor
I have the privilege of being able to facilitate morning devotions with the guests most Mondays through Fridays. It is a special time for me to listen to the various guests give testimonies of how they see the Lord working in and through their lives.
In reflection with the guests during devotions, counseling opportunities, and other times throughout an “ordinary” day at the Mission, Romans 12:1-2 often comes to mind. “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s MERCY to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God-this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”
The guests describe an increase in self-awareness and a sense of responsibility as to how their choices, demeanor, and words can influence themselves and those around them, either for the positive or the negative.
I see the guests begin to care about how they take care of themselves through improved hygiene and manner of dress. Their transformation process is evident on many levels—spiritual, emotional, physical, and intellectual. They will talk about career dreams and life aspirations they once had. Some of them talk about steps they can take to possibly obtain those or similar goals—achieving their GED and following a certain career path, such as veterinary assistant or nursing assistant.
Quite a few of the guests demonstrate a compassion for the community in the city of Harrisburg and ask for prayer for others struggling with addiction. Their thinking moves beyond their own needs, so they ask for prayer for families who have lost loved ones due to illness and overdoses on drugs. They ask for prayers for Bethesda Mission donors and volunteers. They share testimonies of the love received that they actually feel after many years of masking feelings with alcohol and drugs.
Saran Tucker, Intake Counselor
“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:22-23
Answering calls as the intake counselor allows me to demonstrate the unconditional and unfailing love of God. From answering the intake call of a mentally and spiritually shattered women in need of recovery, to welcoming the women as new guests, and then on to sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ in Bible class speaks renewal. The decision to say “yes” to life change is encouraging, but the decision to say “yes” to a transformed life through Jesus Christ is a miracle. God is faithful and His mercies are new every morning.
Each woman that comes through the doors of the Women’s Mission is indeed a miracle. A miracle can be defined as a direct intervention of God in the world. Renewal from the Lord comes in many forms. A woman who has struggled with addiction for 20 years and decides to come to the Mission is a miracle. She spent most of her life believing that her way was the right way, but somewhere in her was a desire to submit and live a better life. As she learned more about Christ and developed her personal relationship with Him, her mind, body, and soul were being renewed. She gets to see life in a whole new light. She continues to learn to submit her desires to the Lord so that He can shower her with His desires and the life that He has designed for her. She joined a local church and attends an additional Bible class through her church. She attends Narcotics Anonymous and Alcoholics Anonymous meetings regularly, as well as meets with her sponsor on a regular basis. She keeps God first and has grown so much over the time she has been at the Mission. She has learned who God is, how much He loves her, and how to love herself and others.
I get to see miracles every day and I count it pure joy that they said “yes” to life transformation.
Marla Walker, Assistant Counselor
I see the women who come through the doors of this program in such a darkened state. Seeing them broken, beaten, and hopeless makes it clear to me that, without God, there is NO satisfaction that can be found in this world apart from Him. The women’s spirits are broken by life’s harsh circumstances, and they are often victims of physical, mental, and emotional abuse. Many turn to substance abuse in order to cope. So often the women feel that they are not deserving of joy or even a decent place to find rest. I see little girls in grown women bodies looking for something greater than themselves, but not knowing how to receive the promises of God. I see and understand the natural progression of drug addiction and how life degenerates as a result. I also see the progression of their recovery and their faith being renewed day by day here at the Women’s Mission.
I see how the Lord has transformed so many women who have come through these doors! I have witnessed women seeking God instead of running away from the destructive consequence of their life. I have seen God give a woman a baby boy whom she loves and adores. She had no family other than us at the Mission. I have seen a mother talk to her 14-year-old son for the first time in 2 years. I have seen God take a woman from living in a tent in a park using drugs, who came through our doors with one single shoe on, and enabled her to attend college and become an honor student. She is now the director of a wonderful program. God is all powerful and when we turn to him, he will restore, redeem, and reconcile us back to himself. There is Hope for everyone who turns from sin and makes amends. Through Christ our past sins can be overshadowed by the new life ahead of us.
“But those that Hope in Lord will renew their strength. They shall mount up with wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Isaiah 40:31
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