Today's post was written by Maryann Michael, a Brook Hills member who serves at The Lovelady Center, a transitional facility for women that aims to restore hope and rebuild lives. If you are interested in knowing more about serving at Lovelady, please contact Dawn Stephens at dstephens@brookhills.org.

After 32 years as a pastor’s wife, teaching in various capacities, serving as Bible School director/teacher, hosting small groups (and large gatherings) in our home, not to mention raising three children, life as I knew it came to a screeching halt when my marriage ended in divorce. I was lost in church. I didn’t seem to fit in anywhere. Nothing seemed to fit. That is, until I found out about the Lovelady Center during a Sunday morning worship gathering at Brook Hills.

Described as a “small city called the Lovelady Center,” it is home to almost 350 woman and children. It is a shelter for the homeless, the abused, the addicted, the afraid, and even the convicted. There are many opportunities for volunteers, and I am part of the mentoring program. I spend several hours a month as a mentor and friend to one of the residents. We are presently reading a devotional book together. I take her shopping, out to eat, and send cards of encouragement to her. Residents who have mentors are more successful in their transition to the outside world than those who do not.

In addition to being part of the mentoring program, I also teach a Bible Study on Tuesday evenings. Again, this was a huge move out of my comfort zone of teaching white middle class ladies within the walls of the local church. The prayer concerns of these women often move me to tears as I pray over them. They can be anything from prayers for adult children in prison or in psychiatric hospitals because of addictions or young moms who are separated from their little ones as they battle their own demons of addictions. I realized my teaching experience had changed forever when during one sharing time, one lady asked for prayers for patience, and another one quickly replied, “Oh, God, don’t pray for patience. The last time I prayed for patience, I ended up in jail for 15 months.”

When I think of the years I spent being active “in the church,” it has been this experience that has given me true insight into caring for “the least of these.” Your circumstances don’t have to be as drastic as mine to find purpose and fulfillment in mentoring a lonely woman who needs a friend or giving a woman hope and comfort through God's Word. I encourage you to visit the website and make that call to make a difference in someone’s life. I think you will find it will make a difference in your life, too.
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