About the book:
One woman’s fight to provide hope for the hopeless…
Seven ex-cons who changed her heart forever…
For Brenda Spahn, entrepreneur and businesswoman, wealth was a lifestyle—until a brush with the law threatened to send her to prison. In those dark moments, Brenda made a promise to God.
Spared incarceration, a renewed Brenda glimpsed into the lives of women serving time in one of the worst places in America—the Julia Tutwiler Prison for Women in Wetumpka, Alabama.
What she saw prompted a God-inspired vision.
With a heart to help and a will that couldn’t be crushed, Brenda fought the system and overcame tremendous obstacles to take ex-cons into her own home and help them navigate the alien world of life on the outside.
This is the story of Brenda’s journey from rags to riches to redemption. It’s the story of the first unlikely year of her “Whole Way House” and of the extraordinary lives of the first seven women who came to call her “Miss Brenda.” It’s a story that testifies to the power of faith and how God changes hearts every day.
You can purchase a copy at Waterbrook Multnomah’s website.
About the Author:
Brenda Spahn is founder and executive director of the Lovelady Center, the largest and most successful nonprofit transitional center for women in the country. It serves 450 women and children every day, providing substance abuse counseling, drug rehabilitation, meals, childcare, career counseling, and job opportunities to women working to establish successful lives outside of prison walls. Brenda is married and has four adult children as well as one young child who lives at home.
I have a long background in the nursing and social work fields – through my parents and also through my own education so reading the book, Miss Brenda and the Loveladies, really hit home for me and it only took me part of a day to read through the whole book because I was that engrossed in it. Before I became a mom and wife, I was pursuing a degree in social work and the day I graduated I also found out I was pregnant again – what a gift – my heart was one for children in the foster system as well as those in the mental health field but I felt my calling was to be home so I didn’t pursue a career in either area. I have a save-the-world mentality and like Brenda Spahn could see myself doing what she is doing and had done, although I still have young children at home who need me. Reading the stories of the women that Brenda first helped was so heart wrenching, the women came from families who didn’t love them nor did some of them stop the abuse that was happening, sometimes even perpetuating it. Most of the women had children who they never got to raise because of time in prison and Brenda wanted to help these women become more than just a prison inmate number, and she did.
Reading about the women’s first outing to Walmart was funny yet also sad – most had never seen a mega-store let alone set foot in one so for them it was eye opening and even the meanest woman wouldn’t leave Brenda’s side because of fear. With the funny was also the sad – their stories of how they came to be what they were but not who they were to become – had me tearing up at times – the abuse, the degradation the total humiliation along with lack of education and the prevalent poverty that most of the women lived in. Before I make you think Brenda has a 100% success rate, she doesn’t – one of her Loveladies had to go back to prison when she violated her conditions of early release – it was heartbreaking to read and I can only imagine how Brenda and the other Loveladies felt when they knew the woman wouldn’t be returning – although there is a happy ending to that but I won’t give you a spoiler.
Overall, this was a great book – one of a woman’s strength and passion to do what is right and even a huge amount of forgiveness, but again that would take me spoiling part of the book and I don’t want to do that. Due to the fact that this book deals with women who have had a rough life there is some language, some is ‘bleeped’ out whereas other words, that I consider swear words but other don’t, are left in. Regardless, this is a book that I think we all need to read – a heart to serve and one of compassion is what we are called to as Christians, not just to those who we think deserve our service and compassion but to all those who need help in getting back to life – Brenda’s non-judgemental and non-preachy way reached out to even the hardest of hearts and most of the women gave their hearts to Jesus Christ through her mentoring and quiet spirit.
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(c) 2014, Sarah Bailey/Growing for Christ, All Rights Reserved, Unauthorized Duplication is a Violation of Applicable Laws