Meet some of my favorite girls from The Next Door in Nashville, TN. My friend Mary Katharine (far right) and I have been teaching a Bible study here this semester to four amazing women who are overcoming addiction (one is not pictured). We are having the best time! And two of our other friends April and Paige have their own group as well so it’s a mid-week party really!
God really spoke to me in the summer of ’08 to start engaging in my local community. I had heard The Next Door was a Christian organization for women who had recently gotten out of prison and were working diligently to enter back into free society. The director told me she needed someone to teach on Wed nights so I figured I’d have the roughly 60 women who live there in my class. When I got the list there were only FOUR names! I have to be painfully honest in admitting that this didn’t seem like the best use of my time (again, this is a shameful thing to admit, but if a blog isn’t about honesty, what would be the point really).
I had already agreed to the semester so I jumped in with my four girls not sure what to expect. That was about four groups ago, so you can see I’m hooked. And, btw, I refuse to have more than five women in my study if I can help it – that’s how much my mentality has changed. There has been something so powerful about being able to invest on a personal level with these women – and of course they have invested back into the lives of me and my friends. And to see them begin to understand the incredible personal love of Jesus Christ for them is what gives the whole experience meaning. I could go on and on about the changes we have seen as women move from their addictions to truly understanding for the first time that God has cast their sins (and mine) as far away as the East is from the West. And, that He came to heal them from all the abuse that helped set them down the addiction road to begin with.
I know this is a time of year where people are thinking about resolutions and giving and helping and extending their hands. My prayer is that you would consider investing in a new way whether it’s in your church, children’s school, a prison ministry, a relative who needs it, whatever God is putting on your heart. It will cost you, but you will never be the same.
On that note, Merry Christmas from The Next Door!