Brenda Spahn was a businesswoman who wouldn’t take no for an answer when she discovered that God wouldn’t either. When she invited seven hardened parolees into her Southen mansion, she expected to house them, not love them. But her reluctant decision to serve women prisoners developed into a career, a calling, and a ministry that had helped thousands of women leave prison for good.
In the tradition of The Blind Side, this remarkable true story shows the power of living out your calling, the beauty of God’s mercy, and why loving others always changes us first.
There are very few books that can make me laugh, cry, and just plain out root for the characters. But that was the thing with this book, these weren’t just characters, these were real people. Real people with real stories. There was something about the Loveladies stories that were gut wrenching yet held such hope. A hope that can truly only be found with Jesus.
Brenda Spahn’s brush with incarceration led her down a path she would have never went on her own. God has a funny way of pushing us out of our comfort zone. This led her to start the Lovelady Center. Now it didn’t all just come together in a snap. Brenda faced many challenges along the way. I was amazed though, at watching Brenda’s story unfold and seeing God work in her life. I have to admit the more I read this book the more Brenda reminded me of an important influence in my own life. His name was Pastor Ron and he loved sinners. I know that sounds weird but he just loved on people that were broken and hurting. That is what Brenda did. She loved on these ladies like they have never been loved on before.
Some of the first ladies were Shay, Tiffany, Quincey, Terry, Annette, Melissa, Suzanne, and Parthina. Without going into everyone’s story, allow me to generalize for a moment. These ladies faced everything from drugs (of all kinds), prostitution, rape, as well as dealing drugs themselves. I wish I could I could say that these things only happened once to these women, but most of these women endured years of abuse. One lady believed that being a drug dealer was the best she could do because its ALL she knew. Some of the ladies had been in and out of jail most of their lives while others just a few years. The ladies stories are raw and honest. If you have a soft heart and are unable to handle these topics, consider carefully before reading this book.
Overall these stories are inspirational. Even the ones that don’t have a happy ending. It makes me realize so much more needs to be done. That being a “missionary” and “doing God’s work” can begin in your home town. The way Brenda shares her story is infectious. By no means was she perfect, but her love for God and these amazing ladies shows. I pray that this organization continues to help people, women and children alike. Overall though this is a story that preaches the Gospel with deeds and love over words.
Number of Pages: 240
Vendor: WaterBrook Press
Publication Date: 2014
I received this book from WaterBrook Publishing in exchange for my honest review.