Crime. Addiction. Sin. Devastation. Death. These words characterize the lives of the precious women that Loretta Mattheiss and I get to spend time with once a week. Yes, I said precious. Because, in spite of the sinful choices they've made, the crimes they've committed, the familiy members they've hurt and the consequences they still face, these women are women like us and they're in love with the Lord and His Word!
To my right sits a woman who has destroyed her mind with drugs. Her oldest child is in jail for committing crime. Her younger children live with her mother, whose health and low income add to the stresses of rearing her daughter's children. To my left sits a woman on house arrest whose husband is in jail for crimes they committed together. Their oldest children have been adopted by families they may never know. Their youngest is being raised by grandparents. To her left sits a lady whose past 30 years have been lived in prostitution and poverty. Her family is scattered and scarred. An empty seat represents the women who have come into the program at the Regeneration House and have failed to complete it, and have likely walked back into the lives they came from. However, another empty seat represents the women who've come into the Regeneration program and have graduated into lives that are truly "regenerated!"
The three women I mentioned are well on their way to Regeneration. The first lady is full of passion when she talks about what she's learning in the Word. I envision her leading Bible studies in the very near future. Her prayers flow with adoration to her God! She consistently asks prayer for her mother and acknowledges that her mother is doing the job that she shirked for her sinful lifestyle. The second lady writes everything we talk about in letters to her husband. She prays for the children she has given up for adoption and for their adoptive families to be saved. I envision her and her husband counseling families one day. The third lady has surprised me the most in her spiritual growth. The first week she was there, it was evident she did not want to be. She had a bad attitude and "asked prayer" for the girls in the house to mind their own business when we took prayer requests. This week, when the study was coming to a close, she commented that it goes by so fast now. She used to think it dragged on and on, but now her hunger for the Word can hardly be satisfied in the short hour we meet. She is the most grateful person I have ever met. Her prayers are filled with thanksgiving to the Lord, and when sharing prayer requests now, she lists the things she is thankful for first. She continues to pray for the ladies in the house to be unified and loves them as sisters.
I don't know why it surprises me that God can change people's lives in such a short amount of time. These women remind me that nothing is impossible for God, and no one is unreachable.
I know I didn't share verses of Scripture with you in writing this. But I'm sure many passages come to mind as we reflect on Who God is and how He works to change people. I'd love it if you'd comment with the verses that you think about while reading.