Saturday, March 8, 2014

Miss Brenda and The Loveladies

This book. I could not put it down.
Talk about a story! One crazy brave woman managed to change the lives of thousands of people. Because she believed she had a calling on her life from God and she was too stubborn to be beat down. An imperfect, brazen woman with money to burn learns that no amount of money can fill the emptiness inside we all feel when we aren't fulfilling our calling. She claims to have learned more from the hard, dangerous women she literally embraced and welcomed into her mansion than they taught her. I believe her. There's something about women who have never had a chance in life; underneath all the anger and outrageously bad behavior is...just a scared little girl.
Grown women still needing a mama and that's what Brenda Spahn became to them.
She tells so much in this book- describing the women's first trip outside in the "free world", at Walmart no less, where they had their brains fried over just having a choice in what color underwear they could buy, to their first trip to eat inside a restaurant. That was quite a tale as well. There are little bits of writing in here from a few of the women- their own perspective, like a page in their journal. By the end of the book you come to love and care about these women almost as much as Brenda does, and see that there is value in every human life, no matter how damaged and past redemption they may seem- that all can be redeemed. God is still in the business of miracles, and this story proves it.
It also really gives us a candid peek into the hardest of lives- of what some people have to overcome just to survive. For those of us living in safe, loving environments we may not have even come close to understanding how some people live and as some of the stories of these Loveladies unfold, you may find yourself, like me, setting aside judgment and instead feeling compassion and heartache for the little girls they never got to be, and the battered and tattered women they became.
This book made me feel brave. It made me feel rich and blessed. I could really relate to Brenda on some levels. Not at all on others. I have never been filthy rich, or even close to being obsessed with making money like she used to be. I do, however, have a little part of me that is a crusader and wants to save at least part of the world. Well, dreaming is one thing, Miss Brenda actually did it.
I am impressed. By the woman, the book, the writing, the publishers. By the work of God in so many lives and situations.  Absolutely a fan of this book and you should immediately get a copy because we need more Brenda's in the world. There are too many of those who need to be rescued, and never are, simply because we don't bother to care or even look.
Sometimes- no often, in this country, I feel we need to be rescued from ourselves. We have much and do more, but give little. Of ourselves, our time, our prayers, and ourselves. Our stuff.
We are too busy and too self centered and preoccupied. Brenda found her true identity when she gave it all she had to help ex-cons with nowhere to go but back to their drugs, violent boyfriends, prostitution, the streets and crime. They didn't know there was another way. She just showed them there was. She loved them like a mother. She gave them tough love while she taught them how to live and how to see themselves as God's princesses, not prisoners. Because you will realize just because someone is no longer inside a prison doesn't mean they are free.
I love her personality- she's a sassy woman, who doesn't have an ounce of phony in her. I also loved that she was crazy enough to adopt a baby after her biological kids were grown. A drug addicted baby- now that I can relate to. Her little son is right there with her, making the whole story seem that much less plausible, but it's true! She and her husband and kids did something truly brilliant and I not only admire her, I' love in some way to emulate a little of what she's done.
 Even one person makes a difference. Any one of us, armed with faith and a calling, can accomplish so much for the Kingdom. That's my big takeaway from Brenda's story.
LOVED this book!

About This 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.
*I received a copy of this title for free from the publisher in exchange for an unbiased written review.

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